A fresh and insightful history of how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed under the Nazis
Culture was integral to the smooth running of the Third Reich. In the years preceding WWII, a wide variety of artistic forms were used to instill a Nazi ideology in the German people and to manipulate the public perception of Hitler’s enemies. During the war, the arts were closely tied to the propaganda machine that promoted the cause of Germany’s military campaigns.
Michael H. Kater’s engaging and deeply researched account of artistic culture within Nazi Germany considers how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed when the Nazis came to power. With a broad purview that ranges widely across music, literature, film, theater, the press, and visual arts, Kater details the struggle between creative autonomy and political control as he looks at what became of German artists and their work both during and subsequent to Nazi rule.
Michael H. Kater is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of History at York University, Toronto, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His previous publications include Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present and Hitler Youth.
“Absorbing, chilling study of German artistic life under Hitler.”—Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
“While providing a chronology for understanding the creeping totalitarianism, Kater shines most when discussing individual artists and their work, displaying a thoroughness and texture unrivalled by any other scholar.”—Jonathan Petropoulos, Art Newspaper
“A much-needed study of the aesthetics and cultural mores of the Third Reich, with often surprising turns . . . in a narrative rich in detail and documentation. . . . ‘The relation between culture and tyranny is a complex one,’ Kater concludes. Indeed, and his book does much to make it comprehensible.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Kater’s work is strongest where it uncovers the suppressed histories of primary sources and archival material. There is a subtlety and sensitivity of scholarship here, which Kater presents with contemporary urgency. While the book is about the past, it prompts us to ask what the archival evidence of tomorrow will reveal about our actions today.”—Marlo Alexandra Burks, Literary Review of Canada
“Kater’s book is a grim but necessary chronicle of the 12-year Third Reich as seen through the culture it destroyed . . . and the culture it then produced to replace it. . . . A nation’s citizens are, collectively, the one and final bulwark against fascism. It’s worth thinking about all over again in 2019.”—Alan Bisbort, Waterbury Republican-American
“There is no greater authority on the culture of the Nazi period than Michael Kater, and his latest, most ambitious work gives a comprehensive overview of a dismally complex history, astonishing in its breadth of knowledge and acute in its critical perceptions.”—Alex Ross, music critic at the New Yorker and author of The Rest Is Noise