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1933: Germans are burning books, why?

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by HellWarrior, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. HellWarrior

    HellWarrior Member

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    Hi, I was just watching the first episode of World at War when I saw the Germans throwing and burning books. Why? Were they doing this only for the jewish books or for all the books?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    People and governments that burn books usually are in a cause in which they want to control the thoughts and values of the population by eliminating ideas from books that threaten their cause.
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Correct - its quite an old pass time for insecure, controlling goverments...a version of the thought police.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    I think that Victor is correct. The Nazis wanted to control what could be seen and read from the past and the outside. It was meant to control what the people could understand for themselves. By doing so, they could influence the masses by allowing only what they deemed "correct". They hoped to destroy any knowledge which they did not control. That meant their own past as well as thinkers from other countries that did not conform to their ideals of the "Volk".
     
  5. HellWarrior

    HellWarrior Member

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    Ok I understand now so they also burned non jewish books?
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    That is correct. Anything that countered the official line was subject to banning. Understand that book burning was largely ceremonial. Owning and distributing information and ideas that ran against the official line was subject to dismissal. This included philosophers, thinkers, musicians, etc. that were considered "decadent" and therefore dangerous for the general public to own.
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    I finished watching a History channel show on the Nazi propaganda film version of "The Titanic" last night and there was a mention of the book burnings. I had never heard of the film which was given a budget of $180,000,000 dollars by Goebbels! Titanic (1943 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Here is a good link on the book burning: Book Burning

    In 1933, Nazi German authorities strove to synchronize professional and cultural organizations with Nazi ideology and policy (Gleichschaltung). In keeping with this endeavor, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, began an effort to bring German arts and culture in line with Nazi goals. The government purged cultural organizations of Jewish and other officials alleged to be politically suspect or who performed or created art works which Nazi ideologues labeled “degenerate.”

    In an effort to synchronize the literary community, Goebbels had a strong ally in the National Socialist German Students’ Association (Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, or NSDStB). German university students were among the vanguard of the early Nazi movement, and in the late 1920s, many filled the ranks of various Nazi formations. The ultra-nationalism and antisemitism of middle-class, secular student organizations had been intense and vocal for decades. After World War I, many students opposed the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and found in National Socialism a suitable vehicle for their political discontent and hostility.
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Does anyone know if there was an official list of burnt authors? I know there was Hemingway, Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque for instance. Not all were anti Nazi, being a pacifist was "enough" to be banned as well. Remarque was a pacifist and wrote about the horrors of the great war.
     
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Get a copy of the scifi movie...Faranheit 451. Although not ww2, and the book burning itself was before ww2...the movie may give you some understanding.
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    There are a few names at this link from the site above:
    Book Burning

    "German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in his 1820-1821 play Almansor the famous admonition, “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen": "Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people."

    It seems to me that one focus of the book burning was students. To forward a policy to amassing a large group of people to keep tensions high and tempers flaring. Play to their perceptions of "National pride" and use them as auxiliary agents for keeping the general populace in check. Kind of an opposite effect of the US in the 1960's.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Kittos Kai!
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    The answers so far are both correct and good, but I think they leave out an aspect that was as important as the books chosen to be burned.

    In a Communist country, indeed most totalitarian societies, the government or ruling body would come in the middle of the night with nameless, faceless men to collect all the "unacceptable or subversive" material to be taken away. They would claim to be acting in defense of the people, without telling them the details.

    The Nazi's took it one, clever step further. They made the people themselves an eager and willing participant. They brought these books from home or a bookstore and chucked them publicly, in front of their neighbors and friends, into the fire. It was not simply the government acting, but seemingly the people.

    The Fire was important, because it gave the tawdry spectacle a sense of primal and cathartic granduer. This is why so many Nazi events took place at night and included some aspect of fire or light. Much of Nazi political thought and theory involved the concept of throwing off the old decadent way's for a simpler and more equatable society.

    As with most such nonsense, the reality never caught up with the promise.

     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Many totalitarian regimes acted the same way , not only politics but also in religion. Think of the inquisition which "purified evil" by fire.
     
  15. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    A good comment - Runs parralel with the Hippy movement...coming from a different angle...
     
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Why should everything have some rational, political, ideological, or any other biased explanation? What happened in the Nazi Germany has happened before and afterwards, everywhere. Burning of books in Nazi Germany was just an extreme form of anti-intellectualism. There is no society immune to this phenomenon; just it appears in different forms. Soviets didn't like bourgeois, Nazis hated Jewish intelligentsia, and Democrats considered liberals as the Red Danger. Anti-intellectualism isn't an exclusive property of "totalitarian" societies.
     
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  17. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    THe US has people who have and would like to ban books. There was a famous incident at a game in the 70's in which people were invited to burn their disco records. The promotors failed to consider the effect of burning things on a plastic field.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Better to get the book.
     
  19. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Good idea. I read the book years ago, and it has stuck with me. I never saw the movie. Am I missing anything?
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Strictly my opinion but I liked the movie but thought the book was better in particular the philosophical points were much clearer. Been a while since I've read the book or seen the movie though.
     

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