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Instruments of Division: The Role of Audio Technology in the Transition From the Weimar Republic to the Nazi State

Crabtree, John Simon (2022) Instruments of Division: The Role of Audio Technology in the Transition From the Weimar Republic to the Nazi State. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

Audio technology in the popular imagination had an ambiguous role in the culture and politics of the Weimar period, being both a medium of progressive modernism in the jazz-age, and, under Nazi control, an instrument of repression and conformity. The aim of this study is to understand the role of audio technology – the radio, gramophone, electronic musical instruments, sound film and their associated and interconnected ecosystems – in the musical, cultural and political ideas of the Weimar republic (1918-33) and the subsequent impact of these ideas on the transition to the Nazi State (1933-45). Studies of the culture and politics of the Weimar and Nazi period are largely delineated by genre: arts, music, literature, politics and their respective artefacts which position technology as the end result of a historic processes. In contrast, this study focuses on audio technology as a socio-political actor in the development of a broad range of cultural and political concepts of the time. I will argue that a primary driver of social change was the symbiotic relationship between technology and the social, political and economic ideas of the period – a relationship that had an often unintentional and unpredictable impact on German society. In contrast to the received image of the Weimar period where audio technology is depicted as a medium of progressive modernity, this study finds that it had a much more ambiguous disruptive influence on the era. Methodologically, this research is supported by secondary literature and primary sources: contemporary journals, literature and archival research and audio recordings.

By analysing primary sources and secondary literature I demonstrate that in contrast to the received image of the Weimar period, audio technology had a much more ambiguous disruptive influence that contributed to the emergence and acceptance of totalitarianism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
J Political Science > JC Political theory
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Schools: School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Rebecca Hill
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 10:33
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 10:33
URI: https://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/35729

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