“Populism and Media Failure”

By Alex Wittmann

In the day and age in which we live, mass media and news outlets of a wide degree of sources contribute a great deal to how one sees the world and formulates their own opinions. The Populists of the Far Right have used and exploited mass media in order to advance their movement and gain following. I am in agreeance with the article that unregulated digital media platforms have become the breeding ground for reactionary movements to take hold. The fact that that Liberal media was in shock that Populist movements such as Trump’s election and the UK’s decision to leave the EU shows arrogance on the part of mainstream media and their inability to acknowledge that there are certain structural issues with unregulated platforming that allows for reactionary Right Wing movements to gain traction based on unregulated platforming. Social Media plays a very large role in reactionary movements because the platforming is set up in such a way that anyone can say whatever they want and spread as many lies as they want without the risk of fact checking. There are no limits as to what political ads can be platformed either. In fact, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zukerberg said before a Congressional hearing that Facebook will not stop far right ads and misinformation from circulating, he said that it is up to the viewer to decide what is credible or not. The article calls for a redistributive model that funds grassroot journalism able to cater to a wide range of audiences, separate of political affiliation willing to hold power to account without being held by vested corporate interests. This sounds like a good idea in theory but I believe that Populism will always find a way to get its message across on social media. The people who support such movements are highly passionate and motivated to throw their support behind the Populist cause. If they see any attempt by the media to curb their perceived “free speech,” it could likely result in rebellion far worse than the one in which brought Populist sentiments through the media into power. The process of regulating media must be done carefully.

D. Freedman, “Populism and media policy failure” European Journal of Communication
33(6)(2018): 604-618

The Role of Holocaust Memory and the European Refugee Crisis

By Alex Wittmann

Nazi Germany’s discriminatory anti semitic laws resulted in a Jewish refugee issue in Europe in the 1930s. The Jewish refugee persecution of the 1930s can be used as a comparison in the unwillingness of Populist governments in Europe to accept Syrian Refugees of today.

To understand the comparison, we must delve into the 1930s. Nazi Germany had enacted the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935 which had set the tone for the place of Jews in Germany. It was the begining of ruthless discrimination which stripped German Jews of citizenry and set the stage for legal distiction between a German and a Jew. The reception of the rest of Europe to Jewish Refugees fleeing discriminatory Nazi laws was not a very sympathetic one. There were strong anti immigrant policies had by other European countries unsympathetic to the plight of the German Jews. Given the escalation of the refugee numbers, there were initiatives to find solutions. The Evian Conference of 1938 was convened to establish a commitment for countries to accept refugees. Unfortunately strong antisemetic and anti immigrant policies in the rest of Europe did not result in any change in attitude. As there is in Europe of the 2010s, there existed in Europe of the 1930s an anxiety towards Refugees consisted of stereotyping combined with outright racism, fueling anti immigrant policies. This is why the comparison of anti semitism and Jewish refugees of the 1930s can be linked to the Refugee crisis of today.

One may think that a modern, interconnected Europe has learned from the past. European countries who are members of the UN are bound to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. EU members are also bound to the EU’s immigration quotas which expect them to accept a certain amount of refugees. Unfortunately in the face of a massive influx of refugees that arrived in Europe from Syria, there has been a significant Far Right Populist backlash to the arrival of refugees. Much like Europe of the 1930s, we are seeing a similar scenario where there are European countries which have once again turned their back on those fleeing persecution. Much like the way the Jewish refugees of the 1930s were stripped of citizenship and denied entry into other European countries, we see the same attribution of being “citizenless” used by anti immigration Populist countries in Europe to excuse themselves from accepting refugees. A common far right sentiment in Europe today is to say that one only gets rights if they are a citizen or part of a nation. This alone is bogus, refugees are granted rights under the UNHCR. Much like the 1930s, we see the excuse of being citizenless as justifying anti immigration. In the 1930s, there existed the fear of refugees as threatening to society, it is prevalent today. For example, Italy’s far right Minister of the Interior had proposed a plan to increase deportations by criminalizing Europeans that help migrants to “safe stay facilities.” Far Right governments do these things out of the fear that illegal immigrants threaten the security and identity of Europe. That concept is not entirely dissimilar to the 1930s, where not just in Germany, but around Europe the threat of European security and identity was used as an excuse not to accept Jewish refugees. Some of this anti immigrant right wing nationalism is more prevalent in countries such as Poland and Italy because these countries have not been able to come to terms with their anti semitic history unlike Germany. Under decades of communism, Poland had ethnic nationalist sentiments that had been repressed. Today, they have burst open with a Right Wing Populist government which governs on an anti immigrant ethnic nationalist platform.

Based on memory of the Holocaust and the way that the Jewish refugees were treated by neighbouring European countries, it is clear why parallels can be drawn to the Jewish refugee experience with that of the Syrian refugee experience. Countries such as Germany have come a long way from their Nazi past and have taken a leadership role in accepting refugees and asylum seekers. It must be made clear however that the backlash to multiculturalism and immigration in Europe are signs that ethnic nationalism which existed during the years of Fascism in the 1930s remains a powerful force behind policy in Europe today.

Sources Cited

“Learning from the Holocaust to Address Today’s Refugee Situation.” European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, January 26, 2018. https://fra.europa.eu/en/news/2018/learning-holocaust-address-todays-refugee-situation.

Nuremberg Race Laws. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed November 24, 2019. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nuremberg-laws.

Stone, Dan. “On Neighbours and Those Knocking at the Door: Holocaust Memory and Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” Patterns of Prejudice 52, no. 2/3 (May 2018): 231–43.

Trilling, Daniel. “Five Myths about the Refugee Crisis.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 5, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/05/five-myths-about-the-refugee-crisis.

Islamophobia and the new Far Right Scapegoat

By Alex Wittmann

In Nazi Germany there was a very obvious scapegoat, it was the Jewish population. They were blamed for Germany’s misfortunes. The Nazis planted the insidious conspiracy that the Jews were responsible for Germany’s WWI defeat. Hitler also asserted that they were behind the ideology of Bolshevism. Knowing all of this, I could not help but notice that the Far Right of the past and present has a particular interest in using a scapegoat to rile their base and create a common reactionary movement in the cause of their Populist movement propelling them to power in their country. In Nazi Germay it was the Jews and in European Far Right movements today it is Islam. This was shown in the Vox article The Growing Influence of Anti Immigrant Politics. There was one major similarity in which I noticed similarities in which I noticed. I consisted being of course Xenophobia or Anti Islam. The article asserts that Populism gained traction in the Refugee Crisis of 2015,where the perfect storm emerged. The article explained that prior to 2015 the Far Right did not have much power in Europe. Right Wing movements are usually born out of reaction. The massive influx of refugees, terrorist attacks, and fear of racial diolution lit the spark for Populist movements in Europe. Creating a major backlash against immigrants coming in from Syria. The Far Right used them as scapegoats for Europe’s problems with terrorist attacks that year. I am not saying that the European Far Right movements are born again Nazi movements. However it would appear that any Far Right movement is born out of reaction and scapegoating. The Nazis did it with the Jews and the Far Right European Populists have made scapegoats out of Muslims trying to seek asylum. The difference between the current Far Right and the Nazis is that the current Far Right has not systematically exterminated their enemies.

Work Cited: Zack Beauchamp, “An expert on the European far right explains the growing influence of anti-immigrant politics” May 31, 2016 https://www.vox.com/2016/5/31/11722994/european-far-right-cas-mudde.

Reflections on Holocaust Memory and Europe’s Refugee Crisis

By Alex Wittmann

The Dan Stone Article assigned for this week was written right at the height of the Refugee Crisis which has engulfed Europe since 2015. The influx of Middle Eastern refugees have triggered various responses across the continent. There have been humanitarian responses committed to upholding the UNHCR with those who claim that refugees should be let in. There have been nationalistic responses proclaiming refugees as a threat to the stability and in some cases “ethnicity” of the nation. The article highlights the main point of memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust as factors for the various responses for the way in which refugees have been accepted. In the explanation of the German (and particularly Western German) response to the crisis, the article asserts that because Germany was forced to come to terms with its history, it has been more accepting to those fleeing persecution and hardship such as the Middle Eastern refugees. Eastern Europe (particularly Poland) have not been welcoming of refugees due to the fact that after years of communist dictatorships in the Cold War, they have not been afforded a chance of coming to terms with history. The article uncovers the fact that under years of communist oppression, ethnic nationalist sentiments were largely repressed, when Communism fell, they became ignited once more. This is why Poland now has a militant Right Wing populist government that refuses refugees and sees them as a threat to their security and identity. In terms of the concept of coming to terms with the past, I can largely agree with how this can impact the way European countries have handled the refugee influx. Germany has the benefit of coming to terms with its Holocaust past. Therefore it understands the dangers of displacement and persecution, and how it can lead to genocide. Combined with a commitment to upholding the EU standard on refugee acceptance and the UNHCR, Germany has taken a proactive approach in providing homes for and welcoming Middle Eastern refugees. Under the former Communist East, Poles and other Eastern Europeans were taught to absolve themselves of War Crimes such as the Holocaust with an alternative focus on defeating the monster of Nazi Germany. As a result, countries such as Poland have not yet fully come to terms with their own involvement in the Holocaust genocide. It shows that when countries fail to come to terms with the past, it is repeated in different forms. The Right Wing populist movement in Eastern Europe raising an anxiety regarding refugees and the potential “threat” they may have on traditional European society and culture is a primary example.

