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Thread: Okay, like the mod said, let's continue our discussion about Wagner and nazis...

  1. #541
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    I feel I need to make something clear. Earlier I made the following statement:

    If Wagner had been killed at the Dresden barricades, we could as well say goodbye to many late-Romantic and 20th century composers, like Strauss, Bruckner, Mahler, Debussy, and probably Sibelius as well.

    I did not say that I see "Wagner as a supreme being who single-handedly influenced all of art that came after him". There is much more to art than music and no matter how revolutionary Wagner's music might have been, he didn't do it single-handedly. Wagner as a composer was part of a musical tradition which almost immediately means that whatever Wagner did was possible only thanks to those who composed before him.

    I did not specify what I meant by "say goodbye". There are composers who might not have become composers without Wagner at all. Max Reger, for example, said that after he had seen Parsifal at Bayreuth in his teenage years, he cried for two weeks and then became a musician. Wagner influenced Bruckner who influenced Mahler. I doubt Mahler would have become a similar composer hadn't it been for Bruckner and, in turn, Wagner. What I can say with some certainty about the composers I listed is that they wouldn't have written the same kind of music as they did. It was Wagner who realised the orchestral genius of Berlioz, it was Wagner who connected music and drama stronger than possibly anyone before him, it was Wagner who started using the similar orchestral flow which we connect with late Romanticism and early 20th century music, and, finally, it was Wagner who wrote unusually long works for a huge orchestra. All these things were taken over, to a greater or lesser extent, by the composers I listed. Similar statements could be made about other famous and influential composers. I'm not singling out Wagner specifically.

    What AB said earlier sounds very reasonable to me: "We wouldn't have their music as we know it today ... ".
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-24-2020 at 20:12.

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  3. #542
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    No, it's just a well-known and respected German historian who only published his monumental Hitler biography to provoke you guys. Mission accomplished, I will let him know.
    Why would either of those quotes provoke anyone? Authenticity questions aside, Ullrich isn't using either of those antecdotes to attempt to support an outlandish theory that Hitler was a disciple of a long dead opera composer and carrying out Wagner's ideological program to it's logical end by committing mass genocide.

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  5. #543
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post

    What AB said earlier sounds very reasonable to me: "We wouldn't have their music as we know it today ... ".
    Certainly true.

    Although would that alternative world have had "worse" music in it?

    No way of knowing, and quite possibly no way of making sense of the question either?

    To be more provocative, I can't help thinking that had the 2nd Viennese school folk done something else with their lives then maybe subsequent music would have been better.
    Blue touchpaper lit.
    Last edited by Eclectic Al; Sep-24-2020 at 17:44.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Al View Post
    Certainly true.

    Although would that alternative world have had "worse" music in it?

    No way of knowing, and quite possibly no way of making sense of the question either?

    To be more provocative, I can't help thinking that had the 2nd Viennese school folk done something else with their lives then maybe subsequent music would have been better.
    Blue touchpaper lit.
    Boom!!xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

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  8. #545
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    I feel I need to make something clear. Earlier I made the following statement:

    If Wagner had been killed at the Dresden barricades, we could as well say goodbye to many late-Romantic and 20th century composers, like Strauss, Bruckner, Mahler, Debussy, and probably Sibelius as well.

    I did not say that I see "Wagner as a supreme being who single-handedly influenced all of art that came after him". There is much more to art than music and no matter how revolutionary Wagner's music might have been, he didn't do it single-handedly. Wagner as a composer was part of a musical tradition which almost immediately means that whatever Wagner did was possible only thanks to those who composed before him.

    I did not specify what I meant by "say goodbye". There are composers who might not have become composers without Wagner at all. Max Reger, for example, said that after he had seen Parsifal at Bayreuth in his teenage years, he cried for two weeks and then became a musician. Wagner influenced Bruckner who influenced Mahler. I doubt Mahler would have become a similar composer hadn't it been for Bruckner and, in turn, Wagner. What I can say with some certainty about the composers I listed is that they wouldn't have written the same kind of music as they did. It was Wagner who realised the orchestral genius of Berlioz, it was Wagner who connected music and drama stronger than possibly anyone before him, it was Wagner who started using the similar orchestral flow which we connect with late Romanticism and early 20th century music, and, finally, it was Wagner who wrote unusually long works for a huge orchestra. All these things were taken over, to a larger or lesser extent, by the composers I listed. Similar statements could be made about other famous and influential composers. I'm not singling out Wagner specifically.

    What AB said earlier sounds very reasonable to me: "We wouldn't have their music as we know it today ... ".
    Now there, we agree.

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  10. #546
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    But at least the author of this thread, is banned already. Interesting, isn't it?
    Yea, isn't it also interesting the OP said in the first post:

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I don't wanna get banned again
    Maybe there's some kind of conspiracy going on, to silence the "whistleblowers"???

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    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    Why would either of those quotes provoke anyone? Authenticity questions aside, Ullrich isn't using either of those antecdotes to attempt to support an outlandish theory that Hitler was a disciple of a long dead opera composer and carrying out Wagner's ideological program to it's logical end by committing mass genocide.
    It is not relevant if these quotes and Ullrich's conclusion didn't change your mind. If you want to add something to this discussion, just come up with another authentic source that supports your view or shaped your thinking. And, now that we are talking, Hitler didn't personally commit mass genocide, or do you actually believe he did? We might as well be a bit careful with what we are saying here.

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    Senior Member NLAdriaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Yea, isn't it also interesting the OP said in the first post:



    Maybe there's some kind of conspiracy going on, to silence the "whistleblowers"???
    OMG, don't say it, is TC actually a cover-up.......

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    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    And, now that we are talking, Hitler didn't personally commit mass genocide, or do you actually believe he did? We might as well be a bit careful with what we are saying here.
    In the first place, let's acknowledge that "mass genocide" is a tautology. If you're wiping out an entire ethnic, national, racial, or religious group then it's inevitably going to involve mass killings. It's therefore sufficient to say "genocide"; the "mass" is already implicit in the term.

    Second, let's look at what the 1951 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines as 'genocide'. It's dealt with in article 2, which says:

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    Your mistake is in thinking that "genocide" only means "mass killing", which we know Hitler did not "personally commit". But since the law defines genocide as being much more than just killing lots of people, then there's no question that Hitler really did "personally commit" genocide, under the provisions of at least articles IIb and IIc.

    Article 3 then goes on to make the following actions crimes:

    Article III
    The following acts shall be punishable:
    (a) Genocide;
    (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
    (e) Complicity in genocide.
    Hitler was guilty of IIIa, because he "personally committed" actions identified in Article IIb and IIc. He was clearly also guilty (under IIIb, IIIc, and IIIe ) of conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and of complicity in genocide.

    Lest you think it unfair to convict Hitler under a law that dates from after his time on Earth, note that Julius Steicher was indicted and found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged in consequence -and he didn't do much more than publish antisemitic vitriol in Der Stürmer newspaper. So if he was guilty at Nuremberg, so would Hitler have been. In fact, legal opinion tends to suggest that someone who merely incites others to commit genocide is actually worse than the people doing the 'mere' killing. In part, that stems directly from the case of Julius Streicher.

    So even if we exculpate Hitler from committing genocide, because the IIb and IIc definitions weren't in place in 1940, he would certainly have been found guilty of inciting genocide, for which the punishment was death.

    Have a read some time, too, of the diary of General Franz Halder who was German Army Chief of Staff 1938-1942. In March 1941, he quotes Hitler in the run-up to the invasion of the Soviet Union as saying, "We must forget the concept of comradeship between soldiers. A communist is no comrade, before or after the battle. This is a war of extermination." He went on to demand the "extermination of the Bolshevist commissars and of the communist intelligentsia".

    Those are orders to his army chiefs to commit genocide, and that's a crime under article IIIc.

    And in his chancellery meeting on December 12th 1941 (separately noted in diaries by Joseph Goebbels and Hans Frank), Hitler is quoted as having said "Regarding the Jewish Question, the Führer has decided to make a clean sweep. He prophesied to the Jews that, if they yet again brought about a world war, they would experience their own annihilation. That was not just a phrase. The world war is here, and the annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary consequence."

    That is clearly a breach of Article IIIb and probably of IIIe.

    Short version: genocide is legally defined as being much more than just killing lots of people, and under that wider definition, Hitler did indeed personally commit genocide and would be found guilty under Article IIIa. He's also guilty of directly inciting genocide with his orders to his generals and party functionaries, making him fall foul of Articles IIIb, IIIc and IIIe.

    Even shorter version: you are simply in error to assert that Hitler did not personally commit genocide. Once you understand what genocide actually is, then it's clear that he did.
    Last edited by AbsolutelyBaching; Sep-25-2020 at 11:47.

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  15. #550
    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutelyBaching View Post
    In the first place, let's acknowledge that "mass genocide" is a tautology. If you're wiping out an entire ethnic, national, racial, or religious group then it's inevitably going to involve mass killings. It's therefore sufficient to say "genocide"; the "mass" is already implicit in the term. . . .
    It is a tautology if the race being destroyed is larger than a few members at the time the killing begins. In some cases, a tautology is acceptable for the sake of emphasis. In the case of the Holocaust, I think that is warranted.


    Quote Originally Posted by AbsolutelyBaching View Post
    Even shorter version: you are simply in error to assert that Hitler did not personally commit genocide. Once you understand what genocide actually is, then it's clear that he did.
    Here, I agree with you entirely. You don't have to be the person who pulls the trigger to be a murderer. If you hire someone to kill someone else (under most circumstances), you are guilty of murder, perhaps even more so for instigating it.

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  17. #551
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    It is a tautology if the race being destroyed is larger than a few members at the time the killing begins. In some cases, a tautology is acceptable for the sake of emphasis. In the case of the Holocaust, I think that is warranted.
    In the case of my bath, I shall remember to use wet water in future, then.

    I cannot agree that adding extra words that are already implied by the one word is ever warranted, I'm afraid. It just makes it seem like one doesn't really understand what 'genocide' is. I don't get why the Holocaust is any different in this regard, either. A genocide, definitionally, involves -but is not restricted to- a mass killing of an entire population or group.

    Interesting reading under the 'loss of meaning' section from this short BBC article. I think the day we agree to talk about 'mass genocide' (as opposed to the non-mass kind??) is the day the term starts to lose meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    Here, I agree with you entirely. You don't have to be the person who pulls the trigger to be a murderer. If you hire someone to kill someone else (under most circumstances), you are guilty of murder, perhaps even more so for instigating it.
    That is, perhaps, a simpler analogy to get to the point than my own laboured effort!
    Last edited by AbsolutelyBaching; Sep-25-2020 at 12:38.

  18. #552
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    Quote Originally Posted by NLAdriaan View Post
    It is not relevant if these quotes and Ullrich's conclusion didn't change your mind.
    What is relevant is that neither of these quotes nor Ullrich's conclusion support the claims you are making.

    If you want to add something to this discussion, just come up with another authentic source that supports your view or shaped your thinking.
    According to the respected historian Richard J. Evans, from The Third Reich in Power, 1933 - 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation:

    "[Wagner's] influence on Hitler has often been exaggerated. Hitler never referred to Wagner as a source of his own antisemitism, and there is no evidence that he actually read any of Wagner's writings."

    According to Timothy W. Ryback in his book Hitler's Private Library: The Books that Shaped his Life, Hitler did not possess a copy of any of Wagner's ten volumes of theoretical writings in his private library.

    And then just generally the fact that no evidence exists that Hitler's exposure to any of his favorite art work (whether Disney films, Shakespearean drama or Wagnerian opera) was the decisive personal event that lead to the radicalization of his political views, or to justify the gross overvaluation of artistic and operatic influences that you are making while ignoring the traumatic effects of WWI, the 1918–19 German Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, hyperinflation and the Great Depression on the genesis of Hitler's ideological and political aims.
    Last edited by Byron; Sep-25-2020 at 15:25.

  19. #553
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    What is relevant is that neither of these quotes nor Ullrich's conclusion support the claims you are making.



    According to the respected historian Richard J. Evans, from The Third Reich in Power, 1933 - 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation:

    "[Wagner's] influence on Hitler has often been exaggerated. Hitler never referred to Wagner as a source of his own antisemitism, and there is no evidence that he actually read any of Wagner's writings."

    According to Timothy W. Ryback in his book Hitler's Private Library: The Books that Shaped his Life, Hitler did not possess a copy of any of Wagner's ten volumes of theoretical writings in his private library.

