Robert O. Paxton

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The Nazi-Fas­cist New Or­der for Euro­pean Cul­ture by Ben­jamin G. Martin

The Nazi-Fas­cist New Or­der for Euro­pean Cul­ture by Ben­jamin G. Martin. Har­vard Univer­sity Press, 370 pp., $39.95

“When I hear the word ‘cul­ture,’ I reach for my re­volver.” This philis­tine wise­crack is of­ten at­trib­uted to Air Mar­shal Her­mann Go­er­ing, or some other Nazi no­table. Ben­jamin Martin sets us straight on its source: the 1933 play Sch­lageter by the Nazi Party mem­ber Hanns Johst, in which a char­ac­ter says: “When I hear the word ‘cul­ture’ I re­lease the catch on my Brown­ing.” Martin’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing book The Nazi Fas­cist New Or­der for Euro­pean Cul­ture shows how badly astray this fa­mous quip leads us: cul­tural con­cerns were in fact vi­tal to the im­pe­rial projects of Hitler and Mus­solini. We do not nor­mally as­so­ciate their vi­o­lent and ag­gres­sive regimes with “soft power.” But the two dic­ta­tors were would-be in­tel­lec­tu­als— Adolf Hitler a failed painter ine­bri­ated with the mu­sic of Wag­ner, and Mus­solini a one­time school­teacher and nov­el­ist. Un­like Amer­i­can philistines, they thought lit­er­a­ture and the arts were im­por­tant, and wanted to weaponize them as ad­juncts to mil­i­tary con­quest. Martin’s book adds a sig­nif­i­cant di­men­sion to our un­der­stand­ing of how the Nazi and Fas­cist em­pires were con­structed. Ger­man power and suc­cess gave the Nazi case par­tic­u­lar salience. The spe­cial mean­ing of Kul­tur in Ger­mans’ eval­u­a­tion of them­selves is an im­por­tant part of the story. Ac­cord­ing to a fa­mous es­say by Nor­bert Elias, the mean­ing of Kul­tur for Ger­mans is hardly com­pre­hen­si­ble with­out ref­er­ence to a par­tic­u­lar his­tor­i­cal de­vel­op­ment.* Kul­tur, he ex­plains (along with Bil­dung, or ed­u­ca­tion), de­noted in pre-uni­fi­ca­tion Ger­many those qual­i­ties that the in­tel­lec­tu­als and pro­fes­sion­als of the small, iso­lated Ger­man mid­dle class claimed for them­selves in re­sponse to the dis­dain of the mi­nor Ger­man no­bles who em­ployed them: in­tel­lec­tual achieve­ment, of course, but also sim­ple virtues like au­then­tic­ity, hon­esty, and sin­cer­ity.

Ger­man courtiers, by con­trast, ac­cord­ing to the pos­ses­sors of Kul­tur, had ac­quired “civ­i­liza­tion” from their French tu­tors: man­ners, so­cial pol­ish, the cul­ti­va­tion of ap­pear­ances. As the Ger­man mid­dle class as­serted it­self in the nine­teenth cen­tury, the par­tic­u­lar virtues of Kul­tur be­came an im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent in na­tional self-def­i­ni­tion. The in­fe­rior val­ues of “civ­i­liza­tion” were no longer at­trib­uted to an erst­while French-ed­u­cated Ger­man no­bil­ity, but to the French them­selves and to the West in gen­eral.

By 1914, the con­trast be­tween Kul­tur and Zivil­i­sa­tion had taken on a more ag­gres­sively na­tion­al­ist tone. Dur­ing World War I Ger­man pa­tri­otic pro­pa­ganda vaunted the su­pe­ri­or­ity of Ger­many’s sup­pos­edly rooted, organic, spir­i­tual Kul­tur over the al­legedly ef­fete, shal­low, cos­mopoli­tan, ma­te­ri­al­ist, Jewish-in­flu­enced “civ­i­liza­tion” of West­ern Europe. Martin’s book shows how vig­or­ously the Nazis ap­plied this tra­di­tional con­struct. Hitler in­vested con­sid­er­able money and time in the 1930s, and even af­ter World War II be­gan, in an ef­fort to take over Europe’s cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions and turn them into in­stru­ments of Ger­man power. These projects had some ini­tial suc­cess. In the end, how­ever, they col­lapsed along with the mil­i­tary power they were de­signed to re­in­force.