Source Cited: Dan Stone, “On Neighbours and Those Knocking at the Door: Holocaust Memory and Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” Patterns of Prejudice 52, no. 2/3 (May 2018): 231–43.

Reflection on Transnational Reaction to 1968

By Alex Wittmann

The 1960s was a time of social change globally. There were student demonstrations and massive protests in the United States as part of a backlash to Vietnam. In Europe there were was the creation of a new left as a response to traditional establishment governments, as shown in the article Not Narrating the History of the Federal Republic, there were leftist demonstrations against the conservative West German establishment. The article Transnational Reaction to 1968: Neo-Fascist Fronts and Political Cultures in France and Italy highlights the fact that there were right wing movements in Italy and France culminating in 1968 that were related. The article shows that right wing cultural activism and historical movements such as the rise of right wing militants are not always regulated to a country’s borders. The right wing reactionary movements creating the Movimento Sociale Italiano heavily influenced the creation of the National Front in France as an example. The article identifies that in the late 1960s, there existed a hegemony of leftism in Europe. Culminating from student movements to the communist governments in place in Eastern Europe. The question was, where did the right fit in. The article mentions how right wing movements in France and Italy, as a backlash to leftism defended traditional principles of colonialism. The 1960s was a time of rapid decolonization and the French right articulated whatever it could in order to hold onto its traditional empire. The anti immigrant rhetoric used by the far right movements in both France and Italy is also not dissimilar to the populist playbook that is articulated from Europe’s right today. This anti immigrant rhetoric was shared between right wing movements in both France and Italy. In this sense we can equate the events of 1968 to today when right wing populist movements across Europe are interconnected in their fear and resentment of immigration. It is interesting to see how European right wing movements were interconnected in 1968 much to the same way they are interconnected today.

Source Cited:

Andrea Mammon, “The Transnational Reaction to 1968: Neo-Fascist Fronts and Political Cultures in France and Italy.” Contemporary European History, vol. 17, no. 2 (May 2008): 213–236.

Judging Judgement at Nuremberg

By Alex Wittmann 

Judgement at Nuremberg is an important film when you consider the context of the time when it was released in 1961. The reception the film received at the Box office is very much indicative of how Nazi crimes were percieved in East Germany, West Germany, the United States, and how each side percived the way the allied judicary handled the crimes commited by Nazis at Nuremberg. The overarching point of the film was to show how screenwriter Abby Mann thought the trials should have played out for ex Nazis on trial. To show that perhaps a recognition of guilt could have allowed the possibility for forgiveness. The point of the movie was to show that there were West Germans who felt guilt. As we know from reading Diffraction of Guilt it is clear that the way former Nazis were punished in East Germany was very different. For example Zimmerman who had became a member of the Communist party in East Germany and had exhibited “model citizenry” he was still thrown in prison for life, compared to his boss in the West, a former SS officer, who only got 8 years in prison. Critical reception of the film Judgement at Nuremberg in East Germany said that with the movie’s admission of guilt in exchange for the possibility of forgiveness showed in their view that the US was complicit in abandoning the pursuit of Nazi criminals or at the very least, they were weak when it came to indicting former Nazis. The East Germans also argued that because of this, fascism was still ingrained in the west. Based on the fact that in reality, of the 39 Nazis put on trial, only around 9 were found guilty. This hints at some element of truth in the East German argument. The West German response to the film in a government perspective was critical. They lobbied against it being shown at the Cannes film festival in 1961. The concept of guilt was clearly not a reality the West Germans were willing to deal with in around that time. Even though the film suggested forgiveness could be achieved through admission of guilt on the part of the Nazis, this did not resonate well with theWest Germans. The reception of the film on West Germany’s end showed that the audience was clearly not willing to come to terms with thier Nazi past. There are questions asked by the reader after reading the article. How does the West German government reaction to the film highlight the hypocrisies that they held towards their own former Nazis as opposed to how they viewed  Former Nazis from the East? Does the film fit a narrative of who tried Nazis better, the East or the West.

