Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz, 2015
Historical context of the war of propaganda in Germany
Agenda - the ideology of the Nazi-regime
Vehicle – the Party Rallies at Nuremberg – historical background
Dance – a definition
The fascination of coordinated movement
Seduction of movement on screen
Creating dramatic tension with choreographed movement
Ethical evaluation of beauty
Literature, DVD, Internet, YouTube
The Party Rallies of the NSDAP had such a tremendous impact on the audience and spectators, that the Allied Forces after World War Second used of all places Nuremberg to execute the heads of the Nazi-regime. The Party Rallies of Nuremberg made such a powerful impression that today, the name of Nuremberg has become a symbol for a trial of crime against humanity. (http://www.wikimedia, Nuremberg Trials. 28th January 2015) There is no doubt, the Party Rallies of Nuremberg were the most powerful nation branding ever. What made these Party Rallies so powerful and unforgettable that we even today can get under its spell?
I interpret the fascination of the Party Rallies in Nuremberg as a fascination of movement of military parades and Tattoos. My main question is - what impact have structured and rhythmically arranged movement formations on the audience? Fundamentally, this is a philosophically question. We do not perceive the world out of our free will. The world is physiological and materially structured. These structures have an impact on us. How we regard and perceive the world is dependent on the structures of what we perceive. For example, rhythmically structures have a different impact on us than visual structures. The one can intensify and amplify the other. That happened in Nuremberg.
At the Party Rallies at Nuremberg, the rhythmical structure was the music of marches. The function of marches is to regulate and unite the marching of troops and the movement of great mass formations. A perfect unified movement is a marching machine. All human actions are instinctively driven into a rhythmically participation. The underlying rhythmical pattern of marches was at Nuremberg a uniting force. The coordinated and nearly supernatural conducted movement of hundred thousand of people had a tremendous impact on the audience. Seeing these masses moving in rhythmically regular drum beats with a sudden silence in between is even today a hypnotically experience. Why?
A military parade and a Tattoo is a choreographically arranged show. I interpret a choreographically arranged movement as a dance. However, the main question is not the definition of dance, but the perception of dance. Why are we fascinated of a dance show? Why can a military defilation and Tattoo thrill us? Why can the mass arrangement of a hundred thousand of people carry us away?
Adjectives, which are used to describe the Party Rallies at Nuremberg, are “seduction”, “brainwash”, and even “der faule Nazi-Zauber von Nürnberg” (30. 08. 2008 – 10:45 http://www.spiegelonline.de). These adjectives are the expressions of an ethic evaluation of an aesthetical event that spellbound the people. I can also call it an ethic evaluation of an aesthetic experience. How can I ethically evaluate the perfection of beauty, a perfect beautiful movement, or any aesthetical experience at all? How can I judge the aesthetical admiration of beauty after ethical criteria? Primarily is this a discussion of an ethic judgement of beauty quite generally.
Concerning the Party Rallies at Nuremberg, the reason for this ethic judgment of beauty is the ideology of the Nazi-Party and the disastrous consequences of this ideology. Therefore, I regard in the first place the propaganda system of the NSDAP. Then I discuss in very short terms the message or the underlying ideology of these Party Rallies. When I reconstruct the structure of these mass assemblies, and the impact they had on the target audience, I differentiate into the lived participation at Nuremberg and the impact, the film material of this event has on the audience. The material I use are DVD’s from Riefenstahl, Goebbels, von Schirach, and amateur and documentary films from military parades and Tattoos.
