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Hitler’s Speech at the Opening of the House of German Art in Munich (July 18, 1937)

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And so what has arisen here is a house that is sufficiently worthy of giving the highest achievements of art an opportunity to show themselves to the German people. Thus, the building of this house aimed at once to represent a turning point and to put an end to the chaotic, bungling attempts at construction that we have left behind. A first new building, one that is to take its honorable place in the immortal achievements of our German art historical life.

But you will also understand now that it is not enough to give to German art this house, which is so respectable, clear, and truthful that we may rightly call it a “House of German Art”; rather, the exhibit itself must also bring about a turning away from the degeneracy that we have witnessed in the arts, sculpture, and painting.

If I now presume to make a judgment here, to express my views and act accordingly, I will first avail myself of the right to do so not only because of my own attitude toward German art, but above all because of my own contribution to its restoration.

For this state today, which I fought for and created with my comrades-in-arms in a long and arduous struggle against a world of adversaries, has also provided German art with the great preconditions for a new and vigorous flowering.

It was not Bolshevist art collectors or their literary followers who created the foundations for a new art or even so much as secured the continuation of art in Germany; no, we did that, we who brought this state into being and have since provided German art with the vast funds it needs for its existence and creation. And above all: we did it because we have assigned great new tasks to art itself.

[ . . . ]

Art is in no way fashion. In the same way that little changes in the nature and blood of our people, art, too, must lose its character of transience; instead, in its continuously intensifying creations, it must be a worthy visual expression of the life’s course of our people. Cubism, Dadaism, Futurism, Impressionism, and so on, have nothing to do with our German people. For all of these terms are neither old nor modern, but are simply the stilted stammering of people to whom God has denied real artistic talent and has given instead the gift of blather and deception. I therefore wish to affirm in this hour my immutable resolve to do for German artistic life what I have done in the area of political confusion: to purge it of empty phrases.

“Works of art” that cannot be understood on their own, but rather require a pompous user manual to justify their existence, in order to finally find that intimidated person who will patiently accept such foolish or impudent nonsense – such art works will no longer find their way to the German people!

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