    And then just generally the fact that no evidence exists that Hitler's exposure to any of his favorite art work (whether Disney films, Shakespearean drama or Wagnerian opera) was the decisive personal event that lead to the radicalization of his political views, or to justify the gross overvaluation of artistic and operatic influences that you are making while ignoring the traumatic effects of WWI, the 1918–19 German Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, hyperinflation and the Great Depression on the genesis of Hitler's ideological and political aims.
    It's been many years since I've looked into this topic seriously, though I might read the new Alex Ross book. But the statement "[Wagner's] influence on Hitler has often been exaggerated" rings true to me, as do Byron's comments here. Yes, he was a master propagandist, and saw music as a useful propaganda tool. But he also used music other than Wagner's and could easily have avoided Wagner's music entirely. He quite possibly would have if, for example, Wagner's descendants had been hostile rather than friendly to him and his cause. Hitler had quite the vindictive streak.

    As for Wagner the man, while that may be an interesting enough topic, and while his essays may shed some light on his personality, I think of Ben Jonson's famous admonition to the reader of Shakespeare: " ... Reader, looke / Not on his picture, but his Booke." Wagner's Jews and Music essay doesn't paint a pretty picture of the man, even if one views his anti-Semitism as mainly a cover for his jealousy of the greater popularity and financial success (at that point) of two other composers, or as a Portrait Of The Artist On A Bad Day. But I prefer to looke at his booke, i.e., his work, i.e., his operas, and let them speak for themselves. Doing that, it is hard to find a place for Hitler in the Wagnerian world, even in Rienzi, which Hitler reportedly admired in particular.
    Last edited by fluteman; Sep-25-2020 at 20:33.

  20. #554
    Member En Passant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Why, yes indeed. Wagner and Hitler, along with every other German, came out of the flawed German cultural matrix.

    No proof of a tautology is needed. If that's all you wanted to say, case closed, right?

    Or did you have something else you wanted to prove without any of those troublesome things called facts?
    I believe thos view of things is in it’s self flawed. The German social matrix is/was no less flawed than any other social matrix then or now. It is the faulty belief that somehow what happened was due to something innate within the German psyche. This completely disregards the circumstances the Germans found themselves in after “The Great War”.

    Any country at any time could do what the Germans did and people in the West do not want to believe it. What happened in the USSR was far worse than the entirety of WWII (in terms of deaths and forced labour) yet it is rarely spoken about. There have been several genocide attempts in Asia and Africa since WWII Rwanda & Indonesia spring to mind as well as Iraqi Kurds (twice) and the Yazidis. In fact the othering occurring right now in the United States is very reminiscent of what happened to European Jews under Hitler prior to the War.

    If the Germans were flawed then we all share that potential to be flawed and it’s tiring to have the Yanks and the Brits constantly drag out the Germans as a uniquely evil or flawed people. Every time I see a Wagner NAZIS thread it’s the same old same old why are people so fascinated by it? Repressed desire or something?

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  22. #555
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    Quote Originally Posted by En Passant View Post
    I believe thos view of things is in it’s self flawed. The German social matrix is/was no less flawed than any other social matrix then or now. It is the faulty belief that somehow what happened was due to something innate within the German psyche. This completely disregards the circumstances the Germans found themselves in after “The Great War”.

    Any country at any time could do what the Germans did and people in the West do not want to believe it. What happened in the USSR was far worse than the entirety of WWII (in terms of deaths and forced labour) yet it is rarely spoken about. There have been several genocide attempts in Asia and Africa since WWII Rwanda & Indonesia spring to mind as well as Iraqi Kurds (twice) and the Yazidis. In fact the othering occurring right now in the United States is very reminiscent of what happened to European Jews under Hitler prior to the War.

    If the Germans were flawed then we all share that potential to be flawed and it’s tiring to have the Yanks and the Brits constantly drag out the Germans as a uniquely evil or flawed people. Every time I see a Wagner NAZIS thread it’s the same old same old why are people so fascinated by it? Repressed desire or something?
    This analysis is confusing. I think the adjective 'flawed' in Woodduck's post referred only to 'matrix', not to 'German'. I don't think Woodduck was saying that 'Germans were flawed'.

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