Arts in the Third Reich
Within every society there are specific ideals and practices that happen during a specific time in history. One of the most common changes of culture in a society was during the Third Regime when Hitler was ruler. During this time Hitler created Mein Kampf, a novel were he wrote his ideology for his ruling of society. This ideology involved a concept called Volksgemeinschaft which is a national community unified in mind, will, and purpose. The culture during this rule through Hitler’s ideology was considered anti-intellectual. The Nazi party and Hitler had a great fascination with the visual arts during the Third Reich. “The first public building dedicated by the Third Reich was an art museum, the House of German Art in Munich” 1. The Nazi party and Hitler had their own ideal of art and “rejected modern art which they labeled “degenerated art” or “Jewish Art” 2. They wanted visual art in the Third Reich to be similar to the traditional arts that had been left behind by the development of modern art. During Hitler’s Speech at the opening of the House of German Art in Munich he mentioned, “This house represents a turning point; it brings us to an end the era of chaotic, incompetent architecture. This, first of the new buildings, will take its place among the immortal achievements of our German artistic life” 3. Many historians and people ask themselves the question: why was art so important to the Nazi party and Hitler? Some historians could answer this question by stating that when Hitler was younger and applied to an art school which he was not accepted caused him to hate the idea of modernism art and explain his fascination to restore the normal art that was famous in the Greek and Roman times. By looking at the pictures below are you able to tell which picture was from which era of art? Either the Weimar Government era that involved modernism art that happened during the Second Reich or the Nazi Party and Hitler era that involved the common “True German art” that was similar to Greek art that happened during the Third Reich?
- Dieter Kuntz and Benjamin Sax. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich (Canada, D.C. Heath and Company Publication, 1992), 154.
- Ibid., 154.
- David Redless Jackson J. Spievogel. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History (United States: Pearson Education Publications, 2014), 229.
- “Degenerate” Art Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VIII (1923), from Clifford Ganyard PowerPoint, https://uwgb.courses.wisconsin.edu/d2l/le/content/2969592/viewContent/18613891/View
- “True” German Art: The Feminine Ideal Sepp Hilz, Peasant Venus (1937), from Clifford Ganyard, https://uwgb.courses.wisconsin.edu/d2l/le/content/2969592/viewContent/18613891/View