MUS 1914W: Music in Nazi Germany

US-involvement with Nazi Germany and World Wars

Amy Beegle, “American Music Education 1941-1946: Meeting Needs and Making Adjustments during World War II.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education 26, no. 1 (2004): 54-67.

Steven Casey, The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War Against Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press 2017. Ebook.

Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: the Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful corporation. New York: Crown Publishers 2001. HD9696.2.U64 I253 2001 

J. Scott Goble, “Nationalism in United States Music Education during World War II,” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education 30, no. 2 (2009): 103-17.

David Clay Large, Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.

Laurel Leff, “A Tragic ‘Fight in the Family’: The New York Times , Reform Judaism and the Holocaust,”  American Jewish History 88, no. 1 (2000): 3-51

_____. Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper. Cambridge University Press, 2005. Course reserve

Mark, Michael L. "The Music Educators National Conference and World War II Home Front Programs." The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education 1, no. 1 (1980): 1-16.

World War II and the Cold War: The Rhetoric of Hearts and Minds, ed. Martin J. Medhurst. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2018. Online access

Martin J. Medhurst, Introduction: From the Preparedness Debate to the Evil Empire Speech: Hearts and Minds in Wartime Rhetoric /

1. Mary E. Stuckey, The Great Debate: The United States and the World, 1936-1941

2. Randall L. Bytwerk, The Great Battle of Dialectics and Rhetoric: Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler, 1937-1939

3. James J. Kimble, The US Home Front: Archetypal Opposition and Narrative Casting as Propaganda Strategies in World War II

Michaela Hoenicke Moore, Know Your Enemy: The American Debate on Nazism, 1933-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. E183.8.G3 H66 2010  

"This book analyzes the intellectual side of the American war effort against Nazi Germany. It shows how conflicting interpretations of "the German problem" shaped American warfare and postwar planning. The story of how Americans understood National Socialism in the 1930s and 1940s provides a counter-example to the usual tale of enemy images. The level of German popular support for the Nazi regime, the nature of Nazi war aims, and the postwar prospects of German democratization stood at the center of public and governmental debates. American public perceptions of the Third Reich - based in part on ethnic identification with the Germans - were often forgiving but also ill-informed. This conflicted with the Roosevelt administration's need to create a compelling enemy image. The tension between popular and expert views generated complex and fruitful discussions among America's political and cultural elites and produced insightful, yet contradictory interpretations of Nazism"-

Prologue: Thomas Wolfe and the Third Reich

Chapter 1. Memories of World War I: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Germany

Germany in American Popular and Elite Imagination Before World War I;  Patrician's View of Germany: Roosevelt's Early Expertise Reconsidered; Preparing for the First War Against Germany; Propaganda and Atrocities; Different Lessons: Wilsonian Peacemaking and Its Discontents; Interwar Revisionism of "Internationalists" and "Isolationists"’ Germany in American Popular and Elite Imagination Before World War I;  Patrician's View of Germany: Roosevelt's Early Expertise Reconsidered; Preparing for the First War Against Germany; Propaganda and Atrocities; Different Lessons: Wilsonian Peacemaking and Its Discontents; Interwar Revisionism of "Internationalists" and "Isolationists"

Chapter 2. News from the New Germany: Conflicting Interpretations, Contested Meanings, 1933-1940

The Basis: Journalistic Reporting; Edgar A. Mowrer, Nazism as Collective Religion; John Gunther, Psychopathology of a Dictatorship; William L. Shirer, The Germans Are Behind Hitler; Dorothy Thompson, Nazism Is a Disease with More Than Germanic Roots; Persecution: "Not an Exclusively Jewish Problem”; Sympathetic Views: Anticomraunist, Anti-Roosevelt, Antiwar Voices; What Americans Thought

Chapter 3.  The Prospect of War, 1933-1941 p. 26

Nazi Germany in the President's Sources; From Disease and Gangsters to the Irreconcilable Contrast; Conspiracies: The Threat of Domestic Subversion; The Great Debate and the "Unbelievable" Nazi Blueprint

Chapter 4. "The Principal Battleground of This War Is American Public Opinion"         

Public Opinion Analysts at Work; Liberal Propaganda Versus Domestic Unity; Roosevelt's Post-Pearl Harbor Statements; North Africa 1942: Military Action as Morale Booster; Unconditional Surrender as a War Aim      

Chapter 5. The Office of War Information: "Explaining Nazism to the American People Is No Easy Assignment"

