Bertolt Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches: A by John J. White

By John J. White

Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches (Fear and distress of the 3rd Reich) offers a compelling documentary photograph of existence in Nazi Germany. shut readings of person scenes are followed through an in depth research in their function in the play's total constitution. opposite to the belief that it's a paintings of Aristotelian realism, Brecht is proven to hire covert alienation units which are an essential component of his literary crusade opposed to 3rd Reich Germany. this primary learn in English with regards to Brecht and fascism bargains a corrective to the overconcentration at the play's inventive facets. It considers Brecht's courting to the preferred Front's crusade opposed to the nationwide Socialist regime. realization is paid to the play's genesis, and, on the subject of the personal lifetime of the grasp Race, to the partial shift from the 3rd Reich of 1933-38 to the conflict interval estimated within the unique Furcht und Elend cycle. The play's critical topic of resistance, its propaganda worth, and its political and creative reception are addressed inside of their old and ideological framework. the result's a tough evaluate of the play's strengths and obstacles as a reaction to German totalitarianism. John J. White is Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King's collage London, and Ann White is Senior Lecturer in German at Royal Holloway, collage of London.

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While working on his play, Brecht clearly had access to many sources, but he also had a restricted number of models for his chosen approach to his documentary work in progress. Not long before embarking on the Furcht und Elend project, Brecht sketched out an “Entwurf für ein Braunbuch” (BFA 22:30; Outline for a Brown Book). 35 Evidently impressed by the approach taken in that milestone work of political documentation, Brecht declared: “Jetzt muß man natürlich mit um so größerer Wucht die gerichtsnotorische Brüchigkeit der Grundlage der Kommunistenverfolgung darlegen” (BFA 28:399; Now of course we must put more energy than ever into exposing the notoriously shaky juridical foundation of the anticommunist campaign: BBL 154).

16 Marx’s and Engels’s image of a politically powerless petty bourgeoisie at the same time paved the way for Brecht’s assessment of Hitler as the epitome of the petty bourgeoisie’s unrealistic ideals, as well as implying that the German proletariat was theoretically the sole class neither content to remain a passive victim of Germany’s post-Versailles political situation nor willing to become fascism’s accomplice. Brecht sums up the petty bourgeoisie’s predicament as that of being “ökonomisch nicht eine selbständige Klasse.

Brecht was not the only influential left-wing figure to disagree with the 1935 Comintern interpretation, although he was probably unaware of this at the time. In his seminars in the Moscow Party School, Palmiro Togliatti warned against the mechanical application of the Seventh Congress’s guidelines and questioned the appropriateness of Dimitrov’s analysis for an understanding of the Spanish situation in the mid-1930s. 38 BRECHT AND FASCISM langertum, Faustlangertum, aber die Faust hat eine gewisse Selbständigkeit; die Industrie bekommt ihren Imperialismus, aber sie muß ihn nehmen, wie sie ihn bekommt, den Hitlerschen.

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