Degenerate Art

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Joey Petruska
M. Volker Art 126

Degenerate Art
In class the other day, we watched a video about the influence art had on Adolf Hitler during the closing of World War I, the period building up to World War II, and then through the second World War. It was very interesting to find out that Hitler himself was an aspiring artist before he had political motives. In his early adulthood, he twice applied to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and was turned away both times because of his “unfitness for painting” as noted by the Academy.

Could this have been the turning point in the young man’s life that eventually stemmed so much hatred, suffering, and tyranny? That is a loaded question. As a boy, Hitler had always been a proponent of German Nationalism. He was brought up on the German-Austrian border and always expressed loyalty to Germany over Austria, but would he have truly been the monster he grew into if he had not been rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts? Maybe instead of being famous for his violent dictatorship, he would have been featured in exhibits all throughout the country; maybe later even world renowned.

It was said in the film that many famous expressionist artists experienced their most horrific of experiences during their services in World War I. Hitler on the other hand found the war to be “the greatest of all experiences” as he wrote in his novel Mein Kampf. Perhaps if he too would have achieved fame through his artwork before the start of World War I, he would have seen the same evil in war as his contemporaries. Although he never achieved much status in the military, he was commissioned two medals for his bravery by his superiors. Maybe it was this that changed Hitler’s mind about his artistic pursuits. Getting the medals was no doubt a great honor, and gave him a sense pride that was unfulfilled by his attempted artistry. Maybe he finally found his “true calling” in his mind. This hypothesis seems to make the...
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