On the Index: The Third Reich's Prewar Campaign

Michael H. Kater

in Different Drummers

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165531
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199872237 | DOI:
On the Index: The Third Reich's Prewar Campaign

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Jazz was officially rejected in the Third Reich and was figuratively placed on the Index. It was denigrated as much in music journals as in daily newspapers and illustrated broadsheets. Government directives and the radio ranted against it, and public opinion maligned it as “Nigger jazz”. Such polemics were linked to the National Socialist disdain for most things of American origin, unless they were of a technical variety such as automobiles or films. These polemics were also rooted in the Nazi racist ideology that discriminated heavily against non-“Aryans” — in particular, blacks and Jews. While in power, the Nazis steadfastly believed that the United States constituted a corrupt people devoid of sophistication, with a childlike mentality that countenanced fun and games but was incapable of profundity or erudition. Despite the Nazi struggle for jazz substitution prior to World War II, jazz could not be suppressed.

Keywords: Germany; Nazis; jazz; racism; blacks; Jews; United States; xenophobia

Chapter.  14875 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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