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Nazi Art As Propaganda

.. d by the swastika) bring light and order to chaos. This is a simplistic glorified portrayal of Hitler, constructed to initiate a sense of awe within those that saw it, and encouraged a link between Hitler and religion. Another painting that uses a similar tactic is Hermann Otto Hoyers In the Beginning Was the Word in which Hitler is again linked to God through his words of power. These paintings act to legitimize the power of the National socialists by equating Hitler with the righteousness of God, and construct a pseudo-religion to be followed without question. Hitler as a superior being is also illustrated in Lanzingers The Flag Bearer. The painting portrays Hitler (the leader and representative of the national socialist party) as a superior superhuman being.

In the profile he is depicted as a medieval Knight, facing steadfastly forward bearing a Nazi flag in his right hand that sways heroically in the wind. This is an ideologically saturated piece drawing on the German history of Tutonic knights (medieval militant group who conquered Poland) to instill a sense strength. Hitler is presented as a clear headed, determined leader who has the power to lead the Germanic people to a glorious future of mythological greatness. As in Water Sports the Aryan body is celebrated with veristic precision, every shine on the silver armor is emphasized as evidence of the light and purity that seems to radiates from the actual person, in this way the body is labeled the bastion against Jewish, Asian and African influence. These two elements, the reference to the past, and the celebration of the Nordic physicality, work to imbue the Nazis political program (represented by its leader) as principled, trustworthy, and pure, therefore above criticism.

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Architecture in the Third Reich was also used as a political instrument by the Nazis with two main agendas; firstly, to weight the national socialist party with a sense of history, and secondly, to induce a type of militaristic behavior in those who saw it. Paul Ludwig Troosts Fuhrer Building in Munich is a prime example of the effect the building had on the German people. The medium of stone was used to construct the building, although it was more expensive and laborious, to construct a sense of stability and spurious eternal value. Hitler said that the buildings should not be conceived for the year 1942, nor for the 2000, but like the cathedrals of the past they will stretch into the millennium of the future. The strong vertical lines and noble pillars are marked by an heroic severity of tone, and a deliberate heaviness or sense of the monumental aids in the construction of it being and eternal structure. By drawing on neo-classical designs and in turn ancient Grecian and Roman styles, the building imbues a sense of pseudo-history in the people.

The inset windows create art fortress like, and add to the idea of an impenetrable and invulnerable building, and therefore Germany. The building was constructed to be a physical testament to the power of the National Socialist Party, and proof that they had the strength to lead the Germanic people into a future of prosperity and above all stability. Thus a sense of national pride was induced, and a confidence in the competence of the Nazis way of life occurred. There was an extremely deliberate effort to influence the way people acted around such establishments. It was monumental in its size, practically towering over the people below, thus insinuating that it is not the individual who counts in the long run, rather it homogenous mass that is remembered.

The buildings (such as the Fuhrer building, and the House of German Law) act as symbols of teamwork and conformity, the straight vertical columns are like the lines of soldiers marching in unison. The highly symmetrical nature of the monumental buildings and lack of decorative features evoked a sense of militaristic order and balance, and induced a formal behavior from citizens. The bare Spartan qualities were perhaps an attempt to embody ancient Roman virtues and nobility into the common German citizen, thus to encourage the sacrificing of personal time and effort for the greater good of the nation. The swastika symbol and the eagle were often prominent features of Nazi architecture. The Swastika obviously points to the creators of the building, and forces the monumental size of the structure and the power of the National Socialist party to be conflated, thus attempting to cajole the German people into treat the Nazis with more formal respect.

The eagle is the rapacious emblem of the right to rule, tying in notions of royalty and nobility, thus subtly discouraging any criticism of Nazi power. Yet, the positive enforcement of Nazi ideology (through the production of works that embody their values) was not the only means of enforcing political hegemony. The marginalization of works that did not conform to naturalistic standards was marginalized in quite violent ways. The Entartete Kunstausstellung (Degenerate art exhibition), as the name suggests displayed all artworks that did not conform to the static naturalism, in an attempt to mock and undermine styles of modern art. The artists themselves were labeled cultural vandals and criminals who did not paint realistically because they had no real skill. Joseph Goebbels, the Minister for Propaganda passed laws forbidding the production of degenerate art, such as DADA, cubism and expressionism, and in 1936 placed a ban on all literary criticism about Nazi art.

Thus, a form of almost total censorship was enforced by the National Socialist Party to regulate the kinds of art produced and seen by the general German public, and therefore the opinions they formed. Art in Germany during the reign of the Nazi Party certainly was a major form of propaganda. Although not as blatant as the massive Nuremberg rallies, they aided in the subliminal formation of the thoughts and actions of the German people towards the National Socialists. Paintings insidiously played on common values already present in the national psyche, such as the need to regain a relationship with the land, and conflated them with National Socialist ideology in a bid to indoctrinate and shape the views of the public. The Nazi architecture and painting induced them to believe in; the invulnerability and superiority of the Germanic race, the working as a harmonious team, and the legitimacy of the Nazi government, to justify the total controlling of a nation. Thus, Nazi art is an ideologically saturated and highly politicized instrument used for the subjugation of the German people. Bibliography Adam, P., Art of the Third Reich, N. H.

Abrams, New York, 1992 Golmstock, I., Totalitarian Art: in the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Fascist Italy and the Peoples republic of China, Collins, London 1990 Hinz, B., Art in the Third Reich, Blackwell, Oxford, 1979 Whitford, F., The Triumph of the banal: art in Nazi Germany, in Timms, E. and Collier, P. (eds), Visions and Blueprints: avant-guard culture and racial politics in early twentieth century Europe, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1988 Art Essays.


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