In a par­al­lel and even less en­dur­ing ef­fort, Mus­solini’s Fas­cist regime tried to es­tab­lish the pri­macy of Ital­ian cul­ture un­der the um­brella of Hitler’s con­quests. Mus­solini’s cul­tural ex­ec­u­tives, such as his Min­is­ter for Press and Pro­pa­ganda Dino Al­fieri, as­serted that the Mediter­ranean and clas­si­cal tra­di­tion of Italy was the proper foun­da­tion of a Euro­pean “cul­tural Axis.” Hav­ing thrown in their lot defini­tively with Hitler, the Ital­ians could hope to be the con­tem­po­rary Greece to Ger­many’s new Rome, but the Nazi lead­ers never en­ter­tained the slight­est doubt that Ger­man Kul­tur was the foun­da­tion stone of the “new cul­tural or­der” for Europe. An ex­ten­sive net­work of in­ter­na­tional cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions al­ready ex­isted be­fore Hitler came to power. They had been greatly ex­panded af­ter 1919 in the or­bit of the League of Na­tions. Hitler saw them cyn­i­cally as in­stru­ments of French cul­tural in­flu­ence and as a re­in­force­ment of Al­lied hege­mony. Just as he planned to over­throw the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem set up by the vic­to­ri­ous Al­lies af­ter World War I, he was de­ter­mined to over­throw the demo­cratic cul­tural net­work. He in­tended to re­place it with his own or­ga­ni­za­tions head­quar­tered in Ber­lin and ded­i­cated to spread­ing through­out Europe the Nazi con­cep­tion of the unique racial char­ac­ter of each na­tional cul­ture.

The word “in­ter­na­tional” ac­quired a spe­cial mean­ing in its us­age by Nazi and Fas­cist cul­tural of­fi­cials. The Al­lies’ in­ter­na­tional cul­tural as­so­ci­a­tions had rested on a set of lib­eral demo­cratic as­sump­tions: that works of art and lit­er­a­ture should be eval­u­ated by univer­sal stan­dards of qual­ity; that mas­ter­pieces were the prod­uct of in­di­vid­ual cre­ativ­ity; and that no na­tional cul­ture de­served hege­mony over an­other. The Nazi and Fas­cist dic­ta­tors re­versed all of these as­sump­tions. They mea­sured the merit of works of art and lit­er­a­ture by their sig­nif­i­cance within unique na­tional cul­tural tra­di­tions. Mas­ter­pieces, in their view, grew out of com­mu­nity roots. And na­tional cul­tural tra­di­tions were ranked in a nat­u­ral hi­er­ar­chy, with the Ger­man and Ital­ian ones at the top.

Hitler con­cerned him­self with cul­tural mat­ters as soon as he be­came chan­cel­lor of Ger­many in Jan­uary 1933. He purged the Ger­man sec­tion of PEN In­ter­na­tional of “left­ist” and Jewish writers. When PEN In­ter­na­tional protested, Hitler dis­solved the Ger­man sec­tion al­to­gether at the end of 1933. Dur­ing this dis­pute the pres­i­dent of the Ital­ian PEN club, the provo­ca­teur Fu­tur­ist in­tel­lec­tual Filippo Tom­maso Marinetti, sup­ported the Ger­man po­si­tion. Thus from the ear­li­est days, Nazi cul­tural projects proved ca­pa­ble of en­list­ing for­eign sup­port.

Hitler made his am­bi­tions for Ger­man cul­ture clear from the be­gin­ning. At a Nazi Party Congress on Cul­ture in Septem­ber 1933 he promised that the Nazi state would in­ter­vene more ac­tively in cul­tural mat­ters than the Weimar Repub­lic had done, in or­der to make art an ex­pres­sion of the “hered­i­tary racial blood­stock” and to trans­form artists into de­fend­ers of the Ger­man Volk. Hitler left the daily tasks of his bid to re­or­ga­nize Euro­pean cul­ture un­der Ger­man dom­i­nance to his pro­pa­ganda min­is­ter, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels—an­other would-be in­tel­lec­tual and a failed nov­el­ist—threw his fre­netic en­ergy, his ide­o­log­i­cal pas­sions, and a gen­er­ous bud­get into spread­ing abroad the Nazis’ racial­ist and na­tion­al­ist ap­proach to the arts.

