Best books on Third Reich architecture & culture

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
HistBuff
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Re: Recommended reading on Third Reich culture

Post by HistBuff » 18 Jun 2008 01:46

I would highly recommend Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife, by Eric Rentschler. http://www.amazon.com/Ministry-Illusion ... 0674576403 I read it three times. Rentschler is the chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard. http://www.ves.fas.harvard.edu/rentschler.html I believe this is the book that earned him tenure. It analyzes 8 films in aesthetic terms in great detail while providing an excellent overview of the German film industry during the Third Reich. Rentschler's descriptions of film industry personalities are quite entertaining. In terms of general viewership this was the peak period of of the German movie industry. In 1994, a year before the book was published Rentschler organized a well reviewed showing of these films at Lincoln Center in Manhattan sponsored by the German Consulate. It was named after the book. Rentchler supplies interesting insights into German political culture. For instance in 1995 it was politically acceptable to listen to songs by Zarah Leander but to display images of her was considered inflamatory. Rentschler describes how forty or so of the movies which include the most popular ones seen by tens of millions of people were untill very recently classified as Vorbehaltsfilme (reserved). These films were made unavailable to the general public through the enforcement of copyrights and, in Germany, by arresting those found possessing them without proper political clearance. There was no official list of proscribed titles (Vorbehaltsfilme) because as Rentschler put it in 1995, "Such a list would only demonstrate that the German government considers the populace of its democracy in crucial ways politically immature" (p. 221). Exactly 2 months ago Jud Suss was finally released on DVD by the rightsholder the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung Institute with subtitles and commentary by Rentschler. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017ZGYR0 It had become widely circulated on file sharing networks and even streamed on Google Video. According to Rentschler over 20 million people in the Third Reich saw this film. It is hard say why the film was finally released now. Perhaps there was a quiet letter writing campaign initiated by Louis Farrakhan, the recently honored spirtual leader at the church of the likely next American President. (Just joking). A better reason for the film to be released would be that you cannot fight what you cannot see. Driving opinions or thoughts underground through legal threats is a counter productive activity.

Most other Vorbehaltsfilme have also recently been released such as the most comercially successfull of all Third Reich films, Die große Liebe ("The Great Love") (1942) with Zarah Leander. But only in German versions and re-edited. The Great Love was reduced from 100 to 90 minutes in length for example.

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Geoff Walden
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Geoff Walden » 17 Sep 2008 23:11

Hi Axmann,

I don't know of any books that cover residential construction exclusively, but the following period books have sections or entries on private houses and apartment buildings (the first one more than the other). If you can find any issues of the architectural magazine "Moderne Bauformen," they usually had articles on residential architecture.

Geoff

Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im Neuen Reich," Bayreuth, var. eds., 1938-1942

Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastic der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938

idgreenwood
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Re: Recommended reading on Third Reich culture

Post by idgreenwood » 30 Sep 2008 19:52

Two books on my shelves which may interest others are:

Brandon Taylor and Wilfried van der Will, The Nazification of Art: art, design, music, architecture and film in the Third Reich, Winchester (UK) 1990, ISBN 0 9506783 9 2

Joan L. Clinefelter, Artists for the Reich: culture and race from Weimar to Nazi Germany, Oxford/New York 2005, ISBN 1 84520 201 5

The first is a series of thirteen essays with many b/w illustrations. I have used it to find out more about film and poster art in particular. The second I bought recently in an effort to find out more about Nazi design, particularly in posters and postage stamps: it is, however, more thorough on artistic schools and movements in the period.

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Attrition
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Attrition » 11 Nov 2008 21:10

Has anyone seen 'Jerrybuilding' by Jonathan Meades. It's on youtube if you're interested.

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Geoff Walden
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Geoff Walden » 12 Nov 2008 00:03

Well, to each his own, but I had to tune his commentary out after a very short time. The sites he visits are interesting, but I quickly grew tired of his non-stop vitriolic diatribe. Yes, we know that Hitler and the Nazis were evil, but I've rarely seen such a bitter partisan rant. If his program was supposed to be informative about Third Reich architecture or sites, he failed - it's actually a very biased history lesson from someone with an axe to grind. Who is this Jonathan Meades, anyway?

Geoff Walden

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Attrition
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Attrition » 12 Nov 2008 00:17

Partisan rant? What do you expect? How is it a biased history lesson? I thought it was highly informative. Jonathan Meades is the cleverest and wittiest bloke on telly since Howard Jacobson went to the bad and started writing novels.

