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The Twentieth Century and Beyond and Institutions, Technology, and Economics

What Is Nazi Music?

Pamela M. Potter

Whenever the words Nazi and music are uttered in the same breath, they are likely to conjure up images of goose-stepping troops stomping to military marches, fight songs sung to torch-lit processions, Hitler kissing the hand of Winifred Wagner, or swastika-decked concert halls featuring the neo-Romantic kitsch of forgotten composers. One may also know about the propaganda campaigns touting the virtues of folksong and the great German masters while vilifying jazz, Jews, and atonality, most blatantly displayed in the notorious Degenerate Music exhibit of 1938. These timeless images, emblazoned on the book jackets and CD liner notes of nearly every encounter with music in the Third Reich, have left the indelible impression that the National Socialist regime tolerated its own officially sanctioned Nazi music and aggressively suppressed everything else. In a recent study on art in the Third Reich, historian Joan Clinefelter asserted that the term Nazi art was rarely used during the Hitler years; rather, artists, critics, and scholars strove to identify and privilege German art.1 Surprising as it may seem, the same was true of music. Rather than invoking Nazi music or any term remotely approximating it, policymakers, composers, and musicians all shared in the mission to cultivate German music. As Bernd Sponheuer has shown, what the National Socialists were interested inas in their music policy in generalwas not the development of their original concepts . . . [Hans Joachim Mosers 1938 summation about the nature of German music] contains no single idea that one could designate specifically as National Socialist.2 Nazi music is, instead, an amorphous concept that since the end of World War II has hovered over our general understanding of the history of German music in the twentieth century. It implies certain assumptions about who created music in the Third Reich, the conditions under which it was produced, and the quality of that music. Put simply, these assumptions hold that 1) a group of Nazi composers and musicians flourished in the Third Reich; 2) they worked under the repressive conditions of the Nazi dictatorship; and 3) the musical

doi:10.1093/musqtl/gdi019 88:428455 Advance Access publication October 18, 2006 The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

What Is Nazi Music?


products of the Third Reich, which upheld the tenets of Nazi ideology, were artistically inferior. At the core of the concept of Nazi music is the pervasive inclination to isolate the Nazi phenomenon from all other episodes in German history. If one designates the Weimar Republic as the golden twenties on one end and the year 1945 as the zero hour on the other, the Nazi period can easily be cordoned off as a historical anomaly. This tendency is understandable, too, for it sidesteps a particularly vexing paradox of German cultural history. At the risk of stating the obvious, we cannot escape the general consensus that the Third Reich was perhaps the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century, but not only because of the sheer numbers killed or the degrees of cruelty inflicted, rather also because of the unnerving paradox that the German bearers of culturea people who had enriched the Western world with their literature, science, philosophy, and music could be led to commit such barbarous acts. Yet cultural lifeand musical life perhaps above allcontinued to operate, even to flourish, in some sectors. Adherence to the concept of Nazi music has unfortunately obscured that perspective and, in the process, created gaps in our understanding by virtually excising an entire chapter of German music history. A scan of the textbooks most widely used in twentieth-century survey courses gives the impression that German music inaugurated the century with the Second Viennese School, proceeded to the New Objectivity experiments of the 1920s, and then moved into exile with the victims of National Socialism. The canon thus privileges the music of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, and Ernst Krenek (with Carl Orff as the lone representative of those who stayed in Germany, and the dodecaphonist Josef Matthias Hauer as the lone Austrian),3 but otherwise ignores any music that might have been produced within Germanys borders between 1933 and 1945. The works of successful composers in the Third Reich have, for better or worse, missed out on the chance to be considered for inclusion in the canon, and have for the most part fallen into oblivion.4 In what follows, I will examine how assumptions about Nazi music continue to rest on outmoded ways of thinking about the Third Reich that date back as far as 1945, with the inauguration of the ill-fated Allied program of denazification and the early postwar zero-hour mentality. In the western zones of occupation, later the Federal Republic of Germany (discussions of music and musicians in Nazi Germany were virtually off-limits for much of the forty-year existence of the German Democratic Republic), any full confrontations with the Nazi past had to wait until the 1970s, by which time general historians had questioned several assumptions that music historians nevertheless embraced. As a result, to this day discussions of music in Nazi

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Germany often gravitate toward fulfilling the denazification-inspired task of determining the guilt or innocence of individual musicians and composers, and answering zero-hour-inspired questions about the degrees to which the Nazis, and even Adolf Hitler himself, acted to suppress certain types of music and promote others. Liberating ourselves from the concept of Nazi music has the potential to bring German culture out of this period out of isolation, leading to a more nuanced understanding of music of the 1930s and 1940s and the history of musical modernism within and beyond Germany. The seeming oxymoron of Nazi culture (and musics central role in it), difficult as it may be to comprehend, is all the more important to deconstruct and analyze because it holds keys to understanding how societies we regard as advanced and educated can so readily succumb to fear and xenophobia.

The Legacy of Denazification

One of the central achievements of the new musicology has been to throw a critical light on the nineteenth-century cult of genius that privileged a composer-centered methodology. The concept of Nazi music, however, still rests very much on a composer-centered foundation, and attempts to write the history of music in the Third Reich have been focused largely on reconstructing the political roles of individuals and determining their guilt or innocence. These investigations have, in a sense, carried on the unfinished business of the seriously flawed Allied programs of denazification and re-education that ended abruptly and inconclusively in 1948. These programs differed from any other war settlement, going beyond demilitarization, the payment of reparations, and even punishment for war crimes. The Allies assumed the ambitious goal of eradicating all traces of Nazism, rooting out the fundamental conditions of German life which have made her a recurring menace to the peace of the world.5 Following mass arrests and the immediate release of the least suspect, all Germans over the age of eighteen were required to fill out questionnaires to determine the degree of their involvement in the Nazi party and other organizations and activities. Initially the Allies used this information to draw up blackgraywhite lists in 1945. In the early months of 1946, the process was turned over to German tribunals (Spruchkammern), which added the slightly more refined categories of major offenders, offenders, lesser offenders, followers, and guiltless.6 Punishments could include imprisonment, forced labor, loss of employment, loss of property, and fines.7 In the music world, those who presumably aided the Nazi government came under especially close scrutiny at first, but were given far more leeway once jurisdiction was transferred to the Spruchkammern and the completion of the denazification process was hastened. Under the American

What Is Nazi Music?


occupation, for example, German musicians and composers initially were not only investigated for membership in the National Socialist German Workers Party or for having allowed themselves to be a tool in the hands of the Nazis, but were also screened for nationalist leanings, authoritarian personality traits (particularly in the case of conductors), and thinking of German Kultur as the only superior product of human mentality.8 A large number of prominent musical figures, however, managed to glide through the denazification process because the occupying forces, despite their mistrust of the German cultural elite, harbored a deeply ingrained respect for German music and placed a high priority on getting Germanys musical life back on its feet, often at a breakneck pace.9 In early 1948, the Soviets announced that denazification was complete in their zone and, with its transformation into the German Democratic Republic in 1949, was free of Nazis. Under pressure to keep up, the western zones brought their denazification to an abrupt end. The new Federal Republic of Germany got swept up in the rapid reconstruction known as the economic miracle, and, with the help of public and private support, performance venues, conservatories, music publishing houses, and recording companies came to rival international competitors and worked to revive tourism, educational exchange programs, export (of printed music, recordings, instruments, teaching methods), and Germanys international cultural reputation. In the process, many who were active and even successful in Nazi musical life continued their careers in both German states, contributing to and benefiting from the huge growth of postwar music industries. From the 1950s on, it was not difficult for stars such as Herbert von Karajan, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Carl Orff to deny their Nazi affiliations, because the world wanted to believe that musicians inhabited the elevated realm of art and would never descend into the underworld of politics. Still, the experience of denazification led both the judges and the judged to form an exaggerated sense of what it meant to be a Nazi. Put in the position of having to explain all behavior from 1933 to 1945, many Germans under investigation professed their opposition to the Nazi regime by transforming the smallest gestures of dissent into heroic feats of resistance and by exaggerating the degree of terror brought upon them, explaining every act of complicity as a matter of survival. When questioned, they often denied many of their actions of the preceding twelve years, inflated minor hardships or conflicts into evidence of their persecution, or relied on even casual (and sometimes fabricated) associations with Jews as evidence of opposition. The stark polarity of Nazi versus non-Nazi was softened somewhat by the consideration of such mitigating factors as an individuals nationalism, conservatism, retreat into inner emigration,10 apolitical nature, purely artistic priorities, or veiled resistance, but these

