Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture

Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture



Inhumanities is an unprecedented account of the ways Nazi Germany manipulated and mobilized European literature, philosophy, painting, sculpture, and music in support of its ideological ends. David B. Dennis shows how, based on belief that the Third Reich represented the culmination of Western Civilization, culture became a key propaganda tool in the regime's program of national renewal and its campaign against political, national, and racial enemies. Focusing on the daily output of the Völkischer Beobachter, the party's official organ and the most widely-circulating German newspaper of the day, he reveals how activists twisted history, biography, and aesthetics to fit Nazism's authoritarian, militaristic, and anti-Semitic worldviews. Ranging from National Socialist coverage of Germans such as Luther, Dürer, Goethe, Beethoven, Wagner, and Nietzsche to 'great men of the Nordic West' such as Socrates, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, he reveals the true extent of the regime's ambitious attempt to reshape the 'German mind'.

  • The first comprehensive survey of the ways the Nazi party appropriated major figures of the Western cultural tradition
  • Traces the Nazi party's efforts to convince Germans that Nazism offered cultural advancement as well as political leadership
  • Reveals how high culture was used to justify the elimination of enemies of the Volk



Publication Date



Cambridge University Press


New York


European History

Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture