Mein Prophet: Wagner s Medium for Anti Semitism. Christina Cesarz. Duke University

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1 MeinProphet Cesarz1 MeinProphet: Wagner smediumforanti Semitism ChristinaCesarz DukeUniversity

2 MeinProphet Cesarz2 Europeduringthemid twentiethcenturyencountereddrastictransformations duetoculturaldifferencesandpoliticalcorruption.worldwariibecamethefaceof humanfailure,manifestingtheinconceivableevilinhumanitythroughtheactsof Nazism.AdolfHitlerbecamethedrivingforcebehindthismercilessevil,butthe questionarises:whatinspiredhimtoenactsuchanimalisticbehaviors?theanswerto thisquestionlieslargelyinthehandsofrichardwagner,anineteenthcenturygerman composerrenownedforhisanti Semiticoperas. Wagnerknewhowtomanipulatethecrowd,anddoitwell.Asapolitical hothead,heranintovariousconflictsandinstanceswherehewasforcedintoexile; however,hepersistedinhisstubbornpoliticalandanti Semiticviews,allowinghimto riseinrankasoneofthemostinfluentialcomposersaswellaspoliticalactivist. DrawinginspirationfromWagner sstubbornways,hitlermirroredmuchofwagner s personalityinhisownlife,creatingunmistakenparallelsthatrangermanyintoruin.it isthroughadolfhitler sidolizationinrichardwagnerthatheisabletoembody Wagner slifestyleandmastertheartofmanipulationthroughemotion,authorizing himselftotakecontrolofnazigermanyandexecutethemostinhumaneactsin documentedhistory. RichardWagnerencounteredanumberofmercurialrelationships.Heposed himselfasatrustworthyindividual,onlytostabhisacquaintancesintheback.his unstablerelationshipsbeganwithhisfirstwife,minnaplaner.thetwoexperienceda tumultuousrelationshipinwhichonlytwentyyearsoftheirthirty yearmarriagewas spentphysicallytogether.duringthismarriage,wagnerhadhisshareofaffairsthat demonstratehislackofcompassionforothers,hisselfishdisposition.whileunderotto

3 MeinProphet Cesarz3 Wesendonck spatronage,wagnerenjoyedfinancialstabilityandcomfortableliving. Disregardingthishospitality,WagnerhadanaffairwithWesendonck swife,mathilde. Oncetheaffairwasrevealed,Mathildebrokeofftherelationship,allowingWagnerto engageinhisnextaffairwithcosimavonbülow. 1 Duringthisaffair,Minnapassed awayfromwhatissaidtohavebeenabrokenheart,allowingwagnertomarrycosima yearslater. FromtheseaffairsstemsWagner struepersonality:unreasonable,persistent, anddevious.hisselfishnessisevidentinhisactionsinthathetookadvantageofanyone whoprovidedhimwithfinancialstability,earninghimthereputationasan emotional parasitewhodemandedcompleteloyaltywithoutreturningit,whospongedruthlessly offbothfriendandfoe,whoshamelesslyexploitedthosewhomostgenerouslyloved him. 2 Otherthanhisrelationshipwithhissecondwife,Wagnerdidnotexpress emotionalattachmenttoanyone.hedidnotallowhisfinancialinstabilityruinhis career;ratherheusedhisdesperationtoformseeminglygenuinerelationshipswithhis patrons,demonstratinghisungratefulnessfortheirsupport.wagnerhadhisgoalsset onmusicalandpoliticalsuperiority,allowinghistrueselfishandinsensitivepersonality toshowwhileriddinghislifeofpersonaldistractions.hedisregardedhispersonal relationshipswithunimportantindividuals,includingthosewhokepthimfinancially alive. Hisegocentricpersonalitycontributedtohissuccessasbothacomposeranda politicalfigure.in1850,wagnerpublisheddasjudentumindermusik,whichtranslates 1 Hight,GeorgeAinslie.(1925).RichardWagner,aCriticalBiography.London: Arrowsmith. 2 Scruton,R.(2011).TheRingofTruth.AmericanSpectator,44(4),p.42.

