Culture in Nazi Germany Michael H. Kater

Publication date:
24 Mar 2020
Yale University Press
472 pages: 197 x 127mm
30 color illus.
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A fresh and insightful history of how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed under the Nazis

Culture was integral to the smooth running of the Third Reich. In the years preceding WWII, a wide variety of artistic forms were used to instill a Nazi ideology in the German people and to manipulate the public perception of Hitler’s enemies. During the war, the arts were closely tied to the propaganda machine that promoted the cause of Germany’s military campaigns.
Michael H. Kater’s engaging and deeply researched account of artistic culture within Nazi Germany considers how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed when the Nazis came to power. With a broad purview that ranges widely across music, literature, film, theater, the press, and visual arts, Kater details the struggle between creative autonomy and political control as he looks at what became of German artists and their work both during and subsequent to Nazi rule.

Michael H. Kater is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of History at York University, Toronto, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His previous publications include Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present and Hitler Youth.

“Absorbing, chilling study of German artistic life under Hitler”—Max Hastings, The Sunday Times

“While providing a chronology for understanding the creeping totalitarianism, Kater shines most when discussing individual artists and their work, displaying a thoroughness and texture unrivalled by any other scholar.”—Jonathan Petropoulos, The Art Newspaper


“A much-needed study of the aesthetics and cultural mores of the Third Reich, with often surprising turns . . . in a narrative rich in detail and documentation. . . . ‘The relation between culture and tyranny is a complex one,’ Kater concludes. Indeed, and his book does much to make it comprehensible.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Kater in this richly researched, fluently written book sets out to recast the story of Hitler’s Germany.” —Roger Boyes, The Times

“Incorporating both official art and that cast out of German public life, the range of cultural forms considered is similarly ambitious, including literature, music, architecture, fine art, radio, the press, film and theatre” — Lucy Wasensteiner, Times Literary Supplement

"There is no greater authority on the culture of the Nazi period than Michael Kater, and his latest, most ambitious work gives a comprehensive overview of a dismally complex history, astonishing in its breadth of knowledge and acute in its critical perceptions."—Alex Ross, music critic at The New Yorker and author of The Rest is Noise