Flappers, Cabaret Scene, Jazz, Decadence of Weimar

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
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Einsamer_Wolf
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Flappers, Cabaret Scene, Jazz, Decadence of Weimar

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 14 Apr 2004 13:40

SALUT!

In some of the texts I have read in the course of my dilettante study of the Third Reich, a number of sources have indicated that one appeal the National Socialist movement had was its backlash against some of the excesses of Weimar Germany. I suppose whenever I think of Weimar Germany in this particular context, I think of Marlene Dietrich in die blaue Engel. I was wondering, however, when the Cabaret-Jazz scene really started to flourish in Berlin. Are there any books that chronicle this subculutre not only in Berlin or Germany, but anywhere in Europe or the United States. Was what flourished in Germany at this time part and parcel of what was scene in the flapper scene in the United States, or were there differences.
I know that what I will call the cabaret scene was characterized by promsicuous sex. I was wondering what sort of substance abuse also characterized this scene. I am presuming that opium was prevalent during this time, but that is nothing more than a guess.
Finally--and this question is what properly places my query in this section of the forum--in what way did the Nazis and the Nazi Propaganda machine lash out at these cultural phenomena. It is of some interest to me that a number texts mention a reactionary backlash to Weimar that rendered the National Socialists desirable to some, but never actually quote any statements or articles made by leading Nazi officials that denounce this time or elaborate how Hitler's leadership was an effectice response to these questions.
This matter is of great interest to me so I am strongly urging people who have knowleged to share to reply.

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Re: Flappers, Cabaret Scene, Jazz, Decadence of Weimar

Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 14 Apr 2004 17:32

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:In some of the texts I have read in the course of my dilettante study of the Third Reich, a number of sources have indicated that one appeal the National Socialist movement had was its backlash against some of the excesses of Weimar Germany. I suppose whenever I think of Weimar Germany in this particular context, I think of Marlene Dietrich in die blaue Engel. I was wondering, however, when the Cabaret-Jazz scene really started to flourish in Berlin. Are there any books that chronicle this subculutre not only in Berlin or Germany, but anywhere in Europe or the United States. Was what flourished in Germany at this time part and parcel of what was scene in the flapper scene in the United States, or were there differences.
One obvious difference should be the fact Germans did not have an alcohol prohibition :P

Ever read Ouvert la nuit(1922) by Paul Morand(1888-1976)?
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I know that what I will call the cabaret scene was characterized by promsicuous sex. I was wondering what sort of substance abuse also characterized this scene. I am presuming that opium was prevalent during this time, but that is nothing more than a guess.
The substance abuse in the German Bohemian environment could not be much different from that of the rest European countries, and judging the media articles of the time, the choice drugs were morphine and cocaine (the latter being less used).
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Finally--and this question is what properly places my query in this section of the forum--in what way did the Nazis and the Nazi Propaganda machine lash out at these cultural phenomena. It is of some interest to me that a number texts mention a reactionary backlash to Weimar that rendered the National Socialists desirable to some, but never actually quote any statements or articles made by leading Nazi officials that denounce this time or elaborate how Hitler's leadership was an effectice response to these questions.
The most logical conclusion could be they didn't.... actually they were quite open in the matter. Dr. Goebbels held a speech criticizing harshly the "morally-reactionary" guys. Speech which yours truly remembers to have quoted in this very Forum, but to no avail :wink:

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 15 Apr 2004 13:41

I am not familiar with the Morand text. Please do tell me what it is about. Similarly, of course I am aware that there was prohibition in America. You do know that the pilgrims who first settled America were so uptight as to cause the English to ostracize them! This puritan legacy is still with us in so many ways.
I remember coming across Goebbel's speech on excessive prudery. Still, as this was in reaction to the sort of Victorian prudery that most all would chastize, it cannot be construed as speaking to the sort of excesses that went on in Weimar. That is why I would like to know if the moral and cultural climate that existed in Weimar was addressed in any detail up to the Nazi's seizure of power, and if Hitler and friends ever compared how things were to how thigns are now.
It is true that the Nazis were not out and out prudes. Riefenstahl's Olympiad, Gymanstic displays by the BDM, countless instances of Nazi Art all have a sensual element to them. This would make syense to the extent that National Socialism rejected some elements of modern Christianity for the pagan German-Norse mythology that underlies the Nazi Weltanschauung. However, the degree to which Nazis did actually embrace normal human sexuality is still somewhat removed from the chicanery that pervaded young German life during the Weimar years. Die blaue Engel for example can be seen as a reaction to this that fits well with the new National Socialist movement that had come to power at the same time.

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 15 Apr 2004 19:45

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I am not familiar with the Morand text. Please do tell me what it is about.
Novel whose action happen in European nightlife of the 1920s... nuff said. I've read only fragments & quotes, still searching for a translation in English or other language I can read easily. You can try also Henry Miller's books, although he exaggerates, almost ridiculously in some cases. The scene at which I laughed most was the one in which he had sex with a French woman, who said: "How manly are you! All Americans are like you!?", but you have to look at a picture of Miller to understand why it was ridiculous :lol: :lol: :lol: :P
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Similarly, of course I am aware that there was prohibition in America. You do know that the pilgrims who first settled America were so uptight as to cause the English to ostracize them! This puritan legacy is still with us in so many ways.
Obviously the Germans & the rest Europeans were "a bit" different... :P
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I remember coming across Goebbel's speech on excessive prudery. Still, as this was in reaction to the sort of Victorian prudery that most all would chastize
In reaction to Victorian prudery practiced by large enough group to trigger a reaction from Goebbels. Aquila non capit muscae - "eagle does not catch flies" said our Roman ancestors. If they were but a few, the Doctor wouldn't bother.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:It is true that the Nazis were not out and out prudes. Riefenstahl's Olympiad, Gymanstic displays by the BDM, countless instances of Nazi Art all have a sensual element to them. This would make syense to the extent that National Socialism rejected some elements of modern Christianity for the pagan German-Norse mythology that underlies the Nazi Weltanschauung. However, the degree to which Nazis did actually embrace normal human sexuality is still somewhat removed from the chicanery that pervaded young German life during the Weimar years. Die blaue Engel for example can be seen as a reaction to this that fits well with the new National Socialist movement that had come to power at the same time.
Neither could they be prudes, even if they tried, for their ideological environment always had an "adventurous" element in it, which can never fit Victorian social mores (side note: almost all adventurers of the Victorian Age, and there were a lot of them, had been outcasts in some sense), with their emphasis on sports, nature etc, and even with their personal lives: Reinhard Heydrich, had he lived in the 17th century, would have made for a perfect corsair or buccaneer, being a sailor by trade :D

BTW I don't think what happened in Weimar Germany or other European country for the matter, was outrageous, just natural. However, I do not expect the man who shunned the TATU band to agree :wink:

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 17 Apr 2004 20:29

Are there no ohter sources than these? I am unable to locate an ENglish translation of the Morand text. Henry Miller--I have the impression that his work is the sort of thing one reads with one had below the desk, as the French would say.
I am not going to comment about Tatu in any depth. I was banned for commenting in jest about this sort of thing. I know I will not get a second come back, so I am exercising great discretion. All I will say is that this sort of thing is marketed to youngsters 14, 13, 12, even younger. It is just not a positve influence in the culture when 12 year-old girls see this day in and day out on Sumner Redstone's media empire when the parents are away. To the extent that one is inclined to that sort of tawdriness, and I am not saying I am completely immune to it, it is best left to adults and left in discretion.
Anyway, to get back on topic, I was really looking for cultural histories that document these phenomenon in an historical, non-fictional context. Again, I invite any contributors with recommendations to submit them. I would certainly enjoy reading the Morand text if I could find it in ENglish, or even give it a try in German. But even if that were possible, which it does not seem to be me from cursory inquiry, I am poorly equippred to determine just how fantastical it is. I have a hunch that whatever is recounted is not too far fetched, but I would like to start my inquiry with a more disciplined, scientific medium.

All the Best,

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 17 Apr 2004 23:26

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Are there no ohter sources than these? I am unable to locate an ENglish translation of the Morand text. Henry Miller--I have the impression that his work is the sort of thing one reads with one had below the desk, as the French would say.
Works of fiction wrote by someone about his/her contemporaries have to be written in the language they would understand best, so they are a most appropriate way to understand the way of speaking/behaving/thinking of that time's citizens. From this point of view, any media article or work of fiction wrote between 1919-1939 is an open window to the time's social mores.
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Anyway, to get back on topic, I was really looking for cultural histories that document these phenomenon in an historical, non-fictional context. Again, I invite any contributors with recommendations to submit them. I would certainly enjoy reading the Morand text if I could find it in ENglish, or even give it a try in German. But even if that were possible, which it does not seem to be me from cursory inquiry, I am poorly equippred to determine just how fantastical it is. I have a hunch that whatever is recounted is not too far fetched, but I would like to start my inquiry with a more disciplined, scientific medium.
See above. Archived media articles allow a glimpse in the respective time.

~Regards,

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Post by maxxx » 30 Apr 2004 20:59

I have to disagree to Einsamer Wolf.

The Nazis WERE extremly prudish. Even the sort of "art" they loved and officialy promoted like the cow-like naked girls in Adolf Zieglers paintings (Hitlers favorit painter) were extremely un-erotic. Beinig naked in public meaned "Freikörperkultur" ("Free Body Culture"), but it had to be as puritan as with your clothes on.

This does not mean Nazi-Top-Brass where not personally interested in Sex . (Think of Goebbels chasing young actresses around his desk, like Marianne Hoppe and others) Or of his long-time mistress Lida Baarova.
Some of them were outright pervert- and I really don´t mean the homosexuals in SA... Think of Hitler, during the early years he always carried a dog whip in public, also on journeys, where he did not take his dog with him...

No excess of the Weimar republic was not also committed by Nazis.
Not only Goering, but a lot of Luftwaffe-Aces were at least some of their time on drugs. In my hometown Vienna there were circles (mostly actors from Burgtheater, but also painters and others) which got most of their drugs from Luftwaffe pilots on leave. (mostly Pervitin and other Uppers)
Even the RSHA ran a bordello (remember "Salon Kitty"?)
A lot of Reichsleiter and Gauleiter were absolutely NOT-ANONYMOUS alcoholics. (Was it Ley who was nicknamed "Reichstrunkenbold" in public?)
There was even a order by goebbels to all german newspapers "not to show any more pictures with party officals on tables with empty bottles".
A bunch of hypocrits most of them were. And those few who really believed in their puritanic doctrines were the most dangerous of all.

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