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additional classifications hardly ventured beyond the five categories of guilt established by the Spruchkammern in 1946 and came no closer to answering the nagging question of what it really meant to be a Nazi. Did one earn the designation of Nazi by joining the National Socialist Party? Richard Strausss and Hans Pfitzners detractors would say no, since neither ever joined the party, but many believe they should nonetheless be vilified as Nazis.11 Conversely, party membership alone would brand the musicologist Kurt Huber as a Nazi, even though he was executed for his participation in the White Rose student resistance movement after drafting and distributing pamphlets urging German citizens to defy the Nazi leadership.12 To add to the confusion, most biographies of prominent musical figures written thereafter, both scholarly and nonscholarly, glossed over the Nazi years entirely. Reference works such as Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and even the 1980 edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians skipped over the Nazi-era activities of these individuals entirely.13 The political involvement of the most prominent, such as Strauss and the famed Berlin conductor Wilhelm Furtwngler, could hardly escape notice (Furtwnglers denazification was an international cause clbre and has even carried over into popular culture with the stage playturnedfilm about his trial, Ronald Harwoods Taking Sides).14 Most of the others, however, quietly evaded scrutiny, and anyone hoping to uncover their secrets met with obstacles from archivists, families, and the individuals themselves.15 Any evidence hinting at the Nazi-era successes of existing musical institutions, industries, or individuals would not only pique the ire of those implicated, but would also potentially jeopardize the international appeal of what the new Germany could offer to the music world. This secrecy may have served the greater aims of rebuilding Germanys musical reputation, but it made it particularly difficult to get at the bare facts about musical activity in the Nazi years, and the subject of music and musicians in the Third Reich remained explicitly off-limits for an entire generation of music scholars in Germany.16 Professors admonished their students not to investigate this dark period of history, insisting that those who had not experienced the times firsthand lacked the necessary qualifications.17 A few notable attempts to break the silence came out in the early 1980s,18 but gradually the focus shifted to an intense investigation of the victims of National Socialism, broadly defined to include the good Germans (those who left Nazi Germany) alongside persecuted Jews, Communists, and other targeted groups. This new avenue of research launched large and well-organized initiatives bearing such names as Exilforschung (Exile Research), Entartete Musik (Degenerate Music), and Verdrngte Musik (Suppressed Music), and produced dozens of publications, exhibitions, and recordings. The purpose of these initiatives was not only to expose the cruelties and injustices meted out

What Is Nazi Music?


to these individuals but, in the case of composers, also to rediscover and reanimate their silenced musical works. There was a tacit understanding that all composers who left Nazi Germany, for any reason, were morally upstanding and therefore worthy of having their works taken seriously, while all composers who remained were morally suspect and therefore artistically unworthy of attention, as their music most certainly represented Nazi kitsch at best and racist or nationalist propaganda at worst. Signs of the imminent breakdown of these rigid classifications were on the horizon, however, as early as 1980. In the enigmatic case of migr composer Paul Hindemith, for example, Claudia Maurer Zenck brought evidence to light about his close association with leading members of Alfred Rosenbergs Combat League for German Culture, his promotion of his opera Mathis der Maler as a decidedly German work, and his momentary rise to prominence as one of the leading composers of Nazi Germany. In the face of attacks from Nazi extremists, Hindemith used his Nazi connections, invited Hitler to attend one of his composition classes, and even defended his work by contrasting it with the sonic orgies of migrs Weill, Krenek, and Schoenberg.19 Further research on the political engagement of Hindemith and others continued to problematize the traditional black-and-white categories of victim and perpetrator, leading to the conclusion that a musicians fate depended on a certain degree of talent, fortuitous political connections, and sheer luck.20 Such revelations, however, only intensified debates by provoking the advocates of traditional victims to defend their subjects even more vehemently, rather than encouraging musicologists to revisit and refine the categories of guilt and innocence. As recently as 1999, Michael Kater and Albrecht Riethmller organized a conference in Toronto on music in the Third Reich in order to complete unfinished business after the Carl Orff Center in Munich apparently refused to publish the proceedings of a conference in which Kater revealed Orffs compromising behavior in the 1930s and 1940s.21 The Orff Center, one can assume, was deeply invested in the study of the composers life and works and, given the climate that had prevailed since the end of the war, must have wished to preserve his image in order to protect him and his works from being considered morally suspect and unworthy of further study. Even at Kater and Riethmllers conference the debates persisted, for example, as the director of the Hindemith Institute in Frankfurt dismissed incriminating findings about Hindemith and scrutinized the reception history of Mathis der Maler in an effort to demonstrate the works inherently antifascist nature.22 The author was understandably seeking to protect Hindemith from moral suspicion, aware that any doubt cast on the composers victimhood might hurl him into the same oblivion to which the majority of Nazi composers have been condemned.

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The Musical Zero Hour

The almost seamless transition from the Nazi period to the postwar years of musical industries, operations, and individual careers was also facilitated by the semi-official position taken by the music community, emphasizing the differences between the recent past and the immediate future and in effect constructing a musical zero hour. Although the term zero hour (Stunde Null) has murky origins that have been traced to the various calls to arms to defeat Hitler (in books by Richard Freund [1937] and Erika Mann [1940], and a 1944 appeal by exiled leftist Karl Becker) as well as to a 1948 Rossellini film (Germania, anno zero),23 the concept gained most of its currency among a younger group of cultural figures who wished to distance themselves from those who had lived through the Nazi years, prompting the publicist Hans Richter to observe in 1946 that rarely in the history of any country . . . has such a spiritual gap between two generations opened up as now in Germany.24 As the details of the Nazi years descended into a confusion of repressed memories, the end of World War II came to represent a perceptible caesura that separated the bleak past from the promising future. Left in a state of aimlessness, this generation found itself unable to articulate what went wrong in those twelve infamous years, directing its energies instead to building a new future in what has been described as a vicious circle of idealism and self-denial.25 In the music world of postwar Germany, tacit acceptance of a musical zero hour allowed for portraying Nazi-era musical life as an anti-model against which all musical activity of the postwar period could be contrasted. This was reinforced by the Allied military officers, who had reported in 1945 that Hitler succeeded in transforming the lush field of musical creativity into a barren waste, that Germanys most talented musicians had gone abroad, and that composers in the Third Reich had produced only works deemed psychologically effective to the Nazi cause.26 An image of a highly regimented, totalitarian society emerged in which Nazi leaders, guided by their ideology, had taken the trouble to spell out the criteria for unacceptable music and made sure these regulations were enforced. Accordingly, Nazi music policy allegedly consisted of pervasive censorship, the harnessing of all musical activity and musical creation for political purposes, and above all a vehement, ideology-driven campaign to eradicate modern music. And more often than not, Hitler himself was cited as the final arbiter of musical policy, whether or not evidence could trace a paper trail leading to his desk. Despite the amnesia upon which it was based,27 this Hitler-centered, musically conservative, tightly controlled totalitarianism served as a useful contrast to the musical diversity and artistic freedoms to be cultivated and enjoyed in the new West

What Is Nazi Music?


German democracy.28 Musicians, composers, critics, and policymakers could construct an identity that was free of associations with the recent past and distance themselves from an allegedly consistent Nazi music policy. By painting the bleakest picture possible of this history, one could justify virtually any artistic direction as new and untainted, even if it continued a trend that may have existed during the Third Reich. When the silence imposed by the musicology establishment was finally broken, scholars had little to fall back on beyond these assumptions about the relentlessness of the totalitarian Nazi regime. The first group to defy the establishment consisted largely of the 68ers, those whose parents were adults during the Third Reich and who became involved in the student movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s that aimed to implement educational reforms and put an end to the silence surrounding the Third Reich.29 Attracted to the teachings of Theodor Adorno, students of musicology staged a rebellion against the older generation and demanded more openness to Marxist approaches and a confrontation with the Nazi past. In 1970 a heated debate broke out at the Bonn meeting of the Gesellschaft fr Musikforschung over the political responsibility of musicologist Heinrich Besseler, and in 1974 students organized a Forum of Democratic Musicology concurrent with the annual meeting of the Gesellschaft, addressing several topics dealing with the Nazi years and later pursuing investigations of the role of Bayreuth in the Third Reich, the music of the youth movement, and exiled composers.30 It was not until 1981, when some of these students held faculty positions of their own, that the Gesellschaft organized a session at its annual conference that touched on the topic, albeit with the somewhat evasive rubric of Music of the 1930s, and not limited to Germany.31 The tone of the gathering still resonated with zero-hour sentiments. Rudolf Stephan concluded his opening remarks with the following admonition:
Whoever concerns himself with the music and the musical life of the Third Reich must ask himself: did National Socialism make any contribution to music history? Did it achieve anything more than the nameless suffering of countless innocents? More than the (premature) death of many people, including musicians? Maybe it prevented the creation of several masterpieces; [but] it played no role in those masterpieces that did arise. (It found them repulsive.) It created nothing positive, it only destroyed. It only furthered the already long observed process of returning humanity to barbarism. Nothing more and nothing less.32

