The Richard Wagner and Adolf Hitler Connection: Ideology or Fascination?

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Abstract

The question at the centre of this study is whether or not Adolf Hitler’s fascination with Richard Wagner, the man and the musician, originated in Wagner’s antisemitism. Based on primary sources, this study points in another direction, indicating that Hitler considered his attitude to Wagner to be a private, even intimate, matter; and that it was the exhilaration he felt when listening to Wagner’s operas that made him feel worthy and capable of becoming a redemptive leader, as he saw his role. Moreover, he used the artistic experience and the Germanic contents of the operas in order to channel public feelings, especially during the Nazi Party rallies, into a sense of racial superiority and national destiny, the results of which were disastrous for Germany and the world at large.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalHolocaust Studies
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006

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