Source Cited:

Mary Fulbrook, “Discomfort Zones” and “Voices of the Victims” in Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford University Press, 2018) pp: 314- 336, 361-377.

Robert Moeller, “How to Judge Stanley Kramer’s Judgement at Nuremberg” German History Vol. 31, Issue 4 (December 2013): 497-522.

Hitler’s Furies: the women who killed for the Nazi Regime

 
By Alex Wittmann
When we think of the genocide aritists who served in the SS or the Einzatzgruppen we generally think of the men who had committed the atrocious crimes of killing Jews. However as Wendy Lower points out in her book Hitler’s Furies that women were equally as guilty as men when it came to involvement in the Nazi regime and the genocide commited against Jews. Women were accomplises in the brutal medical experiments conducted on Jews, torture, and gassing. In roles as office secretaries, SS women were involved in pushing papers that held orders for execution. One of the narratives around SS women and any woman who were involved in the Nazi genocide were ones that were espoused in the Post War trials. There were stereotypical gender narratives of women being too innocent or “soft” to be able to carry out such crimes against humanity. This was a conviction held by many of the Allied prosecutors who pressed charges against the women in the criminal court. Charges that were either not pressed or dismissed. This is an unacceptable narrative to me. After reading unspeakable accounts of how women, directly indocrinated under Nazi racial ideology carried out and assissted in mass murders of jews were then labeled under the gender sterotypes of the time as incapable of carrying out such crimes. If Allied prosecutors had read the accounts such as those written in Lower’s book, they would have recoiled in disbelief just as I had. Perhaps this is part of why women were not as heavily convicted as men, one just could not believe that humans were so incapable of inhumane activities. The other narrative, and one that was espoused by the women involved in the crimes, was that they were simply caught up in the ideological indoctrination of Nazism. That they were simply “doing their duty.” This was not an unusual defence, most Nazi war criminals used this narrative in the Allied courts to excuse thier behavior. In my own view, even if one was just an average citizen caught up in the ideological indoctrination, whether or not they had no choice, or whether they fully believed in what they were doing from beginning to end.  (Which many of them did) A war criminal is a war criminal and the Allied prosecuters were able to convict and sentence most Nazi felons for thier crimes despite such a heinous defence. Sadly as Lower points out, some women got away with this defence and the gender stereotypes of the time acquitted them of their crimes. It is sad that some who commited murder got away with their crimes, as Lower points out. This is a blatant example of how history can be neglected someone dying without being held account for historic genocide indicates a lack of motivation to learn from the past. While the Allied prosecutors were successful in conficting most Nazi criminals, they were somewhat lackluster in convicting the female criminals. This to a historian is deeply disappointing. No matter who you are, everyone must be held accountable for historical crimes committed.

Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies (Houghton Mifflin, 2013).

Jair Bolsonaro: a right wing Populist with Fascist tendencies? 

By Alex Wittmann

Jair Bolsonaro is not a true fascist, yet he is an authoritarian right wing Populist. However, when looking at what makes a Populist and a Fascist, we cannot rule out the possibility the Brazilian President may have Fascist tendencies. 

In order to truly understand what Jair Bolsonaro is, we must look at the key differences between right wing populism and fascism. Populism is a broad term that can be attributed to left wing and right wing movements. On both sides of the spectrum, populists define themselves as representing the masses or “will of the pure people” against the “corrupt elite.” In other words, populists define themselves as movement of the general will of the people against the ruling elite, who only represent certain special interests. Populism on the left combines their movements with socialism, Populists on the right combine their movements with nationalism. Right Wing Populism also combines their ideology and movement with xenophobia and stigmatization of race, they claim anyone opposed to their movement are enemies of the people based on their race, ethnicity, or country of origin. Let’s be clear, populism is not undemocratic. However we must be aware that it is a form of authoritarian democracy that can form a threat to liberal democracy and democratic institutions. 

In contrast with Fascism, part of the doctrine of Fascism is one that completely throws liberal democracy out the window. Liberalism rejected the state in the interest of individual rights, while Fascism advocates for the power of the state over individual freedoms. Fascisim can come alive when democratic institutions have been dismantled completely. Unlike right wing populists, fascists take their political agenda further. They imprison their political opponents, legitimize violence to gain power, enact violence against minorities or attempt to strip them of their political rights. 

 Looking at Jair Bolsonaro and his election. How much of a populist is he? Are there any fascist elements that he espouses? Let’s dissect his movement in relation to the points mentioned on populism. Bolsonaro believes in democracy, it was the very system of citizens voting that propelled him to power. Populists believe in the democratic process. However as mentioned it is authoritarian democracy that has the potential to undermine democratic institutions. 

This is one of the instances where Bolsanaro’s case becomes especially interesting. While he was indeed democratically elected and believes in holding elections, he has suggested that his left wing opponents are illegitimate and during his campaign said that members of the Brazilian Worker’s Party should be executed.  By threatening political opponents, he is directly undermining liberal democratic institutions of political opposition which is not unusual for populists to do. What is particularly interesting is Bolsonaro legitimizing political violence against his opponents. Before coming to power Fascists such as Mussolinini and Hitler used violence against their political opponents and jailed and executed them when they rose to power, legitimizing political violence. Despite the fact that Bolsonaro’s rhetoric could be dismissed as campaign posturing, any time a right wing populist leader espouses violence and imprisonment against political opponents, we cannot ignore that they may have elements of fascist aims. In terms of rebellion of the general will of the people against the elite, this is not exactly where Bolsonaro fits into the populist playbook. His movement was more of a response to crime running rampant in Brazil. He fits more adequately into the Fascist playbook when he advocates for criminals to be executed without trial. This was how Hitler and Mussolini dealt with their perceived criminals, namely execution without due process. This destroyed democratic institutions and it is exactly what Bolsanaro has threatened to do. Bolsoanro has combined elements of right wing populism and fascism when he has threatened to weaken the rights of Indigenous peoples, Afro Brazilians, and LGBTQ Brazilians, thereby creating targets of his movement, the same way Hitler did with Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents. 

After comparing elements of right wing Populism and Fascism, it is clear that Bolsonaro is a Right Wing Populist with Fascist tendencies. The only thing that prevents him from achieving his total Fascist aims at the moment, is the Brazilian constitution, which protects minority rights including those of indigenous people and their lands which Bolsonaro has targeted. For now, Brazil has what prevents most populist leaders like Bolsonaro from turning into Fascists, democratic institutions.

Works cited 

Finchelstein, Federico. “Jair Bolsonaro’s Model Isn’t Berlusconi. It’s Goebbels.” Foreign Policy, October 5, 2018.  

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/05/bolsonaros-model-its-goebbels-fascism-nazism-brazil-latin-america-populism-argentina-venezuela/.

Finchelstein, Federico. “Introduction: Thinking Fascism and Populism in terms of the Past.” in Federico Finkelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017).

Mussolini, Benito, and Giovanni Gentile. “The Doctrine of Fascism.” Enciclopedia Italiana. 1932. http://facweb.furman.edu/~bensonlloyd/hst11/mussolinidoctrines.htm

Mudde, Cas. “Populism in the Twenty-First Century: an Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism.” The Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, University of Pennsylvania,

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/andrea-mitchell-center/casmudde-populism-twenty-first-century.

Sims, Shannon. “Here’s How Jair Bolsonaro Wants to Transform Brazil.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, January 12, 2019. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/01/heres-how-jair-bolsonaro-wants-to-transform-brazil/580207/

“The New Man” The use of gender in creating ideology and nation.

