Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 188


24th June 1943, evening

The vibrant pulse of Berlin—Vienna the home of music— Mozart—Slav blood and German blood—Beethoven—For and against Vienna—The new capital of the Reich—A remark of Treitschke.

In Berlin, I think, people work harder than anywhere else. I know of no other city in which it would have been possible to complete the construction of the Reich Chancellery in nine months. The Berlin workman is unique as a swift and efficient craftsman. There is nothing to touch him in Munich or Vienna, where the infusion of foreign blood—Polish, Czech, Slav, Italian—still has an influence.

When one speaks of Vienna and music and proclaims Vienna to be the most musical city in the world, one must not forget that at the time of our great composers, Vienna was the Imperial city. She was an attraction for the whole world, and was thus the city which offered artists the greatest scope and opportunity. In spite of this, how shabbily the musicians were treated there! It is not true that either Beethoven or Haydn had any success there during their lifetime. Mozart’s Don Juan was a failure there.

Why then did Mozart go to Vienna? Simply because he hoped to get a pension from the Emperor, which he never obtained. Mozart’s family, it has been established, came from Augsburg; he was therefore not an Austrian but a Swabian. The whole blossoming of our music in Vienna is not due to the town; such things do not spring from their environment, but from the genius of a race.

Really creative music is composed partly of inspiration and partly of a sense of composition. The inspiration is of Slavonic origin, the art of composition is of Germanic. It is when these two mingle in one man that the master of genius appears. In Bach’s music it is the composition which is marvellous, and he certainly had no drop of Slav blood in his veins. As regards Beethoven, on the other hand, one glance at his head shows that he comes of a different race. It is not pure chance that the British have never produced a composer of genius; it is because they are a pure Germanic race.

Do not for a moment imagine that I am hostile to Vienna. I criticise with equal vigour everything in Berlin which displeases me. My task is a far greater one, and I do not think in terms of Vienna or Berlin.

It is perhaps a blessing in disguise that I was for so long a Stateless person; for it has taught me the tremendous value of a unified Germany.

Treitschke once said: “Germany has cities, but she possesses no capital.” To that I will add that she must, and she shall, have one. I shall take care that no town in the Reich can rival the capital.

I have examined certain projects for Vienna, but they demand a financial backing from the Reich which I do not consider should be accorded to any city but the capital of the Reich.

Any other decision would be wrong. Vienna must, of course, be cleaned up and cleared of slums; and this will be done. I have already cleared the Jews out of the city, but I should like to see the Czechs go, too. Whatever new construction may be undertaken in Vienna, it would be folly for her to try to surpass the existing glorious monuments of the Imperial City.


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7 Replies on “Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 188

  1. He’s wrong: Haydn achieved great fame in Vienna. Also, this is why Hitler is off base: he wants to rid Vienna of the Czech? What..?


    1. Recently I finished an illustrated biography of Beethoven and yes: Beethoven and his former teacher Haydn were treated fairly well in Vienna. One of the problems with this literal, word-by-word transcriptions of a table talk is that it is very common to commit mistakes in spoken word (in printed word one has the chance to correct). He might have said that Beethoven and Haydn were treated better than Mozart, but then the shorthand writer did not write it down well (I don’t have the original German copy with me of the Tischgespräche). Or it could have been a lapsus linguae from Hitler that was not corrected when converting the short hand to normal letters. Or he might have been just plain wrong. One can speculate…

      As to the Czechs, I believe I’ll add the talk where he explains his reasons in another installments of these series.

      1. It is not my explanation. I recently finished the book and was struck by the fact that Hitler disliked competing European nationalisms within his Reich. There are a couple of talks about the Czechs but since these are only excerpts I believe that one talk about them will be enough.

      2. Hitler’s struggles were not for Europeans, they were for Germanic race or at least Germans.