Following their entry into Austria and the Sudetenland in the late 1930s, the Germans attempted to impose a policy of cultural imperialism on the countries they went on to occupy during World War II. Almost all music institutions in the occupied lands came under direct German control or were subject to severe scrutiny and censorship, the prime objective being to change the musical fabric of these nations and force them to submit to the strictures of Nazi ideology.

This pioneering collection of essays is the first in the English language to look in more detail at the musical consequences of German occupation during a dark period in European history. It embraces a wide range of issues, presenting case studies involving musical activity in a number of occupied European cities, as well as in countries that were part of the Axis or had established close diplomatic relations with Germany. The wartime careers and creative outputs of individual musicians who were faced with the dilemma of either complying with or resisting the impositions of the occupiers are explored. In addition, there is some reflection on the post-war implications of German occupation for the musical environment in Europe.

Music under German Occupation is written for all music-lovers, students, professionals and academics who have particular interests in 20th-century music and/or the vicissitudes of European cultural life during World War II.

chapter |16 pages


The foundations of Nazi musical imperialism

section Section 1|83 pages

Musical life, resistance and destruction in occupied European capitals

section Section 2|90 pages

Adaptation and opportunism

chapter 5|19 pages

The Rome-Berlin Axis

Musical interactions between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in redrawing a ‘New Order for European Culture’

chapter 7|30 pages

Symphonic Music in Occupied Belgium (1940–1944)

The role of ‘German-friendly’ music societies

chapter 8|21 pages

Music, Culture and the Church in the German-Occupied USSR

The Smolensk area and other provinces 1

section Section 4|49 pages

Between two evils

section Section 5|35 pages

The limits of tolerance

chapter 15|16 pages

Getting away with Cultural Bolshevism

The first European performance of Porgy and Bess in Copenhagen, 1943

chapter 16|17 pages

Music Criticism in the Swedish Nazi Daily Press

The case of Dagsposten

section Section 6|38 pages

Damaged careers

chapter 18|17 pages

Eugeniusz Morawski

Life under the Nazi occupation of Warsaw

section Section 7|73 pages

Symphonies of war and resistance

chapter 19|22 pages

Religious Patriotism and Grotesque Ridicule

Responses to Nazi oppression in Pavel Haas’s unfinished war-time Symphony

chapter 20|19 pages

Paul von Klenau’s Ninth Symphony

A case study 1

chapter 21|30 pages

Shostakovich’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony

Music of endurance

section Section 8|77 pages

Complex and uneasy legacies

chapter 22|8 pages

Listening in the Grey Zone

chapter 23|13 pages

The Marketing of Backstories

Approaches to the legacies of music composed in fraught circumstances

chapter 24|17 pages

Nazism, Music and Tyrolean Identity

chapter 25|22 pages

Bartók against the Nazis

The Italian premieres of Bluebeard’s Castle (1938) and The Miraculous Mandarin (1942)

chapter 26|15 pages

Contemporary Music and Cultural Politics in Switzerland during World War II

Between neutrality and nationalism