[Dixielandjazz] Jazz and the 3rd Reich

Anton Crouch anton.crouch at optusnet.com.au
Mon Aug 24 18:12:02 PDT 2009

Hello all

The best discussion of this topic that I have come-across is "Hitler's
airwaves" by Horst Bergmeier and Rainer Lotz (Yale University Press, 1997).

The book makes the point that the crackdown on "degenerate music" in
general and jazz in particular was not pursued with the same vigour as
the notorious 1937 campaign against "degenerate art". The latter had the
personal approval of Hitler. It seems that it was politically easier to
attack the interests of the elites (art) than those of the masses (dance

Although jazz had been banned as early as 1930 (in the Province of
Thuringia), it wasn't until after the Berlin Olympics that the rabid
ideologues came out in full force.

Goebbels, in February 1941, laid down the ground rules for the playing
of jazz on German radio by banning:

1. music with distorted rhythms
2. music with atonal melody line
3. the use of so-called 'stopped' horns

No. 3 is a strange one - I assume it means the use of mutes. I can't
imagine what the Nazis thought of Bubber Miley!

All the best,

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