Cinema was the Nazi lead­ers’ first cul­tural tar­get. Goebbels and Hitler were as ob­sessed with movies as Amer­i­can ado­les­cents are to­day with so­cial me­dia. Con­vinced that cinema was their era’s main en­gine of cul­tural in­flu­ence, they tried to con­trol film­mak­ing as far as their in­flu­ence could reach. At the Venice Film Fes­ti­val in 1935, at Goebbels’s in­sti­ga­tion, del­e­gates of twelve na­tions agreed to cre­ate an In­ter­na­tional Film Cham­ber (IFC) de­signed to es­tab­lish a con­ti­nent-wide sys­tem of film ex­change and reg­u­la­tion. As the pos­ses­sor of the con­ti­nent’s largest and most pow­er­ful film in­dus­try, Ger­many be­came the dom­i­nant force in the IFC. Fas­cist Italy, how­ever, as­sured for it­self a strong sec­ond po­si­tion by ex­ploit­ing its con­sid­er­able film-pro­duc­ing as­sets, such as the tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced stu­dios of Cinecittà and the Venice Film Fes­ti­val, which con­tin­ued to be the main venue of IFC ac­tiv­i­ties.

The IFC was a gen­uinely Euro­pean or­ga­ni­za­tion, and even had a French pres­i­dent in 1937. Its in­spi­ra­tion had been Ger­man, how­ever, and its or­ga­ni­za­tional form was less in­ter­na­tional than some­thing Martin use­fully calls “in­ter-na­tional,” a fed­er­a­tion of na­tional arts or­ga­ni­za­tions on the model of the Re­ich Film Cham­ber, which Goebbels had formed in July 1933 on cor­po­ratist prin­ci­ples. Cor­po­ratist doc­trine re­quired that cap­i­tal, man­age­ment, and la­bor aban­don their sep­a­rate ad­vo­cacy groups and sit down to­gether to find their com­mon in­ter­ests, along­side state rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Cor­po­ratism smoth­ered in­ter­nal con­flict in film pro­duc­tion

and gave de­ter­min­ing in­flu­ence to the state rather than to the mar­ket.

Each IFC mem­ber na­tion was ex­pected to have a na­tional film or­ga­ni­za­tion sim­i­lar to the Re­ich Film Cham­ber. Within Ger­many the Re­ich Film Cham­ber be­came the in­stru­ment through which the Nazi regime con­trolled an in­creas­ingly con­cen­trated Ger­man film in­dus­try purged of Jews. In 1942, the largest pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, such as UFA and To­bis, were merged into one state-con­trolled en­tity.

Ben­jamin Martin shows most in­ter­est­ingly that the Nazi and Fas­cist “in­ter-na­tional” or­ga­ni­za­tions had au­then­tic ap­peal to some Euro­pean in­tel­lec­tu­als and arts ex­ec­u­tives who were not them­selves Nazis or Fas­cists. These or­ga­ni­za­tions promised ma­te­rial as well as in­tel­lec­tual ad­van­tages. The IFC pro­vided ac­cess to a mar­ket of con­ti­nen­tal di­men­sions, a fea­ture par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive to Euro­pean film­mak­ers who all suf­fered from the lim­ited size of their na­tional au­di­ences. It also sim­pli­fied thorny prob­lems of cross-boundary pay­ments and dif­fer­ing copy­right laws.

The main role of the IFC was to com­bat the Hol­ly­wood me­nace. The dom­i­nance of Amer­i­can films had trou­bled Euro­pean film­mak­ers and in­tel­lec­tu­als from the be­gin­ning. By 1928 54 per­cent of all films shown in France, 72 per­cent in Britain, and 80 per­cent in Italy came from Hol­ly­wood. Al­ready in the 1920s most Euro­pean coun­tries had im­posed quo­tas on Amer­i­can films or lim­ited them by rec­i­proc­ity agree­ments. The respite given to Euro­pean films by the ar­rival of “talkies” in 1929 had been brief, as ex­pert dub­bing soon al­lowed Hol­ly­wood films to pre­dom­i­nate again. Many Euro­peans en­dorsed the IFC po­si­tion that Amer­i­can films were triv­ial en­ter­tain­ment de­signed to make money, while Euro­pean films were artis­tic cre­ations that de­served pro­tec­tion. Al­though the Bri­tish and Dutch re­fused to join, IFC mem­ber­ship ex­tended by 1935 “from Bel­gium to Hun­gary [and] re­vealed a Europe,” ac­cord­ing to Martin, “ready to ac­cept Ger­man lead­er­ship.” Ger­man mil­i­tary con­quests early in World War II en­abled the Nazis to tighten even fur­ther their con­trol of Euro­pean cinema. In Au­gust 1940 they banned Amer­i­can films al­to­gether in the ter­ri­to­ries they oc­cu­pied. A sim­i­lar ban within Ger­many it­self fol­lowed in 1941. The Fas­cist regime had al­ready re­duced the num­ber of Hol­ly­wood films shown in Italy by the “Al­fieri law” of 1938 that cre­ated a state mo­nop­oly with sole au­thor­ity to buy and show for­eign films (Hol­ly­wood’s four big­gest stu­dios with­drew from the Ital­ian mar­ket in re­sponse). The un­in­tended re­sult of such pro­tec­tion­ism was to give Hol­ly­wood films the al­lure of for­bid­den fruit and to pre­pare their tri­umphant re­turn to Europe in 1945. In Jean-Pierre Melville’s Re­sis­tance film Army of Shad­ows, two un­der­ground lead­ers are smug­gled out of France to con­sult per­son­ally with Free French leader Gen­eral Charles de Gaulle. The first thing they want to do in Lon­don, af­ter eat­ing a fill­ing meal, is to go see Gone with the Wind.

Be­yond cinema, the Nazis meant to re­or­ga­nize the whole range of Ger­man cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties along cor­po­ratist lines. The Re­ich Cham­ber of Cul­ture con­tained sub­groups for mu­sic, lit­er­a­ture, theater, press, ra­dio, and so on. The Nazis soon tried to ex­tend the reach of these cul­tural cor­po­ra­tions to the en­tire Euro­pean con­ti­nent, ac­cord­ing to their geopo­lit­i­cal vi­sion of a world di­vided into blocs, or “great spa­ces,” con­ti­nent scaled, self-suf­fi­cient eco­nomic sys­tems aligned with the ap­pro­pri­ate cul­tural as­so­ci­a­tions pro­tected by au­thor­i­tar­ian states. Their Euro­pean “New Or­der” was meant to be cul­tural as well as eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal.

Mu­sic was a realm that Ger­mans felt par­tic­u­larly qual­i­fied to dom­i­nate. But first the Ger­man na­tional mu­si­cal scene had to be prop­erly or­ga­nized. In Novem­ber 1933 Goebbels of­fered Richard Strauss the lead­er­ship of a Re­ich Mu­sic Cham­ber. In June 1934 Strauss in­vited com­posers from thir­teen coun­tries to the an­nual meet­ing of the Ger­man Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion in Wies­baden. The del­e­gates cre­ated a Per­ma­nent Coun­cil for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion among Com­posers.

The Per­ma­nent Coun­cil grew by ex­ploit­ing an aes­thetic rift in Euro­pean mu­si­cal cul­ture. Since the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury a gen­er­a­tion of gifted in­no­va­tors had cre­ated new mu­si­cal lan­guages, such as Arnold Schoen­berg’s twelve-tone tech­nique. Or­ga­nized in the in­flu­en­tial In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Con­tem­po­rary Mu­sic, the avant-garde had come to have a pow­er­ful in­flu­ence on the Euro­pean mu­si­cal scene. Tra­di­tional com­posers re­sented the mod­ernists’ celebrity, and the Nazis (Mus­solini re­mained more open to modernism) at­tracted con­ser­va­tive sup­port by at­tack­ing the avant­garde as in­ter­na­tion­al­ist, root­less, and Jewish. In a fa­mous speech in De­cem­ber 1934 Goebbels de­rided “an atonal noise maker,” by whom he was gen­er­ally as­sumed to mean the com­poser Paul Hin­demith (who was not Jewish). Goebbels or­ga­nized in Düs­sel­dorf in 1938 a pre­sen­ta­tion of “de­gen­er­ate mu­sic” fol­low­ing the bet­ter-known 1937 ex­hi­bi­tion of “de­gen­er­ate art.” Most of the com­posers who were af­fil­i­ated with the Per­ma­nent Coun­cil, ad­vo­cates gen­er­ally of a na­tional, ru­ral, or folk­lorist ap­proach to mu­si­cal com­po­si­tion, are for­got­ten to­day. The coun­cil did draw some pres­ti­gious com­posers who were not re­ally Nazi or Fas­cist, like Jean Si­belius and Albert Rous­sel. The pres­ence of Richard Strauss, a one­time mod­er­ate mod­ernist who re­sented the de­cline of his fame, gave le­git­i­macy to the IFC. He con­tin­ued to pre­side over it even af­ter he had been re­moved from the Re­ich Mu­sic Cham­ber in 1935 in a dis­pute over his con­tin­ued as­so­ci­a­tion with Ste­fan Zweig, who had writ­ten the li­bretto for his opera Die schweigsame Frau.

