• August 23, 2014

A Composer's Ties to Nazi Germany Come Under New Scrutiny

A Composer's Ties to Nazi Germany Come Under New Scrutiny 1

Popperfoto, Getty Images

A U. of North Texas musicologist says that Jean Sibelius, shown here in 1934, was an active supporter of Nazism. Other scholars say the claim is overblown.

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close A Composer's Ties to Nazi Germany Come Under New Scrutiny 1

Popperfoto, Getty Images

A U. of North Texas musicologist says that Jean Sibelius, shown here in 1934, was an active supporter of Nazism. Other scholars say the claim is overblown.

The composer Jean Sibelius is arguably as important to early 20th-century music as Ezra Pound was to literary modernism. Now, more than 50 years after the Finnish composer died, in 1957, at the age of 91, a musicologist in Texas is claiming that Sibelius was culpably entangled with Nazi Germany, and should join Pound, Richard Wagner, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline in the select group of artists who have been cast into anti-Semitic ignominy.

Sibelius's associations with National Socialism amount to active support of Nazism and its propaganda efforts in Germany and the Nordic countries, says Timothy L. Jackson, a professor of music at the University of North Texas.

Other Sibelius experts say Jackson is making a Nazi out of a man who needed to deal with the Third Reich to earn his living, and who, along with most of the world, was perhaps too complacent about the rise of Hitler.

The role European composers may have played in laying the foundations for the grotesque ethos of Nazism has long been a contentious issue in musicological circles; the heat generated by such discussions relating to figures like Wagner suggests that the emerging dispute over Sibelius may significantly affect both the reception of his music and the way musical Romanticism is viewed in the history of 20th-century cultural life.

Jackson lays out his charges against Sibelius in a long essay in a book he has edited with three colleagues, Sibelius in the Old and New World: Aspects of His Music, Its Interpretation, and Reception, which Peter Lang Publishing Group is set to publish in the first half of next year. Jackson, a specialist in late Romantic composers such as Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, and Sibelius, previewed his arguments last month at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, in Philadelphia. That has sparked a vibrant e-mail exchange among several Sibelius experts, much of which participants have shared with The Chronicle.

From Sibelius archives and other sources, Jackson has accumulated a mass of documents, letters, government papers, and newspaper reports to challenge the standard take on Sibelius: that he was a passive, apolitical observer of the rise of Nazism and its effects on Europe.

He says Sibelius's early fascination with Finnish mythology and nationalism resonated with Nazism. And, as the Third Reich gained in strength, Sibelius enjoyed its financial arrangements for artists. For example, in 1933, when Joseph Goebbels was named minister of propaganda, Sibelius, already well established and 67 years old, began to profit from taxation and currency-exchange and currency-export preferences that Goebbels approved for artists.

Those were perks of cooperating with the "artist friendly" regime, Jackson suggests. But the Nazis were particularly well inclined toward Sibelius, he adds. For example, Sibelius in 1935 accepted a Goethe Medal that Adolf Hitler confirmed with his signature. From at least 1941, he drew a German pension that was worth half the average German annual income. In 1942, Third Reich officials approved the founding of the German Sibelius Society.

Nazi admiration of Sibelius has long led some music historians to view the composer with suspicion. Jackson is providing more fodder for that unease. He argues that, by going along with all the accolades, Sibelius was committing "a political act of considerable importance to Finland, if not Germany, with a huge propaganda significance."

No single event more clearly illustrates Sibelius's empathy with the Nazi ethos, Jackson believes, than his reneging on his promise to help a young, part-Jewish composer, Günther Raphael. In the years 1931 to 1936, Raphael implored Sibelius repeatedly, urgently, and obsequiously to help him to retain his teaching position in Germany at a time when Jewish artists were being dismissed from their posts.

Jackson insists that Sibelius could have joined the many prominent artists who asked Goebbels to protect favored Jewish colleagues. But he chose not to risk Goebbels's disfavor.

And in mid-1942, says Jackson, when it still seemed that Germany might win the war, Sibelius agreed to be interviewed at his home in Finland by Anton Kloss, an SS war reporter who had most likely taken part in war atrocities. Surely, says Jackson, by that time Sibelius would have heard what the Nazis were doing throughout Europe.

Such actions condemn Sibelius, he asserts, even though the composer did, in late 1943, denounce the Nazis' "bad social prejudices"—quietly, in his diary.

More significant, Jackson says, is that Sibelius continued to take money from Nazi Germany throughout the war, even complaining that payments were not consistently arriving.

Jackson says he believes that Sibelius scholars have viewed Sibelius from a hagiographic rather than historical perspective that is all too common in biographies of great artists—and have, as a result, overlooked that he was less than a saint.

For other Sibelius specialists, however, it is Jackson's perspective that is warped. In telephone interviews, as in their e-mail exchanges with the Texas music historian, they characterize his allegations as a cherry-picking smear campaign.

Consider the age and isolation of Sibelius by the time the war came—he had virtually stopped composing 20 years earlier—suggests one Finnish Sibelius authority, Vesa Sirén. "Keep in mind that we are talking about a bald-headed old man with shaky hands and a cataract in his eye who probably didn't even know what the SS was," says Sirén, a music journalist, author of a study of how Sibelius's contemporaries viewed him, and the editor of the Sibelius estate's official Web site.

Sirén, like Veijo Murtomäki, a professor of music history at the Sibelius Academy, in Helsinki, and a leading authority on the composer, praises Jackson for calling attention to facts of Sibelius's life, such as the monetary value of the well-known favors that he received from Third Reich admirers. But Jackson's claims are consistently overblown and out of context, Sirén and Murtomäki insist.

Take that 1942 interview with the SS reporter. Jackson says it was highly significant, because Sibelius was a recluse who rarely granted press interviews. "Total nonsense," scoffs Sirén. Sibelius agreed to numerous interviews during the 1940s, often at the behest of the Finnish foreign ministry. "He said he wouldn't want to see so many people in his home, but he would, if it was good for Finland," says Sirén. "Sibelius was a great composer and also vain, a little bit childish. But he was also a patriot."

Or consider Jackson's characterization of Sibelius's payments from Germany as being "on the Nazi payroll." Says Sirén: "When the Nazis took over, the last thing on their mind was obeying international copyright laws." Sibelius doggedly pursued his royalties—from Germany, where most were due, as well as from other countries. "We can argue that it would have been better that he said 'I don't want anything to do with Germany,' but still, he was entitled to his copyright money," she says.

And was Sibelius's decision not to help Günther Raphael really proof of anti-Semitism? That claim, says Sirén, ignores that the composer received, and rejected, hundreds of such requests, and by the 1930s had had enough. In fact, says Sirén, Sibelius had given out so many recommendations, motivated by politeness rather than informed by their recipients' qualifications, that "he now felt that he was in the middle of a nest of lies."

Murtomäki, who with Jackson is one of the editors of a forthcoming collection of essays, Sibelius in the Old and New World, contends that the weakness in all his colleagues' criticisms of Sibelius is that they ignore historical context.

One simple example: Jackson's objection to Sibelius's accepting the Goethe Medal, in 1935. Murtomäki asks: Why would Sibelius not accept such honors, given that he was at the time arguably the world's most successful living classical composer, winning honors around the world?

Jackson also ignores the complexity of Finnish views of Germany, contends Murtomäki. He notes that at the beginning of the Third Reich, many Finns believed that Germany not only was improving the lot of its citizens but also was emerging as an effective foil to the Bolshevist threat. In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked and managed to annex part of Finland. So in 1941 Finland allied itself with Germany, hoping to stave off both Nazi and Soviet invasion. But in September 1944, it began the seven-month Lapland War against Germany.

With these turnabouts, Sibelius, too, suffered reversals: At times he was hailed as a standard-bearer of freedom; at others he was decried as a Nazi stooge trading on his Aryan birth. But throughout this vacillation, Sibelius valued his acclaim in Germany, the country that Finns considered a cultural mecca.

"Professor Jackson has some pieces of a puzzle at his hands, but the picture he is constructing with the pieces is rather strange for us who know better the cultural and political situation of Finland during the Third Reich," says Murtomäki.

He allows that Jackson is doing a service to the history of Finnish cultural, scientific, and political relations with German colleagues during the Third Reich. But while Jackson insists that his evidence against Sibelius is more than circumstantial, Murtomäki is not so sure: "So, Sibelius was selfish and flattered by his fame in Germany and wanted the money. I am sorry for that. But it does not make him a Nazi or a great friend of any SS person or acts made by them. History is not that easy."

Comments

1. ramesh1 - November 30, 2009 at 11:01 pm

I recently read that today`s Europe condition is very favourable for Hitler type leadership, Europe is very eagerly waiting new Nzy party.Is it true?If it is true than this condition prove that human nature never change.Only different between 1933 era and today `s condition is new Hitler will get terrible and deadly weapon, and he can devour whole world within hour.Is world learn one lesson from this happening that most dangerous weapons we are creating to build our own grave.

2. laoshi - December 01, 2009 at 02:49 pm

Isn't national socialism the new black? Why else did y'all vote in Obama?

3. davewines - December 02, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Odd comments for an academic sight. Certainly not thoughtful. In any case, if you like Sibelius's music, what difference does it make who he was associates with? Certainly he was not a product of Nazi Germany, spewing out propaganda in the name of art. Any artist in Nazi occupied territories was at risk of censure, or worse. Could he have done more to help artists like Raphael? Perhaps. Perhaps had he more forcefully denounced Nazism after the war it would have appeased critics. Nevertheless, unless his art somehow reflected Nazi values (doubtful, although it certainly reflected Finnish values), I think we can separate the man's music from his politics. His greatest works came long before Nazism.

4. ariarg - December 03, 2009 at 07:11 am

Finland was never Nazi occupied territorie. We were part of Axis.

5. juvi26 - December 03, 2009 at 07:39 am

A professor and from Texas...well, do we need more?

6. finland - December 03, 2009 at 07:41 am

It is worth remembering that Sibelius did not compose anything during the Germany's nazi era. His last compositions are from 1920s. It is true that Sibelius symphatized German culture but that begun decades before Hitler became "the Führer". On the other hand, there is a picture from 30s where Sibelius is with his wife listening to speech of Vihtori Kosola who was the leader of Finnish national socialistic movement. Unfortunately, I did not find any net link to the picture. However, the links between Finland and Germany have always been close and perhaps Finland is still today "the most German" country in the Europe.

7. karpo - December 03, 2009 at 07:47 am

Same time, on world war two communist Soviet Union attacked Finland (admitted later by Russia), USA was the key supporter of Soviet Union (material and technology). There is a question about communist ties of leaders of USA during the world war. Was USA active supporter of communism or is this just a legend?


8. kukkanen - December 03, 2009 at 09:01 am

Well, most of Europe was at the time. There is nothing special about that. But what ramesh1 says, is true. Northern Europe has been very fascist even before the word was invented, there is nothing special or new about that and now some other parts have turned into that too.
Finland however has not ceased to be that, which may sound quite peculiar to those from elsewhere.
There is a party, SFP, that is almost always in the government (seriously, can check it elsewhere) and pulls the strings. It gives out Freudenthal medals every year and people better see elsewhere for more info as it would probably sound too strange for foreigners to be even believed.
Read the _comments_ in the Washington Post Finland Diary or google for pakkoruotsi and use google translate for the pages.

9. kukkanen - December 03, 2009 at 09:04 am

http://keskustelut.a-lehdet.fi/apu/topic_show.pl?tid=656
Especially the links in the above link might be of use, google translate might give the general idea of how things are like here.
Corruption levels are a lot higher than in other European countries.

10. rjsax - December 03, 2009 at 09:09 am

I was raised in Huntsville, AL during the 1960s, when Dr. Wernher von Braun was the head of the rocket program at the Marshall Space Flight Center. If he were alive today, or even in the last 20 years (he died in 1977), he would be hounded as a Nazi. His assistant in Germany and later Huntsville, Dr. Arthur Rudolph was hounded out of the US in the mid- 1980s, and he renounced his citizenship to avoid having his whole family deported or brought in to an investigation. Nothing was ever proven.

My point is that with each passing generation, scholars lose their understanding of and appreciation for the difficulties faced by Europe at that time. Hindsight is always 20/20. If we applied the same set of standards to our American Founding Fathers, we'd hang them all in effigy if we were to be truly honest.

11. vepxistqaosani - December 03, 2009 at 09:10 am

The article -- though perhaps not Prof. Jackson's book -- overlooks one material fact: Finland was an ally of Nazi Germany. This is not to say that all Finns were fascists, but rather that they wanted back the land (Karelia) that the Soviets had taken from them during the Winter War in 1939/40.

There is a story (perhaps apocryphal) that Sibelius used to take potshots at passing Soviet warplanes from his porch.

We allied ourselves with the evils of Joseph Stalin to fight Hitler; the Finns allied themselves with the evils of Hitler to fight Stalin -- but both Hitler and Stalin were well worth fighting.

I do hope that Jackson is able to distinguish between anti-Soviet and pro-Nazi sentiments ...

12. ramesh1 - December 03, 2009 at 10:12 am

Why researchers are digging old graveyard?,what is use of it? If you want to live joyfully we must be future Oriental.Remembering the paste always sorrowful experience.After all some will blame to me that those who don't study past they repeat the past.I donot believe or say hate to remembering past, those who always remembering past that one is nostalgia.Those who have no future they always living the past.

13. lexalexander - December 03, 2009 at 10:35 am

For an interesting take on this issue through historical fiction, you might want to read "Winter Fire," by William Trotter.

14. maa0162 - December 03, 2009 at 12:19 pm

What difference does any of this make? It would have more meaning if Sibelius' composing career actually coincided with the rise of Nazy Germany or if his music was used in the direct service of Nazi propaganda.

In 1939, when Sibelius came out of retirement to conduct his "Andante Festivo" for the world's fair of 1939, he could not possibly have been doing it as a Nazi sypathizer. If you will recall, Sibelius was conducting from Finland and broadcasting to America. The announcer said that it was this new technology which allowed people from all over the world to communicate in real time that would bring greater understanding and secure world peace for the various different peoples and cultures from around the world; and then Sibelius conducted his music because it was felt that this music best exemplified that spirit of peace. It is a very emotional experience to hear this particular recording in light of what we now know about what was just about to happen to the world.

juvi 26- By the way, I am currently a doctoral student at UNT (major-curriculum and instruction, minor-music education). I do not know the particular professor who wrote this book; he is obviously ill informed. This however does not mean that all of us who study here are equally ill informed just because we live in Texas.

Sincerely,
Mark Arroyo

15. ronhesselmeyer - December 03, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Looks like the academic comintern has found another politically incorrect goyim to declare out of favor. Trotsky would be proud. Go burn all his manuscripts and recordings now, like a good little bolshevik.

16. suomalainen - December 03, 2009 at 02:01 pm

It is certain sure an beyond doubt that Sibelius was no Nazi. In fact you could find no Nazis in Finland at all. Finland tried to save its independance in World War II and thank God it succeeded. We remember that Finland with its 4 million people fougth a bitter Winter War 1939-1940 against the mighty Soviet Union, lost men and territories but saved independence and wasn´t occupied. And Finland fougth completely alone. At that time we got some support even from the USA and we still highly value it.

