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Art of SuppressionConfronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts$
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Pamela M. Potter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282346

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282346.001.0001

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Cultural Histories after the Cold War

Cultural Histories after the Cold War

(p.215) 6 Cultural Histories after the Cold War
Art of Suppression

Pamela M. Potter

University of California Press

The final chapter provides an update on post–Cold War historiography and points to new directions for future research. The fall of communism revived comparisons between Nazism and Stalinism and introduced new comparisons between Nazi Germany and communist East Germany. In the arts, this led, in some instances, to revitalizing totalitarian concepts that had begun to be questioned, though the appeal of intentionalism and antimodernism had remained strong. New research on the economics of the art market have shed important light on the financial gains that fueled the seizure and resale of “degenerate art,” and also points to other promising areas of exploration: concentrating more on the economic aspects not only of art, architecture, and film but also of music, theater, and dance; and—following advances in film studies—investigating mass culture rather than high culture. As we learn more about the political, economic, and cultural strategies common to dictatorships as well as democracies in the 1930s and 1940s, we can come closer to distinguishing “Nazi culture” by considering how rhetoric, ritual, and ceremony could be used to foster a sense of belonging to the Volksgemeinschaft while channeling hatred against the purported enemies of German culture and condoning their victimization.

Keywords:   mass culture, rhetoric, ritual, ceremony, East Germany, communism, economics, dictatorships, democracies, Volksgemeinschaft

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