According to August Kubizek, regarding the teenaged Adolf Hitler’s reaction to Wagner’s Rienzi
I was struck by something strange, which I had never noticed before, even when he had talked to me in moments of the greatest excitement. It was as if another being spoke out of his body, and moved him as much as it did me. It wasn’t at all a case of a speaker being carried away by his own words. On the contrary; I rather felt as though he himself listened with astonishment and emotion to what burst forth from him with elementary force. I will not attempt to interpret this phenomenon, but it was a state of complete ecstasy and rapture, in which he transferred the character of Rienzi, without even mentioning him as a model or example, with visionary power to the plane of his own ambitions.
According to this
Art historian Birgit Schwarz talks to SPIEGEL about why Adolf Hitler saw himself as a genius and how his obsession with art affected his political views.
Stanley Kubrick once despaired of
the failure of culture to have any morally refining effect on society. Many top Nazis were cultured and sophisticated men, but it didn’t do them, or anyone else, much good.
As the American scholar Jonathan Petropoulos observed in his study of the princes of Hessen, if princes had constituted a profession, ‘they would have rivalled physicians as the most Nazified in the Third Reich (doctors’ membership peaked in 1937 at 43 per cent)’.
But they probably weren’t doing the thinking.
See also Norman Lebrecht on “The clapped-out legacy of Karajan that impoverished classical music”, about an “ex-Nazi” and “brilliant organizer” who “crushed independence and creativity”.
More blog entries on Art.