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This is a weekend course at Madingley Hall, Cambridge. Concentrating on painting and architecture, this course will explore the officially sponsored arts of the Third Reich and their relationship to the propaganda role of the regime. The arts were placed at the centre of the regime’s cultural life and drew their inspiration from Hitler, who considered himself an artist and often remarked that if he had not been called upon to ‘save’ Germany he would have liked to have been an architect. But whatever his artistic ambitions, Hitler was first and foremost a propagandist and the course will begin by considering the place of propaganda in the Nazi concept of politics. Hitler wrote extensively on the nature of propaganda and the arts in Mein kampf and the arts were to be enlisted from the earliest days of the regime to further a particular concept of racial identity and allegiance. Having considered the place of propaganda in a totalitarian system we will move on to examine in detail the themes and images to be found in Nazi painting. From there we will consider whether it is possible to speak of a ‘Nazi style’ in architecture, before comparing and contrasting Nazi art and architecture with that of Fascist Italy and Soviet ‘Socialist Realism’ to illustrate similarities and contrasts in the arts of these totalitarian regimes. This course is hosted by the University of Cambridge, Institute of Continuing Education.

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