To keep within the limits of this paper, I only focus on some aspects of the rise of propaganda as a political power game after the First World War. The results of the First World War was a complete change in the political scenario of Europe. Both Russia and Germany had a change in the political system. The Bolshevik murdered the family of the Russian Emperor and proclaimed the dictatorship of the proletariat. In reality, this was the dictatorship of a one-party-system. The Communist Party (CP) fought inside of Russia to gain a complete control over the political, economic, and social situation. The murder of the Russian Aristocracy and the family of the Czar, and the brutal civil war in Russia, brought the CP into discredit all over the World. To gain the recognition of the global society the Soviets developed a department of propaganda. This was “The third dimension of Soviet Foreign Policy” (Fayet, 2010, 34). Political propaganda became “an increasingly influential political branch, it formed a network of intellectual professionals as its members; this network in turn was naked the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS).” (Fayet, 2010, 37)
In Germany, the Emperor abdicated and the German socialist party proclaimed the German Republic. The victorious Allied demanded 269 Billion in Gold as reparation from Germany, the world trade was smashed, and the German economy was going from one bankruptcy to another. The Weimarer Republic was incapable of acting. Too many splinter groups and minor parties, and too many miscellaneous opinions prevented taking measure against the misery of the after war situation, and blocked any vote taking. Every concrete decision-making process was impossible.
In the streets, the conservative parties, the communist parties, and paramilitary groups were fighting one against another. On this background and in this context the NSDAP got their big moment. The election results of the Weimarer Republic are a clear barometer of the political situation. In May 1924, the NSDAP gained 6.5 percent of the votes. The economic situation in Germany was still disastrous. In December 1924, the NSDAP gained 3 percent of the votes, and in 1928 is was only 2.6 percent. In these years, the economic situation began to improve worldwide. However, after the Wall Street Crash in 1929 gained the NSDAP in 1930 already 18.3 percent of the votes, in July 1932 they gained 27.4 percent, and in November 1932 even 33.1 percent. At that time, Hitler was candidate for the position of presidency. In 1933, when Hitler was chancellor, the NSDAP gained 43.9 percent of the votes. (WDR. Zeitgeschichtliches Archiv, Stand: 19.08.2007). These percentages of the election results give a picture of the connection of the world economic situation and the development of the NSDAP. It tells also of the catastrophic situation of the political scene and the social development in Germany.
The NSDAP declared themselves an autonomy and purely German party. The CP declared themselves an international movement. Because of the ideological differences, there were a constant fight going on between the national radical parties and the international communist parties. This was a fight of live and death, carried out with verbal accusation, propaganda, street fights, brutal attacks and slaughter.
The Agent of the Party Rally in Nuremberg was the NSDAP. While in the Soviet Union VOKS were in charge of the communist propaganda, the NSDAP had in the beginning no propaganda program or system of its own. However, the members of the Nazi Party learnt rapidly during the 20th the art of propaganda. From the Comintern? Surly, the NSDAP did not take their ideas out of a vacuum. In 1927, Goebbels was the leader of the NSDAP of Berlin-Brandenburg. Here were the most brutal and decisive confrontations between the CP and the NSDAP. In 1928, Goebbels became the leader of the propaganda campaign of the Nazi-party. During this time, he had enough opportunities to study the tactics, methods and execution of war of the Comintern. When Goebbels became a member of the German Parliament, he declared “er betrete den Reichstag, um sich aus seinem Arsenal mit den Waffen der Demokratie zu wappnen. Er und seine NS-Kampfgenossen würden Reichstagsabgeordnete, damit der Geist von Weimar selbst helfe, ihn zu vernichten.” (Wistrich, 1982, 90) With other words, Goebbels joined the Parliament to learn from the Parliament with the intention to use that, what he had learned to destroy the Parliament.
It is important to know that Goebbels came originally from the left wing of the NSDAP under the brothers Strasser. The ideology of this left wing was a “proletarische, antikapitalistische Weltanschauung”, (Wistrich, 1982, 88f.) that means a proletarian, anticapitalistic worldview, which was in some degree related to the communist ideology. Goebbels called Hitler at that time the little “Bourgeois”, (Wistrich, 1982, 88f.) In addition, the name of the Nazi-party is NSDAP that means “National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei”, The National Socialist German Worker Party. The slogan of the CP is International Socialism. Here we have the contradiction and relationship between these two movements, national integration to the inside of Germany contra international influence outside of Russia. There can be no doubt that Goebbels knew the ideology and tactics of the CP. Therefor I can reformulate Goebbels remark of the Parliament of the Weimar Republic - Goebbels had learned from the CP to use that, what he had learned from the Communists, to destroy the Communists.
After the NSDAP gained power with lies, brutality, and mass arrest of communists, Goebbels centralised everything, which was concerned with literature, journalism, education and culture in the “Reichskulturkammer”. Every sector from film, theatre, radio, newspapers, any form for publication, any form of art as music, concerts, painting, and everyone, who was involved with art, culture and education came under his control. This was the “Gleichschaltung”. Does “Gleichschaltung” mean “to make everybody equal”? No, it means to destroy any individual opinion. It means Goebbels controlled everybody in the same way. Everybody was equally under his censorship. (Knopp, Goebbels, ZDF 2005) Goebbels founded the department of “Volksaufklärung und Propaganda”. This name is a declaration of the target audience, the German people, “das Volk”, who had to be enlightened.
The Nazi propaganda was concentrated on the message of “Volksgemeinschaft”. The ideology of the Nazi Party declared the Germany people as one single body, independent of the reputation of their social background and standing position. The unifying element of the people was their “blood” as an ethnics’ identification. This is the fundament of the complex of racism, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobia of the Nazi-ideology. Underlying this complex of racism was another message. The German did not exist as individuals, but only as part of the community. Their purpose in life was not their individual happiness and the development of their personality; their only purpose in life was to serve the community. » Du bist nichts, dein Volk ist alles! « (Internet 10. 03. 1015, 15:45, abi-pur, Nationalsozialismus - Massenpsychologie und Propaganda im Dritten Reich) You are nothing; your people are everything. The Nazi-ideology was a system to annihilate the free will and personality of every individual member of the society. Hitlers message was, „ ihr dürft nicht handeln ihr müsst gehorchen, ihr müsst euch diesem Zwang beugen” (Müller, 1993). There were protests against this system to enslave a whole people. However, the Nazis branded every critic as intellectual criminality, spread by Jews and communists who wanted to harm the German people. This gave the Nazis a legal weapon, to arrest, incarcerate, segregate and kill millions of people.
The Nazi-Party convinced the German people and the global society with an emotional seduction. „Das ist das Geheimnis der Propaganda, wonach die, die die Propaganda fassen will, ganz mit den Ideen der Propaganda zu durchtränken, ohne dass er das merkt. Selbstverständlich hat die Propaganda eine Absicht, aber die Absicht muss so klug und so virtuos kaschiert sein, dass der, der von dieser Absicht erfüllt werden soll, das überhaupt nicht bemerkt.“( Knopp, Goebbels, 2005) – The secret of propaganda is, that the target audience is seduced in such a way, that they are not realising that and how they are seduced, said Goebbels. Goebbels was not only a demonically liar, he was brutally outspoken and honest with what he intended to do and how he intended it to do. The Party Rallies of Nuremberg were part of an emotional seduction. They were a demonstration of the symbolically unification of the German people.
The first Party Rally of the NSDAP was in January 1923 in Munich, the second Party Rally was in July 1926 in Weimar. In 1927 and 1929, the Party Rallies were in Nuremberg. After seriously fighting between the Communist Party and the NSDAP in 1929, the council of Nuremberg prevented a further Party Rally in 1930 and 1931. The first Party Rally in Nuremberg was therefor after seizure of power of the NSDAP in September 1933. From that time on, the Party Rallies of the NSDAP became a gigantesque demonstration of power. At Nuremberg were more than a half million of participants assembled. The main body of these participants were party members, military and paramilitary organisations. The SA and SS were military organisations. I interpret the FAD (Freiwillige Arbeitsdienst), the voluntary working forth, and the HJ, the Hitler Youth, as paramilitary organisations.
The FAD, “Freiwillige Arbeitsdienst” was during the Republic of Weimar a program for unemployed people based on voluntarily participation. At that time, only 7000 persons participated. After 1933, the Nazi-Party transformed the FAD in a compulsory subject, and renamed it RAD, Reichsarbeitsdienst, the labour forth of the Third Reich (WDR.de Zeitgeschichtliches Archiv, 16. 07. 2007, Internet, 17.3.15). From 1935, every young man had to work in the labour forth for sex month before the military service. The labour forth became a preparation for the military service. From the 1st of September 1939, also the German women were under the obligation of the RAD. During the War, the RAD was an assistant squad of the “Reichswehr”, the German Armey. (http://www.WDR.de Zeitgeschichtliches Archiv, 16. 07. 2007, internet, 17.3.15, FAD, Freiwillige Arbeitsdienst) At the Party Rallies at Nuremberg, the labour forth was an integrated part of the military parades and performances.
The HJ, the “Hitler-Youth” was the youth movement of the NSDAP. After 1933, the HJ was the only officially allowed youth association in Germany. The membership was voluntarily, however, without membership in the HJ, the youth had many social constraints. They could not make a university entrance qualification. They could not have a carrier. They were outlaws. In 1939, nearly every youth belonged to the HJ, but not all. Children with a serious illness, a hereditary condition, an insufficient IQ, a handicap and/or TBC were not permitted to join the HJ; and of course, Jews were excluded, and everybody, who did not belong to the Aryan race. (http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dvncx1e53lr4, “Hitlerjugend” part I, II and III). The agenda of the HJ was strong physical training, sporty activities, long excursion with stamina training, hart work especially during harvest time, training in the use of weapon, and constant competition. The Nazis did not want a peaceful minded intellectual youth. Hitler declared: “In unseren Augen muss die deutsche Jugend schlank und rank sein, flink wie Windhunde, zäh wie Leder und hart wir Krupp-Stahl.” (Knopp, von Schirach, 2005)
This paramilitary education of the youth was the preparation of the next war. “Education in Nazi Germany aimed at three primary goals: love of Fuehrer, belief in race hygiene and creating a more martial society (physical fitness and war-like skills and games).” (Steven Spielberg United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, internet 17.3.2015) Hitler claimed, at first, they are “Jungvolk”, the young people, than they join the Hitler Youth. From the Hitler Youth, they became members of the NS-Party and of the Army. They were dedicated to the “Reich” and to the “Führer” for their whole life. (Knopp, von Schirach, 2005) There can be no doubt that the participants at Nuremberg were military and paramilitary groups, and that the Party Rallies where a show of military power.
This is also the agenda of the film “Triumph of the Will”. Twenty-four motives from at all sixty-one in “Triumph of the Will” are military parades, Tattoos, marching soldiers, and reviews of troopers. (Viewing Notes of “Triumph of the Will”, 2001) However, in every single pictures of the whole film are military motives. When Hitler and his party members address the troops, the HJ, the working forces, and the party members, everybody appears in uniform. If we see spectators, they are watching military parades and formations. Everybody is part of this gigantesque military spectacle.
The underlying tune of this military spectacle is the rhythm of military marches. The rhythm of march-music unites great mass formations. Everybody is driven into a rhythmically participation after the tune of march-music. When everybody moves in the same rhythm, his head, arms, and legs are coordinated. The greater the perfection of the coordinated movement, the more the spectators are thrilled. Why are they thrilled? What made this military monster parades so unforgettable? To find an answer to this question, I interpret military parades and Tattoos as choreographed dance shows.
There are as many definitions, theories and individual opinions and remarks about dance as there are human societies, groups and people. These definitions and opinions are rooted in a different cultural, social, historical, educational, and dance formation context. I try to concentrate on some general definitions, which I regard as common for all dancing forms, events and happenings. One definition is that dance is a non-verbal/”non-vocal” activity. (Farnell, 1999, 150). However, we can describe any movement as a non-verbal activity, but we cannot interpret any movement as a dance. Movement is a life-principle, and as that, we move unintentionally and automatically with every respiration and heartbeat. Usually, we do not reflect over our movement, we move unconsciously. In comparison to that is dance an intentional movement. We can move in what form we want and are able to move, structured or not structured, rhythmically or not rhythmically; what so ever, the underlying force of dance is that we want to move out of and driven by a special reason.
