Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics

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9780712667883: Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics
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Hitler's aim was the Aryan super-state, but it was to be expressed as much in Nazi art as in politics. Culture was not only the end, to which power should aspire, but the means of achieving it. This reassessment of Hitler's aims and motivations examines his perverse obsessions and shows how his artistry - expressed in spectacles, festivities, parades, rallies and political dramas, as well as in architecture, painting and music - destroyed any sense of individuality and linked the German people with his own drives. In a wide-ranging argument which covers topics as varied as Wagner's operas and the German Autobahn system, Spotts provides a key to the understanding of the Third Reich which has hitherto been missing in more straightforwardly political and military studies.

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About the Author:

Frederic Spotts has written four other books on European political and cultural affairs. His study of Bayreuth is acknowledged as the standard work on the subject. Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics was written while Spotts was a visiting scholar at the Institute for International Affairs at Berkeley.

From Publishers Weekly:

The opening paragraph and photo powerfully capture Spotts's argument: The Soviet army is soon to launch its final, devastating assault on Berlin; the British and the Americans are about to invade Germany from the west. And there sits Adolf Hitler, gazing longingly at a model of a rebuilt Linz, his hometown, which is slated to become a grandiose symbol of the Thousand-Year Reich. For Spotts, this proves what Hitler himself claimed: that he was at heart never a politician, but an artist. Spotts, who has written an acclaimed study of the Wagner festival at Bayreuth, tries to substantiate his thesis by providing a panorama of Hitler's artistic activities, including his failed career as a painter, the purge of Jews and others from the cultural sphere, and his personal patronage of artists, musicians and architects. According to Spotts, Hitler's essence is to be found in his desire to create an empire in which "true" German art could flourish as never before. Yet Spotts overlooks the fact that Hitler, in megalomaniacal fashion, also claimed mastery of engineering, history and military strategy. His primary focus was arguably not on art, but on the creation of a racial utopia. Art and politics were but two sides of the same, racially minted coin. Spotts provides a lively, encyclopedic account of Hitler and the arts, but a more comprehensive and nuanced portrait of the Fuhrer and the Nazi regime can be found in Ian Kershaw's two-volume biography, which will remain the standard work for many years to come. 100 b&w and 4 color illus.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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