Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany

The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts

By Alan E. Steinweis

256 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4607-0
    Published: September 1996
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6479-1
    Published: November 2017
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6706-3
    Published: November 2017

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From 1933 to 1945, the Reich Chamber of Culture exercised a profound influence over hundreds of thousands of German artists and entertainers. Alan Steinweis focuses on the fields of music, theater, and the visual arts in this first major study of Nazi cultural administration, examining a complex pattern of interaction among leading Nazi figures, German cultural functionaries, ordinary artists, and consumers of culture. Steinweis gives special attention to Nazi efforts to purge the arts of Jews and other so-called undesirables.

Steinweis describes the political, professional, and economic environment in which German artists were compelled to function and explains the structure of decision making, thus showing in whose interest cultural policies were formulated. He discusses such issues as insurance, minimum wage statutes, and certification guidelines, all of which were matters of high priority to the art professions before 1933 as well as after the Nazi seizure of power. By elucidating the economic and professional context of cultural life, Steinweis helps to explain the widespread acquiescence of German artists to artistic censorship and racial 'purification.' His work also sheds new light on the purge of Jews from German cultural life.

About the Author

Alan E. Steinweis holds the Hyman Rosenberg Professorship of Modern European History and Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
For more information about Alan E. Steinweis, visit the Author Page.


"A major contribution to our understanding of the practical dimension involved in the formation of Nazi aesthetics."--American Historical Review

"Finely nuanced, fair-minded, and succinctly argued."--German Studies Review

"A masterful analysis of cultural politics and artistic organizations in Nazi Germany. Utilizing extensive new archival sources, Steinweis enriches our understanding of the institutional continuities that affected the careers of musicians and artists in Nazi Germany. [His] study is an important contribution to our knowledge about the development of Nazi cultural organizations and politics." --Sybil Milton, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum