Adolf Hitler had no time for modernist architects and artists, whose work he considered morally degenerate and politically subversive.
Hitler was not opposed to modernity as such; he was opposed to those people that used modernity as a means to advance their progressive, socialist, and even Marxist beliefs. When used in that particular context, modernity stood for everything that the Nazi party detested.
Right Wing Modernity Only
Modernity in graphic design, architecture or art promoted values such as internationalism and socialism. Modernist schools such as Bauhaus were frequently accused by the Nazi party of promoting ‘Bolshevik Culture’ so it was no surprise that it was expedient by most members of the Bauhaus school, as well as the actual school itself to leave the Third Reich.
Hitler's Media Expertise
Hitler’s campaign for the presidential election of 1932 was textbook electioneering. The Hitler over Germany campaign brought the Nazi leader millions of extra votes and gave him a respectable second place behind Hindenburg. If the Nazis use of the media, propaganda, and the newest technology were astute on the road to power, it would be even more accomplished once they held power. Control of state owned media, the strict censorship of the press, combined with control of the education system meant that Goebbels was able to spread Nazi mythology and ideology to the entire population.
Redefining Germany With New Buildings
Hitler had grandiose plans to profoundly alter Germany’s architecture to reflect the glory and the power of the thousand years that the Third Reich was supposed to last. The man he chose to lead the architectural revolution was a young relatively unknown architect, Albert Speer. Speer was a classically trained architect whose designs had caught Hitler’s attention. Speer designed the new chancellery building in Berlin. Speer did not use modernity for any of the buildings that he planned and built for Hitler. Speer was to plan more buildings than he ever got around to having built. The Second World War would delay and then prevent Hitler’s ambitions to rebuild many German cities with a classically or mythological inspired graphic design. Ultimately the lead for rejecting modernity in graphic design in favour of a mythological approach to art and architecture came from Adolf Hitler himself. In his memoirs Speer recounted that even government ministers such as Joseph Goebbels (and during the Second World War himself) had to be very careful about any art displays or building work carried out in case Adolf Hitler ‘expressed his severe disapproval’. Hitler tried to ensure that his tastes in graphic design and art decided the forms that were tolerated in the Third Reich.
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