They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. It is always an object of politics, at the moment the object of upper bourgeois politics: BBJ According to this view,. Sein Schicksal ist ein echtes, wenn man. Within the petty bourgeoisie he is not phoney.
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Having established this, Brecht is able to suggest that a class that has betrayed its social and political respon- sibilities in the way the Social Democrats did in the Weimar years has sad- dled Third Reich Germany with the leadership it deserves, coupled with policies that will lead the nation into a war on so many fronts and in the name of so many incompatible policies that eventual defeat is guaranteed.
Wagner, Bertolt Brecht: Kritik des Faschismus, BFA [The unhappy Treaty of Versailles did away with the German army, but left German industry intact, even strengthened by various other profitable contracts; and, in so doing, the Treaty perpetuated, indeed intensified, the necessity for an army. It is clear that Germany today, by its acts of violence, threatens the peace of Europe. BAP —81 ]. BFA [War has become an industry. It largely depends on whether oil sup- plies are exhausted, not on whether willingness to work is exhausted. BBJ —35 ]. His response was simple:. BFA War itself is a business, even a war which is lost.
Glaubten diese Arbeiter etwas Falsches? In einer gewissen Hinsicht glaubten sie nichts Falsches.
BFA , our emphases. When the rule of the petty bourgeoisie commenced, which was not immediately and everywhere recognizable as that of the landed class and the factory owners, many workers also suddenly began to believe that entire peoples need wars, or at least cannot avoid them, and that the worker belongs to his people, whether or not he wants to, and thus that he can also need wars or at least cannot avoid them.
All of a sudden many workers allowed themselves to be persuaded that the fulfillment of their demands as members of the working class was in some way dependent on the possibility that the people to whom they belonged were capable of mounting a war or at least could not avoid doing so. These workers did not want war, but they were prepared to accept one, if their necessary demands could not be met in any other way.
Did these workers believe something wrong? In a certain respect, they did not.
Peoples that are internally struc- tured like ours are, namely in a capitalist way, do actually need wars in order to be able to exist. Kein Krieg bedeutet Arbeitslosigkeit, wird das Regime sagen mit Recht. Journal entry for 19 February [BFA —30] [[Working men] have swallowed a great deal for the abolition of unemployment. Absence of war means unemployment, the regime will say and it is right.
At least Hitler is consistent. The borders that goods cannot cross will be crossed by tanks. Which in turn are goods along with the working men who operate them. BBJ 22 ]. BFA [There is no doubt that the Fascists behave in an exceptionally theat- rical manner. They have a particular feel for it. Unlike his creator, however, Karl has little to say about the propaganda function of this important political epiphenomenon. Interviewed by H.
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Max Reinhardt, einstmals Deutschlands bedeutend-. Burkhardt Lindner Frank- furt am Main: Syndikat, , — There you find firework displays and military parades. They are staged in an utterly modern fashion. The staging goes without a hitch. Max Reinhardt, once the greatest man of German theatre, is nowadays no longer able to compete with Goebbels. Although not part of Comintern anal- ysis the Bolshevik pot was hardly in a position to call the NS kettle black!
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These three to-some-extent-interchangeable terms are elastic and at times even deliberately ambiguous. That had caused disunity.
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It was to be stopped. BAP —27 ]. That one point is war. Given the emphasis on class and class-conflict in his comments on the Third Reich, personality cult may simply have been of little interest to Brecht as a key to the rise of fascism.
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The following stanza offers a panoramic account of the fears and anxieties of those living in Nazi Germany:. The teacher Lies sleepless, worrying over An ambiguous phrase the inspector had let fall. Full of anxiety, parents look at their children as at traitors. Even the dying Hush their failing voices as they Take leave of their relatives. BBP ]. Driven by anxiety They break into homes and search the lavatories And it is anxiety That makes them burn whole libraries. Thus Fear rules not only those who are ruled, but The rulers too.
The German people, ostensibly all members of a new Volksgemeinschaft, are shown to be collectively intimidated to the point of suspecting potential accusers on all sides. The oppressor-oppressed relationship has been rebalanced. Das ist kein kleiner Beitrag zur Niederringung Hitlers. This is no small contribution to the defeat of Hitler.