The Per­ma­nent Coun­cil’s at­ten­tion to com­posers’ ma­te­rial prob­lems was an ad­di­tional at­trac­tion. These in­cluded in­con­sis­ten­cies among dif­fer­ent na­tional copy­right codes, prob­lems of in­ter­na­tional roy­al­ties pay­ments, and droit moral—the right claimed by au­thors and com­posers to as­sure that their work was not pre­sented in a de­formed way or with of­fen­sive as­so­ci­a­tions. Thus the Per­ma­nent Coun­cil was able to fill a busy sched­ule of concerts in var­i­ous Euro­pean cap­i­tals through the late 1930s.

The Nazi or­ga­ni­za­tion of Euro­pean lit­er­a­ture came later, but by sim­i­lar tac­tics: a fed­er­a­tion of na­tional cor­po­ra­tive bod­ies. Ger­man au­thors al­ready gath­ered an­nu­ally in Weimar. In con­nec­tion with the 1941 Weimar au­thors’ meet­ing, Goebbels in­vited fifty for­eign writers to visit the city of Goethe and Schiller at the ex­pense of his Pro­pa­ganda Min­istry (an in­dul­gence that caused many of them trou­ble af­ter the war). The fol­low­ing Oc­to­ber au­thors from fif­teen Euro­pean coun­tries met at Weimar to found a Euro­pean Writers’ Union.

As with mu­sic, the Nazis were able to at­tract writers out­side the im­me­di­ate or­bit of the Nazi and Fas­cist par­ties by en­dors­ing con­ser­va­tive lit­er­ary styles against modernism, by mit­i­gat­ing copy­right and roy­alty prob­lems, and by of­fer­ing sybaritic vis­its to Ger­many and public at­ten­tion. Some sig­nif­i­cant fig­ures joined, such as the Nor­we­gian nov­el­ist Knut Ham­sun, win­ner of the 1920 No­bel Prize in lit­er­a­ture, but most were mi­nor writers who em­ployed themes of na­tion­al­ism, folk tra­di­tions, or the res­o­nance of land­scape. Martin un­rav­els these multi­na­tional con­nec­tions with clar­ity and pre­ci­sion, aided by re­search and read­ing in at least five Euro­pean lan­guages. Paint­ing and sculp­ture, cu­ri­ously, do not fig­ure in this ac­count of the cul­tural fields that the Nazis and Fas­cists tried to re­or­ga­nize “in­ter-na­tion­ally,” per­haps be­cause they had not pre­vi­ously been or­ga­nized on lib­eral demo­cratic lines. Within Ger­many, of course, mod­ernists could not show or sell their work, but this was not the case in oc­cu­pied Paris, where Pi­casso and Kandin­sky painted qui­etly in pri­vate and Jean Bazaine or­ga­nized an ex­hi­bi­tion with fel­low mod­ernists in 1941. Nazi cul­tural of­fi­cials thought “de­gen­er­ate” art ap­pro­pri­ate for France.

Hitler made ef­fec­tive use of some Ger­man in­tel­lec­tu­als’ re­sent­ment at be­ing shut out of in­ter­na­tional cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions af­ter 1919. Martin seems to ac­cept this sense of vic­tim­hood as le­git­i­mate, but it is dif­fi­cult to square with the pres­tige of Ger­man cinema, mu­sic, and sci­ence in the 1920s.