4 MeinProphet Cesarz4 to JewishnessinMusic. HeinitiallypublishedhisworkunderthepseudonymK. Freigedanktoprotecthisrisingimageasacomposer. 3 Inthisessay,Wagner anonymouslyexpresseshissheerdenunciationsofthejews,leavingaudiencesinawe. SinceWagnerwasaRomanticNationalist, hebelievedthatoriginalartgrewoutof culturalvolksgiest(nationalspirit)containedinhumanlanguage.assuch,he condemnedthejewstothestatusofpermanentculturalaliens. 4 Hewrites, Ifweheara Jewspeak,weareunconsciouslyoffendedbytheentirewantofpurely human expressioninhisdiscourse:thecoldindifferenceofitspeculiar blubber neverbyany chancerisestotheardourofahigher,heartfeltpassion. 5 WagnerassertsthatJewish language,or blubber, unconsciouslyirritatessocietybecausethelanguagelacks substance,lacksa heartfeltpassion. ReferringtotheJewsas its anddisregarding themincapableofproducing purely humanexpression belittlesthejewstomere animals.furtheringhisbarbaricviewofthejews,heclaims, InallEuropeIpreferdogs tothesedog likemen Onlythemosthorrificanddestructiverevolutioncouldmakeour civilizedbeasts human again. 6 HisheatedcomparisonofJewsto dog likemen blatantlydisplayshisintenseresentmenttowardsanyassociationwithjewishculture. HecontendsthatJewsareincapableofactingcivilized,anddegradesthemtoalevel lowerthanthatofdogs. 3 Loeffler,James.(2009).RichardWagner s JewishMusic: AntisemitismandAesthetics inmodernjewishculture.jewishsocialstudies.vol15,no.2,p5. 4 Loeffler,RichardWagner s JewishMusic: p.6. 5 Wagner,Richard(1995).JudaisminMusicandOtherEssays.(WilliamAshtonEllis, Trans.).Lincoln:UniversityofNebraskaPress.(Originalworkpublished1907). 6 Wagner, Richard & Spencer, Stewart. (1987). Selected Letters of Richard Wagner. New York: W.W. Norton.

5 MeinProphet Cesarz5 ThepurposeofthisessaywastoprovethatJewswerealesserraceincapableof producingmeaningfullanguage,especiallyart.inwagner seyes,jewswereatthe bottomofthesocialhierarchyandtaintedgermanpurity: Theydidnotbelongto EuropeanculturebyvirtueoftheirOtherness. 7 AssigningJewstotheirownraceof Otherness labelsthemasanalienculture,separatingthemfromtheireuropeanworld. Addingtohiscriticism,Wagnerassertsthatsimplytheirpresencedistractshisabilityto createhis totalworksofart orgesamtkunstwerke.hedescribesthejewsas materialistic,impedingthepureidealisticinstinctsofthegermanvolk. 8 Describingthe JewsasanimpedimenttoGermanpuritysimplydegradesthemtoadeterrentupon society,anobstructiontosocialharmony.furthermore,heattacksgiacomomeyerbeer andfelixmendelssohn,bothofwhichwerefriendlywithwagnerpriortothe publication.bothmenprovedtobeloyalacquaintances,providingwagnerwith financialsupportandguidanceduringhisearlymusicalcareer.again,hisselfishness overridestheirgenerosity,andhetargetsthesemeninhisessaysolelybecauseoftheir Jewishbackground. 9 Heassertsthattheyareincapableofproducingmusicwithvalue, andhesucceedsinreducingtheirpopularity. Duetotheflaminganti SemitismpresentinJudentuminderMusik,Wagner withheldhisidentityastheauthoruntilheestablishedhimselfinhismusiccareer.once heensuredenoughsupportfromhisaudiences,onlythencouldhepublishtheessay underhisrealname,merelytwentyyearsafteritsinitialpublication.wagnerperfected 7 Loeffler,RichardWagner s JewishMusic: p.7. 8 Nicholls,D.(2000).Wagner,Richard( ).InAdolfHitler:ABiographical Companion.SantaBarbara,CA:ABC CLIO.Retrievedfromhttp://ebooks.abcclio.com/reader.aspx?isbn= &id=HITBIE Scruton,TheRingofTruth.p.42.

