Explain and evaluate Walter Benjamin's statement (made in 1936) about the aestheticization of politics under German fascism - Essay Example

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no. Date Fascism and the aestheticization of German politics World War 1, especially the terms of the Versailles treaty, changed the status of Germany in Europe, to depict a defeated country. The Germans were almost crushed but Hitler single handedly led to the country’s redemption…
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Explain and evaluate Walter Benjamins statement (made in 1936) about the aestheticization of politics under German fascism
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Download file to see previous pages In Benjamin’s opinion, the First World War led to the fascist ideology in Germany in the 1920s, which was a catalyst for the break-out of World War II (Leslie 164). As such, Benjamin used the term “aesthetics” to explain how the Nazis used the innately artistic traits of everyday life to influence people towards fascist political orientations in Germany (Leslie 164). Considering that aesthetic values focus on the physical representation of beauty, the Nazis under Hitler wanted the Germans to experience the true beauty of Germany that had been corrupted by foreigners, especially the Jews (Leslie 164). According to Spielvogel, the Nazi leadership led the Germans to reject modern art which they labeled as “Jewish art” particularly that of the Weimar era (158). This rejection of Weimar art was symbolic in that it signified the overthrowal of the Weimar politics, hated by the Germans (Spielvogel 158). “Modern art” was replaced with the “new German art” which reflected upon German traditions, thus further uniting the people politically. Other forms of art, such as painting, music, theater, and literature were also used to instill the fascist political ideology in people. Under Hitler architecture was revived, gigantic buildings were built to signify the power of the Germans to the outside world and to also instill confidence in the German people (Spielvogel 161). According to Spielvogel, Hitler was a major propagandist who believed that the myths he held about the superiority of the Germans, and particularly the Aryan race, could be translated to reality (143-144). As such, Hitler used mass rallies to spread propaganda and convince the Germans to follow him. “Triumph of the will”, a film by Leni Riefenstahl tells the story of the events that unfolded at the Sixth Nuremburg Party Congress in 1934. Central to the film is the rise of Hitler to Chancellor and how he used propaganda to draw crowds to his side. As an orator, and a performer, Hitler was able to convince the Germans to follow him all the way to World War II (Spielvogel 127). At the congress, hundreds of thousands of Nazi party members march and salute Hitler, whose cult of personality, by for example calling himself the messiah, had influenced the masses to believe they had to follow him (Spielvogel 133). According to Spielvogel, after 1934, children in school were forced to write compositions in which they compared Hitler to Jesus (134). In the film, while addressing the crowd, Hitler proclaimed “Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer, Ein Reich!” which translates to “one people, one leader, one empire”. As Spielvogel writes, during the 1936 party day at Nuremberg, the crowd was so influenced by Hitler that they started chanting “we want one leader! Nothing for us! Everything for Germany! Heil Hitler!” (150). Hitler had thus, achieved his mission for uniting the Germans for war. All that remained was for Germany to expand its borders through a war that was technologically-enabled. As a form of art, mechanical reproduction that emerged during the first world war in the form of technological warfare is what shaped fascist politics in Germany. Essentially, technology was the artistic vehicle that fuelled the war led by the Germans. For example, the Nazis assumed total monopoly over the press such that all the content reaching the masses was the Nazi version; any other news was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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