By this time, however, historians had thoroughly questioned and largely discredited the bleak, two-dimensional portrayal of Nazi society embodied

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in the historical interpretation of Nazi Germany as a totalitarian state. This totalitarian concept, which had caught on immediately after the war through the influential writings of Hannah Arendt, rested on presumptions that Nazi Germany adhered to a central ideology, maintained a single mass party, functioned as a police state, and monopolized the media and the economy.33 This interpretation gained even more currency as the Cold War intensified, with adherents using it as a basis for highlighting similarities between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It did not take long, however, for historians to question the integrity of the model, especially when New Left scholars gravitated toward Marxist interpretations equating Nazism with fascism and linking them inextricably with capitalism.34 Similarly, the exaggeration of Hitlers role and of the existence of a coherent and consistent ideologynecessary counterparts to upholding the totalitarian conceptcame under fire as early as the 1960s. West German historians (most notably Martin Broszat and Hans Mommsen) challenged this aspect of what came to be known as the intentionalist view by demonstrating that, rather than exerting his will in all areas of German society, Hitler was one of many players in a chaotic struggle for power. His personal obsessions notwithstanding, Hitler functioned most effectively as a symbol of central authority and ideological consensus, remedying both the perceived power vacuum created by the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918 and the chaos of Weimar-era political disunity. One could even argue that Hitler deliberately kept himself at arms length from actual policymaking in order to uphold his popular appeal and deflect any public dissatisfaction with such measures toward those government and party agencies issuing them, prompting such expressions of disapproval as if only the Fhrer knew!35 At the same time, a growing number of historians pointed to the difficulty of pinpointing a distinct Nazi ideology or program, and explained that the key to the Nazis success was their ability to appeal to as many sectors of the German population as possible, even when this meant making conflicting promises to win over, for example, both workers and big business simultaneously. Even basic introductory textbooks on modern German history reject the notion of a central ideology. One widely used survey concludes that the Nazis propagated, not a coherent doctrine or body of systematically interrelated ideas, but rather a vaguer worldview made up of a number of prejudices with varied appeals to different audiences which could scarcely be dignified with the term ideology.36 Despite these ongoing debates, even some recent studies on the music of the Third Reich cling to these well-worn assumptions. The entry on Germany in the latest edition of The New Grove Dictionary asserts that

What Is Nazi Music?


those composers who did not participate in the obligatory composition of marches, choruses and songs and cantatas propounding Nazi ideology, were either forced into isolation . . . or withdrew into a kind of internal exile.37 In the 2003 essay collection Music and Nazism (the conference report for Kater and Riethmllers 1999 symposium), Reinhold Brinkmann, a pioneer in breaking the silence on the Third Reich, similarly invokes the totalitarian concept with the presumption of composers being forced to create monumental compositions that would embody the National Socialist agenda.38 In another recent work, Frederic Spottss otherwise illuminating revelations about Hitler (such as his fairly sophisticated understanding of music and architecture and surprisingly open-minded attitude toward current artistic trends) relies on the standard model of totalitarian repression in which, given Germanys incomparable wealth of musical outlets, the scope for political intervention was vast.39 Recent studies also reiterate Hitlers central role in dictating music policy and taste, even while wrestling awkwardly with their own assumptions. Spotts, for example, claims that it was remarkably easy for Hitler to impose his policies but on the very next page demonstrates how Hitlers refusal to micromanage left music policies in a chaotic state. He then concludes that Hitlers attitudes toward music were quite liberal after all, and that the dictator showed no desire to lay down aesthetic restrictions on composers.40 Brinkmann combs through Mein Kampf and Hitlers early speeches to demonstrate how symphonic genres could so easily be used for the purpose of ideology, nevertheless offering the caveat that Mein Kampf is full of inconsistencies.41 He has unfortunately overlooked what may be Hitlers most explicit public statement on the role of the symphony a speech at the 1938 Nuremberg Party Rallywhere the Fhrer not only deems music incapable of expressing political values, but also specifies that the symphony was particularly unsuited for such demands.42 In a recent essay collection dedicated to culture and media in the Third Reich, the only contribution on music, by Albrecht Dmling, similarly asserts Hitlers imposition of his musical taste on the German public, but cites evidence that is at most flimsy, if not completely irrelevant:
Hitler grounded Nazi policy on music according to his own predilections. Whatever impressed him . . . should also impress the entire German population . . . Hitler also claimed to be an opera and concert fhrer. His asceticism was well known. Hitler abhorred alcohol, cigarettes, and all corporeal pleasures: he was a vegetarian and a bachelor. This abstinence allowed him to dedicate himself all the more exclusively to national concerns. There was something monklike about him, a similarity to Wagners figures of Lohengrin and Parsifal in the music dramas of those names.43

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These recent attempts to perpetuate the image of a tightly run musical regime with Hitler at the helm come into direct conflict not only with the historical debates cited above, but also with evidence that has been mounting in numerous other studies of music in the Third Reich since the early 1990s. The notion of a strict totalitarian grip on musical life began to erode in an important study of the Reich Chamber of Culture by historian Alan Steinweis, showing how music, even more than the other arts, was far too decentralized and extensive to be brought under widespread government or party control. Music censorship policy in Nazi Germany was amorphous at best, and largely unenforceable given the limited personnel and resources assigned to it. The few government-issued blacklists had a limited distribution and led to no organized measures to ensure that they were honored.44 Even in the case of jazz, which Nazi leaders such as Joseph Goebbels and Music Chamber president Peter Raabe particularly reviled, Kater and others have shown that any attempt to limit access to the music met with such strong public resistance that the government retreated from its anti-jazz measures rather than risk evoking widespread discontent among Germanys growing number of jazz enthusiasts.45 Michael Walter challenged the totalitarianism concept further in his 1995 study on opera and pointed to the inability during the twelve years of the Third Reich to arrive at any consistent music policy.46 The application of the totalitarian concept to understanding musical life in the Third Reich receives even more blows to its credibility in other essays in the Music and Nazism volume, as Celia Applegate shows that politics were not as central to daily existence as one assumes, nor was music all that central to political agendas.47 Kim Kowalke offers several instances in which music publishers successfully evaded government controls, and Stephen McClatchie provides a stunning insight into the attitudes toward censorship with the following quote by Goebbels from November 1943: I have decided to lift these restrictions on German intellectual life [Geistesleben] as soon as possible after the war. Every act of censorship by officials threatens the free development of cultural life. It also contradicts the idea of the Reich Culture Chamber, which is to guide cultural production, not micromanage it.48 With regard to ideology, Guido Heldt concludes that the term has been overused and misconstrued, despite its attractiveness as a concept, and that attempts to grasp it have led only to dead ends. He states that we might fare better if we do not look for a consistent and coherent construction of Nazi ideology, but instead for bits and pieces, an untidy array of different ideologemes and their translation into political workability, rooted in decades of German politics and culture before 1933, fervently believed by some and cynically used by others, contested among factions in the Nazi apparatus, and

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flexibly adapted to suit the conditions of different cultural fields.49 More and more evidence suggests that Nazi leaders valued the centrality of music in Germanys culture so much that they were willing to grant composers and musicians a considerable degree of personal and political leeway.50 Finally, the idea that Hitler micromanaged musical policy has been the least stable assumption. There is little evidence, first of all, that many Germans read Mein Kampf, and in his longest and most public excursus on music, the speech at the 1938 Nuremberg Party Rally, Hitler even went so far as to declare that it would be terrible if National Socialism on the one hand were to dominate the spirit of the time and cause the dilution of our musical creative strength, [and] on the other hand, by setting false goals, were to contribute to allowing or even leading music in the wrong direction, [a situation] which is just as bad as the general confusion we have left behind.51 In the Music and Nazism volume, Hans Vaget asserts that the legendary connections between Wagner and Hitler are elusive at best,52 and Riethmllers analysis of Strausss fall from grace shows how inflated assumptions about Hitlers intervention in musical matters have led to exaggerations of the relevance of Hitlers apparent snub. During his collaboration with the Jewish librettist Stefan Zweig, Strauss wrote an angry letter criticizing the regime that was intercepted by the Gestapo. He followed up by writing an ingratiating apology to Hitler that was never answered. Rather than reading too much into Hitlers silence, Riethmller asks whether one should have even expected the Fhrer to pay attention to the entreaties of a musical subordinate, even such a prominent figure as Strauss, let alone the minutiae of musical aesthetics.53

