Technology Serves Music: Radio and Recording during the Third Reich



In the discussion of Nazi attitudes towards ‘modernism’ in music, a number of interesting paradoxes emerge, the most fundamental being the belief (postulated in particular by Goebbels) that National Socialist culture could embrace both ultra-modern and ultra-romantic ideals. Yet there are innumerable examples which illustrate the basic incompatibility of these standpoints, especially when the official critical response to different pieces of music, couched in a similar musical idiom, could be almost contradictory in nature. The division between the regime’s ultra-modern and ultra-romantic aspirations was also manifested in its somewhat ambivalent stance towards certain aspects of technological development. On the one hand, the Nazis supported progressive ideas which promoted the latest technological advances: for example, through the mass production of cheap motor cars, or through the establishment of a sophisticated transport system that incorporated the construction of a comprehensive series of motorways. Yet, at the same time, the political leaders erected an image of National Socialist ideology as embracing a mystic romanticism that rejected the insidiuous influence of twentieth-century industrialisation.


Broadcasting Service Nazi Regime Weimar Republic German Public Music Programme 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
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  5. Quoted in Rita von der Grim, ‘Funktionen und Formen von Musiksendungen in Rundfunk’, H.W. Heister and H.G. Klein (eds), Musik und Musikpolitik im faschistischen Deutschland (Frankfurt, 1984), p.101.Google Scholar
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    Wolfgang Schütte, Regionalität und Föderalismus im Rundfunk (Frankfurt, 1971), p.189.Google Scholar
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    Wolfgang von Bartels, ‘Oper im Funk’, ZfM, April 1937, pp. 389–93.Google Scholar
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    Fritz Stege, ‘Der nationale Rundfunk — die Förderung des Tages’, ZfM April, 1933, p.406.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Erik Levi 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonUK

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