The Strategy of Truth and Its Challenges; Further Probes into Images of Nazi Germany; The Rejection of "Racial" War; "Explain What Nazism Would Mean in Terms of Everyday American Life"; Consequences of the Strategy of Identification with the Germans

Chapter 6. Why We Fight: The Nature of the Enemy Seen Differently     

Why We Fight: The Movie; Geopolitics and the Nazi Plan for World Conquest; Public Opinion Begins to Shift; The State Department Weighs in on Nazi Ideology; Henry Wallace: The Götterdämmerung Has Come for Odin and His Crew

Chapter 7. Germans and Nazis   Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde    

"The Most Labyrinthine Issue of Our Time"; Mr. Hyde, the Automaton Valhalla in Transition: Are the Germans Behind Hitler?; Sympathy with Germans or Their Victims? Beyond Belief: The Murder of the Jews; Nazi Youth: A Time Bomb; What to Do with Germany? A National Debate; If the American People Made the Peace

Chapter 8. The German Disease and Nazism as Gangsterism

The Attraction of Psychological Approaches; The Paranoid Trend in German History; The Sociopsychological Precariousness of the Lower Middle Class; The Teutonic Family Drama; Official Support for the Therapeutic Approach; Nazism as Gangsterism; The Hitler Gang and the Conspiracy Against Humanity

Chapter 9.  German Peculiarities: Vansittartism in the American Wartime Debate         

Lord Vansittart;  Vansittartism in the American Debate; Who Supports Hitler? Emil Ludwig: A Vansittartist with Access to the President; Germany's Special Path on Screen; Containing the Monsters in Time and Space

Chapter 10. What Do You Do with People Like That?        

Hitchcock's Lifeboat: A Parable; Conflicting Postwar Plans: OSS Academics and the Larger Picture; The State Department's Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy; Rehabilitating Germany like a Delinquent Youth; The Case for Dismemberment; A Public Critique of the State Department

Alex Ross, “The Hitler Vortex - How American Racism Influenced Nazi Thought” (blog)

William L. Shirer, “This Is Berlin”: Radio Broadcasts from Nazi Germany. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press 1999. D743.9.S512 1999  

Whitman, James Q. Hitler's American Model: the United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. Princeton University Press, 2017.

Michael Zalampas,. Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in American Magazines 1923-1939. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State U Popular, 1989. DD256.5 .Z28x 1989.


Edwin Black, War against the Weak: Eugenics and America's campaign to create a master race. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003.

R. A. Soloway, “Feminism, fertility, and eugenics in Victorian and Edwardian England,” Political Symbolism in Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of George L. Mosse, ed. Seymour Drescher, David Sabean, and Allan Sharlin (New Brunswick, N. J.: Transaction Books, 1982).

Tamsen Wolff, Mendel’s Theatre: Heredity, Eugenics, and Early Twentieth-Century American Drama. Springer, 2009.

Nazi Concentration Camps


Susan Eischeid, The Truth about Fania Fénelon and the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ebook

Emilio Jani. My Voice Saved Me: Auschwitz 180046. Milan, Centauro Editrice, 1961. You would need to order this Interlibrary loan.

Gabriele Knapp, “Music as a Means of Survival: The Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz” trans. Katherine Deeg, Anette Bauer, and Liane Curtis, from “Musizieren als Überlebenshilfe. Das Frauenorchester in Auschwitz,” in Feministische Studien 1 (1996): 26-35. Course website.

Richard Newman, with Karen Kirtley, Alma Rosé: Vienna to Auschwitz.

Rosé directed a women’s orchestra in Auschwitz, the only women's musical ensemble in the Nazi camps. The orchestra provided its young musicians with a way to survive. The orchestra women maintained high standards and discipline to play music for the pleasure of their Nazi captors; in exchange they remained alive. Alma saved the lives of some four dozen members of the orchestra; not one was sent to the gas, though she herself died in the camp of sudden illness.

Daniel Reynolds, “Listening to Auschwitz.” From his book Postcards from AuschwitzHolocaust Tourism and the Meaning of Remembrance (New York, NY: NYU Press, 2018), 69-70.

Hans Vanderwerff,. "Bach in Auschwitz and Birkenau," 14 Mar. 2010.


Primary sources

Visual History Archive

Shmerke Kaczerginski, Songs of the Ghettos and Concentration Camps. New York: CYCO - Bicher Farlag, 1948.

Shoshana Kalisch, Yes, We Sang. NY: Harper and Row, 1985.

Eleanor Mlotek, We Are Here: Songs of the Holocaust. NY: The Workman's Circle, 1983.

Anton Gill, The Journey Back from Hell: Memoirs of Concentration Camp Survivors. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

Szymon Laks, Music of Another World, trans. Chester A. Kisiel.  Northwestern University Press, 2000. Mélodies d'Auschwitz. Paris: Cerf, 1991.

Rejected for publication in Poland because its portrayal of the Nazis was "too sympathetic", Music of Another World presents us with a disturbing description of a phenomenon about which little has been written: the presence of music among the crematoria of Auschwitz.

Compassionate yet detached, ironic yet pitilessly honest, Szymon Laks, who became kapellmeister of the Auschwitz orchestra, recounts the inconceivable spectacle of SS guards growing teary-eyed at the sound of familiar melodies and in the next moment giving themselves up to the furies of extermination. Music led to the salvation of some; for others it led the way to the gas chambers. That Laks and others were capable of making music at Auschwitz is almost beyond belief. Yet they did so with meager resources and full knowledge of what it would mean if they did not. Music of Another World is a testament not only to the human spirit but also to the music itself, the beauty of which Laks and others honored even as the lives of so many were destroyed. He writes: “Since for a long time I was a member of the orchestra at Auschwitz II and during a certain period its conductor, I regard it as my obligation to relate and in some way to commemorate this strange chapter in the history of music, a chapter that will probably not be written by any professional historian of this branch of art.”

Primo Levi, “The Drowned and the Saved,” Survival in Auschwitz. 1958; rpt as Survival in Auschwitz; and, The reawakening: two memoirs, trans. Stuart Woolf.  New York: Summit Books, 1986. Course website (pp. 87-100).

Piesn Obozowa (Camp Song), lyrics by Zbigniew Koczanowicz; music by Ludwik Zuk-Skarszewski.


Other Nazi concentration camps

Fisher, Atarah. "The Role of Music in Terms of the Relationship between Holocaust Survivors and Their Children, the Second Generation." Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 25 (Jan. 2016): 22.

Juliane Brauer, “How Can Music be Torturous?: Music in Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps,” Music and Politics 10, no. 1 (2016). Course website.

Guido Fackle, “Music in Concentration Camps 1933–1945,” Music & Politics 1, no. 1 (2007).

Fackler, Guido. “Cultural Behaviour and the Invention of Traditions: Music and Musical Practices in the Early Concentration Camps, 1933-6/7.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 45, no. 3, 2010, pp. 601–627.

Fania Fénelon, Playing for time, trans. Judith Landry. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997. Wilson Library  D810.J4F39613 1997.

Gila Flam, Singing for Survival: Songs of the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-1945. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1992

Shirli Gilbert, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 2005. ML3776.G54 2005. Course reserve.

Eckhard John, “Music and Concentration Camps: An Approximation.” Journal of Musicological Research 20, no. 4 (2001): 269-323. Course website.

Joshua Jacobson, “Music in the Holocaust.” The Choral Journal 36:5 (December, 1995): 9-21.

Joseph Moreno, “Orpheus in hell: music and therapy in the Holocaust,” The Arts in Psychotherapy 26, no. 1 (1999): 3-14. Course website.

Kalisch, Shoshana, 1985. Yes, We Sang!: Songs of the Ghettos and Concentration Camps, New York, Harper & Row.

Tzvetan Todorov, Facing the Extreme: Moral Life in the Concentration Camps. New York: Henry Holt 1996. D804.3.T6313 1997. Course reserve.

Willoughby, Susan. Art, Music, and Writings from the Holocaust. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2003. 

Wlodarski, Amy Lynn. Musical Witness and Holocaust Representation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Memoirs & primary sources

Walter Kempowski, Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary from Hitler's Last Birthday to Ve Day

Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History [vol. 1]. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986. Course reserve.

Frederic C. Tubach, German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011. Chapter 1: Jobs and the Olympic Games; Chapter 2: Jungvolk and Hitler youth; Chapter 3: War and the Holocaust; Chapter 4: In Search of Individuals; Chapter 5: German Soldiers Write Home. DD256.6 .T83 2011  

Victor Klemperer, I will Bear Witness: a Diary of the Nazi Years, trans. by Martin Chalmers. New York: Random House, 1998-1999. PC2064.K5A3 1998.

______.  The Language of the Third Reich: LTI, Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist’s Notebook, trans. Martin Brady. London and New Brunswick, N. J.: Athlone Press, 2000. PF3074.K613 2000. Course reserve.

