Cultural Bolshevism, or in German Kulturbolschewismus, was a term widely used during the Third Reich by critics who denounced modernism in the arts, particularly when seeking to discredit more nihilistic forms of expression. As many modernists embraced Marxism while rejecting traditional values, Cultural Bolshevism and the similarly pejorative term "Cultural Marxism" also took on political overtones. This was a huge issue during the 1920s in Weimar Germany. Several German artists, such as Max Ernst and Max Beckmann, were denounced by the Nazis as "cultural Bolsheviks".
The ideology was developed by Bolsheviks (supporters of Marxism and communism), who believed modern art seized power to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. This was a cultural revolution which also took a political overtone. The Bolshevik ideas are built on the foundation of Karl Marx’s social theory which aims to empower the working class. The proletariats saw themselves as being exploited by the bourgeoisies, who owned all means of production and controlled the economy. Bolsheviks wanted to revolutionize the already existing culture which was contrary to goals of the Nazi government. Many German artists, including Max Ernst and Max Beckmann, were denounced by the Nazi as "cultural Bolsheviks”. Some academics argued that Bolsheviks cannot create a society without oppression and exploitation. During this period, countries wanted to maintain their culture in order to establish a national identity. Any form of innovation that was not aligned to the government’s view of how society or people should be was crushed or oppressed by authorities.
The Nazi government at the time had a Minister for popular enlightenment and propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who did synchronization of culture by using art as a tool which is aligned with Nazi goals. The government then disestablished all Jewish cultural organizations and anyone who was alleged politically or artistically suspect. The governments also embark on destroying the work of well-known German writer such as Alfred Kerr, Bertolt Brecht, and Lion Feuchtwanger who were considered “Bolsheviks” by burning their materials at a book burning ceremony which was held in Berlin. This later followed the promotion of literature work by writers such as Hitler Youth poet Hans Baumann and Adolf Bartels in an effort to facilitate the fast removal of unacceptable books from public libraries. The German cultural authorities also promoted war novels in order to prepare its population for possible conflict that may arise.
The German artistic movement focused on emphasizing the propagandistic value of art and glorifying the peasantry, the “Aryan” and heroism of war. This ideology was contrary to modern day art such as abstract painting which was the government denounced as “degenerated art” as well as “art bolshevism” and “cultural bolshevism”. In an effort to cultivate art aligned with Nazi goals the state subsidized motion picture industry which was used as an important propaganda tool. This led to the production of films such as "Ich klage an," (I accuse) justified the “Euthanasia Program” (good death) which glorified Hitler and the Nazi party. On the other hand films such as "Jud Suess" and the "Der ewige Jude" (The Eternal Jew) were produced to perpetuate anti-Semitic stereotypes. The overall aim of Bolsheviks to revolutionize culture was not successful in Germany because Weimer government scrutinized the system which makes it hard for any new form of culture to dominate the existing culture[clarification needed].
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