Sunday, 7 October 2012

Musicals and Nazis

I'm working on a one-act musical at the moment about German soldiers during WWII. Sounds pretty bleak, which isn't too far off the truth (SPOILERS: they lose the war). Obviously, being a very political person, it's a political musical. Not political in the sense of "here is the moral of the story, let me shove my message down your throat," but political in the sense that I am trying to convey a message about political ideas. Specifically, nationalism.

In any media representation of WWII, the Germans are the bad guys. Of course they are; the Nazi party was based on ideology of pure hatred. What I'm trying to convey in writing this is that while the Nazi party was evil, the German people themselves, even those wearing uniforms and fighting for the Reich, even those who whole-heartedly support the Nazi party and believe in all its dogma (as many of the characters do), were not evil.

Even the protagonist, Hans (named after Hans Scholl of the White Rose), eagerly volunteers to join the army and fight for the Reich. Why? He genuinely believes (as did the original Hans Scholl at first) that the Nazis have it right. They have credible scientific evidence that the German people are naturally superior, they are uniting a nation and restoring a sense of pride, and so yes, fight for Hitler, that those who deserve to rule Europe rule Europe. He isn't a Nazi soldier out of cruelty (that particular motivation is explored by another character, Unterfeldwebel Schmidt). His attitude towards other, "inferior" races is not one of contempt, but pity. He genuinely believes (at the beginning of the script at least) that the Nazi party is doing what is best for Germany, and that they are the most suitable leaders for Europe.

Ultimately, Hans (along with most of the others) doesn't support the Nazi party because he is evil. He supports them because they have convinced him in the power of a united, superior German Volk. They have made him proud to be a German, proud to be expanding the boundaries of his country for the good of the inferior races that should be ruled, for their own sake. There is no malice in him, just misunderstanding. And of course, by the end of the show he takes down the portrait of Hitler on the wall and jumps on it. Because Hitler deserves to be jumped on.

The script is still in draft stage at the moment (as is the essay that I feel must accompany it, to outline my thoughts on nationalism and propaganda that motivate the characters), but I'm very excited to see how it turns out. Stay tuned?

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like it would actually make a really interesting musical (though possibly more suited to a play? Would definitely be very interesting to see how the genre would impact on the subject matter - or vice versa). Hop to it (write a sassy alto).