The Nazis adopted the works of certain composers for their own use. At Nazi rallies and public events, marching music and propaganda songs were employed to rouse and inspire the crowds. Richard Wagner’s music was often prominently featured and he is perhaps the composer most closely associated with Nazism. See the main article on Music in the Third Reich and Richard Strauss.
• born in Leipzig on 22 May 1813 • his music is now often considered ‘tainted’ with the ideological associations of the Third Reich • wrote a now infamous essay Das Judentum in der Musik (Judaism in Music) in 1850, stating that Jews were incapable of true creativity • Hitler felt a deep connection to Wagner and as early as 1924 claimed that his own vision of a future Germany was evident in the composer’s music [FULL ARTICLE]
• The Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Chamber of Music) was founded just months after the Nazi party came to power. • It was set up to improve the situation of ‘Aryan’ musicians. • It also sought to ‘cleanse’ the musical scene of Jews, foreigners, and people who supported the political ‘left’. • The Jüdischer Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural League), was founded at the same time, to try and give jobs to the thousands of Jews fired under Nazi legislation. [FULL ARTICLE]
The Nazis attempted to ‘cleanse’ Germany of what they considered to be unsuitable cultural influences. The term entartet (‘degenerate’) was introduced by nineteenth-century psychologists to describe any deviance or clinical mental illness. The words "Jewish," "Degenerate," and "Bolshevik" were commonly used to describe any art or music not acceptable to the Third Reich. In 1938, an exhibition was mounted called ‘Entartete Musik’ (‘Degenerate Music’) in order to point out to the German public what music was degenerate (meaning ‘not normal or desirable’), to demonstrate its dangers, and celebrate its removal from German society. Jazz and ‘Jewish’ music and musicians were particular targets of attack and censorship. See articles on Ernest Krenek and Jonny spielt auf