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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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All these catchphrases, such as: “inner experience,” “a strong conviction,” “forceful intent,” “promising sentiment,” “heroic stance,” “meaningful empathy,” “experienced order of the times,” “primal primitiveness,” and so on, all these stupid, mendacious excuses, phrases, or blather will no longer provide an excuse, let alone a recommendation for creations that are inherently worthless because they are simply inept. Whether someone has a forceful intent or an inner experience is something he may demonstrate with his work, and not with prattling words. We are all much less interested in so-called intent than we are in ability.

Thus, an artist who expects to be exhibited in this house, or to make any public appearance in Germany in the future, must possess skill. Surely, intent is self-evident to begin with! For it would be the very pinnacle of everything if a person were to annoy his fellow citizens with works whereby he actually intended nothing at all. But when these blowhards now try to make their works palatable by presenting them as the expression of a new time, one can only tell them that art does not create new times, but rather that the overall life of nations remakes itself and therefore frequently seeks a new expression. Yet those who have been talking about new art in Germany over the last few decades have certainly not understood the new German times. It is not men of letters who are the creators of a new era, but the fighters, those who are truly creative, who lead their people and thus make history. But those pitiful, confused dabblers and scribblers will hardly count themselves among them. Moreover, it is either brazen impudence or mystifying stupidity to present, in our day and age, works that could have been made ten or twenty thousand years ago by someone from the Stone Age.

They talk about a primitiveness of art, and they completely forget that it is not the task of art to move away from the development of a people by going backwards, but that its only task can be to symbolize the vitality of that development.

The new age of today is working on a new type of man. Immense efforts are being made in countless spheres of life in order to lift up the people, to render our men, boys and youngsters, girls and women healthier and thus stronger and more beautiful. And out of this strength and this beauty emanates a new feeling of life, a new joy of life!

Never before has humanity been closer to antiquity in its appearance and sensibility than it is today.

[ . . . ]

This type of man, whom we beheld just last year at the Olympic Games as he appeared before the whole world in his radiant, proud, physical strength and health, this type of man, [I say to you] Mr. Pre-historic Art Stammerers, is the type of the new age. And what are you making? Deformed cripples and cretins, women who can only have a repulsive effect, men who are closer to animals than humans, children who, if they had to live this way, would have to be seen as the veritable curse of God! And this is what these cruel dilettantes dare to present to our world today as the art of our time, namely as the expression of what is shaping this age and imprinting its stamp on it.

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