Under the Third Reich, the official language of Nazism came to be used as a political tool. The existing social culture was manipulated and subverted as the German people had their eithical values and their thoughts about politics, history and daily life recast in a new language. This Notebook, originally called LTI (Lingua Tertii Imperii) - the abbreviation itself a parody of Nazified language - was written out of Klemperer's conviction that the language of the Third Reich helped to create its culture. As Klemperer writes: 'it isn't only Nazi actions that have to vanish, but also the Nazi cast of mind, the typical Nazi way of thinking, and its breeding ground: the language of Nazism.

Friedrich Reck, Diary of a Man in Despair, trans. Paul Rubens (New York: New York Review of Books Classics), 2013. Electronic source. 
Reck expressed his anti-Hitler and anti-Nazi views in his diary entries from 1936 to 1944, when he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp.

Robert Michael and Karin Doerr, Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi-German: an English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich, forewords by Paul Rose, Leslie Morris, Wolfgang Mieder. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. Reference PF 3680 M48 2002.

World War II

Nicholas Stargardt, The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939-1945: Citizens and Soldiers. New York: Basic Books, 2015. DD256.5.S7511 2015  
As early as 1941, Allied victory in World War II seemed all but assured. How and why, then, did the Germans prolong the barbaric conflict for three and a half more years? In The German War, acclaimed historian Nicholas Stargardt draws on an extraordinary range of primary source materials-personal diaries, court records, and military correspondence-to answer this question. He offers an unprecedented portrait of wartime Germany, bringing the hopes and expectations of the German people-from infantrymen and tank commanders on the Eastern front to civilians on the home front-to vivid life.

Dietmar Süss. Death from the Skies: How the British and Germans Survived Bombing in World War II. Oxford University Press, 2011.


Visual arts in Nazi Germany

Mary Chan, “Egon Schiele: The Leopold Collection Vienna,” MoMA No. 26 (1997): 2-7.

Hector Feliciano. The Lost Museum: The Nazi conspiracy to steal the world's greatest works of art. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997.

Patricia Kennedy Grimsted,. “Displaced Archives and Restitution Problems on the Eastern Front in the Aftermath of the Second World War.” Contemporary European History 6.1 (Mar. 1997): 27-74.

Harold James, The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property. Cambridge University Press, 2004.          

Michael J. Kurtz, America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe's Cultural Treasure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Howard N. Spiegler, “Portrait of Wally: The U.S. Government's Role in Recovering Holocaust Looted Art.” Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Aftermath. New York University Press, 2006. 280-285. eBook.

Ronald W. Zweig, The Gold Train: The Destruction of the Jews and the Second World War's   Most Terrible Robbery. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.

Karl E. Meyer, “Who (Really) Owns the Past?” World Policy Journal. 23.1 (Spring 2006): 85-91.

Nicholas, Lynn H. The rape of Europa: the fate of Europe's treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Petropoulos, Jonathan. “Art Historians and Nazi Plunder.” New England Review 21.1 (Winter 2000): 5ff         

Jonathan Petropoulos, Artists under Hitler: collaboration and survival in Nazi Germany. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2014.
NX180.N37 P48 2014.

(1) The Fight over Modernism, p. 19; (2) The Pursuit of Accommodation, p. 59; (3) The Continuation of Modernism in Nazi Germany, p. 49; (4) Walter Gropius, p. 63; (5) Paul Hindemith, p. 88; (6) Gottfried Benn, p. 114; (8) Emil Nolde, p. 154; (9) Richard Strauss, p. 193; (11) Leni Riefenstahl, p. 233; (13) Albert Speer, p. 278.           

________. Art as Politics in the Third Reich, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1996.

________. The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany, Penguin Press, London, 2000.

Reyhan, Patricia Youngblood. “A Chaotic Palette: Conflict of Laws in litigation between Original Owners and Good-Faith Purchasers of Stolen Art.” Duke Law Journal. 50.4 (2001): 955-1043.

Nazi society

Saul Friedländer, Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch and Death, trans. Thomas Weyr. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Course reserve.

Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003. DD256.5.K6185 2003. Course reserve.

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy and Brian Holmes, “The Nazi Myth,” Critical Inquiry 16, no. 2 (1990): 291-312.

Martin Kitchen, The Third Reich: Charisma and Community. Longman, 2008. DD256.5 .K4756 2008

What was the secret of Hitler’s extraordinary popularity? What was the appeal of National Socialism? Why did the German people stay loyal to the Reich even when it seemed that all was lost? How ordinary people can fall prey to fanatical, irrational, even apocalyptic ideas in times of seeming desperation.  In exploring such key concerns as the role of ideology in National Socialism, the cooption of elites, the descent into war over ‘race and space’ and the culminating horror of the holocaust, Kitchen compares Nazism to a ‘secular religion’ whose charismatic leader retained enormous power over the minds and bodies of an entire population even when the military and economic basis of its appeal began to erode



Oxford Music Online, via U of M Library website, is the authoritative source in musicology, especially biography.

Music & torture

Suzanne G. Cusick, “Music as torture / Music as weapon,” Transcultural Music Review 10 (2006). Course website.

Lily E. Hirsch, “Weaponizing Classical Music: Crime Prevention and Symbolic Power in the Age of Repetition,” Journal of Popular Music Studies,19, no 4 (2007): 342–358. Course website.

Lily E. Hirsch, Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment. University of Michigan Press, 2012

American music & politics

Elizabeth Bergman Crist, Music for the Common Man: Aaron Copland during the Depression and War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. ML410.C756C75 2005. Ebook, via MCAT.

Nicholas Tawa, The Great American Symphony: Music, Depression, and the War. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009. ML1255 .T39 2009

Russian music

Laurel E. Fay, Shostakovich: a life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. ML410.S53 F39 2000

Marina Frolova-Walker, Russian music and nationalism; from Glinka to Stalin. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007. ML300 .F76 2007.


Music, society, war

Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. ML1255 .T39 2009.

Jane F. Fulcher, Renegotiating French Identity: Musical Culture and Creativity in France during Vichy and the German Occupation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press 2018.

Kate Guthrie, “Soundtracks to the ‘People’s War,’” Music and Letters 94, no. 2 (2013): 324–333. Review of literature on music and World War II.

Jonathan Pieslak, Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009. ML3477.P54 2009. Course reserve. Chapter 1—Music and Contemporary Military Recruiting. Chapter 2—Music as an Inspiration for Combat. Chapter 3—Looking at the Opposing Forces. Chapter 4—Music as a Psychological Tactic. Chapter 5—Music as a Form of Soldier Expression. Chapter 6—Metal and Rap Ideologies in the Iraq War

Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. ML197.R76 2007. Course reserve.

Regina M. Sweeney, Singing Our Way to Victory: French Cultural Politics and Music during the Great War. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2001. ML3489 .S94 2001.

Glenn Watkins, Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. 2003. ML197.W436 2003


Music in Nazi Germany

Great conductors of the Third Reich: art in the service of evil, by Stefan Zucher. New York : Bel Canto Society, 2005. footage filmed between 1933 and 1943. DVD 1039

Eric Schulz, Max Lorenz - Wagner's mastersinger. DVD-1349. About a celebrated opera tenor; examines the heroic ideal and how Wagner's characters were portrayed onstage at this time

Reinhold Brinkmann, “The Distorted Sublime: Music and National Socialist Ideology—A Sketch,” Music and Nazism: ­Art under Tyranny, 1933-1945, ed. Michael H. Kater and Albrecht Riethmüller. Laaber: Laaber, 2003.

Richard S. Hill, “Concert Life in Berlin Season 1943-44,” Notes, Second Series  1, No. 3 (June 1944): 13-33. course website.

Michael Kater, The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. ML275.5K38 1996. Course website (pp. 203-211, on Strauss).

_____. Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. ML390.K198 2000. Course reserve. Chapter 8—Richard Strauss: Jupiter Compromised.

Erik Levi, Music in the Third Reich. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

_____. “Opera under the Third Reich,” from Theatre under the Nazis, ed. John London. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000. PN2654.T53x 2000

Michael Meyer, The Politics of Music in the Third Reich. New York: P. Lang, 1991. ML275.5.M49 1991.

Karen Painter, Symphonic Aspirations: German Music and Politics, 1933-1945. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008. Course website (Chapter 7, “Symphonic Defeat,” excerpt).

Pamela M. Potter, “What Is ‘Nazi Music?” Musical Quarterly 88, no. 3 (2005): 428-455. Course website.

_____. “Musical Life in Berlin from Weimar to Hitler,” in Music and Nazism: ­Art under Tyranny, 1933-1945, ed. Michael H. Kater and Albrecht Riethmüller (Laaber: Laaber, ­2003), pp. 90-101. [how should I add the PDF]

Toby Thacker, Music after Hitler, 1945-1955. Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 

Jewish musical life

Website on “suppressed” music of the early 20th century

Lily E. Hirsch, A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany: Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 2010. ML3917.G3 H57 2010

Lily E. Hirsch, Anneliese Landau’s Life in Music : Nazi Germany to Émigré California Rochester: University of Rochester Press 2019. Online Access

Popular music & Nazi Germany

Michael Kater, Different drummers: ­Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany (New York:­ Oxford University Press,­ 1992). ML3509.G3 K37 1992.

