Music in the Third Reich

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National Conference on Undergraduate Research

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Neuschwander, DeLora
Music; Third Reich; Hitler; History
conference paper description
Music is one of the most powerful entities in the universe. It has the ability to speak to the deepest part of the human psyche. Because of this ability, music can be used in countless ways to bring about the desired effects of anyone from a televangelist attempting to elicit an emotional response from an audience to a business professional endeavoring to sell more of his products to a dictator scheming to change the course of history. As has been clearly demonstrated throughout the history of civilization, music has been a driving force in the development of culture, society, and religion, and this was no exception in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Music had a direct impact on the character and beliefs of Hitler himself, and those beliefs and views affected the policies that he implemented during his reign of horror. His beliefs in the greatness and purity of the Aryan race were directly displayed in his policies regarding art and entertainment. The government of the Third Reich implemented strict policies on ‘acceptable’ music, composers and performers, and they also made extensive use of music in the media, public life of the individual citizen, and the Hitler Youth movement. Music played a prominent role in the rise of Nazi politics and culture in Germany and was used extensively by the party in propaganda and indoctrination of the entire country.