Sci­ence would have made an in­ter­est­ing case study, a con­trary one. Ger­many dom­i­nated the world of sci­ence be­fore 1933. Ger­mans won fif­teen No­bel Prizes in physics, chem­istry, and phys­i­ol­ogy or medicine be­tween 1918 and 1933, more than any other na­tion. Far from cap­i­tal­iz­ing on this ma­jor soft power as­set, Hitler de­stroyed it by im­pos­ing ide­o­log­i­cal con­form­ity and ex­pelling Jewish sci­en­tists such as the tal­ented nu­clear physi­cist Lise Meit­ner. The soft power of sci­ence is frag­ile, as Amer­i­cans may yet find out.

With­out specif­i­cally set­ting out to do so, Martin casts in­ter­est­ing light on soft power and the con­di­tions for its suc­cess. Nazis and Fas­cists turned out to be poor at it. In­her­ent con­tra­dic­tions un­der­mined their at­tempts at cul­tural dom­i­nance. Dic­ta­to­rial meth­ods clashed with lit­er­ary and artis­tic in­de­pen­dence. Nazis had burned books, and both Ger­many and Italy had ex­cluded promi­nent writers and artists. Their ev­i­dent de­sire to put their own cul­tures first un­der­mined their lip ser­vice to “in­ter-na­tional” co­op­er­a­tion. Within the “cul­tural Axis,” the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ger­many and Italy was strained. Martin was right to in­clude the Ital­ian case, even if Mus­solini’s par­al­lel bid for cul­tural power, like his par­al­lel war, ac­com­plished lit­tle. Hitler al­ways ac­cepted that Mus­solini was his fore­run­ner—the Duce’s bust stood on his desk—and while al­ways ready to try to up­stage him never let him drop. And so his “in­ter-na­tional” or­ga­ni­za­tions of­ten at­trib­uted a strong sec­ond role to the Ital­ians. But the Ital­ians worked from within to sub­vert Ger­man claims to pri­macy. A ma­jor ob­sta­cle to the suc­cess of Axis “in­ter-na­tional” cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions—es­pe­cially with the Nazis—was their ide­o­log­i­cal nar­row­ness. While an align­ment with mil­i­tant an­ti­mod­ernism at­tracted con­ser­va­tive writers and artists, these gen­er­ated lit­tle ex­cite­ment com­pared to the mod­ernists. Hitler’s ef­forts to stem the mass ap­peal of Hol­ly­wood films and jazz only made them (as Martin sug­gests) more se­duc­tive and, in a fi­nal irony, pre­pared for the tri­umph of Amer­i­can mu­sic, jeans, and film in the post­war world by try­ing to make them taboo.

Soft power seems to have thrived best with­out di­rect mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion. The global in­flu­ence of French lan­guage, man­ners, and ideas be­gan in the sev­en­teenth cen­tury, and de­pended lit­tle on the con­quests of Louis XIV and Napoleon. The as­cen­dancy of the English lan­guage be­gan with the com­mer­cial and fi­nan­cial power of the City of Lon­don in the nine­teenth cen­tury, and owed lit­tle to con­quest or colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion, though those helped. The soft power of the United States, the most suc­cess­ful yet, spread far be­yond di­rect Amer­i­can mil­i­tary pres­ence. It pros­pered by ap­peal­ing to mass pop­u­lar tastes in mu­sic, dress, and en­ter­tain­ment, while the “cul­tural axis” aimed at con­ven­tional forms of high cul­ture. The United States govern­ment did not ig­nore high cul­ture—con­sider the ac­tiv­i­ties of the United States In­for­ma­tion Agency and the Congress for Cul­tural Free­dom af­ter World War II. But Amer­i­can soft power thrived mostly through the profit mo­tive and by of­fer­ing pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment to the young.

Far from reach­ing for a re­volver to deal with “cul­ture,” Hitler (with Mus­solini strug­gling be­hind) tried with at least some ini­tial suc­cess to use in­ter­na­tional cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions to en­hance his mil­i­tary power. This story has been ap­proached mostly, if at all, in in­di­vid­ual na­tional terms, but Martin has brought the whole Axis cul­tural project ad­mirably into fo­cus.

Sepp Hilz’s Peas­ant Venus, shown in the ‘Great Ger­man Art Ex­hi­bi­tion,’ Mu­nich, 1939

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