Michael Meyer, “The SA Song Literature: A Singing Ideological Posture,” Journal of Popular Culture 11, no. 3 (1977): 568-580.

Jon Stratton, “Jews, Punk and the Holocaust: From the Velvet Underground to the Ramones: The Jewish-American Story,” Popular Music 24, no. 1 (2005) (pp. 79-105). course website.

Peter Wicke and Richard Deveson, “Sentimentality and High Pathos: Popular Music in Fascist Germany.” Popular Music 5, Continuity and Change (1985): 149-158.

Jonathan O. WipplingerThe Jazz Republic Music, Race, and American Culture in Weimar Germany Social history, popular culture, and politics in Germany. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 2017.


Music in postwar Germany

David Monod, Settling Scores: German Music, Denazification, and The Americans, 1945-1953. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. ML275.5.M66 2005. On reserve.

Toby Thacker, Music after Hitler, 1945-1955. Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 

Tina Frühauf, “Five Days in Berlin: The “Menuhin Affair” of 1947 and the Politics of Jewish Post-Holocaust Identity,” The Musical Quarterly 96, no. 1 (2013): 14-49.


Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic

Reichsorchester: The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich. Film by Enrique Sánchez Lansch (available online). Shows the commemorative speech by Goebbels from the concert podium on the occasion of Hitler’s birthday

Nees, Verena. “Das Reichsorchester – The Berlin Philharmonic and Nazis.”  World Socialist Web Site. 18 December 2007. International Committee of the Fourth International. 5 April 2010.

Roger Allen, Wilhelm Furtwängler: Art and the Politics of the Unpolitical. Boydell & Brewer, 2019. Selected chapters: Furtwängler and the Nazi State I [1933-1935]; Furtwängler in the Nazi State II [1935-1945]; Reflection and Reaction: Furtwängler in the post-war period [1945-1950].

Pamela M. Potter, “The Nazi ‘Seizure’ of the Berlin Philharmonic, or the Decline of a Bourgeois Musical Institution.” In Glenn R. Cuomo, ed., National Socialist Cultural Policy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. Pp. 39-65.

Fred K. Prieberg, Trial of Strength: Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Third Reich, trans. Christopher Dolan. London: Quartet Books, 1991. ML 422 F92 P713x 1991. Course reserve.

Sam H. Shirakawa, The Devil's Music Master: the Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwängler. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. ML 422 F92 S53 1992. Course reserve.

Fritz Trümpi, The Political Orchestra: the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics during the Third Reich, translated by Kenneth Kronenberg. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.



Reinhold Brinkmann, “In the Time(s) of the ‘Eroica,’ trans. Irene Zedlacher, in Beethoven and his World, ed. Scott Burnham and Michael P. Steinberg. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000, pp. 1-26. Influence of the French Revolution on Beethoven.

Esteban Buch, Beethoven’s Ninth: A Political History, trans. Richard Miller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. ML410.B42B8213 2003. Chapter 3—The Ode to joy and the Emperor’s anthem (pp. 45-65): Google books. Chapter 4—Beethoven and the Concert of Europe (pp. 66-86): Google books to p. 68. Chapter 5—The Ninth symphony—Political reception of the Ode to joy (pp. 87-110). Chapter 6—The romantic cult (pp. 111-132): Chapter 7—The 1845 ceremony at Bonn (pp. 133-55): Google books to p. 140. Chapter 8—The Ninth in the era of nationalist movements (pp. 156-177)

Scott Burnham, Beethoven Hero. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. ML410.B42B84 2000. Course reserve. Chapter 4—Cultural Values: Beethoven, The Goethezeit, and the Heroic Concept of Self.

Caryl Clark, “Forging Identity: Beethoven’s ‘Ode” as European Anthem,” Critical Inquiry 23, no. 4 (1997): 789-807. Course website.

David B. Dennis, Beethoven in German Politics, 1870-1989. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. ML410.B4D34 1996. Course reserve.

Lydia Goehr, “The ‘Ode to Joy’: Music and Musicality in Tragic Culture,” in  Elective affinities: musical essays on the history of aesthetic theory. New York : Columbia University Press, 2008, pp. 45-78 (Google Books)

Nicholas Mathew, “History under Erasure: Wellingtons Sieg, the Congress of Vienna, and the Ruination of Beethoven’s Heroic Style,” The Musical Quarterly 89. no. 1 (2006). Course website.

______.  “Beethoven’s Political Music, the Handelian Sublime, and the Aesthetics of Prostration,” Nineteenth-Century Music 33, no. 2 (2009). Course website.