Yet, not every intentional body movement is a dance, because also a gesture is an intentional body movement. McNeill differentiates between gesticulation, pantomime, emblem (partly conventionalized) and sign language (fully conventionalized): “The fourth continuum concerns the semiotic differences between gesticulation and sign.” (McNeill, 2000, 5) Dance is neither a simple gesticulation, nor is dance a pantomime or emblem, dance is “arranged, segmented and analytic” (McNeill, 2000, 5). Dance is a conventionalized and arranged movement system. As that, dance is a sign system. As a sign system, dance has a message. What message? That is the problem. Can I regard dance as a para-linguistic sign system? Can we analyse dance with the same methods as the structural linguists Saussure and Chomsky analysed languages? The American researcher Adrienne Kaeppler did so with success (Kaeppler, 1991). I regard this is a problem. The problem is the medium. I can interpret a verbal message life, on a phone or as a letter, as e-mail or e-book; the message is always the same. The word, spoken or written, is independent of the medium. I can only modify it with paralinguistic means, with sounds and gestures. If I interpret the message of a dance or movement system, I have to consider the form and medium of this message. This is the primarily difference between a linguistic sign system and a non-verbal sign system. The medium of a dance or movement is always the dancing and moving body. From the experience of the body, I differentiate between four experiences of movements.
1. I move and dance. I am my body. My body is the experience. That experience is my message. (Fraleigh, 1987)
2. If I am a part of a mass movement, a Corps de Ballet or Ballroom dance, I am a part of a dancing unity. I am moving and at the same time, I am an object, which is moved by another force, by other dancers, by the pattern of a choreography and/or by a collective movement. I can interpret my movement only in the context of the collective agreement and arrangement of the movement.
3. If I watch a dancer or a dance show, a Tattoo or a military parade, I am not the moving object; I can only participate emotionally and mentally. Only on that level, I can perceive, understand and interpret the message.
4. When I watch a dancing show or a Tattoo on screen, I am not a part of the physical movement at all, not as a dancer and not as a spectator. In addition, I can perceive the dance on screen only two-dimensional, while I perceive dancing life three- or four-dimensional, depending on the fact if I am moving, if I am a part of the dancing event or not. On the other hand, I can follow the pattern of a dance on screen intellectually, if I can. I can distance myself, if I want to. This depends on my motivation, intellectual education, dancing formation and intention. I cannot distance myself from my own moving body. I cannot distance myself from a dancing experience, when I am a part of this dancing experience. When I reflect on this experience, I am not a part of the dancing experience anymore; this experience is already a part of my past. Fraleigh did not consider this aspect in her dance research. (Fraleigh, 1987)
I interpret in the following the Party Rallies at Nuremberg in relation to these four fundamental experiences of dance. 1) I focus on the experience of my emotions as a moving body. What does it means to be in the movement? What does it mean to be the movement? 2) What does it mean to be a participant at a military parade, Tattoo, Corps de Ballet or ballroom dance? 3) What does it mean to watch a dancing spectacle? 4) What does it mean to see the film material and movies of the military parades of Nuremberg today? What does it mean to watch a dancing spectacle on screen?
One body moving creates a unity of space and time. Several bodies dancing together create a unification of all people with the whole surrounding of space and time. In a religious context, this is regarded as a mystically reunion with the spirits, gods, and even the dead ancestors. (McAlister, 1997, 24) Whatever we may believe, it is a magical moment when one or several dancing bodies create a complete unity with the whole surrounding as for example in all kind of military parades, Tattoos and ballroom dancing.
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