The Resource Different drummers : jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany, Michael H. Kater

Different drummers : jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany, Michael H. Kater

Different drummers : jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany
Different drummers
Title remainder
jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany
Statement of responsibility
Michael H. Kater
When the African-American dancer Josephine Baker visited Berlin in 1925, she found it dazzling. "The city had a jewel-like sparkle," she said, "the vast cafes reminded me of ocean liners powered by the rhythms of their orchestras. There was music everywhere." Eager to look ahead after the crushing defeat of World War I, Weimar Germany embraced the modernism that swept through Europe and was crazy over jazz. But with the rise of National Socialism came censorship and proscription: an art form born on foreign soil and presided over by Negroes and Jews could have no place in the culture of a "master race." In Different Drummers, Michael Kater--a distinguished historian and himself a jazz musician--explores the underground history of jazz in Hitler's Germany. He offers a frightening and fascinating look at life and popular culture during the Third Reich, showing that for the Nazis, jazz was an especially threatening form of expression. Not only were its creators at the very bottom of the Nazi racial hierarchy, but the very essence of jazz--spontaneity, improvisation, and, above all, individuality--represented a direct challenge to the repetitive, simple, uniform pulse of German march music and indeed everyday life. The fact that many of the most talented European jazz artists were Jewish only made the music more objectionable. In tracing the growth of what would become a bold and eloquent form of social protest, Kater mines a trove of previously untapped archival records and assembles interviews with surviving witnesses as he brings to life a little-known aspect of wartime Germany. He introduces us to groups such as the Weintraub Syncopators, Germany's best indigenous jazz band; the Harlem Club of Frankfurt, whose male members wore their hair long in defiance of Nazi conventions; and the Hamburg Swings--the most daring radicals of all--who openly challenged the Gestapo with a series of mass dance rallies. More than once these demonstrations turned violent, with the Swings and the Hitler Youth fighting it out in the streets. In the end we come to realize that jazz not only survived persecution, but became a powerful symbol of political disobedience--and even resistance--in wartime Germany. And as we witness the vacillations of the Nazi regime (while they worked toward its ultimate extinction, they used jazz for their own propaganda purposes), we see that the myth of Nazi social control was, to a large degree, just that--Hitler's dictatorship never became as pure and effective a form of totalitarianism as we are sometimes led to believe. With its vivid portraits of all the key figures, Different Drummers provides a unique glimpse of a counter-culture virtually unexamined until now. It is a provocative account that reminds us that, even in the face of the most unspeakable oppression, the human spirit endures
Cataloging source
Dewey number
index present
LC call number
LC item number
K38 2003
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
  • dictionaries
  • bibliography
Target audience
Different drummers : jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany, Michael H. Kater
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
  • none
Carrier category
online resource
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Carrier MARC source
Content category
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Content type MARC source
  • Abbreviations; Introduction: The Ambiguous Culture: Jazz in the Weimar Republic; 1. On the Index: The Third Reich's Prewar Campaign; Ideological Foundations and Polemics; First Public Controls; Raiding Jews and Jazz; Broadcasting and Recordings; Attempts at ""German Jazz""; 2. Jazz Defiant: The Reassertion of a Culture; Jazz Alive; The Jazz Congregation and Its High Priests; Jazz Within Politics; 3. Jazz Goes to War: Compliance and Defiance, September 1939 to August 1942; Demands of the Military; Jazz as Propaganda; The War inside the Great Germanic Reich
  • Hamburg's Different Drummers4. Near Defeat: Jazz Toward the ""Final Victory,"" September 1942 to May 1945; Compromise and Failure; The Jazz Victims; Epilogue: The Final Victory: Postwar Jazz Triumphant; Notes; Primary Sources; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y; Z
Control code
1 online resource (320 pages)
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System control number
  • (OCoLC)608626328
  • oso0195165535

Library Locations

    • Deakin University Library - Geelong Waurn Ponds CampusBorrow it
      75 Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, 3216, AU
      -38.195656 144.304955
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