Stephen­ Rumph, Beethoven after Napoleon: Political Romanticism in the Late Works, California studies in 19th-century Music. Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2004. ML410.B4 S93 2004.

Harvey Sachs, The Ninth—Beethoven and the World in 1824. New York: Random House, 2010. ML410.B4 S117 2010


Wagner, Judaism in Music (1850). Course website.

Leon Botstein, “German Jews and Wagner,” Richard Wagner and his World, ed. Thomas S. Grey. Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press 2000. Electronic accessibility via MCAT, pp. 151-200.

Jonathan Car, The Wagner Clan: The Saga of Germany's Most Illustrious and Infamous Family

James Loeffler, “Richard Wagner's ‘Jewish Music’: Antisemitism and Aesthetics in Modern Jewish Culture,” Jewish Social Studies 15, no. 2 (2009): 2-38.

Stephen McClatchie, “Götterdämmerung, Führerdämmerung? The Opera Quarterly 23, no. 2-3 (2007): 184-198. Course website.

Frederic Spotts, Bayreuth: A History of the Festival. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. ML410.W2S6 1994. Course reserve.

Brigitte Hamann, Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth, trans. Alan Bance. London: Granta, 2005. ML429.W136 H3613 2005. Course reserve.

Hanan Bruen, “Wagner in Israel: A Conflict among Aesthetic, Historical, Psychological, and Social Considerations,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 27, no. 1 (1993): 99ff.

Berthold Hoeckner, “Wagner and the Origin of Evil,” Opera Quarterly 23, no. 2-3 (2007): 151-183. Course website.

Christopher Nicholson, Richard and Adolf: Did Richard Wagner Incite Adolf Hitler to Commit the Holocaust. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing, 2007. ML410.W1 N63 2007

Hannu Salmi, Imagined Germany: Richard Wagner's National Utopia. New York: P. Lang 1999. DD210.S24 1999.

Na'ama Sheffi, The Ring of myths: the Israelis, Wagner, and the Nazis. Brighton [England] ; Portland [Or.]: Sussex Academic Press 2001. ML410.W19 S4513 2001.

Chapter 2. Legends, Tribes, and anti-Semitism: Ideas and Issues in Wagner’s Work (available on Google Books)

Chapter 3. Racism, Music, and Power: The Nazification of Wagner

Chapter 4. Music, Politics, and Morality: The Beginning of the Boycott in Palestine.

Chapter 5. Toward Germany, Away from Germans

Chapter 6. The 1960s: An End to Forgetting—The Establishment of Symbols.

Terry Teachout, “Why Israel Still Shuts Wagner Out,” Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009 [add link?]

Marc A. Weiner, Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. ML410.W19 W23 1995  



Nicholas Attfield, “Bruckner in the Theatre: On the Politics of ‘Absolute’ Music in Performance,” Music, Theatre, and Politics in Germany: 1848 to the Third Reich, ed. Nikolaus Bacht (Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 161-76. Course website.

Dermot Gault, The New Bruckner: Compositional Development and the Dynamics of Revision. Farnham, Surrey ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, 2011. ML410.B88 G38 2011

Bryan Gilliam, “The Annexation of Anton Bruckner: Nazi Revisionism and the Politics of Appropriation,” Musical Quarterly 78, no. 3 (1994): 584-604. Course website.

Joseph Goebbels, “Bruckner Address in Regensburg (6 June 1937),” trans. John Michael Cooper,” Musical Quarterly 78, no. 3 (1994): 605-609. Course website.

Benjamin Korstvedt, “Anton Bruckner in the Third Reich and After: an Essay on Ideology and Bruckner Reception,” Musical Quarterly 80 (1996): 132-160. Course website.


Richard Strauss

Bryan Gilliam, “‘Friede im Innern’: Strauss's Public and Private Worlds in the Mid 1930s,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 57, no. 3 (2004): 565-597. course website. This essay focuses on the years 1935-36, a time of significant change in the history of the Nazi regime. This period also saw significant changes in Strauss's life and worldview. Strauss lost a prized librettist (Stefan Zweig) in 1935, the same year that their opera, Die schweigsame Frau, was banned. Strauss was then fired from the presidency of the Reichsmusikkammer and within twenty-four hours was negotiating reluctantly with a new librettist of modest abilities (Joseph Gregor). On a broader level, this period saw the formation of the Nuremberg Race Laws, a reconfiguration of the Reichskulturkammer, and Hitler's four-year plan for war. As the Nazis expanded, Strauss grew inward, turning to his late nineteenth-century roots in German Romanticism and Innerlichkeit informed by Goethe and Nietzsche. The relationship between Strauss's public and private worlds is explored through discussions of his completed works as well as a fragmentary cello concerto and works for male chorus in a sketchbook from this time.

