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NAZI CULTURE: INTELLECTUAL, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL LIFE IN THE THIRD REICH

1. "The Four Elements," a painting which hung over the mantelpiece in Hitler's house in Munich

Hitler honored Adolf Ziegler's "The Four Elements" by placing it over the mantelpiece of his own room in the "Fuhrer's house" in Munich. This technically accomplished painting, which was also shown in the 1937 Exhibition of German Art, is an example of an artistic realism which leaves nothing to the imagination. Ziegler was president of the Reich Chamber of Art and organized the exhibition of "degenerate art."

2. The ideal Aryan family as represented on a calendar [From Kaknder des rassenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP, 1938.

The ideal Aryan family as represented on the cover of the calendar the "New Volk," issued by the office of racial politics of the NSDAP.

3. An example of the kind of poster art that played an important role in Nazi propaganda [From Anschlage, deutsche Plakate als Dokumente der Zeit (Munich, 1963)]

Poster art played an important role in Nazi propaganda. This poster, produced by the German Workers' Front, reminds the workers that the comradeship of the soldiers at the front must be carried over into the "battle for production." The workers were laboring in the shadow of those who had sacrificed all for the Fatherland.

4. The Honor Cross of the German Mother [From Das Jahr IV (Berlin, 1939)]

The Honor Cross of the German Mother, modeled after the Iron Cross.

5. Adolf Ziegler's "The Judgment of Paris," illustrating ideal Aryan types [From Die Kunst im dritten Reich (1939)]

Adolf Ziegler's "The Judgment of Paris," illustrating ideal Aryan types

6. Awakening" by Richard Klein, which was shown at the 1937 Exhibition of German Art [From Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung 1937]

Richard Klein's "Awakening," which was shown in the 1937 Exhibition of German Art, combines the realistic with the sentimental.  Klein was one of the publishers of the official NSDAP journal of art, Kunst im dritten Reich, and director of the Munich Academy of Applied Art.

7. A painting of the ideal German girl [From N. S. Frauenvarte, Heft I, Jahrg. 8 (July 1939)]

This painting of the ideal German girl, by Paul Keck, was included in the 1939 Exhibition of German Art.

8. " A film advertisement, 1936 [From Schleisische Tageszeitung, November 16, 1936 (Wiener Library Clipping Collection).)

Reality often failed to correspond to the desired ideal, as this 1936 film advertisement shows.

9. Arno Brecker's sculpture representing an idealized Germanic hero [From Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung 1942]

Arno Brecker was one of Hitler's favorite sculptors.  His "The Party" flanked one of the entrances to the new Reich Chancery.  In this sculpture classical realism has been employed to represent the "ideal type" which appears throughout Nazi painting and poster art.

10. "The Guardian" by Arno Brecker, one of Hitler's favorite sculptors [From Franz Rodens, Vom Wesen deutscher Kunst (Berlin, 1941)]

"The Guardian," by Arno Brecker, a good example of the idealized Germanic hero popular in the Third Reich.

11. A mural idealizing active youth [From Die Kunst im dritten Reich (1939)]

A mural by Jurgen Wegener, idealizing active youth.

12. Works by George Grosz and Elk Eber, a confrontation between "degenerate art" and "true" Nazi art [From Deutsche Kunst und entartete Kunst, edited by Adolf Dresler (Munich, 1928)]

These two pictures were reproduced side by side in a German art book in order to illustrate the superiority of "true" Nazi art over the "degenerate art" which satirized the front-line soldier.  The confrontation pits George Grosz, the Republic's leading left-wing painter, against Elk Eber, an old party member and designer of Nazi propaganda posters.

13. A peasant house built after 1933, but in the style of the Middle Ages [From Die neue Heimat (Munich, 1940)]

In practice, adhering to the eternal verities often meant copying ancient models.  This peasant house would seem to date back to the Middle Ages; it was, in fact, built after 1933 and was praised as "completely modern" while representing a "soil-bound" style.

14. A "shrine of honor" of the Hitler Youth; a faithful copy of an ancient German hall [From Die neue Heimat (Munich, 1940)]

This "shrine of honor" of the Hitler Youth (in memory of their heroes and martyrs) is a faithful copy of an ancient Germanic hall, complete with the heathen symbols of the "forefathers."

15. The House of German Art in Munich, designed by Hitler's favorite architect, Paul Ludwig Troost [From Franz Rodens, Vom Wesen deutscher Kunst (Berlin, 1941).]
 

The House of German Art in Munich.  Designed by Hitler's favorite architect, Paul Ludwig Troost (1878-1934), it is an example of the imitation of classical forms in monumental public buildings.

16. A painting by Adolf Hitler [From N. S. Frauenwarte, Heft III, Jahrg. 6 (August 1937)]

One of Hitler's own paintings, in which he has merely copied an historic building.  It affords some insight into his artistic tastes.

17. Hitler as the "friend of children" [From Fibel fur die Grundschule (Gutersloth, 1935)]

Hitler as the "friend of children."  This photograph accompanied the story reproduced from the children's primer.

18. German school children in uniform [From NSDAP Standarten Kalender 1939.]

"If all of German youth looked like this, we would have no need to fear for the future." A class in uniform from the NSDAP Standarten Kalender 1939.

19. German girls in the dress of the Bronze Age [From N. S. Frauenhuch (Wiener Library Photographic Archives).]

The Bund Deutscher Madel was indoctrinated with "Faith and Beauty," which often involved acting out supposed ancient Germanic customs.  These girls are in the dress of the Bronze Age.

20. An open-air theater in the kind of romantic setting popular under the Third Reich [From A Nation Builds (New York: German Information Library, 1940)]

Open-air theaters were especially popular because of their romantic and natural settings, most appropriate for theatrical presentations of the Nazi ideology.  This theater was named after Dietrich Eckart, an influential friend of Hitler in the early days.

21. The actor Werner Krauss in the 1940 film Jew Suss [From H. H. Wollenberg, Fifty Years of German Film (London, 1948)]

The famous actor Werner Krauss portraying the typical Jewish stereotype in the Nazi film Jew Suss (1940), which dealt with the rise and fall of a Jewish financier in the eighteenth century.

22. The actor Lothar Muthel as Schlageter, in the famous Nazi drama of the same name [From Berliner Illustrierte (1933), No. 17]

Lothar Muthel in the role of Schlageter, from the first performance of Hanns Johst's drama (1933).

23. A mythological painting of Hitler speaking to his early followers [From Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung 1937]

Hermann Otto Hoyer called this mythological painting of Hitler speaking to his early followers "In the Beginning Was the Word." It was included in the 1937 Exhibition of German Art.

24. Monumental buildings designed as a setting for mass meetings and parades at Nuremberg [From Die Kunst im dritten Reich (1937)]

These monumental structures were designed as a setting for mass meetings and parades at the Nuremberg Party Days. They are the work of Albert Speer, architect who became Inspector-General of Buildings for Berlin and, later, Minister of Armaments and War Production.

25. An advertisement exhorting the people to observe the weekly "one pot" meal [From Ewiges Deutschland, Heft III, Jahrg. 4 (March 1939)]

Advertisements such as this one were common in the Third Reich. Here the people are exhorted to observe the weekly "one pot" meal, which was supposed to conserve food, especially meat. The legend reads: "the meal of sacrifice for the Reich."

26. Hitler addressing a Party Day meeting in Nuremberg, 1935 [From Leni Riefenstahl, Hinter den Kulissen des Reichsparteitag
Films (Munich, 1935)]

Hitler addressing a Party Day meeting in Nuremberg (1935).

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