Nazi and Resistance Culture
Course Number: 82-427
Taught in English
"How could the land of Goethe and Beethoven also have produced Hitler and the Holocaust?" This is a question that has frequently been posed about Germany. Germany has arguably been the dominant country in Western musical development since the sixteenth century; it has also witnessed an extraordinary flowering of literature, philosophy, and the visual arts. This course, conducted in English, will explore what happened to German culture from 1933 to 1945. In particular, it will examine the Nazi assault on modern (or "degenerate") art and the artistic response of the German and foreign resistance to Nazi tyranny. Arts explored will include literature, film, music, and the visual arts. We will read from the works of a variety of writers, including Ödön von Horváth, Anna Seghers, Bertolt Brecht, Adolf Hitler, Albert Speer, Hanns Johst, Joseph Goebbels, and Paul Celan. Film will also play a major role in the course, and students will be required to view (outside of class) and discuss at least seven Nazi-era films, including Veit Harlan's infamous antisemitic Jud Süß and the Nazi film Hitlerjunge Quex (Hitler Youth Quex), about a brave Hitler Youth martyr.
CONTENT NOTE: The Nazi regime was racist, antisemitic, misogynist, homophobic, anti-communist, anti-socialist, and antiliberal. The language they used and some of their opponents seldom met the standards of polite speech in the contemporary U.S.A. It is a certainty that students will find the events and attitudes discussed in this course and the language used between 1933-1945 to be offensive and distasteful subject matter. If you feel uncomfortable at any point in the semester, please set up an appointment to meet with the instructor individually. It is important that all members of our community contribute to a safe and positive learning atmosphere.