Chapter

Performing Ideology: Rethinking Weimar Political Justice

Grunwald Henning

in Courtroom to Revolutionary Stage

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609048
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744280 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609048.003.0006
Performing Ideology: Rethinking Weimar Political Justice

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This chapter argues for a re-conceptualization of Weimar political trials as the performance of ideology. Erika Fischer-Lichte has recently argued that interwar theatrical innovations modernised and dramatised the notion of sacrifice as a catalyst for the construction of community. The same is true of political trials, where a community of fundamental opposition to the Weimar political order was played out. In political trials, Weimar extremists styled themselves fiercely committed idealists who, in their sacrifice, foreshadowed the victorious ideological community of the future — with the inertia and legalism of the judges as foil. Courtroom performances of ideology thrived in a media landscape eager for and attuned to trial coverage. Moreover, they resonated with trends in contemporary theatre, where innovators like Brecht, Piscator, and the protagonists of agitprop were seeking to break down the boundaries between politics and art.

Keywords: performance of ideology; political theatre; Agitprop; Tribunal; Court Reporting; Die Maßnahme; Hans Litten; Bertolt Brecht; Willi Münzenberg

Chapter.  21758 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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