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Music and Internationalism in Nazi Germany: Provenance and Post-War Consequences

Pace, I. ORCID: 0000-0002-0047-9379 (2023). Music and Internationalism in Nazi Germany: Provenance and Post-War Consequences. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 147(2), pp. 594-616. doi: 10.1017/rma.2022.28


In 1926, Hans Pfitzner attacked a völkerfeindliche Internationalismus (‘anti-Volk internationalism’) in music, associated with atonality, jazz and other phenomena. For a long time it was assumed by many—not least those involved in post-1945 musical planning in occupied Germany—that this type of ethos informed programming in Nazi Germany, which was said to have been cut off from both modernist and international developments for twelve years. In this article I nuance this view by considering the openness to multiple nationalisms of figures like Hermann Killer and Peter Raabe, and give an overview of the many different cross-national societies, friendship organisations and exchange programmes, and how these were affected by unfolding political events, from the long-term German-Italian and German-Hungarian exchanges prevalent throughout the regime, through those between German and Japan which followed the Anti-Comintern Pact, and the more fragile exchanges with Britain, France, Poland and Russia, to the wartime exchanges with fellow fascist countries such as Romania and Croatia. I consider the activities of the Ständiger Rat für die international Zusammenarbeit der Komponisten and contrast them with the Allgemeiner deutscher Musikverein, the, and the Internationales zeitgenössisches Musikfest in Baden-Baden in terms of different ideologies on nationalism/internationalism. I situate these exchanges in the context of internationalism of the Weimar era (manifested above all in membership of the International Society for Contemporary Music) and consider how misconceptions fuelled the post-1945 notion of Nachholbedarf (‘catching up’) which was vital to subsequent new music programming.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of the Royal Musical Association . This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts
SWORD Depositor:
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