Dr Toby Thacker
Toby Thacker, Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) xiii + 407pp.
Abstract: Joseph Goebbels was the most notorious demagogue of the twentieth century, and Hitler’s closest confidant. This is the first biography to use his complete diary from 1923-1945, only recently released from the Soviet Union, together with a range of other primary sources, and it presents a challenging new interpretation of his life. It charts Goebbels’ rise from provincial obscurity in the Rhineland, through his emergence as the most dynamic speaker of the Nazi Party and the Gauleiter of Berlin in the 1920s, to his appointment as Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in 1933. Combining analysis of Goebbels’ relationship with women and of his political career, it argues that there were clear threads running through his life, from a turbulent adolescence through to his death. Goebbels’ love of German culture, his obsession with ‘sacrifice’, his fascination for Hitler, and his hatred of the Jews led him into a fatal involvement with German politics which culminated with his suicide, together with his wife and six children, in Hitler’s bunker in 1945. http://www.palgrave.com
Toby Thacker, Music after Hitler, 1945-1955 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007) x + 280
Abstract: This book explores how music was controlled in Germany under Allied occupation from 1945-1949, and in the early years of ‘semi-sovereignty’ between 1949 and 1955. While emphasizing political, social, and economic structures that influenced the production and reception of different musical forms, the book is informed by a sense of human agency and explores the role of salient individuals in the reconstruction of music in post-war Germany. The focus is not restricted to any one kind of music but concentrates on those aspects of music, professional and amateur, live and recorded, which appeared to be the most highly charged politically to contemporaries. Particular attention is given to ‘denazification’ and the introduction of international music, and the book explores how governments in East and West Germany after 1949 sought to control and influence music through mechanisms of censorship and positive support.
Toby Thacker, The End of the Third Reich: Defeat, Denazification, and Nuremberg, 1944–1946 (Stroud: Tempus, 2006)
Abstract: Most existing histories of Germany in the twentieth century end or begin in 1945. This book argues that the Allies were committed after 1943 not only to forcing the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, but to a thorough process of ‘denazification’, to be carried out under military occupation. It therefore presents the period 1944-1946 as a continuum, and analyses how the wartime objectives of the Allies were realised after the military defeat of Germany in 1945.
Noting the significance of the discovery and liberation of German concentration camps in 1945, the book details the establishment of the Allied Control Council, the abolition of Nazi laws, and of the Nazi Party. It examines the creation of the International Military Tribunal, and the trial held before it in Nuremberg, as well as other significant ‘war crimes’ trials. It also examines the wider process of denazification – the removal of former Nazis from public life, and the elimination of Nazi ideas and influences from education, the media, and the arts.
Toby Thacker, “‘Renovating’ Bach and Handel: New Musical Biographies in the German Democratic Republic”, in Jolanta Pekacz (ed.), Musical Biography: Towards New Paradigms (Ashgate, 2006), pp. 17-41.
Abstract: Until very recently, music history has been structured around the biographies of ‘great composers’, and little attention has been paid to the ways in which those biographies have been constructed. This is a case study examining how the biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Frideric Handel were reconstructed in the German Democratic Republic, casting both composers as ‘progressive humanists’ who had spoken for the oppressed classes of their time. It examines the ways in which leaders of state, Communist party functionaries, musicologists and historians created and used these biographies for political purposes.