Nazi aestheticism emphasized the propagandistic value of art and glorified the heroism of war and “Arian” themes, as shown here in Wilhelm Sauter’s, Der ewige Musketier, (Eternal Musketeers) in the Heroes’ Shrine, 1939-1945.
With the triumph of the German army in
quickly devouring most of the European countries by 1940, the Shrine suggests
continuity from the 1914-1918 WW-I (allegorized on the left part of the
painting,) Hitler’s own propagandistic pet project. The contrast between the
grueling battles on the Western Front during the First World War and the quick
victories in the Second War was enormous. By the end of 1940,
The lightning-fast Nazi victory (Blitzkrieg), it was proclaimed, the current success, would not have been possible without the sacrifice in 1914-1918, which gave birth to the Nazi fighting spirit. Since then, the victory of the New German Soldiers became possible because of the legacy of their valiant fallen fathers. Now that the true German nation state had arisen in unity of the German people, the humiliation and defeat of 1918 have been reversed. (Ein Kampf, ein sieg! – One struggle, one victory.)
American and European art, especially so abstract, was denounced as “Degenerate Art” and as “cultural bolshevism”, which it certainly was not: Soviets denounced abstract art as decadent and antagonistic to their own brand of propagandistic art, “Socialist realism,” represented here by Laktionov’s “Letter from the front.” Ever since the National Socialist Society for German Culture was formed in 1927, it worked tirelessly to halt the “corruption of art,” “informing” and “educating” the people about the presumed relationship between race and art. By 1933, the terms “Jewish,” “Degenerate,” and “Bolshevik” were used interchangeably to describe most of the modern art. Blacklisted were such recognized masters of the 20th century as Salvador Dali, Picasso, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Emil Nolde and numerous others. Many of their works were burned on bonfires.
lyrical paintings of Marc Chagall, who happened to be an ethnic Jew from
To get a glimpse at the “degenerative” art works and style, juxtaposed to the totalitarian art, visit our virtual gallery (currently under construction.)
All German newspapers were brought under the Eher Verlag, the Nazi-controlled publishing house, where propaganda articles were pre-written for the rest of newspapers, not at all unlike the U.S. nowadays, where “Associated Press” writes articles reprinted by all of the U.S. newspapers, from the New York Times to Los Angeles Times, with no deviation permitted by the copyright – sort of Goebbels’ propaganda on steroids, taken a step further and wearing a mask of objectivity and plurality.
Hitler was quite determined to do what before him breeders did with dogs, cows and pigs – to breed a new, physically and culturally “superior” breed of people, the Arian Race. The Aryan scull had to have certain proportions, so did the Aryan woman’s bottom, safely erring on extra-extra-large. Based on their cult of the male nude, however, Aryans sorely lacked in the balls department, ultimately demonstrated in the German Armies’ total, unconditional surrender in May of 1945. Ironically, many soldiers and generals among the victors were indeed, Jewish.
But long before it happened, Nazis asserted that even music was guided by the biological theory, presumably exemplified in the Nordic traits of Mozart, Wagner, and Hayden. The produce of Nazi film industry is hard to take nowadays: in the hindsight it is nothing but bombastic, nauseating glorification of the Nazi party, Hitler, Waffen-SS, Wermacht, Luftwaffe, martyrdom for Nazism, combined with off-the-wall Jew-hatred exemplified by profiling enemy nationalists, such as quintessential wasps among Americans, or Slavophiles (Russia’s own national-socialists and chauvinists) as Jews. The impact of Nazi propaganda film upon the film industry world-wide was enormous, and by far ― not only in regards to the cinematographic technique.
Daily life in Nazi Germany was manipulated from the first days of the Nazi regime. Propaganda dominated popular culture and entertainment. Hitler was hell-bent that a strong state could only exist in absence of its critics. Nazism was a cult demanding unquestioning loyalty, not unlike “Scientific Communism” of the Bolsheviks, though hardly any of whom actually read, let alone understood, Marx. The essence of the Nazi culture was for the people to simply believe. As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:
“The great majority of a nation is… ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment… has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. The art of propaganda [is]… to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses.”