6 MeinProphet Cesarz6 manipulatinghisaudienceswithhisbigotedidealswhilemaintaininghiscomposureas aninfluentialmusician.ultimately,hisdedicationtohisanti Semiticviewsledtohis risinginranksasbothacomposerandapoliticalfigure.outofhispurehatredforthe Jewishraceemergedhispersistencetoprovetheirraceinferior.Hedidnotintendto fillthestagewithfantasies; ratherhepersistedincreatingdramasthatwouldreveal universalsignificance(s) universaltruthsaboutthehumancondition. 10 Inother words,wagnerwantedtocreateoperaswithahighermeaning,operasthatwouldleave theaudiencewithauniversalrealization. Wagnerlongedforhisaudiencestofeelthesamepassionhefeltwhilecomposing hisoperas.hisworksaimedto ridiculethejewswithalltheircharacteristictraits pettyintelligenceandgreed thejargonistextuallyandmusicallysocleverly suggested 11 EmbellishinghisworkasGesamtkunstwerke,hetransformssuchanegative messageintoabeautifulproductionthatundoubtedlyillustrateshisdisgusttowardsthe Jewishrace.Hevivifieshisessay,personifyingtheJewsascrazedandhumpbackedpoor excusesforthehumanrace.onesuchexample,diemeistersingervonnürnberg,portrays thejewishbeckmesserasaweakindividualsubjecttopublichumiliation.hisnasally high pitchedvoiceundulates,givingtheaudienceacomicalrepresentationofwagner s ideaofajew. 12 Wagner srepresentationclearlyassignsthelowestrankingstothejews, characterizingthemasnothingmorethanjusttheobjectsofsocialridicule. 10 Scruton,TheRingofTruth.p Rose,PaulLawrence.(1992).Wagner:raceandrevolution.NewHaven:Yale UniversityPress.p Weiner,MarcA.(1995).RichardWagnerandtheanti SemiticImagination.Lincoln: UniversityofNebraskaPress.p.20.

7 MeinProphet Cesarz7 Wagner sinaccuraterepresentationsleftjewishaudiencesdispleased.their disgustcompelledwagnertocontinuehiscareer,producingmoreoperasthat,inhis mind,revealedauniversaltruthaboutthestereotypicaljew.duringthepremiere performanceofdiemeistersingervonnürnberg,thejews roseupinprotestwhenthey identifiedwagner sbeckmessesrasamockingdepictionofjews. 13 Thismockery, alongwithhisessay,enragedthejews;howevertheycouldnotstopwagner sinfluence atthatpoint.hehadestablishedhimselfasrenownedcomposerandpowerfulanti Semiticfigure.Despitethecontroversy,Wagnercontinuedcomposing;intertwining anti Semiticelementsthathehopedwouldurgeaudiencestoshareinhisideals. OnesuchviewersuccumbstoWagner sinfluence,adolfhitler.itisfromrienzi thathitlerfirstdrewhisinspiration.despitehisratherpoorbackground,hitlerfound thechangetoattendeverywagneroperapossiblewithhisfriend,augustkubizek,who laterbecametheauthoroftheyounghitleriknew.kubizekdescribeshitler sreaction aftertheopera: Adolfstoodinfrontofme;andnowhegrippedbothmyhandsand heldthemtight.hehadnevermadesuchagesturebefore.ifeltfromthe graspofhishandshowdeeplymovedhewas.hiseyeswerefeverishwith excitement.thewordsdidnotcomesmoothlyfromhismouthasthey usuallydid,butrathererupted,hoarseandraucous.fromhisvoiceicould tellevenmorehowmuchthisexperiencehadshakenhim 13 Weiner,RichardWagnerandtheanti SemiticImagination.p.123.