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Inselaffe
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Inselaffe » 12 Nov 2008 16:52

Geoff Walden wrote:Who is this Jonathan Meades, anyway?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Meades OR http://www.jonathanmeades.com/
Attrition wrote:Howard Jacobson went to the bad and started writing novels.
Meades is no stranger to novel writing either. 'Pompey', the only novel of his I've read was interesting and funny (peculiar and ha-ha) but above all weird. 'Jerry Building' was on the whole an engaging watch I thought though you wouln't want it to be your main/only source on architecture in the Third Reich. :lol: Like all of his stuff I suppose it's a bit of an acquired taste.

Cheers.
"It was like Hungary being between Germany and the Soviet Union. What sort of choice was that? Which language would you like your firing squad to speak?" Tibor Fischer 'Under the Frog'.

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Attrition
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Attrition » 12 Nov 2008 18:53

Yes I notice that Meades has dabbled. I haven't read any of his novels but I have succumbed to a few of Howard's. 'Coming from Behind' is his first and still the best. :)

Meades does tend to polarise opinion* but I found Jerrybuilding a splendid knee in the Jacobs of contemporary pseudishness.

*As can be seen in the discussion part of his Wiki page.

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Geoff Walden
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Geoff Walden » 12 Nov 2008 21:20

Maybe I misunderstood the reason behind the program. I thought it was supposed to be a serious presentation on Third Reich architecture. If it was supposed to be clever or witty, it didn't seem either to me (or maybe just so far overblown so that I couldn't see the point of it). But maybe I just don't have the sense of humor to appreciate that sort of thing.

Geoff Walden

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Attrition
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Attrition » 12 Nov 2008 21:35

I find it a bit annoying too when I invest time in a telly programme, then find it impossible to get my money's worth. What differences would have made it more appealing for you? I ask as a lay person because apart from the programme I had a seminar on nazi architecture in 1985 and that's it.

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Geoff Walden
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Geoff Walden » 13 Nov 2008 00:44

I would have liked more in-depth details on the sites he visited ... something like in the "Ruins of the Reich" DVD series. He visited a couple sites that I have not, and I don't know anything about them, but I didn't really learn anything from his show.

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Grünherz
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Grünherz » 11 Dec 2008 06:12

Oh, I can't find it!! There is an "After The Battle" magazine/book about Goring's Karinhall showing the plans presented to him towards the end of the war as a birthday gift. Wishfull thinking at that point but showing future construction plans.
Another "After The Battle" magazine (wartime photos and "now" photos from the same location) has pictures of the Reichs Chancellery--yeah, Cowdery's book is cool--and the bunker. Later issues of the magazine include revised plans of the bunker based on excavations prior to its burial. (After The Battle #61 ca. 1988 and later issues).
Also check out Pietro Guido's book "Fuhrer Bunker" for other history about that site.
I wish there were plans for Speer's Berlin/Germania concept. They must be somewhere. Anybody know? "Inside The Third Reich" by Speer shows some interesting pictures of his plans/models.
Tom

To Geoff Walden...thanks for the great website!

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Reichkameramann
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by Reichkameramann » 20 Jan 2009 20:13

You're right, it would indeed be fantastic to see Prof Speer's plans for Germania.
The movie does show quite a bit, but haven't been able to find it on DVD at all.

palaisfan
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Re: Best books on Third Reich architecture

Post by palaisfan » 26 Jan 2009 04:06

A good book on Third Reich architecture I haven't seen referenced here bears mentioning:

The Word In Stone by Robert R. Taylor - Univ. of California Press 1974 ISBN 0-520-02193-2

It has a complete overview, including 12 pages of text devoted to the New Chancellery. The photos of it are familiar to those of this board, so the real value is in the detailed text on all architectural subjects including Munich and others. Along with the TV series of Speer's "Inside the Third Reich" this book when I ran across it in the college library in the mid 1980's got me interested in the subject of the Third Reich buildings outside simply war in Europe and tank warfare.

The book is a great introduction to the subject, and more text than photographs, so not lacking in discussion and analysis, but the photos are well-chosen. I still haven't seen some of them elsewhere.

- palaisfan

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FireFoxy
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Re: Recommended reading on Third Reich culture

Post by FireFoxy » 26 Jan 2009 07:02

I would put my vote for- Hitler's Third Reich = Witness the terrible secrets of Germany's evil empire Volume 1-30.
I can't find the Aurther's name, so i will give a web site - http://www.hitlersthirdreich.co.uk

It's not the normal boring commen thick book which normally books are. It's got information on about everything about Hitler's Thrid Reich,it's got appeal to them and it's very exciting to read.The Books give you variety, does not talk about one subject. It keeps you intred.
V = VICTORY

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