Music in World War II

Annegret Fauser, Sounds of War: Music in the United States during World War II. Oxford University Press, 2013.



McDonough, Frank. Opposition and resistance in Nazi Germany. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Nazi Occupation

Alice Kaplan, The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000. Course reserve.

Biography & memoir

Martin Goldsmith, The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 2000. ML395.G65 2000.

Goldsmith is the former host of National Public Radio’s Performance Today.) In 1936, his parents, Günther Goldschmidt and Rosemarie Gumpert, were young German Jews with musical gifts—his in the flute, hers in the viola. They met in one of the Jewish orchestras the Nazis allowed in the wake of laws prohibiting Jewish participation in Germany’s general cultural life. Love ensued—as did the inexorable erosion of Jews’ rights and livelihoods.

Abraham Plotkin. An American in Hitler's Berlin: Abraham Plotkin's Diary, 1932-33, ed. Catherine Collomp and Bruno Groppo. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

William L. Shirer (1904-1993), Berlin diary; the journal of a foreign correspondent, 1934-1941. New York, A. A. Knopf 1942. 940.93143 Sh65a. Excerpt on course website.

_____.  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; a History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.

Post-1945 memory, commemoration, education

Michaela Dixon, “The Unreliable Perpetrator: Negotiating Narrative Perspective at Museums of the Third Reich and the GDR,” German Life and Letters 70, no. 2 (2017): 1468–0483.

Thomas D. Fallace, "The Origins of Holocaust Education in American Public School," Holocaust and Genocide Studies (2006) 20 (1): 80-102.

Luke B. Howard, “Motherhood, ‘Billboard,’ and the Holocaust: Perceptions and Receptions of Górecki's Symphony No. 3,” Musical Quarterly 82, no. 1 (1998): 131-159.

Gilad Margalit, Guilt, Suffering, and Memory: Germany Remembers Its Dead of World War II. Indiana University Press, 2010. D804.3 .M365713 2009 Course Reserve

Chapter 1: Coping with Guilt: The Germans and the Nazi Past                        11

Chapter 2: Remembering National Suffering in World War II                        43

Chapter 3: German Memory and Remembrance of the Dead from 1945 to the 1960s       

Chapter 4: Memorial Days in West Germany and Their Metamorphosis, 1945-2006   

Chapter 5: The Bombing of Germany's Cities and German Memory Politics, 1945-1989

Chapter 6: Flight and Expulsion in German Political Culture and Memory since 1945   

Chapter 7: The Resurgence of the German Sense of Victimization since Reunification  Karen Painter, “Requiem for the Reich: Tragic Programming after the Fall of Stalingrad.” Tragedy and the Tragic in German Literature, Art, and Thought, ed. Stephen Dowden and Thomas P. Quinn. Camden Press, 2014, pp. 216-228. PT148.T69 T73 2014 (Wilson Library)

Amy Sodaro, “Memory, History, and Nostalgia in Berlin’s Jewish Museum,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 26 (2013): 77-91.

George Steiner, Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. New York: Atheneum, 1967. 801 St35. Course reserve.

Silke Wenk, “Sacrifice and victimization in the commemorative practices of Nazi genocide after German unification—memorials and visual metaphors,” in Sacrifice and National Belonging in Twentieth-Century Germany, ed. Greg Eghigian and Matthew Paul Berg. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002. DD256.48 .E34 2002

James E. Young, “The Counter-Monument: Memory against Itself in Germany Today,” Critical Inquiry, 18, no. 2 (1992): 267-296.

Young, James Edward. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993. D804.3 .Y68 1993 (Wilson Library; Art/Architecture Library) 


Morality and philosophy

Philip G. Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. New York: Random House, 2007. Zimbardo led the controversial 1971 Stanford prison experiment, in which students took authoritarian roles as mock prison guards. BF789.E94 Z56 2007. Course reserve.


Neo-Nazis and Nazism in pop culture

Matthew Boswell. Holocaust Impiety in Literature, Popular Music, and Film. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. 2012.  PN56.H55 B67 2012 (Wilson General Collection)

Kirsten Dyckm. Reichsrock: The International Web of White-Power and Neo-Nazi Hate Music. Rutgers University Press, 2017.  ML3918.R63 D87 2017 (Music Library)


Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 4:16 PM