Wiedmann, August K.

German Quest for Primal Origins in Art, Culture, and Politics 1900-1933 Die
1995 0-7734-9008-6
This major in-depth study - the first of its kind - conclusively demonstrates that the rise of Nazism cannot be understood in socio-economic and politico-ideological terms alone, but as a manifestation of a far larger cultural dynamic: the collective propensity for things mythical and primal, the compulsive quest for origins and roots. The case is argued with specific reference to German Expressionist literature and art, German letters from Hofmannsthal to Thomas Mann, philosophy (notably that of Simmel, Klages, Heidegger), and religious thought. It also probes into the essential drives of the German Youth Movement (1896-1933) and to the so-called völkische ideology. All are analyzed with a view to elicit their common assumptions -- those that coincided with the 'purer' impulses rampant in the rise of the Nazi movement. The study uncovers many unsuspected parallels between art, ideas and politics and is essential reading for anyone concerned with the cultural origins of National Socialism.