FLAG OF PRUSSIA

Summary

Whereas Camillo di Cavour directed Italian unification, a Junker (the Prussian name for an aristocratic landowner from old Prussia in the east) named Otto von Bismarck pushed German unification through “blood and iron” and skillful understanding of realpolitik. As the map of central Europe stood in 1850, Prussia competed with Austria for dominance over a series of small principalities fiercely keen on maintaining their independence and distinctive characteristics. Prussia proper stretched from modern-day Lithuania to central Germany. Prussia also controlled the German lands around the Rhine River in the west. In between, from Denmark to Switzerland, lay small provinces that Bismarck needed to incorporate under the Prussian crown to create a viable German Empire.

In 1862, Bismarck reorganized the Prussian army and improved training in preparation for war. In 1864, he constructed an alliance with Austria to fight Denmark over Denmark’s southern provinces of Schleiswig and Holstein. Prussia received Schleiswig while Austria administered Holstein. That situation, however, could not stand for long, as Austrian Holstein was now surrounded by Prussian lands. Bismarck provoked a conflict with Austria over an unrelated border dispute and in the subsequent Seven Weeks’ War–named for its brevity–Prussia crushed the collapsing Austrian army. The peace settlement transferred Holstein to Prussia and forced Austria to officially remove itself from all German affairs.

With Austria out of Bismarck’s way, his next obstacle was the skepticism of the southern provinces. Overwhelmingly Catholic and anti-militaristic, the southern provinces doubted Prussia’s commitment to a united Germany of all provinces. Prussia’s Protestantism and historic militarism made the gulf between north and south quite serious. Therefore, Bismarck turned to realpolitik to unite the Germanic provinces by constructing a war against a common enemy. In 1870, Bismarck forged a note from the French ambassador, implying that the ambassador had insulted the Prussian king. After he leaked this letter to both populations, the people of France and Prussia, roused by nationalist sentiment, rose up in favor of war. As Bismarck hoped, the southern provinces rallied to Prussia’s side without any hesitation. In July 1870, France declared war on Prussia. Within a matter of weeks of fighting in Alsace-Lorraine, France lost this Franco-Prussian War. Alsace-Lorraine was transferred to Germany in the peace settlement, allowing Prussia to declare the German Empire, or Second Reich, on January 21, 1871.

 

Franco Prussian War

often referred to in France as the War of 1870 (19 July1870 – 10 May 1871), was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. The conflict emerged from tensions caused by German unification. Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck planned to provoke a French attack in order to draw the southern German states—Baden,Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the Prussian dominated North German Confederation.

Bismarck adroitly created a diplomatic crisis over the succession to the Spanish throne, then rewrote a dispatch about a meeting between king William of Prussia and the French foreign minister, to make it appear that the French had been insulted. The French press and parliament demanded a war, which the generals of Napoleon III assured him that France would win. Napoleon and his Prime Minister, Émile Ollivier, for their parts sought war to solve political disunity in France. On 16 July 1870, the French parliament voted to declare war and hostilities began three days later. The German coalition mobilised its troops much more quickly than the French and rapidly invaded northeastern France. The German forces were superior in numbers, had better training and leadership and made more effective use of modern technology, particularly railroads and artillery.

A series of swift Prussian and German victories in eastern France, culminating at the Battle of Sedan and the Siege of Metzsaw the French army decisively defeated; Napoleon III was captured at Sedan on 2 September. The war continued, after theThird Republic was declared in Paris 4 September, under the Government of National Defence and Adolphe Thiers. For the next five months the German forces fought and defeated new French armies in northern France. Following the Siege of Paris, the capital fell on 28 January 1871. The German states proclaimed their union as the German Empire under the Prussian king, Wilhelm I, uniting Germany as a nation-state. The Treaty of Frankfurt of 10 May 1871 gave Germany most ofAlsace and some parts of Lorraine, which became the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine (Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen).

Following defeat, a revolutionary uprising called the Paris Commune seized power in the capital and held it for two months, until it was bloodily suppressed by the regular French army at the end of May 1871. The unification of Germany upset theEuropean balance of power that had existed since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and Bismarck maintained great authority in international affairs for two decades. French determination to regain Alsace-Lorraine and fear of another Franco-German war, along with British concern over the balance of power, became factors in the causes of World War I.

FRANCO AND PRUSSIAN

Prussian Cavalry attacking French Infantry

Commentary

Like Italy, Germany had quite a few serious issues to resolve once unification took place. Regional differences, developing since the first settlement of the Germanic tribes during the Roman Empire, were distinct, and local princes refused to give up substantial power to the central government. The Berlin assembly, therefore, was kept weak. Germany, like the United States under the Articles of the Confederation, seemed merely a loose of confederation of autonomous states. In Germany’s case, one state, Prussia, was absolutely dominant due to its size, power, and military strength. This, combined with Bismarck’s skillful conduct in international and national affairs as chancellor, kept the empire together until 1914.

However, the creation of a unified Germany in central Europe marked one of the greatest revolutions in the history of international relations. Since the establishment of nation-states in Europe, France, under the Valois-Bourbon royal line, dedicated its foreign policy to the weakening of Habsburg (Austrian and Spanish royal families) and the continued disunity of the Germanic provinces. Now that central Europe was united into two major powers–Germany and Italy–Europe was quite a different place. What would now become of the traditional balance of power in place since the defeat of Napoleon? The whole point had been that no one nation should gain excessive power and strength on the Continent. With the unification of Germany in central Europe–an essential economic and strategic region–was the balance of power doomed?

 

http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/1871/section4.rhtml

 

Original Author unkown (edited by Brendan Helms)

Victor Emanuel II

VITO

Vittorio Emmauel II

VITTORIO EMMANUEL II

Was origionally the Prince of Naples and King of Piedmont-Sardinia until 1861, then assumed the title of First king  of  Italy(1861-1878).Victor Emmanuel succeeded his father Charles Albert to the throne of Piedmont-Sardinia on March 24, 1849, following the abdication of Charles Albert after two humiliating defeats (1848 and 1849) by Austria. The first task to face the young, inexperienced monarch was making peace with Austria, which he successfully achieved by August 6, 1849, with the signing of the Treaty of Milan. Although opposed to constitutionalism and a believer in unrestrained royal authority, Victor Emmanuel retained the constitution, or Statuto, granted by his father in January 1848. Under the guidance of two able prime ministers Massimo d’Azeglio and then Camillo Benso di Cavour, both veterans of the 1848-49 turmoils, Victor Emmanuel successfully met various crises in the early years of his reign. However, during this time Emmanuel convinced Cavour to ally with Britain and France during the Crimean War against the Russian Empire. this war while providing powerful allies to Italy would help the expansion of France as their assistance in wars against Austria cost Italy the regions of Nice and Savoy. In the 1850s Piedmont-Sardinia remained the only constitutional state in Italy, a haven for persecuted Italian nationalists and liberals who had been involved in the 1848-49 revolutions.

VITO AND GARI

Emmanuel Meeting Garibaldi in Teano (Garibaldi Left, Emmanuel Right)

 

WARS OF ITALIAN UNIFICATION

By 1859, assured of military support by Napoleon III of France in the Treaty of Plombières, Piedmont-Sardinia once again went to war with Austria. As a result of this conflict, Austria ceded Lombardy. In 1860 Emmanuel set out to fight the Papal Army, while this proved successful as he successfully captured Rome and drove the Pope back into Vatican city, it came at a cost. Emmanuel was then excommunicated for his actions.Successive upheavals in the smaller states of central Italy and Giuseppe Garibaldi’s successful campaign in southern Italy against the Neapolitan Bourbons led to the creation of a united Italy. On March 17, 1861, the kingdom of united Italy was proclaimed at Turin, capital of Piedmont-Sardinia, in a national parliament composed of deputies elected from all over the peninsula and the 1848 Statuto extended to all of Italy. Victor Emmanuel became the new country’s first king. To the disappointment of many, however, he insisted on retaining his dynastic designation of Victor Emmanuel II, rather than becoming Victor Emmanuel I of Italy.

SPEACH OF VITTORIO EMMANUEL II

This is a speach given by Emmanuel during his inaguaration as first king of Italy.

Free, and nearly entirely united, the opinion of civilized nations is favorable to us; the just and liberal principles, now prevailing in the councils of Europe, are favorable to us. Italy herself, too, will become a guarantee of order and peace, and will once more be an efficacious instrument of universal civilization. . . .These facts have inspired the nation with great confidence in its own destinies. I take pleasure in manifesting to the first Parliament of Italy the joy I feel in my heart as king and soldier. 