Nazi Music?
We turn now to the basic assumption about Nazi music: that most, if not all, musical products of the Third Reich upheld the tenets of a central ideology and were artistically inferior. Investigations into the nature and substance of Nazi music have taken various approaches that include examining style and aesthetics and, above all, defining Nazi music by what it was not. Musicologists have looked first to opera, undoubtedly because it held the most promise for offering irrefutable political content at least in the texts, if not in the music. The earliest attempts included the presentations by Carl Dahlhaus and Hans-Gnter Klein at the 1981 meeting of the Gesellschaft fr Musikforschung, neither of which yielded conclusive results.54 And Kleins expanded analysis, which appeared a few years later, demonstrated little progress: he could conclude only that the criteria for acceptable opera were opaque, that the official call for Volkstmlichkeit in

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opera composition was never clearly outlined, and that any attempt to find a discrete Nazi opera theory revealed only inconsistencies.55 In one of the last of such attempts to mine opera for potential clues, a 1996 essay entitled Toward an Aesthetic of Fascist Opera, Erik Levi scrutinized libretti as well as musical style but similarly failed to find any hard evidence of a Nazi musical aesthetic: there were no operas with overt Nazi symbolism or subject matter, censorship of texts was never enforced, a revival of Volksoper and neo-Wagnerian works was encouraged but never gained public acceptance, and the presence of musical modernismranging from percussive ostinati and dissonance to outright atonalityreflected the rgimes uncertainty with regard to musical aesthetics.56 In the meantime, the more extensive study by Walter had revealed the stark inconsistencies between the pronouncements against degeneracy and the new operatic works that thrivedand even won Hitlers praisein the Third Reich, despite their atonal and jazz-inspired scores that were noticeably reminiscent of works by Schoenberg, Krenek, and Weill.57 As stylistic and textual analyses of opera seemed to offer more problems than solutions, those in search of Nazi music have recently sought out new avenues, but they have not given up the search for a discrete Nazi musical ideology or the central role of Hitler and other Nazi leaders in steering it. Under the heading Hitler and the Romantic Revival, Dmling makes inferences that lead one to think that Nazi music was predominantly Romantic in style. Citing contemporary writings that reiterated the Romantic notions of music as an expression of the soul and singling out passages from Hitlers 1938 speech calling on composers to rely on their musical temperament and listen to their hearts, he refers offhandedly to the Romanticism that acquired new prominence in the musical life of the Nazi era.58 Other recent inquiries similarly branch out beyond the music itself into philosophy and rhetoric to single outif not Nazi music, per sea unique Nazi musical ideology or aesthetic. In a 1999 collection of essays entitled Die dunkle Last, we find contributions that contrast the philosophical tracts of Adorno and Rosenberg (without necessarily drawing on their writings about music), that scrutinize antirationalist thinking for the roots of Nazi music aesthetics (once again focusing on non-music-related writings, except for those of Pfitzner), and that tease out specific fascist syntax in the writings of the church composer Hugo Distler.59 We also find the scrutiny of such obscure musical artifacts as the harmonica for evidence of its ideological significance.60 The majority of inquiries into the nature of Nazi music, however, draw their parameters from assumptions about what Nazi music was not, starting with the assumption that Nazi music was the antithesis of modernism. Falling under the spell of a musical zero hour, music critics

What Is Nazi Music?


and composers in the western zones of occupation and, later, the Federal Republic subscribed to the idea that since music in the Third Reich had become a tool of Nazi propaganda, it was necessary to promote music that was autonomous, devoid of any extramusical meaning, and impossible to exploit for political purposes.61 They further constructed the notion that because Nazi music policy was supposedly antimodern, the task of the new German democracy was to resurrect modernism and to reintroduce the works of composers whose music had allegedly been banned. With the establishment of the Darmstdter Ferienkurse in 1946, music critic Wolfgang Steinecke set out to reanimate the modernism presumably suppressed by the Nazis and other dictatorships and chose to feature the works of Hindemith, Bartk, Stravinsky, Krenek, Honegger, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev, along with those of Wolfgang Fortner, Boris Blacher, Hermann Hei, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann, misleadingly implying that the music of all of these composers had been silenced in the Third Reich.62 Adorno was also a key player in further endowing the diametrically opposed categories of Nazi music and modern music with political significance, promoting the idea that modernists were by and large progressive in their political actions and, conversely, linking musical conservatism with political conservatism. This led him to see Schoenberg as socially clairvoyant,63 to label Rudolf Wagner-Rgeny as a fascist,64 and to presume, incorrectly, that the twelve-tone composer Winfried Zillig must have been driven out of Nazi Germany and gone into exile.65 These associations of modernism with the political left and musical conservatism with the right held sway, reinforced in the 1960s with Peter Gays influential book Weimar Culture and persisting into the 1990s in Katers first essays on the music history of the Third Reich (Kater soon corrected his stance in his more extensive studies).66 Dmlings recent essay elaborates on them even more by referring to a generational conflict beginning in the 1920s between conservative neo-Romantics who were nostalgic for the empire, and the decidedly anti-Romantic and antinationalistic younger generation (noting also that Nazi Kampflieder were predominantly diatonic in character but failing to mention the equally predominant diatonicism of leftist song repertoire).67 A new, alternative emphasis in defining Nazi music against what it was not proposes that Nazi music was the antithesis of German music. Giselher Schubert, for example, uses Hindemiths opera Mathis der Maler to show how non-Germans immediately recognized its German features, thereby bestowing the work with the sense of an antifascist confession.68 This rather circuitous argument is weakened by the fact that the foreign observers he quotesfrom Switzerland, Holland, and Englandcould hardly have thought of themselves as antifascist in 1938, the year that

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Mathis der Maler premiered in Zurich. Nevertheless, Schubert defends Mathis against the charge that Hindemith composed a purely German oeuvre to win favor with Nazi leaders. By arguing that the operas subject, German Renaissance painter Matthias Grnewald, had been favored by Weimar-era artists and literati but shunned by Rosenberg as an example of Semitic infiltration, Schubert misleads us into thinking that Grnewalds art was reviled or ignored during the Third Reich.69 Once again, evidence that has accumulated over the years continues to challenge these negative parameters for Nazi music. To begin with, many of the composers presumably brought out of silence in Darmstadt in 1946 had never been banned in the Third Reich. Stravinsky was far from absent in Germany in the 1930s,70 and in fact the Nazi campaigns against musical modernism seem to have abated after the first few years of the regime. Even though the Degenerate Music exhibit of 1938 attacked Schoenberg, Webern, Krenek, and Weill and singled out Schoenbergs atonal music as a plot to undo the victorious German invention of the triad, there were no concerted efforts to eliminate atonal or twelve-tone composition in Nazi Germany. In a 1934 tribute marking Schoenbergs sixtieth birthday, Herbert Gerigk, the music critic and employee of Nazi ideologue Rosenberg, even claimed that in the right hands (i.e., in the hands of a composer of pure blood and pure character), atonality could be an effective means of expression.71 Thus Paul von Klenau, a Danish student of Schoenbergs, managed to have his twelve-tone operas premiered on major German stages in 1933, 1937, 1939, and 1940, and Zillig, who also dabbled in such experiments, received commissions from the NSKulturgemeinde and held a position in a local office of the Reich Music Chamber.72 Finally, Adornos assessments of modernist and conservative composers and their politics were complicated by revelations of Schoenbergs own nationalist sentiments and self-identification with the bourgeois traditions of the past,73 by the touting of Wagner-Rgeny in Communist East Germany as a composer for the masses and thus antifascist,74 and by the fact that Zillig, who did not emigrate, achieved a significant degree of success in the Third Reich. This is not to say that atonal and twelve-tone composition finally enjoyed widespread appeal in the Third Reich, but rather to show that modernism in a broader sense was not as reviled as many have assumed. At the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Baden-Baden from 1933 until the outbreak of the war, many modern composers, even those who had flourished in the Weimar Republic, shared the spotlight with younger, less conservative German composers as well as nonGermans, as the xenophobia of the early years of the Third Reich had subsided significantly. Contrary to popular belief, the music heard at

