Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. David Loberg Code
Dr. Maria Cristina Fava
Dr. Daniel C. Jacobson
Scott Cowan, D.M.A.
Jazz, World War II, Nazis, Austria, Vienna
Masters Thesis-Open Access
This research investigates the rationale behind the Nazis’ suppression of jazz music during the Second World War. Existing scholarship explains the circumstances surrounding this suppression, but it does not explore why the Nazis did not completely eradicate jazz. The goal of this research is to reveal which aspects of jazz the Nazis particularly disdained and why they allowed this music to continue while they so vehemently suppressed other forms of art that they deemed undesirable.
In order for the arguments to be viewed in their proper context, the thesis first discusses the rise of jazz in Austria and the Austrian jazz scene of the late 1920s and early 1930s. In particular, it examines the impact of Ernst Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf and Josephine Baker’s controversial appearance in Vienna. Next, it explores the clandestine, war-time jazz scene and how jazz represented an ideological opposition to Nazism. Finally, specific Nazi regulations concerning jazz are analyzed along with two essays, written by two men who shared a similar disdain for jazz, on the “destructive” influence of jazz.
Rensch, "Stifling the Subversive Swing: An Austrian Perspective on the Nazi Jazz Ban" (2018). Master's Theses. 3405.