Art of the Third Reich

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H.N. Abrams, 1992 - Art - 332 pages
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Nearly fifty years after the collapse of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, the officially sanctioned art of his National Socialist regime remains largely unknown. Since 1945, few people have seen these controversial works: many were destroyed in World War Two bombings; most of what survived is hidden away, accessible only to scholars. In Art of the Third Reich, Peter Adam--who grew up in Berlin in the Hitler era--has gone back to Germany after years in England as a BBC documentary-film producer and made an extensive study of the art of the National Socialists. Adam explores its complex ramifications, which led to a traditional German style linked to nature, family, and the homeland and to the suppression of modern art--associated by the Reich with large cities, internationalism, and decadence. Painting, sculpture, architecture, film, and all the other art disciplines were compelled to serve as vehicles for the transmission of National Socialist ideology, intended to forge the people's collective mind in the Nazi mold. Hitler's belief that architecture was the most forceful manifestation of absolute political power lay at the heart of his grandiose schemes for redesigning Munich, Berlin, Nuremberg, and more than a score of other German cities. Hitler also virtually created a new art--the art of manipulating mass emotions, which he skillfully used at Nazi Party rallies and in mass sports events, such as the notorious Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. How this art form was enacted against a backdrop of colossal architecture makes a fascinating and important leitmotif in this study. The research for this engrossing book took Adam to hidden repositories in both the United States and Germany. Fromoften tattered books and magazines of the period, he has gleaned many of the 321 illustrations covering the broad spectrum of National Socialist art, which scholars are now beginning to recognize as an essential source of information about the perplexing Third Reich.

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About the author (1992)

Adam is a writer and documentary filmmaker on the arts.

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