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Baden-Baden was not predominantly of a late Romantic style, but rather tended toward the neoclassicism of the 1920s, with strong echoes of Hindemith and Stravinsky. Hindemith, meanwhile, continued to hope for his rehabilitation in Germany, and his music played to rave reviews at Baden-Baden and was widely praised in the German press. Bartk was equally well received in Baden-Baden, even after his well-publicized statements against the Nazi government. With regard to the fate of twelvetone composition, Zillig and others had shifted their style away from Schoenbergs teachings in the works performed at Baden-Baden; still, according to Joan Evans, one should not assume, however, that the changes heard in post-1933 music of German composers at Baden-Baden and elsewhere were due entirely to the necessity of adjusting to new culturalpolitical realities. In music, as in other arts, the economic and political upheavals of the 1930s triggered a widespread stylistic simplification. She goes on to say that despite the ideological differences that separated Nazi Germany from her neighbors, the tonally oriented, nationally tinged styles adopted by a broad range of composers in the 1930s made feasible Germanys attempt, after the isolation of the early Nazi years, to reenter the wider world of modern music.75

Future Tasks
The most obvious task for writing a revised history of music in the Third Reich is to look objectively at the music created in the period. Perhaps there is an underlying unease about finding similarities among the works of composers we have come to regard as good and bad or, what is even harder to rationalize with the image of a totalitarian dictatorship, about discovering a greater degree of openness and freedom in compositional style and musical consumption than we have thus far imagined. Yet the aversion to studying the music that, one assumes, must be tainted because it was produced in Nazi Germany has conceivably created confusion about the meaning of musical nationalism and modernism, as ripe opportunities to trace continuities and developments of musical trends both within and beyond Germany may have been missed. The works of Werner Egk, Zillig, Orff, and Wagner-Rgeny need to be studied not for what makes their music distinctly Nazibecause, as we know, many of their works from this period actually thrived in the postwar repertoire76but for the features they might potentially share with other music we have come to regard as worthy of inclusion in the canon. Similarities with the music of Stravinsky and Schoenberg have already been observed in the works of Orff, Egk, Zillig, and Klenau, and it may also be possible to rediscover the compositional

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legacies of Strauss, Hindemith, Reger, Busoni, Weill, and Krenek in the works of followers and contemporaries who thrived in Nazi Germany.77 This music must also be viewed in comparison with contemporary trends in other countries, and not only the dictatorships of fascist Italy and Stalinist Russia. When the Gesellschaft fr Musikforschung first openly confronted the topic of music in the Third Reich at its 1981 meeting in Bayreuth, its decision to juxtapose German music with that of other countries under the rubric of Music in the 1930s seemed to evade a direct confrontation with the Nazi past. In retrospect, however, this juxtaposition with the contemporary trends worldwide may have opened the door to discovering important commonalities. Most of the contributions tended to romanticize the 1920s and view the 1930s as an artistic low point, but they did not restrict these negative characterizations to Nazi Germany or other repressive regimes. Dahlhaus speaks of a compositional regression and a turn toward populism not only in the Third Reich and Stalinist Russia but also under democracies, while Jzsef Ujfalussy, in a discussion of Eastern Europe, observes the widespread attraction to folk culture (taking care, however, to distinguish the Eastern European varieties from parallel trends serving German nationalism).78 Marius Flothuis, in discussing the music of England, France, and Holland, pinpoints the Wall Street crash as the dawn of the 1930s and characterizes the musical climate of the decade as one of exhaustion, or at least a point of no return in relation to the experiments of the 1920s, in some cases because many of those experiments had been tamed and normalized by 1930.79 In the closing summary, Albrecht Riethmller highlights other common trends, such as turns toward neoclassicism, popular accessibility, ethical or religious subjects (juxtaposing Kreneks Karl V and Hindemiths Mathis der Maler with Schoenbergs Moses und Aron), and the monumentality of the symphony, not only in Germany but also in the United States.80 With regard to racism and notions of degeneracy, Dmling has shown more recently that the international (specifically American and British) reactions to the notorious Degenerate Music exhibit were neutral, if not sympathetic.81 Many nations, whether dictatorships or democracies, were dealing with the Depression, world wars, rising nationalist sentiment, racism, xenophobia, technological progress, and class and ethnic conflict. Further comparative studies may reveal that many of the musical trends we have come to regard specifically as Nazi, or somewhat more broadly as fascist (in the growing number of studies that compare music and culture under Hitler and Mussolini82), may be far more universal and characteristic of the times. Another task is to consider anew the function of music in Nazi Germany. One of the few times the term Nazi music has been explicitly

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invoked was in Riethmllers final presentation at the 1999 conference, entitled Nazi Music: Concluding Remarks (not included in the published proceedings). It centered around two film clips: one showing Furtwngler conducting Beethovens Ninth Symphony for Hitler and his entourage in a swastika-decked concert hall, the other showing Hitler arriving at Bayreuth in his motorcade and being warmly greeted by Winifred Wagner, underscored with the Meistersinger overture. This presentation, which (probably intentionally) fell far short of defining the term Nazi music, prompted more questions than answers. Is Nazi music simply the music used in conjunction with political ceremonies? Is it any symphony or opera performed in the presence of Hitler, Goering, or Goebbels? If Nazi music describes music used for Nazi functions, then how is this employment different from any other use of music for political purposes, in Germany and elsewhere? How does this differ, for example, from the political exploitation of Beethoven from the founding of the Second Reich in 1871 to the celebration of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989?83 Nevertheless, Riethmllers presentation did draw attention to the potentially powerful function of music in German society during the 1930s and 1940s. The evidence of serious gaps between theory and practice in the musical life of the Third Reich has shown how crucial it is to study the function of music not only in its propaganda and ceremonial uses (nor even merely in the new works commissioned for political functions), but also in what was performed and consumed in a broader context. Despite the highly publicized promotion of Wagner, music historians have observed that the Hitler Youth shunned Wagner in favor of communal music making, young composers of the 1920s and 1930s saw no purpose in continuing along Wagners path, and Wagner productions declined overall in the 1930s and 1940s.84 And despite the vilification of atonality and jazz in the Degenerate Music exhibit (an event so shrill in its tone that Raabe resigned as Music Chamber president in protest, and Goebbels, who shunned the event, shut it down prematurely85), atonal and even twelve-tone composition lived on, and American jazz enjoyed a greater popularity during the Third Reich than during the Weimar Republic. Random samples of repertoire lists of orchestras and opera houses, of radio playlists, of record production, and of programs of amateur organizations have revealed further surprises: the continued performance of Jewish or degenerate composers such as Mendelssohn, Zemlinsky, and Berg, and a healthy representation of foreign music.86 A more focused investigation of performances of new compositions, furthermore, will also tell us much about the public response to such novelties if their premieres are examined for the prestige of their venues, their critical reception, and above all the longevity of the works beyond the first hearing. As we know from

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studies on public opinion in the Third Reich, the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) worked with other organizations to carefully monitor reactions to current events, civil and military actions, and propaganda campaigns. The opinions of the music-loving public, whether in the form of Sicherheitsdienst reports, box office receipts, diaries, radio playlists, or other less obvious forms of documentation, may reveal further surprises. It seems inevitable that debates about the political culpability of individuals will persist, especially if the stakes remain so high for composers, for whom an up or down vote can determine inclusion in the canon. If such is the case, then it is important to consider all the scholarship on musical life in the Third Reich that, taken together, reveals the complexity of the day-to-day existence of musicians and composers. Many are known to have embraced the new regime for the promises it presented for regaining self-worth, professional integrity, and economic security. At the same time, the music community had witnessed in the first few years of the regime how Schoenberg was compelled to resign his post at the Prussian Academy of Arts, Bruno Walter was threatened and coerced into canceling his German engagements, Hindemith was caught in the crossfire of the Goebbels-Rosenberg rivalry and fled the country, and even the Aryan composer and president of the Reich Music Chamber, Richard Strauss, temporarily became a pariah for refusing to break off his collaboration with Zweig. Musicians soon had to prove their Aryan lineage in order to gain working papers, and no one was completely protected from the arbitrariness of political cronyism. It may therefore be advisable to adopt the middle-ground interpretation around which historians seem to be converging: having witnessed early acts of terror and intimidation in the revolutionary period of the Third Reich, the majority of Germans led their lives as before and took advantage of opportunities that came along but considered the path of least resistance as the best way to proceed. Although many in the music world may have rejoiced in Germanys reclaimed dignity, enjoyed artistic freedoms as before, and reaped the benefits of new economic safeguards, they also may have carefully considered the potential risks of challenging authority, having observed the radical tone of propaganda and the fate of unfortunate colleagues whose careers and reputations were severely compromised as a result of arbitrary political witch-hunts. Historian Robert Gellately, for one, has recently painted a picture of a Third Reich dominated more by willing conformity than repressive coercion, a particularly useful model for understanding musical life. He concludes that Germans welcomed the antidotes the Nazis offered for the chaos of the Weimar Republic in their promises to decrease unemployment and in their projection of governmental stability and strength.

