Art in Nazi Germany was a result of fascism, the propagandizing of one leader's obsession, and a nation's response to modernism despite the atrocities occurring around them. Germany had experienced censorship of the arts even before the Weimar Republic but not until Hitler was art turned into propaganda and used to publicize the fascist movement. Two camps emerged out of Nazi Germany:
- The propaganda of Hitler and a regression of style back to the neoclassical.
- The other faction included what was called "degenerate art" and included artists of the counterculture of Nazi Germany.
The culture of Nazi Germany is aptly depicted through the paintings, sculpture, architecture, and photography of the era in which Hitler ruled the arts.
Hitler saw the art world as being both subversive yet very usable in creating a propaganda campaign. Hitler first made his plan known at the House of German Art in Munich, in 1937. He called for a "new and genuine German art". This new art form would have elements of an "eternal" art form, thus Hitler looked to a classical movement to replace the expressionists. Indicative to Hitler, he chose the monumental neo-classical style to represent Germany and their supposed strength. The grandiose style of neo-classics intended to fool the German people along with the rest of the world.
In order to begin his propaganda campaign with the art world, Hitler had to tear down the existing movement. The first step to tearing down the expressionists was to illustrate their work as what Hitler called "Entartete Kunst" or degenerate art. Hitler staged a grand exhibition in Munich in 1937 that was to illustrate exactly what degenerate art was. The works on display were to illustrate what Hitler deemed as not acceptable by "the highest race".
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