By Alex Wittmann

The article Facsism and its Quest for the New Man: The Case of the Romainan legionary Movement, discusses the principle ideology of Facsism and how the idea of gender specifically in the case of the Romainian “The New Man” was interwoven in creating the ideal citizen and the “Perfect” state against a common opponent. The first half of the article argues that Facsism is in fact an ideology, going against the traditional Marxist interpretation of Facsism as a reactionary movement. I would say that I belong to the camp that believes that Facsism, just like Marxism and Communism is an ideology. I think that in order for a school of thought to meet the criteria of an ideology, it has to have certain uniform characteristics that are consistent across its various movements. What we can see throughout Facist movements in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, was that there was a consistent theme of nationalist and empire revival. Along with the supremacy of a certain race being the “ideal citizen” along with marginalizing and vilifying other races into scapegoats responsible for a nation’s problems. This was extremely clear in Germany and Italy. Hitler wanted to make Germany strong again by tearing up the Treaty of Versailles, reviving the German Empire, and blaming the Jewish population for Germany’s defeat in World War I. Italy saw a desire to recreate Roman- Italian domination in the Mediterranean by rebuilding the Roman empire. Romania comes into play in Facist ideology as the author mentioned, was in blaming the Jews for Romania’s economic ills, and raising the fear of a “Jewish Empire” threatening to swallow Romania, and connecting Romania’s eastern territory to a “new Palestine.” As insidious as all these themes are, they are all consistent. I believe the themes of nationalistic empire revival, racial superiority complex, and racial scape goating are the bread and butter of Facsism, its thematic consistency across movements in history convince me that it is an ideology. Finally, on the theme of gender and ideal citizen, facist movements have used this concept to advance their movements, Romania serves as an excellent example with the “New Man” prophecy. Facsism usually comes out of economic and political turmoil. Romania’s “New Man” was the ideal citizen created out of the Facist Romanian legion. The “New Man” created out of adherence to and following of the legion would be the ideal citizen that could save Romania from its economic and social turmoil. It would make Romania strong again (consistent facist themes). “The New Man” was also an example of legionary youths that had joined the Facist party and would be leaders in achieving Romanian greatness by possessing superhuman qualities resulting in a national “spiritual rebirth.” This was the Romanian example of the racial superiority complex, to Romanian Fascists, the ideal citizen or “new man” would be best equipped to handle Romania’s invented enemies (the jewish population) because under the Facist ideology they are superior. This is an example of the consistent theme of Facist racial superiority, Racial scapegoating, tied into the theme of the ideal citizen. The Romanian concept of the “New Man” firms up the boundary between ideal citizen and opponent in the facist ideology.  

Work Citied:

Valentin Sandulescu, “Fascism and Its Quest for the ‘New Man’: The Case of the
Romanian Legionary Movement.” Studia Hebraica 4 (2004): 349-61.

Nationalizing Relaxation

By Alex Wittmann

The blog post that I will be writing on today will be on Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums 1933-1945. The author of the article argues that personal photographs could demonstrate the ideals of Nazi Proganda just as much as state run propaganda pictures would. This article ties into the course theme of fascist culture because it sheds light on how Nazi ideology was able to penetrate into the everyday life Germans. I believe that Fascist culture varies across the nations who succumb to its practice, but the ideology remains uniform. It is a culture of the collective nation state and those who contribute to it, essentially build the strength of the nation at whatever cost. Nazi ideology is unique in the sense that collective nationalism was very much centered on race. It often centered around the racist theory of the “master ayran race” as the “real German” and anyone who was not white was deemed to be inferior. On that note, I believe that the author makes a very interesting point on personal and propaganda photos. The author said that there was a common theme of white Germans relishing vacation and relaxation. Most photos show Germans sitting and reading out in nature, going on leisure road trips, and performing recreational leisure activities. The author said that with these photographs the Nazis could use it to show relationship between public ideology and private life, showing that in relaxation and leisure, the aryan demonstrated its supremacy. The author also said that there was a link to “race and place” in photos of relaxation. In other words it showed the aryan race in its natural habitat of nature and its “superior” habits. Creating a sense of community identity that the Volksgemeinschaft espoused. What I find particularly dark and sinister about these pictures is while it might show what appears to be a very peaceful country, this same “peaceful” country was also was also carrying out deep systematic extermination of political opponents, jews, and gypsies. This sense of racial superiority can be seen in a trip to Belgrade by 17-year old German students in which pictures taken show people of the Balkans to be lazy and poor. This set a contrast between how white Germans were portrayed. By reading this article I can say that Nazi version of facsist culture was unique, it was built upon race as the central theme. The reading shows that Nazi propaganda and invented culture reached further than the public sphere, private leisure activities were nationalized as the ideal form of “purley German and Aryan” activity. It shows that German propaganda infiltrated the private lives of Germans.

Work Cited

Maiken Umbach, “Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums, 1933-1945” Central European History Vol. 48, Special Issue 3 (Photography and Twentieth-Century German History): 335-365.