What Is Nazi Music?


Any lingering doubts about the Nazi system were soon supplanted by fierce nationalism once the war began, and radical measures, including those that led to genocide, could proceed under the guise of a state of emergency. Much care was taken throughout the years of the Third Reich to mold propaganda to appeal to German citizens, and the relentless promotion of the idea of a peoples community (Volksgemeinschaft) actually encouraged many to denounce their friends and relatives and made resistance that much more difficult.87 Finally, a key to understanding Nazi music as a historiographic phenomenon may lie in a careful scrutiny of the experiences, perceptions, and motives of musical figures driven out of Nazi Germany. The very theories of totalitarianism sprung from the influential writings of a German living in exile, Hannah Arendt, and many of the notions about the culture of the Nazis that continue to dominate the discourse were first proposed by her exiled compatriots: Adornos declaration that no poetry could be written after Auschwitz, and Walter Benjamins influential formulation of fascism fostering an aestheticization of politics. Recent studies in the cultural realms have further shown how exiled artists were the most vocal in proclaiming and redressing Nazi oppression, especially as the war began and, as aliens, they needed to demonstrate their commitment to democracy and distance themselves as much as possible from Nazi cultural life. After the Degenerate Art exhibit in 1937, artists living in exile even managed to revive interest in modernism by promoting it as a relic of democracy and individualism, long after it had been neglected in Britain and the United States.88 With regard to music, Wagner scholars have shown that many of the ongoing debates about Wagners influence over Hitler, the Germans, and the extermination policies of the Nazi government can be traced to suggestions first offered by Germans in exile, which then gained momentum after the war. Adornos In Search of Wagner of 193738 proposed that the Ring had provided the Germans with a much needed mythology and that Wagners anti-Semitism could be detected not only in his prose but also in the music dramas;89 Thomas Manns 1938 essay Brother Hitler placed the dictator within an artistic lineage going back to Wagner;90 and Emil Ludwig in 1941 cited Wagner as one of the most dangerous figures in German history.91 Mann later problematized the entire history of Germans relationship with music in his novel Dr. Faustus by suggesting how this alliance had turned unholy and led Germany to its downfall,92 and Adornos advocacy on behalf of Schoenberg (and simultaneous rejection of Stravinsky and Strauss) contributed to setting the course for the zerohour musical ideology. By acquiescing to both Adorno and Mann in striving to create music that was value-free, devoid of extramusical meaning, neutral, rational, and scientifically grounded, postwar composers were

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trying to establish a healthier post-Holocaust relationship between Germans and their music. What, in the end, will be the fate of Nazi music? Ernst Blochs oftcited observation that the music of the Nazis is not the prelude to Meistersinger, but rather the Horst Wessel Song [the unofficial Nazi national anthem]93 may be useful if we restrict the definition of Nazi music to the narrow parameters of the song literature of the Nazi party and its affiliate groups. Even then, one should not expect to unlock any clues about the musical peculiarities of a Nazi aesthetic by examining the repertoire, as the songs, unique only in their graphic texts, relied on borrowed melodies or militaristic styles virtually indistinguishable from the song literature of the left wing. Yet perhaps it is too early to abandon the concept of Nazi music entirely, for it is a pervasive shorthand that may remain a part of our consciousness until we gain a more nuanced understanding of the period and its musical life. Eventually, however, even the term Nazi may come to represent little more than a caricature, a catchall that embodies an outdated historical narrative in which a force of evil arose out of nowhere, overtook Germany from 1933 to 1945, and ceased to exist once the Allies restored order and goodness. Nazi may become a term that functioned for a period of time as an anti-model, a symbol from which postwar generations derived comfort in their perceived distance and difference from it, but which lost its usefulness once a more multifaceted understanding of the era was gained. Notes
Pamela M. Potter is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has written extensively on music and politics in twentieth-century Germany and is best known for her work on the history of German musicology (Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitlers Reich, 1998; German ed.: 2000) and on the connections between music and identity (Music and German National Identity, co-edited with Celia Applegate, 2002). Her current projects include a history of musical life in twentieth-century Berlin and a book on Nazi aesthetics in the visual and performing arts. E-mail address: Earlier versions of this article were delivered as lectures for the music departments at Duke University, University of Chicago, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, University of Notre Dame, and Tufts University, and at the Center for German and European Studies at the University of Wisconsin. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the many colleagues who took the time to read the manuscript at various stages and offered their valuable criticisms and suggestions: Celia Applegate, Joseph Auner, Philip Bohlman, Joy Calico, Charles Dill, Joan Evans, Jane Fulcher, Bryan Gilliam, Thomas Grey, and Richard Taruskin. 1. Joan L. Clinefelter, Artists for the Reich: Culture and Race from Weimar to Nazi Germany (Oxford: Berg, 2005), 100.

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2. Bernd Sponheuer, The National Socialist Discussion on the German Quality in Music, in Music and Nazism: Art Under Tyranny, 19331945, ed. Michael H. Kater and Albrecht Riethmller (Laaber: Laaber, 2003), 37. 3. See Robert P. Morgan, Twentieth-Century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991); Eric Salzman, Twentieth-Century Music: An Introduction, 4th ed., Prentice Hall History of Music (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002); Glenn Watkins, Soundings: Music in the Twentieth Century (New York: Schirmer, 1988); and Bryan Simms, Music of the Twentieth Century: Style and Structure, 2nd ed. (New York: Schirmer, 1996). 4. Such composers include Paul Graener, Werner Egk, Wolfgang Fortner, Winfried Zillig, Paul von Klenau, Hermann Reutter, Ernst Pepping, Kurt Thomas, Johann Nepomuk David, and Hugo Distler. Like Carl Orff in West Germany, Ottmar Gerster and Rudolf Wagner-Rgeny managed to downplay their Nazi-era successes and rose to prominence in East Germany after the war. 5. Quote from report of the U.S. Information Control Division (Dec. 1945), David Monod, Verklrte Nacht: Denazifying Musicians under Nazi Control, in Music and Nazism, 297. 6. David Monod, Settling Scores: German Music, Denazification, and the Americans, 19451953 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 56, 47, 13943. 7. Karl Dietrich Erdmann, Das Ende des Reiches und die Neubildung deutscher Staaten, 9th ed., Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte 22 (Munich: DAV, 1980), 11222. 8. Quote from the Manual for the Control of German Information Services [1945], Monod, Verklrte Nacht, 298. 9. Monod, Settling Scores, 12866. 10. On the origins of this term and the ensuing controversies, see Reinhold Grimm, Innere Emigration als Lebensform, in Exil und innere Emigration: Third Wisconsin Workshop, Wissenschaftliche Paperbacks Literaturwissenschaft 17, ed. Jost Hermand and Reinhold Grimm (Frankfurt/Main: Athenum Verlag, 1972), 3173. 11. For discussions of Pfitzner and Strauss, see Michael H. Kater, Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Jens Malte Fischer, The Very German Fate of a Composer: Hans Pfitzner, in Music and Nazism, 7589; Michael H. Kater, Culture, Society, and Politics in the Cosmos of Hans Pfitzner the German, in Music and German National Identity, ed. Celia Applegate and Pamela M. Potter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 17889; Albrecht Riethmller, Stefan Zweig and the Fall of the Reich Music Chamber President, Richard Strauss, in Music and Nazism, 26991; and Pamela M. Potter, Strauss and the National Socialists: The Debate and Its Relevance, in Richard Strauss: New Perspectives on the Composer and His Work, ed. Bryan Gilliam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992), 93113. 12. On Huber, see Peter Petersen, Wissenschaft und Widerstand: ber Kurt Huber (18931943), in Die dunkle Last: Musik und Nationalsozialismus, Schriften zur Musikwissenschaft und Musiktheorie 3, ed. Brunhilde Sonntag, Hans-Werner Boresch, and Detlef Gojowy (Cologne: Bela Verlag, 1999), 11129; and Pamela M. Potter, Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitlers Reich (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 12024.

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13. See Roman Brotbeck, Verdrngung und Abwehr. Die verpate Vergangenheitsbewltigung in Friedrich Blumes Enzyklopdie Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, in Musikwissenschafteine versptete Disziplin? Die akademische Musikforschung zwischen Fortschrittsglauben und Modernittsverweigerung, ed. Anselm Gerhard (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2000), 27379. Stanley Sadie made a concerted effort to correct this lacuna in the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, enlisting Erik Levi and others to correct the entries on composers active in the Third Reich. 14. Other popular examinations include Sam H. Shirakawa, The Devils Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwngler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Bernd W. Wessling, Furtwngler: Eine kritische Biographie (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1985); and Fred K. Prieberg, Kraftprobe: Wilhelm Furtwngler im Dritten Reich (Wiesbaden: F.A. Brockhaus, 1986), translated into English by Christopher Dolan as Trial of Strength: Wilhelm Furtwngler in the Third Reich (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1994). 15. As late as the 1990s, Michael Kater met with resistance when trying to interview Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. See Kater, The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 61. 16. Historian Joseph Wulfs incendiary publication of documents on music in the Third Reich (Musik im Dritten Reich, Kunst und Kultur im Dritten Reich 2 [Gtersloh: Sigbert Mohn, 1963]) prompted the musicology establishment to brand him as a liar. See Hans-Gnter Klein, Vorwort. Verdrngung und Aufarbeitung, in Musik und Musikpolitik in faschistischen Deutschland, ed. Hanns-Werner Heister and Hans-Gnter Klein (Frankfurt/ Main: Fischer, 1984), 9. Thereafter, two American dissertations in history appeared in 1970 but remained largely unnoticed for many years: Michael Meyer, Assumptions and Implementation of Nazi Policy toward Music (PhD diss., University of CaliforniaLos Angeles, 1970), and Donald Wesley Ellis, Music in the Third Reich: National Socialist Aesthetic Theory as Governmental Policy (PhD diss., University of Kansas, 1970). 17. Klein, Vorwort, 9. 18. Fred K. Prieberg, Musik im NS-Staat (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1982), and Heister and Klein, Musik und Musikpolitik. 19. Claudia Maurer Zenck, Zwischen Boykott und Anpassung an den Charackter der Zeit: ber die Schwierigkeiten eines deutschen Komponisten mit dem Dritten Reich, Hindemith-Jahrbuch 9 (1980): 65129. 20. Kater, Twisted Muse, 6; Kater, Composers of the Nazi Era; and Michael Meyer, The Politics of Music in the Third Reich, American University Studies Series 9, vol. 49 (New York: Peter Lang, 1991). 21. Kater, Introduction, Music and Nazism, 12. 22. Giselher Schubert, The Aesthetic Premises of a Nazi Conception of Music, in Music and Nazism, 7071. 23. Stephen Brockmann, German Culture at the Zero Hour, in Revisiting Zero Hour 1945: The Emergence of Postwar German Culture, ed. Frank Trommler and Stephen Brockmann, Humanities Program Report 1 (Washington, DC: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, 1996), 1213. 24. Hans Richter, quoted in Brockmann, German Culture, 17.

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25. Renate Finkh, quoted in Brockmann, German Culture, 21. 26. Quoted in Monod, Settling Scores, 116. 27. See Monod, Settling Scores, 261; and Amy Beal, Negotiating Cultural Allies: American Music in Darmstadt, 19461958, Journal of the American Musicological Society 53 (2000): 1078. 28. The postwar perception of a Nazi music aesthetic came to have opposite meanings in East and West Germany: initially both sides agreed that it was necessary to learn about all the music supposedly not heard in Nazi Germany in order to encourage new musical trends in postwar Germanythis included music of the avant-garde, as well as any music from former enemy countries. By 1950, however, the Soviets enforced their own aesthetic policies in East Germany that judged music of the avant-garde as formalist and therefore unacceptable. Meanwhile, West Germany responded to this proclamation by encouraging all that the Soviets rejected. Thus the music consultants in the U.S. military worked closely with the organizers of the Summer Courses for International New Music in Darmstadt to formulate a Cold War musical response to Communist music policy and encouraged all that the Soviets dismissed. Both sides, however, implicitly believed that they were differentiating postwar German musical life from that of the Third Reich. 29. See for example Sabine von Dirke, Where Were You 19331945?: The Legacy of the Nazi Past Beyond the Zero Hour, in Revisiting Zero Hour 1945, 7188. 30. Klein, Vorwort, 910. 31. Die Musik der 1930er Jahre, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, Gesellschaft fr Musikforschung, ed. Christoph-Hellmut Mahling and Sigrid Wiesmann (Kassel: Brenreiter, 1984), 14282, 471503; an expanded version of Albrecht Riethmllers paper appeared as Komposition im Deutschen Reich um 1936, in Archiv fr Musikwissenschaft 38, no. 4 (1983): 24178. 32. Wer sich mit der Musik und mit dem Musikleben im Dritten Reich beschftigt, mu sich die Frage stellen: hat der Nationalsozialismus in der Musikgeschichte gewirkt? Hat er mehr bewirkt, als namenloses Elend fr zahllose Unschuldige? Mehr als den (vorzeitigen) Tod vieler Menschen und mithin auch Musiker? Vielleicht hat er verhindert, da einige Meisterwerke entstanden sind; an denen, die entstanden sind, hat er keinen Anteil. (Sie waren ihm zuwider.) Positiv hat er gar nichts bewirkt, nur zerstrt. Er hat den schon lnger beobachteten Proze der Rebarbarisierung der Menschen gefrdert. Nicht mehr und nicht weniger. Rudolf Stephan, Zur Musik der Dreiigerjahre, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, 147. 33. Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, 3rd ed. (London: Edward Arnold, 1993), 2122. 34. Kershaw, Nazi Dictatorship, chap. 13; and Jeffrey Herf, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997). 35. Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany 19181990 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 69; see also Kershaw, Nazi Dictatorship, chap. 4; and Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 257. 36. Fulbrook, Divided Nation, 51. More recently, Peter Fritzsche argued that unlike the less successful single-issue parties, the Nazi party succeeded by promoting an idea of community

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that would unite all (non-Jewish) Germans, obliterate their deep-seated rivalries, and promise a bright future. This vision enabled the Nazi party to appeal to the vast majority who were disillusioned with alternatives across the political spectrum and to attract voters from all economic classes. He states: The National Socialists embodied a broad but extremely vague desire for national renewal and social reform that neither Wilhelmine nor Weimar Germany had been able to satisfy. . . . [They] twisted together strands from the political Left and the political Right without being loyal to the precepts of either camp. Peter Fritzsche, Germans Into Nazis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), especially 197214 (quote from 21214). 37. Giselher Schubert, Germany, I:5, Grove Music Online, (accessed 27 Jan. 2006) ed. L. Macy. 38. Reinhold Brinkmann, The Distorted Sublime: Music and National Socialist IdeologyA Sketch, in Music and Nazism, 50. 39. Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics (London: Hutchinson, 2002), 27273. 40. Spotts, Hitler, 27276 41. Brinkmann, The Distorted Sublime, 45. 42. Michael Walter, Hitler in der Oper: Deutsches Musikleben 19191945 (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1995), 19598. 43. Albrecht Dmling, The Target of Racial Purity: The Degenerate Music Exhibition in Dsseldorf, 1938, in Art, Culture, and Media Under the Third Reich, ed. Richard Etlin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 54. 44. Alan E. Steinweis, Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 13842. 45. See Michael H. Kater, Different Drummers: Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); Hans Dieter Schfer, Das gespaltene Bewutsein: Deutsche Kultur und Lebenswirklichkeit 19331945, 2nd ed. (Munich: Carl Hanser, 1982), 13338; and Lilian Karina and Marion Kant, Hitlers Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich, trans. Jonathan Steinberg (New York: Berghahn, 2003), 16789. 46. Walter, Hitler in der Oper, 21362. 47. Celia Applegate, The Past and Present of Hausmusik in the Third Reich, in Music and Nazism, 14547. 48. Kim H. Kowalke, Music and Publishing and the Nazis: Schott, Universal Edition, and Their Composers, in Music and Nazism, 170218; Stephen McClatchie, Wagner Research as Service to the People: The Richard-Wagner Forschungssttte, 19381945, in Music and Nazism, 160. 49. Guido Heldt, Hardly Heroes: Composers as a Subject in National Socialist Cinema, in Music and Nazism, 116. 50. Kater, Twisted Muse, 17879. 51. Es wrde nun aber schlimm sein, wenn der Nationalsozialismus auf der einen Seite den Geist einer Zeit besiegt, der zur Ursache fr das Verblassen unserer musikalischen Schpferkraft wurde, auf der anderen aber durch eine falsche Zielsetzung selbst mithilft,

What Is Nazi Music?


