Building the nation : fascist mass spectacle as worker culture / Timothy Kevin Donahue-Bombosch
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-253)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
This dissertation examines the incubation, triumph, and self-destruction of a fascist aesthetic of work in German theater, thought, and cinema from 1918-1937. Mass spectacle such as the Day of National Labor, the Nurnberg Party Rallies, and the Thingspiel can be understood as an instrument of integrating the working classes into the Nationalist Socialist body politic. Nazi propaganda envisioned workers not as objects of repression, but as instruments of constructing national identity. The products of German labor, be they monumental architecture, fields cleared for farming, or the Autobahn, were understood to symbolize Germany as a unity of Volk, Fuhrer, and Reich. This identity is not predicated solely on the principle of race, nor does it symbolize an expression of natural "Blut und Boden" distinctiveness. Instead, the body politic was consciously envisioned as a technologically constructed and mediated identity forged by the hands of workers and shaped into the image of the nation. Throughout the dissertation a fascist politicization of the body--in terms of mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and their relationship to the body politic--are explored. In the introduction, Nazi attempts to integrate the worker into the Volk-community are examined. Mass spectacle's role is vital, featuring workers in Triumph des Willens and Hitler Youth Quex. It concludes by discussing "Faustian productionism" in Oswald Spengler's Prussianism and Socialism. The interconnected representations of gender and class conflict in Metropolis, Neue Sachlichkeit, and Siegfried Kracauer's writings are discussed in the first chapter. Through the mobilization of the masses and technology, woman is forced back into the home and patriarchal authority over the metropolis is reestablished. Chapter two argues that first proletarian mass theater and then the fascist Thingspiel served as models for fascist mass spectacle. A discussion of Kurt Heynicke's Neurode: ein Spiel von deutscher Arbeit reveals the primacy of labor and technology over nature in constructing national identity. Chapter three explores the contradictory aesthetics of mobilization and monumentality, their relationship to the Weimar street film, and the role of violence in Nazi mass spectacle such as Der Tag der nationalen Arbeit, Triumph des Willens, and the construction of the Autobahn.
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