HIST230 - THE NAZI REVOLUTION: POWER AND IDEOLOGY

Description: 
More than seventy years have passed since Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allied Powers on May 8, 1945, but no agreement has emerged on what Nazism was, how Hitler’s regime functioned, how much support it had, why and how it managed the extermination of European Jewry, whether it was ‘a terror state’ or rested on a broad popular consensus. This course will look at Nazism from several angles and focus, in particular, on the power of its ideology and its embodiment and dissemination by the arts. Nazism took the arts very seriously. Hitler always saw himself as an artist and he made certain that the regime expressed the Nazi ‘revolution’ in new and radical forms of art, especially a new culture of the body – strength and beauty combined in a pure, warlike Aryan. The course will investigate the development of the avant-garde arts beyond the first third of the 20th century into the politics of the Nazi regime. We will focus on the relationship between art and politics in the “Age of extremes” (Eric Hobsbawm). The course will also look at the nature of Nazi power and the structure of the Nazi state: how it developed and grew after 1933. The rearmament of Germany and the smashing of the Versailles settlement of 1919, two main aims of Nazi foreign policy, were accomplished by 1936, and the growth of the power of the SS changed the internal politics of the regime. Was ‘terror’ essential to Hitler’s regime and what does the word ‘describe’? Finally, the course will consider the war and Hitler’s aims for world conquest, the extermination of the Jews and the final stage of complete destructiveness at home and abroad. The course will be an active seminar in which students will be expected to read and discuss sources in class. These sources will combine scholarly analyses, works of art and their interpretation, together with political statements and ideological sources. Students will be expected to present one set of literature or class material, connected to one of the themes of the seminar. The course will end with a take-home exam composed of interpretations of selections from the texts we have read and an essay on the issues raised by discussions in class.
Instructors: 
STEINBERG, JONATHAN
KANT, MARION
Day and Time: 
T 0130PM-0430PM
Room: 

MCNEIL CENTER FOR EARLY AMERI 105

Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: