Synopses & Reviews
is an important and controversial contribution to the literature on Hitler's Germany. Köhler powerfully argues that Wagner's influence played a vital role in shaping the cultural context in which Nazism developed.
Köhler traces the legacy of the German romantic tradition and the irrational, egocentric, nationalistic and intolerantly utopian features which were shared by Wagner and Hitler. He explores how Hitler discovered characters he could identify with in Wagner's work, as well as concepts he could apply to his political career, up to the point when Wagner's anti-Semitic tracts were turned into violent reality by the politician he had inspired. In a compelling study, Köhler traces Wagner's influence on Hitler from the young Austrian scraping together the price of an opera ticket, to the dictator enacting his megalomaniac Wagnerian visions of a Germany that would rule the world. He also shows how Wagner's family in Bayreuth supported Hitler from the beginning of his political career, and aided his introduction into highly influential circles.
Considerable controversy surrounded this book upon publication in Germany and the English-language edition of Wagner's Hitler is bound to provoke similar heated discussion among all who are interested in the debates about Hitler and his context, Wagner's political influence, and the social and cultural factors which shaped the rise of Nazism in Germany.
"Fascinating and very well written ... clearly the best documented of the attempts to link Wagner and Hitler." Harold James, Princeton University
"Chilling and exhaustively researched ... [it offers a] persuasive case for its thesis that Hitler based his entire philosophy and the whole Nazi apparatus on ideas explicitly drawn from Wagner's writings and operas." The New York Times
'Time and again Wagner called for the annihilation of the Jewish race, an alien body in an Aryan German state. Hitler took him at his word.' Ronald Taylor, in his Introduction
Wagner's Hitler is an important and controversial contribution to the literature on Hitler's Germany.
Offers a controversial contribution to the literature on Hitler's Germany. The author argues that Wagner's influence played a vital role in shaping the cultural context in which Nazism developed.
About the Author
Joachim Köhler is a scholar of philosophy and German literature, and is the author of Zarathustra's Secret and Nietzsche and Wagner.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Ronald Taylor.
1. Ein Heldenleben.
2. The Last of the Tribunes.
3. Dresden Burns.
4. Studies in the Ring.
5. Dragon-Slayer by Profession.
6. The Future as Art.
7. A Royal Failure.
8. The Witch's Kitchen.
9. A Lethal Subject.
11. An Official Blessing.
12. The Saviour Betrayed.
13. Wagnerian Hero: A Self-Portrait.
14. Blood Brotherhood.
15. Life under the Mastersingers.
16. Barbarossa Returns: Ahasversus Perishes.