The Nazis were aware of the tremendous power that could be wielded with a single image or a particular article. For them, art was just another tool by which they could communicate their agenda and win popular acceptance of their ideas. It was through the subtle inclusion of basic concepts regarding the vileness of the Jewish race and the superiority of the Aryan and German in art and media that the German populace was brought around to Hitler’s way of reasoning. Hitler controlled all aspects of the art world, determining what was printed in the newspapers, discussed on the radio, written about in books, painted, sculpted and constructed. Music and theater were not immune and the Bauhaus School was almost immediately disbanded as a possible threat to the Party. Sculptures in the Greek style were the preferred art form because of the way in which the stone could represent absolute perfection as a frozen moment in time. It was through the film The Eternal Jew that Hitler prepared the public for his extermination campaign against the Jews. However, like his architectural plans for building a cultural mecca at Linz, many of Hitler’s ideas proved to be too large to be realized and projects such as the redesign of Berlin never saw their completion.
For the Reich, this implied the elimination of memories of defeat, social turmoil and class confrontation. For the US, paintings served as a powerful link between Germany’s present and a retrievable past, while simultaneously facilitating a departure from Germany’s cultural isolation and provincialism. The visual arts played a political role in the construction of a new German national heritage, a sanitized and acceptable meta-narrative of the German past.