Flaskaland
Friday, November 26, 2004
 
The Swing Kids (excerpted from America's Next Four Years)

"A somewhat different form of protest developed among the youth of the upper middle class: the Swing movement. These young people took every opportunity to avoid the Nazi approved music, preferring to listen to jazz and swing numbers, either on records or with live bands. One internal Nazi report tells us:

The dance music was all English and American. Only swing dancing and jitterbugging took place. At the entrance to the hall stood a notice on which the words "Swing prohibited" had been altered to "Swing requested." Without exception the participants accompanied the dances and songs by singing the English lyrics. Indeed, throughout the evening they attempted to speak only English; and some tables even French.

The dancers made an appalling sight. None of the couples danced normally; there was only swing of the worst sort. Sometimes two boys danced with one girl; sometimes several couples formed a circle, linking arms and jumping, slapping hands, even rubbing the backs of their heads together; and then, bent double, with the top half of the body hanging loosely down, long hair flopping into the face, they dragged themselves round practically on their knees. When the band played a rumba, the dancers went into wild ecstasy. They all leaped around and mumbled the chorus in English. The band played wilder and wilder numbers; none of the players was sitting any longer, they all "jitterbugged" on the stage like wild animals. Frequently boys could be observed dancing together, without exception with two cigarettes in the mouth, one in each corner... [Life in the Third Reich]
"The Swing movement was not antifascist in any political sense - they were just simply anti-political. The problem for the Nazis was that the Swing Kids found all Nazi slogans and nationalism to be of absolutely no interest to them. They found identity with the cultures of the enemies of the Nazis: England, America, France. They accepted Jews and "half-Jews" into their groups. The disgust evidenced by the author of the above report shows that Nazi officials felt attacked in its basic concepts of itself. Heinrich Himmler wanted to put the "ringleaders" of the Swing Movement into concentration camps for "at least two or three years of beatings, punitive drills, and forced labor."

"These two examples demonstrate that even after years in power, the Nazis did not have complete control over the heart of German society."


 




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Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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