BBL —75 ]. At times Brecht may have been surprised and disturbed by the jubilant reception National Socialism enjoyed in both Third Reich Germany and in post-annexation Austria, but his general grasp of the nature of everyday life under the repressive NS regime tends to confirm the role played by fear and intimidation in ensuring subservience. However, the picture his diary evokes is patently at odds with the textbook Marxist model of what ought to be happening under such conditions.
MEW 13, 8—9 [The totality of these relations of production constitutes the eco- nomic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. Brecht tries to explain why working-class German soldiers did not mutiny and specifically refuse to engage in a savage war against a socialist country.
His first line of reasoning, almost by way of an excuse, is to sug- gest that civilian German workers had been disenfranchised and deprived of their traditional leadership. BFA —96 [The working class had become accustomed to having its interests represented by democratic institutions, namely parliament and the parliamentary parties, plus the trade unions. The dissolution of these institutions deprived the working class of organised representation and left it helpless. Finding itself too weak to implement its own internationalist policies, it succumbed to the nationalist policies of the bourgeoisie.
However, his illustration fails to do justice to the fact that the legal and political superstructure now in place is corrupt and often reinforced by intimidation and propaganda. Up to this point, Brecht could be charged with invoking the base-superstructure model in a mechanistically determinist way.
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The closure of the free labour mar- ket which transferred the central thrust of the class struggle from the economic to the political sphere plunged the working class into confu- sion, by making its organisations obsolete and outmoded; at the same time it finally forced the working class into the political sphere — with, initially, only negative effect. Of course — and this they neither know nor wish to know — such a basis, policed and split up into regions, would once again produce the very tendencies they are afraid of.
Although struggling to find his way forward to a more constructive framework within which the base-superstructure model could be used with reference to Nazi Germany, Brecht ends with the gloomy prognosis of class stalemate. Die Geschichte [.
History [. The lesson that social classes do not exist is, of course, more easily conveyed to young people than to grown-ups. BFA —72 [The dialectical infusion of all categories of thought is unavoidable, and every area that has been dialectically infused leads to revolution, as long as the political dimension is inferred.
However, it could be argued that Brecht fails to deploy the Marxist base-superstructure model with sufficient rigor in the case of the NS pro- cess of Gleichschaltung co-ordination ,26 a carrot-and-stick policy involv- ing a whole series of coercive measures coupled with inducements affecting virtually all strata of society in the Third Reich. Almost every aspect of political, social and associational life was affected, at every level from the nation to the village.
The bourgeois must become a citizen of the state; the red comrade must become a racial comrade. Both must, with their good intentions, ennoble the socio- logical concept of the worker and raise the status of an honorary title for labor. Rather, he should strive, with an open mind, to become integrated into the whole as a worker.
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Less than two years later, Dr. Robert Ley, leader of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, proudly announced that Germany was the first country in Europe to have solved the problem of the class struggle. Max Domarus, vol. Kraft durch Freude was clearly one of the pseudo-socialist institutions Brecht was invoking when trying to account for the fact that so many members of the German proletariat had been successfully poached by the National Socialists.
With none of its virtues and all of its vices: BBJ Even here, the term is implied, rather than explicitly mentioned. In his interview with Johst, Hitler declared that even the. The social question, on the other hand, has an effect of seriousness: BBL — It would do so only if it depicted the unjustified sufferings of the Jews: BBL Once Brecht even suggested flippantly that the rival factions in the play could just as well have been cyclists and pedestrians. Brecht invariably prioritized the class struggle over the race prob- lem, even if he could not ignore the extent to which class and race were historically intertwined in the Third Reich.
The implication is that, by pinning their hopes on U. According to Edmund Silberner,34 Nazi antisemitism was not even touched upon as an agenda issue at the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern. Unfortunately, when eliminationist antisemitism became increasingly systematized, especially during the brief duration of the German-Soviet nonaggression pact —41 , criticism of Germany was taboo in Comintern circles and, by extension, in the USSR and its satellites.
Little was done at the time that The Private Life was writ- ten to make amends for this glaring omission. As a consequence of his socialist ideology, Brecht converts the prob- lem of antisemitism into a politically functional phenomenon. Are they to be excluded from war profiteering as well, just because their hair is black?