Tell German Youths Richard Wagner Was Really a Nazi

The bi-monthly organ of the Nazi Youth Movement, headed by Baldur von Shirach, a well-printed magazine in a blood-red cover, and armed with the seductive title “Will and Power”, devoted a recent number to Richard Wagner, Chancellor Hitler’s favorite composer. In “Mein Kampf”, Hitler has told of the intoxicating impression a Waguer opera made upon him at an early age.

At least four of the articles in the magazine indicate the efforts being made by the Nazis to transform the anarchistic composer into a disciplined Nazi. Among the articles are: “Richard Wagner and Us”, “Richard Wagner and the Nineteenth Century”, “Richard Wagner the Prophet of the German Revolution”, “Richard Wagner and German Socialism”, “Richard Wagner in Conflict with the Jews”; “Richard Wagner as a Composer” and “Parsifal Defence.”

The editor, in a short foreword, says:

“In Richard Wagner we shake hands with one of the most passionate fighters against the nineteenth century.”

A closer examination of all the philosophically-phrased articles-writers for Nazi journals have not lost the German vices of fogginess and verbosity-confirms one’s suspicions. Wagner is being straight-jacketed into the vague National-Socialist philosophy.

With a clever quotation of statements made in writing by the literary composer, this is not difficult. Herr Kaufmann introduces Nazi youth to the famous article, now covered with dust: “Das Judentum in der Musik”, which appeared in 1850.

Wagner is applauded for daring to attack the Jews as non-creative in the realm of German culture. “And yet”, says Herr Kaufmann plaintively, “at that time both Jewish music and Jewish composers dominated public taste.” However, “in these days, through Adolf Hitler’s fight for German culture people have had their eyes opened to the character and effect of Jewish influence in art and music.” Much of the article deals with the forgotten quarrel over Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn.

Dr. Ganzer, in his article on Wagner as a forerunner of the German Revolution, shows that Wagner was the greatest enemy of Liberalism and Materialism, and although for a time he may have seemed to have belonged to the democrat camp, actually he fought against that “foul Liberal spirit.”

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