Monument in Rome to Vittorio Emanuel

Monument in Rome to Vittorio Emanuel

Emiliana P. Noether (www.ohio.edu/chastain/rz/victorem.htm)

D. Zanichelli, ed., The Writings of Count Cavour (Bologna, 1892), II:4-50; The Annual Register or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1858 (London, 1859), pp. 186-188; Count C. Arrivabene, Italy under Victor Emmanuel (London, 1862), I:349-353.

This is a brief description of Victor Emanuel II and what he did while he was in power. As well as a primary source from Emmanuel during his Inauguartion.

~Caroline DeLuca (edited by Brendan Helms)

Alexander II (1855 – 1881) came into power in the aftermath of the Crimean War.  Russian standards of living were not good during in the 1850s.  90 percent of the population lived at the subsistence level.  Alexander II did attempt to reform Russia internally, though.  The tsar freed Russia’s peasants, in total around 22 million, from serfdom.  However, this did not drastically improve Russian life.  Individuals did not receive their own land, and many fell into heavy debt.  The tsar also implemented a selection of social reforms, ranging from educational to military.  However, to the dismay of many, Alexander II refused the creation of a national assembly, unlike many of the other European nations.   Alexander II was assassinated by an organization known as People’s Will in march of 1881.

Source: wikimedia.org

Source: wikimedia.org

Alexander II was succeeded by Tsar Alexander III (1881 – 1894).  Reacting to the assassination of Alexander II and general instability, the tsar established a strong hold on the country.  The new tsar enlarged Russia’s secret police, censored media, and removed many of Alexander II’s reforms.  Towards the end of the 19th century, Alexander III, aided by Sergei Witte, attempted to industrialize Russian society.  They ordered the production of railroads and factories, funded by the French government. A small industrial class grew in Russia, however most of the country was still poor, and the government still was overly totalitarian. Russia’s own Marxist Social Democratic Party emerged in 1898, however its presence was not tolerated by the tsar and its leaders exiled from the country.

Source: mainlesson.com

Source: mainlesson.com

 

Nicholas II (1894 – 1914), the last tsar of Russia, favored military progress over social and economic reforms. Nicholas II waged war with the quickly industrializing Japan, however was fiercely defeated. While Russia was being militarily defeated, the monarchy was flanked by a variety of displeased factions, and forced to create a national legislature. The legislature was named Duma, meaning “thought” in Russian. Although civilian factions had finally managed to create a parliamentary body within the Russian government, much of the significant power, such as foreign affairs, military, and finance remained with the monarchy. Little further significant reforms would be enacted by Russia’s monarchy, until the 1910s with the Russian revolution and the creation RSFSR and the USSR.

Source: russiannobility.org

Source: russiannobility.org

 

Source: The West: a narrative history

Posted by Matthew Aneiro

Rene Descartes

René Descartes was born was born on March 31, 1596, in La Haye, France. He was extensively educated, first at a Jesuit college at age 8, then earning a law degree at 22, but an influential teacher set him on a course to apply mathematics and logic to understanding the natural world. This approach incorporated the contemplation of the nature of existence and of knowledge itself, hence his most famous observation, “I think; therefore I am.”

 

Descartes is considered by many to be the father of modern philosophy, because his ideas departed widely from current understanding in the early 17th century, which was more feeling-based. While elements of his philosophy weren’t completely new, his approach to them was. Descartes believed in basically clearing everything off the table, all preconceived and inherited notions, and starting fresh, putting back one by one the things that were certain, which for him began with the statement “I exist.” From this sprang his most famous quote: “I think; therefore I am.”

Here’s a link to an explanation on his book, Discourse on Method. Its part 1 out 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy1lHkHj-lE

 

Edits and additions:

“I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived

in my mind.” (Source: http://mind.ucsd.edu/syllabi/03-04/1-summer/readings/pi-readings.pdf)

Descartes’ idea was pertaining to the philosophical ideas of epistemology, or the study of knowledge. He was saying that the only thing we can know to exist is the existence of our own mind. The existence of our own mind is indubitable, or undoubtable, whereas we could logically doubt the existence of anything else in the universe. This anything else is dubitable.

 

“In his leisure time he studied mathematics, having been influenced by the Dutch mathematician and scientist Beeckman. Descartes dates his first new philosophical ideas and his analytical geometry from three dreams that he had while campaigning on the Danube.” (Source: http://www.egs.edu/library/rene-descartes/biography/)

 

“He is respected for his attempts to create a form of philosophical argument akin to science or mathematics, his emphasis on perspective of consciousness in epistemology, and his work on methodology… The method of hyperbolic doubt is the refusal to accept either the authority of previous philosophers or information gleaned from one’s own senses. He decided that in developing a foundation for philosophy anything that might be doubted must be rejected. Only what is beyond doubt is acceptable and may lead to truth” (Source: http://www.egs.edu/library/rene-descartes/biography/)

Hyperbolic doubt is methodological skepticism.

 

The Scramble for Africa

aaaa

December 5, 2013 | | Comments Off

Before the 1870’s Europeans did not know much about Africa.  At this time only a small percentage of Africa, mainly along the coastal areas, was under the control of European countries.  One of the most ruthless rulers to tap the wealth of Africa was King Leopold II of Belgium who secured much of the Congo.  Leopold set up the International Association of the Congo which extracted the raw materials, rubber and ivory.  While claiming to improve the lives of the Congolese, the Belgian invaders were horribly inhumane towards the native people of Congo.  During this time, Germany, Portugal, Britain, and France followed Belgium’s lead by claiming land in central and southern Africa.  The European countries went into Africa to take the raw materials for their own enrichment but terribly mistreated the native people.  In 1884, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and French Premier Jules Ferry arranged for a conference on African affairs to be held in Berlin.  Fourteen nations sent delegates but not a single African leader was invited to come.  While the intent on the conference was to consolidate each nation’s control over African territory, the real effect was to start the “scramble for Africa.”  The Berlin conference started fighting over land in Africa.  Britain and France came close to going to war over the Nile River; France and Belgium over the Congo; and Britain and Germany in territory claims to southeast Africa.  The Dutch settlers, known as the Boers, and the British did start a war over South Africa.  Inevitably the rivalries between the various imperialist nations fighting over African territory would ultimately contribute to the start of World War I.

 

Written by: Malin Serfis

*Image: A cartoon depiction of King Leopold’s hold on the Congo

 

Sources:

Frankforter, A. Daniel, and William M. Spellman. The West: A Narrative History. Third edition. Pearson Education, Inc., 624-626. Print.

http://www.historytoday.com/sites/default/files/belgium_main.jpg

 

Keen on establishing Belgium as an imperial power, he led the first European efforts to develop the Congo River basin, making possible the formation of the Congo Free State in 1885, annexed in 1908 as the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Although Leopold II played a significant role in the development of the modern Belgian state, he was also responsible for widespread atrocities committed under his rule against his colonial subjects. (Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/336654/Leopold-II)

 

By 1850, only a few colonies existed along African coastlines, such as Algeria (French), the Cape Colony (Great Britain,) and Angola (Portugal). Instead, free African states continued, and after the end of the slave trade in the early 1800s, a lively exchange took place between Europeans and African states…” (Source: http://www2.newcanaan.k12.ct.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=5501)

 

I think it is important to say that during the nineteenth century, the relationship between European countries and Africa was very friendly. They established trade between the two of them.

 

“ The Berlin Conference of 1884-5, in an effort to avoid war, allowed European diplomats to draw lines on maps and carve Africa into colonies. The result was a transformation of political and economic Africa, with virtually all parts of the continent colonized by 1900.” (Source: http://www2.newcanaan.k12.ct.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=5501)

I think this should be added with the other information to show that Europeans not only forced them in colonies, but it forced a new set of rules and regulations on the Africans. Africans had little, or no say on the matter.

I think this image works better than the previous to show how European countries strove to colonize Africa with a fellow swoop.

shh

(Image Source: http://www2.newcanaan.k12.ct.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=5501)

In this timeline, it shows the viewer the chronological order of when the great technological advances of Britain for the textile and agricultural industries that were introduced between the years of 1709 and 1858.
1709 Abraham Darby introduced coke smelting to his ironworks at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire.
1712 The first workable steam-powered engine was developed by Thomas Newcomen.
1730 The seed drill was invented by Jethro Tull. This was a critical point of the agricultural revolution which freed labour from the fields and lowered crop prices.

x seed drill
http://www.uni.edu/iowahist/Social_Economic/IA_Agriculturist/iowa_agriculturist_for_the_farm.htm

1740 Crucible steelmaking was discovered by Benjamin Huntsman, a clockmaker of Doncaster.
1759 The first Canal Act was passed by the British Parliament; this led to the construction of a national network of inland waterways for transport and industrial supplies. By 1830 there were 6,500 km / 4,000 miles of canals in Britain.
1763 The spinning jenny, which greatly accelerated cotton spinning, was invented by James Hargreaves in Blackburn.
 spinning jenny

http://www.wfu.edu/history/StudentWork/whistory/timeline/europe/1700s/1764.htm

1765 James Watt produced a more reliable and efficient version of the Newcomen engine.

1779 The spinning mule, which made the production of fine yarns by machine possible, was developed in Bolton by Samuel Crompton.

 spinning mule
http://www.newlanark.org/learningzone/clitp-cottonfilm.php

1785 The power loom marked the start of the mechanised textile industry.
1793 The problem of supplying cotton fast enough for the textile industry was solved by Eli Whitney’s cotton gin.

  Cotton gin
http://www.stevenlberg.info/today/810

1797 The first true industrial lathe was invented by Henry Maudslay.
1802 The first electric battery capable of mass production was designed by William Cruickshank in England.
1811-16 Textile workers known as Luddites staged widespread protests against low pay and unemployment in Nottinghamshire, which involved destroying new machines.
1812 The population of Manchester passed 100,000.
1813 Industrial employment overtook agricultural employment in England for the first time.
1815 Sir Humphrey Davy invented a safety lamp for miners which prevented the flame from igniting mine gases thus saving the lives of thousands of miners.
1825 The first regular railway services started between Stockton and Darlington in northeast England.
1826 The Journeymen Steam Engine Fitters, the first substantial industrial trade union, was established in Manchester
1829 With his steam locomotive Rocket, English engineer George Stephenson won a contest to design locomotives for the new Manchester-Liverpool railway.
1831-52 British industrial production doubled.
1832 The Reform Act concerning elections to the British Parliament gave representation to the industrial cities.
1833 The first effective Factory Act was passed in Britain regulating child labour in cotton mills.
1840-42 George Hudson built the first railway station in York.
1842 Coal Mines Act prevented women and children from working in harsh conditions in mines.
1842 Cotton-industry workers in England staged a widespread strike.
1846 Repeal of the Corn Law in Britain reduced agricultural prices, thereby helping industry.
1851 Britain celebrated its industrial achievements in the Great Exhibition.
1852-80 British industrial production doubled again.
1858 The `great stink´ of London dramatized the increasing pollution in the cities.c.


http://www.victorianlondon.org/health/thamescondition.htm

Timeline sourced by: http://www.fatbadgers.co.uk/britain/revolution.htm
Posted by: Julia Jin
Edited (images added) by: Crystal Montgomery

World War I spurned the advancement of many different technologies, ranging from artillery, chemical weaponry to communication and medical technology. The new technology of Mechanized Infantry matured in the form of tanks and other armored vehicles. The Germans also invested heavily in the development of the U-boat, or submarine and dominated naval warfare as a result. Despite being in its infancy, advancements were made in aviation technology.

ww1 german tank

einstein        Albert Einstein was a German-born Swiss theoretical physicist. He published his theory of “Special Theory of Relativity”. This theory said that absolute space and time were not fixed realities independent of human experience. The theory that Einstein published, Newton long assumed. Einstein showed that no absolute frame of reference in the universe. He showed the to the human eye that time, space, and motion were all related somehow.

        Another scientist with a similar theory was Isaac Newton, and he said solid objects moved in absolute time and space irrespective of the observer. With these different theories Einstein was able to come up with his and grow on it. He’s is most famous for his equation m=mc^2. His other researcrevealed the tremendous energy contained in simple matter, and how he proved with this was by showing that small amounts of matter could turn in to enormous energy. After figuring this out Einstein then broke away from the Conventional Newtonian treatment to become independent. He believed differently then before while continuing his research.Isaac Newton was an English physicist and mathematician, and he is most known for his three laws of motion. His first law was every state object in that state of uniform motion tends to remain in that sate of motion unless an external force is applied to it. The second law it that acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The third law is that for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

newton


The Black Hand was a secret cabal of Serbian terrorists that was formed in 1901 with the express purpose of uniting all the territories with South Slavic populations. In 1914, members of the Black Hand assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Serbia and are largely credited with starting the cascading chain of events that led to the first World War
BLK-HAND

 

The Seal of the Black Hand

I think it’s hard for many today to imagine that the Italy we know for its culture and hot spot tourist attractions had such a dark spot in history. Like Hitler and Stalin, Mussolini was every bit totalitarian leader. His manipulation of events was used to deceive the Italian people so he could gain power, and once there brutally eliminate any political discontent. It is particularly evil what he attempted to do in perverting Italian youth to believe that violence and force are appropriate to gain power that you should never question those above you, and boys and girls had to follow arcane gender roles. Boys were expected to grow into fierce soldiers who would fight with glory for Italy, while girls were expected to be good mothers who would provide Italy with a population that a great power was expected to have. Children were taught at school, that the great modern Italy started in 1922 with the March on Rome. Children were taught that Mussolini was the only man who could lead Italy back to greatness. Children were taught to call him “Il Duce” and the boys were encouraged to attend after school youth movements. Boys were taught that fighting for them was a natural extension of normal male lifestyle. One of the more famous Fascist slogans was- “War is to the male what childbearing is to the female.” Girls were taught that giving birth was natural- while mentioned before, boys fighting was the same- natural. The children were taught to obey those in charge, this was not an unusual move in a dictatorship. In the end, these concepts led to Il Duce’s downfall as his promises for imperial glory, economic success, and a revived Rome fell under the weight of unending war and economic failures.

Original Post: http://westerncivguides.umwblogs.org/2011/11/29/fascist-italy/

Sources: http://specialcollections.library.wisc.edu/exhibits/Fascism/Intro.html

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/life_in_fascist_italy.htm

Image Sources: http://histclo.com/youth/youth/image/imgnat/fascistyouths.jpg

http://hector.blog.is/img/tncache/400×400/d5/hector/img/c_documents_and_

settings_oli_my_documents_myndir_mussolini.jpg

 

Fascist youths lined up holding weapons

Fascist youths lined up holding weapons

 

Benito Mussolini, otherwise known as "Il Duce".

Benito Mussolini, otherwise known as “Il Duce”.

 

YouTube Preview Image

The idea that Germany had a particular affinity for great music, and that this was under threat in the inter-war period, was not confined to the Nazi Party. Many conservative nationalists perceived the musical trends of this period as an omen of global degeneration, and it was Germany’s defeat in World War I, the economic devastation that followed, and the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, that brought the situation to a head.  For many, the increasing popularity of swing, jazz, avant-garde experimentation, and African-American and Jewish musicians were not a coincidence: they were both cause and effect of the general collapse of German society and German values. If German music was associated with heroism, love of nation, the drive toward creation, and rootedness in blood and soil, this ‘degenerate’ music was profit- and thrill-driven, imitative and superficial, and lacking in originality because it was lacking its own healthy nation and culture. Many social critics and musicologists bemoaned these trends. While these concerns did not focus solely on Jews, they were a primary target. Although only a small percentage of German musicians were Jewish, the prominence of people like Arnold Schoenberg, Otto Klemperer, Kurt Weill and others gave strength to the idea that Jews were in the vanguard of an organised cabal to pervert and appropriate German values.  The threats that Jews seemed to pose to Germany and its musical heritage were summarised in their assumed foreignness and their link with an undesirable and destructive modernity.

Since their earliest years, the Nazis had envisioned themselves as a mass nationalist movement, and as powerful as visual arts, theatre, or literature might be, it was music that was seen as the great crowd-pleaser, the most effective way to seduce and sway the masses.  As the Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels put it,

“Music affects the heart and emotions more than the intellect.  Where then could the heart of a nation beat stronger than in the huge masses, in which the heart of a nation has found its true home?”

The Nazi quest to purify the German music world from ‘degeneracy’, and return it to its mythic Germanic-ness – a notoriously indefinable category – motivated an enormous amount of activity, planning, and policy-making. Almost immediately after Hitler was proclaimed Chancellor in January 1933, Nazi supporters, in a continuation of the early activities of the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur (Combat League for German Culture), began to disrupt musical performances by Jewish artists.

Nazi-sponsored newspapers took particular glee in slandering the names and careers of ‘degenerate’ musicians, often threatening violence in retaliation for ‘un-German’ concerts.  This early harassment, however, was only the beginning.  In March 1933, Goebbels took control of all German radio stations and the press, summarily firing all of the art and music critics who did not support his aesthetic agenda.  One month later, on 7 April 1933, the Law for the Re-establishment of the Civil Service was passed, which led to the widespread dismissal of Jewish conductors, singers, music teachers, and administrators.  In July, the two most important composers at the illustrious Prussian Academy of Art, Arnold Schoenberg and Franz Schreker, were dismissed.

Poster of the Entartete Musik exhibition (1938)

 

Gilbert, S. (2010). Music and the holocaust. Retrieved from http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/politics-and-propaganda/third-reich/

Original Post: http://westerncivguides.umwblogs.org/2012/03/13/music-in-the-third-reich/


Next Page →