8 MeinProphet Cesarz8 HithertoIhadbeenconvincedthatmyfriendwantedtobecomean artist,apainter,orperhapsanarchitect.nowthiswasnolongerthecase. Nowheaspiredtosomethinghigher,whichIcouldnotyetfullygrasp.It rathersurprisedme,asithoughtthatthevocationoftheartistwasfor himthehighest,mostdesirablegoal.butnowhewastalkingofamandate which,oneday,hewouldreceivefromthepeople,toleadthemoutof servitudetotheheightsoffreedom. 14 Here,KubizekexplainsthatRienzibasicallyrevolutionizedHitler sperspectiveon Germanlife.Hebecomes feverishwithexcitement, spillingoutthoughtafterthought asthoughhehadreachedhisepiphany.hitlerhadfinallyfoundhispassionandwould notsettleformediocrity:heneededtosethissightsonthehighestgoalandmake Wagner soperasareality.afterthatopera,hesatinsolitudeforanhour;and inthat hour Hitlersaid, itbegan. 15 The it, thoughvague,referstohismadnessto revolutionizegermanyintowagner sdelusionalanti Semiticworld.Afterthisreflective hour,hitlerreturnstoreality,fullyinvestedinpurifyingeurope. HitlerneverrevertedbacktotheyoungadulthewasbeforewatchingRienzi. KubizekrealizedthisexperienceinfluencedHitler slifetothepointofnoreturn. Wagner smusicbecamepartofhitler sidentity.kubizekexplains: 14 Kubizek,August.(1955).TheYoungHitlerIKnew.(Chapter10)Retrievedfrom wjr.pdf 15 Kubizek,TheYoungHitlerIKnew.(Epilogue).

9 MeinProphet Cesarz9 WhenhelistenedtoWagner'smusichewasachangedman;his violencelefthim,hebecamequiet,yieldingandtractable.hisgazelostits restlessness;hisowndestiny,howeverheavilyitmayhaveweighedupon him,becameunimportant.henolongerfeltlonelyandoutlawed,and misjudgedbysociety.hewasintoxicatedandbewitched.willinglyhelet himselfbecarriedawayintothatmysticaluniversewhichwasmorereal tohimthantheactualworkadayworld.fromthestale,mustyprisonofhis backroom,hewastransportedintotheblissfulregionsofgermanic antiquity,thatidealworldwhichwastheloftygoalforallhisendeavours. 16 Wagner smusicconnectswithhitlerduringhisyoungadultyears,providinghimwith anidealisticdream likeworld,anescapefromhisdepressingreality.kubizek sretelling describesthenotablechangeinhitler sdispositionwhenlisteningtowagner:he becomes intoxicatedandbewitched withaneerierelaxedpersonacarryinghim throughthis mysticaluniverse heimaginedwithwagner smusic.immersedinthis mystique,hitlerisabletoexchangehisdissatisfyingrealityfora blissful fantasy.this fantasybecomeshisviewofthefuture,hishighestgoal. HitlerbecomesinfatuatedwithWagner sideas.thisinfatuationsoonbecomes anobsessioninwhichhitlerisrumoredtohavereadallofwagner swrittenworks.itis apparentthatwagner swritingsandoperasemphasizedtheutterinferiorityofthe Jewishrace,anditisfromtheseworksthatHitlerdrawsthemajorityofhisanti Semitic 16 Kubizek,August.(1955).TheYoungHitlerIKnew.(Chapter17)Retrievedfrom wjr.pdf

10 MeinProphet Cesarz10 philosophies.similartotherealizationafterrienzi,hitlerbecomesimmersedin Wagner swordsandbecomesinspiredbywagner stacticstogainpower.inhis writings,wagner advocatedaformofsocialdarwinismintermsofwhichthemost powerfulpoliticallyearnedtherighttorule. 17 HitlerblindlyadoptsWagner s ideologies,trustingthatthesetacticswillleadhimtohisdesiredpoliticalsuperiority, justastheyhaddoneforwagner.hitlerrelatestowagner stheorythatjewswerean enemytogermany spurity;andinordertoreturngermanytoitspurestate,hitlermust exercisehispoliticalsupremacyoverthenation.hemustestablishhimselfasathe solutiontogermany scontaminationandresolvetheissuebyridingthenationofall Jews. Thisinfatuationandobsessionquicklyturnedintoidolization,inwhichHitler wantedtobecomewagner.hitler sfriendwhoaccompaniedhimtorienzirevealedthat Wagnereventriedwritinghisownoperas,inhopesofbecominganartistjustashisidol hadmastered. 18 Wagner soperashadsuchacalmingeffectonwagnerthathebecomes lostintheworks.theseoperasrevealedtheunderlying irrationalandemotional featuresinwagner,whichappealedtotheyoungdown and outadolfhitler. 19 He sympathizedwithwagner s irrationalandemotional featuresandfeltasthoughhe couldrelatetohischaracter.throughpensiveanalysisofwagner soperas,hitlerforms anemotionalconnectionwithwagner sideals.hebestowsuponhimselftheroleof 17 Nicholson,Christopher.(2007).DidRichardWagnerInciteAdolfHitlertoCommitthe Holocaust?Retrievedfrom 18 Kubizek,TheYoungHitlerIKnew.(Chapter18). 19 Nicholson,DidRichardWagnerInciteAdolfHitlertoCommittheHolocaust?p.3

11 MeinProphet Cesarz11 Wagner sprophet,inwhichheacceptsthathecannotbecomethedeceasedwagner,but hecanbecomehismessenger. SimplyfromanalyzingWagner sworks,hitlercreatesaviewofhisidealistic future.likewagner,heintendstoanimatetheidealssetforthindasjudentuminder Musik;however,HitlerwantstoapplytheseidealstoGermany.EmbracingWagner s ideologytorisetopower,hitlerconcedes, Intellectualappealstoobjectivetruthand fairnesshavelittleeffectinswayingthemasseswhencomparedtotheartof propaganda,whichincitesemotionandstirsconvictionthrough. 20 Hitlerrealizesthat inordertosuccessfullypromotehimselftopower,hemustemotionallyconnectwithhis audience,justaswagnerhaddonetohim.inhopesofincitingthesameemotional connectionhehadfeltwithwagner soperas,heplaysthepreludetorienziasatypeof rallycry. 21 InHitler sspeeches,hearousesthecrowdswithhispassionatelyirate excitement.thisexcitementinitiallyoriginatedfromhisfirstviewingofrienzi.he carriesthelessonheinterpretedfromtheoperathroughouttheentiretyofhislife. HitlerremainedadevotedWagnerenthusiastuntilhecommittedsuicidein1945. AcopyofRienziwasallegedlyfoundinHitler sbunkerafterhisdeath. 22 ItiswithRienzi 20 Strehle,S.(2011).TheNazisandtheGermanMetaphysicalTraditionof VolunteerismStephenStrehle.ReviewOfMetaphysics,65(1),p Dennis,DavidR.(1996).BeethoveninGermanPolitics.NewHaven:YaleUniversity Press. 22 Baker,David.(2012,February6).BerlinOperaHouseForcedtoRescheduleHitler s FavouriteWagnerWorkDuetobePerformedonNaziLeader sbirthday.mailonline. Retrievedfromhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article /Berlin operahouse forced reschedule Hitler s favourite Wagner work set Nazi leader sbirthday.html

12 MeinProphet Cesarz12 thathitlerfindshisemotionalattachmenttowagner,anditiswithrienzithathetakes hislife. UncannyparallelsbetweenthetwomenprovethatWagnerstimulatedHitler s anti Semiticmadness.WagnerwritesMeinLeben( MyLife ),anautobiographythat inspiredhitlertocreatehisownmeinkampf( MyStruggle ). 23 Hitlerwillinglytakeson theresponsibilityaswagner sprophet;andshapeshispersonalitytomimichisidol s selfishness,deviousness,andpersistence,threetraitsnecessarytoachievepolitical dominance.hismasteryofwagner sdispositionisrevealedwhenhewrites, Withthe exceptionofrichardwagner,ihavenoforerunner. 24 Theconceitinthisbold statementexemplifieshisbeliefthatonlywagnerandhimselfwerecapableofreturning Germanytoitspurestate. Wagner sworksunequivocallycontributedtohitler semphaticdisposition, flamingactions,andultimately,nazigermany sdestruction.hisexpertiseinenacting Wagner sruthlesspoliticalphilosophyearnedhitlerhispositionasthenaziparty leader.throughhisanimatedspeeches,hitlerwasabletobrainwasheuropeinto surrenderingtoanti Semitism.Wagner sunrelentingprophetsucceededincausing mayhemacrossallofeurope,foreverscarringthetwentiethcenturywithtracesofboth WagnerandHitler ssharedmadness. 23 Hight,RichardWagner,aCriticalBiography. 24 Zalampas,ShereeOwens.(1990).AdolfHitler:APsychologicalInterpretationofHis ViewsonArchitecture,ArtandMusic.BowlingGreen,Ohio:BowlingGreenState UniversityPopularPress.p.60.

13 MeinProphet Cesarz13 Bibliography Baker,David.(2012,February6).BerlinOperaHouseForcedtoRescheduleHitler s FavouriteWagnerWorkDuetobePerformedonNaziLeader sbirthday. MailOnline.Retrievedfromhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article /Berlin opera house forced reschedule Hitler s favourite Wagnerwork set Nazi leader s birthday.html Dennis,DavidR.(1996).BeethoveninGermanPolitics.NewHaven:YaleUniversity Press. Hight,GeorgeAinslie.(1925).RichardWagner,aCriticalBiography.London: Arrowsmith. Kubizek,August.(1955).TheYoungHitlerIKnew.(Chapter10&17)Retrievedfrom riknewjr.pdf Loeffler,James.(2009).RichardWagner s JewishMusic: AntisemitismandAesthetics inmodernjewishculture.jewishsocialstudies.vol15,no.2,p Nicholls,D.(2000).Wagner,Richard( ).InAdolfHitler:ABiographical Companion.SantaBarbara,CA:ABC CLIO.Retrievedfromhttp://ebooks.abc clio.com/reader.aspx?isbn= &id=hitbie.358 Nicholson,Christopher.(2007).DidRichardWagnerInciteAdolfHitlertoCommitthe Holocaust?Retrievedfrom Rose,PaulLawrence.(1992).Wagner:RaceandRevolution.NewHaven:Yale UniversityPress.

14 MeinProphet Cesarz14 Scruton,R.(2011).TheRingofTruth.AmericanSpectator,44(4),p Strehle,S.(2011).TheNazisandtheGermanMetaphysicalTraditionof VolunteerismStephenStrehle.ReviewOfMetaphysics,65(1), Wagner,Richard(1995).JudaisminMusicandOtherEssays.(WilliamAshtonEllis, Trans.).Lincoln:UniversityofNebraskaPress.(Originalworkpublished1907). Wagner,Richard&Spencer,Stewart.(1987).SelectedLettersofRichardWagner.New York:W.W.Norton. Weiner,MarcA.(1995).RichardWagnerandtheanti SemiticImagination.Lincoln: UniversityofNebraskaPress. Zalampas,ShereeOwens.(1990).AdolfHitler:APsychologicalInterpretationofHis ViewsonArchitecture,ArtandMusic.BowlingGreen,Ohio:BowlingGreenState UniversityPopularPress.