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HOW AND WHY DID
THE NAZIS CHANGE
GERMAN CULTURE?
www.educationforum.co.uk
What is Culture
• Culture refers to activities like Art, Literature, cinema,
music, theatre, radio, film, architecture.
• The Nazis wanted culture to reflect Nazi ideas –
nationalism and Aryan superiority, the Hitler Myth,
rejection of Christian ideas, Volksgemeinschaft
The Book Burnings
On 10 May 1933 Goebbels and SS tore thousands of
books out of the central library in Berlin and burned them in
the streets.
Books by Marxists, Jews, socialists and pacifists were all
consigned to the flames
This act of barbarity set the tome for cultural life in Nazi
Germany
How Did Goebbels Control Art and
Culture?
• Goebbels wanted culture to be little more than
propaganda.
• To control culture he set up the Reich Chamber of Culture
to control what art and culture was allowed
• Unless you were a member of the Chamber of Culture
your work could never be published. Jews and political
opponents were banned
• The Chamber of Culture was divided into 7 sections for;
art, music, theatre, press, radio, literature and film
“Aryan Art”
• The Art and Culture the Nazis approved of was called
‘Aryan Art’
• The Nazis believed that only Aryans were capable of
producing real Art
• Aryan Art reflected and promoted Nazi propaganda ideas
and was very traditional in its form and had to be easy to
understand
• Cultural figures approved of by the Nazis included the
composer Wagner and the film director Leni Riefenstahl
Degenerate Art
• Art/Culture the Nazis hated they called ‘degenerate art’.
• To degenerate means to decay or go rotten. The Nazis
•
•
•
•
believed degenerate Art would rot away at the principles
of the Peoples Community
Art/Culture produced by Jewish, Marxist, socialist or
modern artists was seen as degenerate and therefore
banned
The Nazis HATED therefore the cultural revival of the
Weimar Republic
The Nazis conserved one exhibition of ‘degenerate art’ to
ridicule modern and abstract art
Art that was abstract, thought provoking, modern or
critical of Nazi ideas was seen as degenerate
Cultural Life
• Hundreds of artists and cultural figures fled Nazi Germany
• German cultural life became just predictable propaganda
• There was no artistic freedom in Nazi Germany
• The Nazis believed in ‘correct’ expression rather than
‘free’ expression