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Hitler's War Poets
Literature and Politics in the Third Reich


  • Date Published: March 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521876896

£ 58.00

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About the Authors
  • Jay W. Baird comes to grips with a theme which has been generally avoided by over two generations of scholars and literary critics. He argues that German literature did not end with the advent of Hitler in 1933, only to be reborn after the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. Baird demonstrates how poets and writers responded enthusiastically to Hitler's summons to artists to create a cultural revolution commensurate with the political radicalism of the new state, thereby affirming the centrality of renewed German culture. Hitler's War Poets focuses on the lives and the works of six leading conservative, anti-communist yet revolutionary authors who articulated the dream of World War I veterans to form a socially just national community. Tradition was redrawn by Rudolf G. Binding, while Josef Magnus Wehner dramatized the link from Flanders fields and Verdun to the Third Reich. Hans Zöberlein exalted anti-Semitism, the Free Corps, and Nazi violence, providing the counterpoint to Edwin Erich Dwinger, who launched an unrelenting assault against 'Jewish-Bolshevism'. The torch was passed to Eberhard Wolfgang Möller, the leading bard of the revolutionary young generation. But it was Kurt Eggers, a tank commander in the 5th SS Panzer Division 'Viking', who delighted Hitler as he appeared as a prophet bearing the testament of Nietzsche's Zarathustra. Taken together, these authors offered the regime significant support. More importantly, their's was a tragic legacy because they provided aesthetic accompaniment to Nazi barbarism and ultimately to the Holocaust.

    • The work fills a major gap in scholarship and will be necessary reading for anyone interested in memory, warfare, poetry, politics, and Himmler's SS
    • Will appeal to those interested in Hitler and the Third Reich as an important addition to Holocaust scholarship
    • Focuses on the interface of criminality and culture
    • Colorful, scholarly, and elegantly written
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this book makes a major contribution to scholarship on literature during the Third Reich.' Journal of Central European History

    '… Baird has written a valuable work which reminds us how vibrant - and distorted - the literary scene of the Third Reich was.' European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521876896
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 233 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.538kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Heroic imagery in the literature of the Third Reich
    2. Rudolf G. Binding and the memory of the Great War
    3. The Great War and literary reaction: Josef Magnus Wehner and the dream of a new Reich
    4. Hans Zöberlein: the heritage of the front as Third Reich prophecy
    5. Edwin Erich Dwinger: Germany's iconic literary anti-Bolshevik
    6. Hitler's muse: the political aesthetics of the poet and playwright Eberhard Wolfgang Möller
    7. The testament of Zarathustra: Kurt Eggers and the SS ideal

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Nazism/Stalinism
  • Author

    Jay W. Baird, Miami University
    Jay W. Baird is Professor of History Emeritus at Miami University in Ohio. He has also taught at Stanford University and Pomona College, and was a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge in 1997 and 2004. His previous books include To Die For Germany (1990); The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda, 1939-1945 (1977); and the edited volume From Nuremberg to My Lai (1974). He served as president of the German Studies Association from 1993-1995, and was recognized by the Holocaust Educational Foundation for distinguished contributions to Holocaust education in 2006.

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