die Musik auf einem Irrweg zu belassen oder gar zu fhren, der genauso schlimm ist wie die hinter uns liegende allgemeine Verwirrung. Quoted in Walter, Hitler in der Oper, 196. 52. Hans Rudolf Vaget, Hitlers Wagner: Musical Discourse as Cultural Space, in Music and Nazism, 1531. 53. Riethmller, Stefan Zweig, in Music and Nazism, 270. 54. See Carl Dahlhaus, Politische Implikationen der Operndramaturgie. Zu einigen deutschen Opern der Dreiiger Jahre, and Hans-Gnter Klein, Atonalitt in den Opern von Paul von Klenau und Winfried Zillig-zur Duldung einer im Nationalsozialismus verfemten Kompositionstechnik, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, 14853 and 49094. 55. Klein, Viel Konformitt und wenig Verweigerung: Zur Komposition neuer Opern 19331944, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 14548. 56. Erik Levi, Toward an Aesthetic of Fascist Opera, in Fascism and Theatre: Comparative Studies on the Aesthetics and Politics of Performance in Europe, 19251945, ed. Gnter Berghaus (Providence, RI: Berghahn, 1996), 264. 57. Walter, Hitler in der Oper, 175213. 58. Dmling, Target of Racial Purity, 5354. 59. Lucia Sziborsky, Adornos Musikphilosophie und die Nazi-sthetik, 2341; Hans-Werner Boresch, Zersetzender Intellektualismus und apodiktischer Glaube: Die Nationalsozialisten in der Tradition des Antirationalismus, 6491; and Bettina Schlter, Paradoxie und Ritualisierung-Die Kirchenmusikalische Erneuerungsbewegung und der Nationalsozialismus, 13045, all three essays in Die dunkle Last. 60. Thomas Eickhoff, HarmonikaHeil: ber ein Musikinstrument und seine Ideologisierung im Nationalsozialismus, in Die dunkle Last, 14683. 61. Gesa Kordes, Darmstadt, Postwar Experimentation, and the West German Search for a New Musical Identity, in Music and German National Identity, 20517. 62. Danielle Fosler-Lussier has done extensive research in this area for her study on Bartks legacy and the Cold War; I am grateful to her for sharing with me her work in progress. 63. Whrend es sich herausstellen wird, da die diffamierte, isolierte Produktion Schnbergs nach dem Ma ihrer eigenen sachlich musikalischen Konsistenz viel wahrer die gesellschaftlichen Anliegen vertritt, die von der Gemeinschaftsmusik durch Anpassung an die Linie des geringsten Widerstands verflscht werden. Theodor W. Adorno, Die Geschichte der deutschen Musik von 1908 bis 1933, in Musikalische Schriften VI, Gesammelte Schriften ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Klaus Schultz, vol. 19 (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1984), 622. 64. Adorno, Geschichte der deutschen Musik, 628. 65. Fred K. Prieberg, Nach dem Endsieg oder Musiker-Mimikry, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 300. 66. Peter Gay, Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), and Michael H. Kater, The Revenge of the Fathers: The Demise of Modern Music at the End of the Weimar Republic, German Studies Review 15, no. 2 (1992): 295315.

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67. Dmling, Target of Racial Purity, 44, 50. 68. Schubert, Nazi Conception of Music, in Music and Nazism, 70. 69. Much to the contrary, a search of Nazi-era literature reveals at least twenty titles dedicated to Grnewald scholarship and lore. 70. Joan Evans, Stravinskys Music in Hitlers Germany, Journal of the American Musicological Society 56, no. 3 (2003): 52594. 71. Herbert Gerigk, Eine Lanze fr Schnberg, Die Musik 27 (1934): 89. 72. Prieberg, Musik im NS-Staat, 30306. 73. Werner Schmidt-Faber, Atonalitt im Dritten Reich, in Herausforderung Schnberg: Was die Musik des Jahrhunderts vernderte, ed. Ulrich Dibelius (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1974), 12224. 74. See for example Komponisten und Musikwissenschaftler der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Berlin: Verlag Neue Musik, 1959), 191. 75. Joan Evans, International with National Emphasis: The Internationales Zeitgenssisches Musikfest in Baden-Baden, 19361939, in Music and Nazism, 108. 76. Egks Circe, written during the war, was touted in 1948 as modishly modern, and Mathis der Maler was similarly publicized in 1946 as utterly new (Monod, Settling Scores, 260), while Wagner-Rgenys operas Die Brger von Calais, Johanna Balk, and Der Gnstling (all composed between 1935 and 1940) went on to succeed in East German opera houses. See Gerd Riencker, Klassizismus oderals Moderne?-Rings um die Oper Die Brger von Calais von Rudolf Wagner-Rgeny, in Die dunkle Last, 391404. 77. Evans, International with National Emphasis, 108, and Riencker, Klassizismus oderals Moderne? 397. See also the Nazi-era observations that Egks opera Peer Gynt, premiering in 1938, closely resembled the music of Weill and Krenek (Walter, Hitler in der Oper, 17880). 78. Carl Dahlhaus, Politische Implikationen, 14849, and Jzsef Ujfalussy, Musikpolitische Lehren der Dreiiger Jahre in Ost-Europa, 16869, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981. 79. Marius Flothuis, Elan und Ermdung: Musik um 1930 in England, Frankreich und den Niederlanden, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, 15455, 157. 80. Albrecht Riethmller, Die Dreiiger Jahre: Eine Dekade kompositorischer Ermdung oder Konsolidierung? Zusammenfassung der Diskussion, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, 17677, 179. 81. Dmling, Target of Racial Purity, 61. 82. See for example Fascism and Theatre; Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Italian Fascists and National Socialists: The Dynamics of an Uneasy Relationship, in Art, Culture, and Media, 25784; Andrea Hoffend, Zwischen Kultur-Achse und Kulturkampf: Die Beziehungen zwischen Drittem Reich und faschistischem Italien in den Bereichen Medien, Kunst, Wissenschaft und Rassenfragen (Frankfurt/Main: Lang, 1998); and Jrg Stenzl, Fascismokein Thema? in MusikforschungFaschismusNationalsozialismus: Referate der Tagung Schloss Engers (8. bis 11. Mrz 2000), ed. Isolde v. Foerster, Christoph Hust, and Christoph-Hellmut Mahling (Mainz: Are-Edition, 2001), 14350.

What Is Nazi Music?


83. David Denniss study of Beethovens Ninth Symphony offers a telling example of the political appeal of the symphony for a period of over 150 years of German history. Beethoven in German Politics, 18701989 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996). 84. Reinhold Brinkmann, Wagners Aktualitt fr den Nationalsozialismus: Fragmente einer Bestandsaufnahme, in Richard Wagner im Dritten Reich: Ein Schloss Elmau-Symposion, ed. Saul Friedlnder and Jrn Rsen (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2000), 11214, 12122; Henry Bair, Die Lenkung der Berliner Opernhuser, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 88; Hubert Kolland, Wagner und der deutsche Faschismus, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 12635; and Kolland, Wagner-Rezeption im deutschen Faschismus, in Bericht ber den internationalen musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Bayreuth 1981, 494503. 85. Dmling, Target of Racial Purity, 60. 86. On radio, see Rita von der Grn, Funktionen und Formen von Musiksendungen in Rundfunk, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 98106; on record production, see Martin Elste, Zwischen Privatheit und Politik: Die Schallplattenindustrie im NS-Staat, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 10714. On the performance of Mendelssohn, see for example Antoinette Hellkuhl, Hier sind wir versammelt zu lblichem Tun: Der Deutsche Sngerbund in faschistischer Zeit, in Musik und Musikpolitik, 199; and Pamela M. Potter, The Nazi Seizure of the Berlin Philharmonic, or the Decline of a Bourgeois Musical Institution, in National Socialist Cultural Policy, ed. Glenn R. Cuomo (New York: St. Martins Press, 1995), 5354. 87. Gellately, Backing Hitler, 25763. 88. Keith Holz, The Exiled Artists from Nazi Germany and their Art, in Art, Culture, and Media, 34367. 89. Theodor Adorno, In Search of Wagner, trans. Rodney Livingstone (London and New York: Verso, 1984), 11429. 90. Hans Rudolf Vaget, Du warst mein Feind von je: The Beckmesser Controversy Revisited, in Wagners Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation, ed. Nicholas Vaszonyi (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002), 19091. 91. Horst Weber, Das Fremde im Eignenen: Zum Wandel des Wagnerbildes im Exil, in Wagner im Dritten Reich, 215; Spotts, Hitler, 24044. 92. Hans Rudolf Vaget, National and Universal: Thomas Mann and the Paradox of German Music, in Music and German National Identity, 15577. 93. Ernst Bloch, Politische Messungen, Pestzeit, Vormrz (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1970), 320.

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