Recent studies of musicology under the Nazi regime make it plausible to reach some conclusions, drawing particularly on four case studies: Heinrich Besseler, Friedrich Blume, Hans Joachim Moser, and (as a counterexample) Alfred Einstein. First, musicology is a small discipline and in 1933 was even smaller, making it particularly open to intrigue. Personal loyalties were more important than political and ideological ones; patriarchal teacher-student relations had more weight than factions born of clashes between rival groups within the National Socialist regime.
Second, musicology is a decidedly German discipline: Into the 1930s, it existed as a university subject largely in the three German-speaking countries. A tradition of musicological scholarship that was firmly convinced of the preeminence of its own national heritage did not need to accommodate itself in the first place to the German jingoism of the National Socialists. On the contrary, scholars had perhaps more freedom because their national orientation could never seriously be doubted.
Third, music as a conceptless art was not easily subsumed under "racial" and "vöölkisch" constructs. Many during the "third Reich" tried to explain European music history by drawing on the spirit of contemporary studies of race, but they often had to admit the difficulty if not the utter failure of the enterprise. In comparison with other disciplines it is noticeable that only those outside the university formulated overwhelmingly racist accounts of music history, and they could not pass muster with their nationalist or National Socialist colleagues.
Finally, university musicologists, no less than their colleagues active in the Amt Rosenberg or in the Propagandaministerium, shared responsibility for a discourse of exclusion and vöölkisch terror both inside and outside the country. Culpability must be investigated individually, but a look at the field as a whole makes it possible to understand how after 1945, musicologists in the two Germanys and Austria could without difficulty resume work broken off before the final collapse of the National Socialist regime.
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