Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics

By Frederic Spotts
(Overlook Press, Hardcover, 9781585673452, 456pp.)

Publication Date: January 2003

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Paperback

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In "Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics," acclaimed historian Frederic Spotts presents a startling reassessment of Hitler's aims and motivations. Spotts, whose "Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival" received rave reviews on both sides of the ocean-"The New York Times" said "Spotts is sane, trustworthy and continuously absorbing"-convincingly demonstrates that Hitler did not think of himself as a politician, but as an artist, and that he essentially bewitched the German public with his rhetoric, ceremonies, and rallies, instilling in them a sense of national pride and unity, as well as a fanatical devotion to himself. At the same time, Spotts argues, Hitler's obsession with the arts led him to impose his personal taste and standards on music, painting, architecture, and even stage design.
Unlike the traditional biographical view that Hitler was an "unperson," who had no life outside of politics, Spotts shows that Hitler's interest in the arts was as intense as his racism and his argument is punctuated with photographs and illustrations, including reproductions of Hitler's watercolors and drawings from his 1925 sketchbook. The book offers the first full analysis of Hitler's own work as a painter, as well as of his art collection. It also treats the entire range of his personal interests: from architecture, painting, symphony, opera, and sculpture, to the German autobahn system and the development of the Volkswagen.
A riveting and highly original work, "Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics" provides a key to an understanding of the Third Reich which has, until now, been missing from biographies and studies of the arts in the Third Reich, as well as from political and military studies of Hitler.

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