In other words, there was no
need for thinking individuals in the “thousand year Reich” and especially so –
on its occupied territories. Intellectuals have a bad habit of thinking for
themselves; they make it hard to dupe the masses, who only have “notions” and
“feelings” “of love and hatred.” (
surprisingly, not only did Nazis wipe out their own intellectuals, but
mass-murdered intellectuals in the countries they occupied, making it their
first order of business. Thus, the Nazi Einsatzgruppen (German for “special task
forces” with an interesting similarly pronounced related word einsargen – to put in a coffin) were the
SS death squads deployed for mass killings (typically by shooting) of the
political “undesirables.” They were tasked with mass arrests and executions of
Polish intelligentsia – teachers, priests, entrepreneurs, college professors,
lawyers, judges, writers and poets. A special force, Einsatzgruppe, was attached to each of the
started as Intelligenzaktion Pommern, an action
to execute Polish intelligentsia in Pomeranian Voivodeship (county) and
adjacent areas, immediately after the invasion of
idea was that once the country’s brains and its able leaders were annihilated,
the Polish people would become a subservient, obedient race of slaves under the
Nazi domination. Planning was done way ahead of the invasion: Operation
Tannenberg (German: Unternehmen
Tannenberg) was the codename for the creation of lists (Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen), which
identified more than 61,000 members of Polish intelligentsia to be dispatched
six feet under upon German occupation. The lists were prepared mostly by ethnic
Germans living in
According to the research by Dr. Kevork B. Bardakjian about Hitler’s top secret speech delivered on August 22, 1939 to the top Army brass (on the eve of the German invasion of Poland), it included the following instructions (translated here from German), known among historians as the Armenian paragraph:
<< I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness - for the present only in the east - with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? >>
Rear Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of Abwer, the German Army Strategic Intelligence, took notes during the top secret speech quoted above. As Dr. Bardakjian showed, there were 3 copies of notes, one full, which included the Armenian paragraph, and 2 subsequently redacted. Although the latter 2 are sometimes used to put in question the authenticity of the full note, Dr. Bardakjian deems such attempts a hoax.
outdated and outnumbered Polish army with its large cavalry units and
antiquated aviation was no match for
Navy and merchant ships were able to escape to the
As part of an effort to destroy Polish culture, the German occupants closed universities, schools, museums, libraries, and scientific laboratories. They demolished hundreds of monuments to national heroes. To ensure that there are no educated Poles, German officials decreed that Polish children's schooling must not continue beyond a few years of elementary education. “The sole goal of this schooling is to teach them simple arithmetic, nothing above the number 500; writing one's name; and the doctrine that it is divine law to obey the Germans....I do not think that reading is desirable," Himmler wrote in his May 1940 memorandum.
administration prohibited publication of Polish-language books, let alone
destroyed libraries and books in Polish.
Polish publishing houses were replaced in 1940 by several
German-operated printing houses, which began publishing Polish-German
dictionaries and Anti-Semitic and anti-communist literature.
The insidious impact of Nazi propaganda has been enduring, felt even 70 years
later not only in
One of the goals of Nazi propaganda was to rewrite Polish history: it published “scientific studies” claiming that Polish lands were really Germanic; falsely claiming that famous Poles, such as Nicolas Copernicus, and Chopin, were ethnic Germans.
masters cannot exist side by side, and this is why all members of the Polish
intelligentsia must be killed,” Hitler explained… The material destruction
or confiscation of
Polish scholar Franciszek Piper was among leading historians who researched the
statistics of victimization in Nazi concentration camps. He estimates that
140,000 to 150,000 Poles were brought to that camp between 1940 and 1945, and
that 70,000 to 75,000 died there as victims of executions, of starvation and
disease. Some 100,000 Poles were deported to Majdanek, and tens of thousands of them died there. An estimated
20,000 Poles died at Sachsenhausen,
20,000 at Gross-Rosen, 30,000 at Mauthausen, 17,000 at Neuengamme, 10,000 at
◄ All rights reserved ● Copyright © 2011, Eric Ross, Ph.D. ►
 My father, then a major in the Soviet army, saved the life of then a major in a Polish first Corp, formed sometime in 1944 (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie,) families remaining close friends while the two men were alive. Hence, my special interest in Polish history of the period, and deep love and respect for those few Poles I personally knew as the most loyal of friends, through thick and thin.
 See references at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligenzaktion_Pommern
 Hitler and the Armenian Genocide, published by the Armenian-American Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation.
 Admiral Kanaris was executed by Hitler on April 9, 1945 for his part in a plot to arrest or assassinate Hitler and members of the Nazi government.
 Libricide: the regime-sponsored destruction of books and libraries in the twentieth century, By Rebecca Knuth; 2003; Praeger publishers; PP. 86-89.
 Drozdowski, Marian Marek; Zahorski, Andrzej; (2004); Historia Warszawy, Jeden Świat, ISBN 83-89632-04-7; P.449.
 Madajczyk, Czesław (1970), Polityka III Rzeszy w okupowanej Polsce, Tom II (Politics of the Third Reich in Occupied Poland, Part Two), Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe; P. 123; P. 131; P. 141;
 Libricide: the regime-sponsored destruction of books and libraries in the twentieth century, By Rebecca Knuth; 2003; Praeger publishers; P. 89;