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Why the Nazis feared modern art
The recent discovery in Munich of what are reported to be more than 1,500 major artworks confiscated or banned by the Nazis is a reminder of how totalitarian regimes tend to view art as so dangerous a potential adversary as any enemy army. In the case of the Nazis, that view was entirely in keeping with the central irony of the Third Reich's benighted rule, which claimed to be saving European civilization at the very moment it was destroying it. Today, the same irrational hatred and fear of art can be found among the jihadists of the Taliban, al-Qaida and other Islamist extremists, along with the same consequences for their societies.
November 8, 2013