"Swing Kids" In Nazi Germany Reminds Us Of Rave Culture In America

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Nazi Audio Propaganda From 1932

The above photo is Nazi propaganda in the form of an exhibition about new radio and audio technology in 1932. Heavy shit. Did you know that music produced under the Nazi regime had to meet certain standards defined as "good" German music vs."degenerate" music, a label applied by the government to certain forms of music that it considered to be harmful or decadent. They were known for suppressing artists and their works, yet some musicians were permitted limited artistic freedom in an attempt to create a balance between censorship and creativity in music to appease the German people.

No stranger to propaganda (some would argue that Nazi Germany defined the negative connotation behind meaning) Adolf Hitler devoted two chapters about propaganda in his 1925/26 work Mein Kampf and is considered the blueprint of later Nazi propaganda efforts.

Assessing his audience, Hitler writes:

"Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood."

Speaking of music and Nazis, have you seen the film Swing Kids? It's a coming of age story about a group of kids in Nazi Germany who listen to banned music and embrace taboo pastimes of British fashion, Harlem slang, American movies and swing music. It's not hard to make a connection between the film and rave culture. Someone was nice enough to put it up on Youtube, check it out: