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Christmas in GermanyA Cultural History$
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Joe Perry

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833643

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899410_perry

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Christmas in the Third Reich

Christmas in the Third Reich

Chapter:
(p.189) 5 Christmas in the Third Reich
Source:
Christmas in Germany
Author(s):

Joe Perry

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807899410_perry.9

This chapter explores the tensions at the core of the so-called People's Christmas in Nazi Germany. It observes that regime propagandists and intellectual cadres enthused by National Socialist ideologies drew on the supposed practices of pre-Christian, Nordic–Germanic tribes, familiar from ethnographic literature, to shape public and private rituals that would promote the exclusionary agendas of the racial state. The chapter further observes that celebration in the Third Reich, like other aspects of Nazi cultural policy, was not a simple matter of top-down control that evoked passive submission or private resistance. Instead, state orchestration met with an active and enthusiastic popular response because participation in Nazi political rituals such as Christmas offered Germans attractive material and symbolic rewards. The chapter notes that the holiday also exposed the fault lines in National Socialist political culture.

Keywords:   People's Christmas, Nazi Germany, National Socialist, Nordic–Germanic tribes, ethnographic literature, Third Reich, political culture

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