Settling Scores

German Music, Denazification, and the Americans, 1945-1953

By David Monod

344 pp., 5.5 x 9.25, 11 illus. , notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3404-3
    Published: November 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-7644-2
    Published: March 2006

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Classical music was central to German national identity in the early twentieth century. The preeminence of composers such as Bach and Beethoven and artists such as conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler and pianist Walter Gieseking was cited by the Nazis as justification for German expansionism and as evidence of Aryan superiority. In the minds of many Americans, further German aggression could be prevented only if the population's faith in its moral and cultural superiority was shattered. In Settling Scores, David Monod examines the attempted "denazification" of the German music world by the Music Control Branch of the Information Control Division of Military Government.

The occupying American forces barred from the stage and concert hall all former Nazi Party members and even anyone deemed to display an "authoritarian personality." They also imported European and American music. These actions, however, divided American officials and outraged German audiences and performers. Nonetheless, the long-term effects were greater than has been previously recognized, as German government officials regained local control and voluntarily limited their involvement in artistic life while promoting "new" (anti-Nazi) music.

About the Author

David Monod is professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. He is author of Store Wars: Retailers and the Culture of Mass Marketing, 1890-1939.
For more information about David Monod, visit the Author Page.


"This insightful book is clearly organized and elegantly written. . . . Engaging, authoritative . . . poised to become required reading for all historians and musicologists interested in cultural rebirth amidst the postwar ruins of occupied Germany."--American Studies

"This important book has provided a framework and a methodology that will help to guide others."--European History Quarterly

"Offers a long-awaited analysis of the American Military Government's precarious navigation in the music world. . . . Highly readable and engaging history."--Central European History

"Settling Scores is a thorough and valuable work that complicates the existing picture of the early years of American influence on the musical world of postwar Germany."--Current Musicology

"Monod thoughtfully addresses the seemingly contradictory situation of overall policy failure with grassroots success and unexpected levels of Americanization and democratization. Overall, the book is written with genuine understanding of the place of music in German society, and adds a useful cultural dimension to the current body of literature of postwar Germany."--CHOICE

"Settling Scores is a remarkable book. It is one of the best works on the cultural history of the American occupation of Germany, reflecting an exceptional understanding for the policy processes of the U.S. military government. It is thoughtful, incisive, and wise in its treatment of the sensitive question of the responsibility of German musicians for their response to the Nazi state. A brilliant achievement!"--Thomas Alan Schwartz, Vanderbilt University