But what happened then. Finland as a small country had to choose between the pest (Germany) and the cholera (the Soviet Union). We tried to get our territories back from the Soviet Union by the side of Germany. It is a general opinion in our country that we fougth a war of our own not a war for Germany.

But what happened in America those days. The Americans realised somehow that their very best friend would be the communist Stalin in the Soviet Union, the dear friendly and humorous Uncle Joe with his lovely pipe. The Americans made a new law called Lend Lease Act. By it they send a massive aid of food and all kinds of war material consisting of trucks, tanks, fighters (Airacobra) and so on to the Russian communists. We Finns may still wonder how many Finnish soldiers died because of that aid to our communist enemy. The Americans had forgotten us. They wouldn´t have mind if Stalin had raised the red flag on the top of our House of Parliament. It is a real wonder that Finland saved its independance and was never occupied for the second time although it finally had to fight even against Germany.

17. suomalainen - December 03, 2009 at 02:31 pm

To make things clear I have to add that Finland fought two wars against the Soviet Union. The first was the Winter War 1939-1940 in which Finland fougth completely alone.

After a short period of peace Finland had another war, socalled Continuation War 1941-1944, in which Finland tried to get back the areas the Soviet Union had robbed from it by force and violence in the Winter War. I think Finland is not to blame that it tried to get its stolen property back by the side of Germany. Finland was compelled to do so and had no choice.

But talking about the Finns connected with the Nazis sounds very strange to a Finnish ear and I am certainly not the only one who keeps such chats very strange. In fact, if i may say so by your permission, it is no wonder that Finland lost its Continuation War. It had to fight against the two mighty leading powers of the world, the Soviet Union and its allie the United States.

18. hmejia - December 03, 2009 at 04:08 pm

Artist, specially musicians are not good judges on everything but music. In politics and literature they have failed everytime and every where pretty much. Remember that Beethoven was fan of Napoleon till he recognize his mistake (Third symphony). Puccini, Verdi and else choose very poor librettos to his operas; not to mention on poetry. Sibelius is a musician, and one of the best; why don't forget the boundaries and appreciate it for his and only for his music?

19. jffoster - December 03, 2009 at 04:28 pm

Suomalainen,
Just to set the record straight, obviously the United States aided the Soviet Union during WW II. But the United States realized that Finnish belligerency was a Finnish-Russian conflict, that Finland was trying to recover territory lost in the Winter War, and the US never declared a state of War with Finland -- unlike the United Kingdom which did.

And before some ignoramus who sees a Nazi behind every nettle claims the Finns really were Nazi sympathizers because their aircraft were marked with a swastika, let me head that off by pointing out that symbol was the Rosen Cross, adopted in 1918 for the Finnish air force and therefore predates the Nazis by several years.

If some Finnish physician had discovered a cure for lukemia and Hitler had awarded him a decoration for it, some academic somewhere would claim the doctor to have been a Nazi. In any event, the English Horn in the Swan of Tuonela is quite apolitical, and so was Sibelius' music. Next they'll be claiming Nicholas Lonrot to have been a Nazi.

20. goldnail - December 03, 2009 at 07:54 pm

Trust the poem..,

..never the poet.

21. katgut5 - December 03, 2009 at 08:38 pm

"Why researchers are digging old graveyard?"

Ummm, well, uh.....

That's what researchers DO.....

22. strefanash - December 03, 2009 at 09:48 pm

This piece is merely the same mindset as christian fundamentalism which would reject the symphonie fantastique because of the drug induced hallucinations of the first movement and the witches sabbath of the finale.

This is the kind of nit picking that needs to reduce art to propaganda to then reject the ideas allegedly advocated, not in words, mark you, but in the most ambiguous of all communcations. musical sound. Or it is to judge composer's lives then judge their work accordingly, as if talent equalled morality, when it never did: and now i see that fundamentalist christians are not the only ones afflicted with this ideological pharisaism

IOW, Sibelius a nazi collaboratort? who cares? I am not going to boycott my beloved Wagner because he was also a particularly nasty antisemite, neither am I to reject my admired Sibelius because he may have been a nazi collaborator. I still enjoy Richard Strauss, even though he was Reich Minister of Music (or whatever they called it).

What will remain if we reject all art not by the PC brigade? simpering propaganda for the New Age: ambiance music

I do not get my ideas from art, it is my hobby not my religion.

I am free to enoy the music of my taste without about legislated to by someone digging into the life of a dead composer

It is about time people spent effort on that which mattered, rather than tryin to feel good by chasing real or imagined nazism in the art of people who died 50 or more years ago.

Besides, having been a musician, i saw with my own eyes that musicians are ignoramusses at most things outside music. Which is why i get entertainment, not intellectual commentary from composers

The music will stand alone if it is great, and sibelius' music is great

23. suomalainen - December 04, 2009 at 08:35 am

19 jffoster
It is the real deeds that matter not the mere signs and declarations. The Finns are still very grateful for the US not declaring a war with our small 4 million nation. It was a good sign of course but just a sign. It helped the small bleeding Finland very very little. Why? Simply because of the cold fact that the US were in fact feeding the bear all the time between 1941-1945. And many of us Finns felt very sorry for that peculiar feeding that time.

The US sent to Stalin for instance in addition to tremendous technical aid:

- tanks 101 000
- military vehicles, trucks, jeeps etc. 2 200 000
- aircraft 240 000
- cannons 260 000
- ships 34 600

The UK declared a War with Finland but didn´t do as the US did. As to the Finnish belligerency Finland was a Daniel in the den of lions. It isn´t so easy to decide which lion to prefer. Would it have been better for a small nation to have been eaten by a lion called the Soviet Union or would the lion called Germany still be a bit better inspite of the fact that it was a bad lion too? One had to choose between two evils because of the geographical reasons.

The old but in certain ways miraculous composer Sibelius was one the smallest worries in Finland then. In fact Finland was a very very small piece and like a chip on the waves in the war games of the big international powers, the Soviet Union, the US, the UK and Germany.

24. havenoclue - December 04, 2009 at 04:04 pm

The claims of Mr. Jackson are ridiculous. Take the Goethe medal of 1935 awarded by Hitler. How is this different from the US Olympic team fighting for, receiving and accepting medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games arranged by the Nazis, protected and attended by Hitler in person? With the logic of Mr. Jackson, I declare the US 1936 Olympic team all nazis, including Jesse Owens.

And if medals, why not money? There is no difference, you have earned it, you deserve it and you claim it. Finland was knee-deep in shit 1939-1944, and it bought war material, fuel, food all it could get from Nazi Germany. There were money transactions, marriages, debts, businesses of all kinds between the Finns and German nazis. Simply because the rest of the west had turned it´s back to Finland, deprived it from any help in the struggle against Stalin.

During the war the economic situation was disasterous in Finland. Mr Jackson does not understand that people were eating potato peals if they had any - the war was not a distant matter in a faraway country, it was present. This was total war. We had lost our second city, let´s say like Los Angeles, and fought it back with the nazi aid. (And would do it again any time.) If there was a change of getting money from Germany, you would definitely take it and buy food and whatever you needed if you could get anything.

My grandfather was a friend of Mr Rangell, the Finnish prime minister during the war. Using Mr Jackson´s clever reasoning Mr Rangell had met Hitler in person, so surely he was a nazi, and probably the minute Mr Rangell shook hands with my grandfather, he turned to a nazi, too. By the broad definition used by Mr. Jackson, we Finns are all nazis.

Sibelius is no exception. His father was a respected doctor in my home town. It does not take much effort to find out what kind of people these really were. Mr Jackson calls them nazis, we call them patriots, and show some respect. People like Mr. Jackson we call opportunists - if there is a way of promoting your career, use it, regardless what he facts are or if you even know them.

In my honest opinion you should rename the chronicle Chronicle of lower education, or find some quality in what you publish.

25. disquod - December 04, 2009 at 05:27 pm

One of the comments states that musicians do not necessarily make good historians. This is definitely true when it comes to Professor Jackson. What does NOT matter are the following: where Prof. Jackson teaches, what is the history of the US and Finland in the period of 1939-45, who is "right" and who is "wrong". What DOES matter is that when one is trying to call up an event in the past, one has to understand the whole picture, not just a part of it. It has been said often that life is not white or black, but different shades of gray. Where Prof. Jackson stumbles is in his seeming inability to see those different shades. To him, Sibelius was either completely pro-Nazi or completely anti-Nazi, and this is over-simplifying everything.

I am not a Finn; I do not revere Sibelius as the greatest composer to come from my homeland. I do, however, respect him enormously. This does not mean that he was unable to do any wrong (and what exactly is "wrong"?). I also respect Karl Amadeus Hartmann (although somewhat less than Sibelius, to tell the truth), yet Hartman remained in Germany throughout the entire war. What does this mean; what does this imply? Was Hartmann a Nazi? No, he was a German. He must have dealt with the government during that period, but that does not make him anything. After all, I had to deal with my own government during the Bush-Cheney regime. Does that make me a Republican? God forbid!

Please, Prof. Jackson, open your perspective. Look at the whole picture. You will see more. And let's keep this discussion on path!

26. amyd99 - December 05, 2009 at 12:23 am

There have been a number of well-reasoned comments on this subject. It is obvious that once a system collapses and has no real defenders, like Fascism and Nazism, they become complete bogeymen. Other systems that were equally if not greater in criminality are given a free ride.

I don't note any concern about artists being awarded Lenin Prizes or Prokofiev or Shostakovich serving Stalin. Indeed, if you mention Paul Robeson and Stalin you are "red-baiting" or a McCarthyite.

Can we assume it is because, unlike fascism or Nazism, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and slightly more open discussion of the crimes of that regime still has not diluted the fascination with Marx amongst many of our brightest and best?

What other conclusion can we reach? Socialism and Communism have been the greatest murderers and criminals both by numbers and percentages in modern history.

Less than a quarter of a century ago secret police agencies were shooting, torturing, jailing and spying on people all over the Communist states. We see plenty of Nazis brought to justice. Where are the trials of the murderers of Katyn, the Baltic States, the Ukranian famine or other Communist victims?

If I saw the even half the interest in these areas in the academy I could take more seriously these concerns about Sibelius.

27. norman_hanscombe - December 05, 2009 at 03:01 am

1. In the Winter War, the USSR broke the Mannerheim line, and took back a buffer zone north of Leningrad, but left Finland independent. Without that buffer, Leningrad may well have fallen in WW II, with disastrous long-term consequences for the Allies.

2. The Finns were superb fighters, but after they entered WW II they refused (much to the chagrin of the Nazis)to carry on the battle beyond their old borders, for which the Allies can be grateful.

3. After WW II the USSR actually gave back some territory, a strategic naval base island, to Finland. A rather rare act for the USSR, so one is tempted to suspect even Stalin was grateful they hadn't pursued the war more aggressively?

But academics are finding thesis/book topics ever more difficult to dream up, so let's attack Sibelius. If that doesn't work, why not denounce the Greens as Nazis? After all, Adolph once said he wanted to preserve Wagnerian Forests, so surely conservationists must be viewed with suspicion?

28. mannstein - December 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

No courage is needed to beat a dead horse particularly if its geriatric or even dead Nazis. It is after all politically correct among the elite.

One has yet to see any artist being smeared by pseudo intellectuals for his or her cooperation and support for the Communists. Communism was after all responsible for the deaths of 100 million according to "the Black Book of Communism" by Stephane Courtois himself an French ex-Communist. But then again the Nazis did it for race reasons the Communists for the Party.

29. lexalexander - December 10, 2009 at 03:29 pm

[[The US sent to Stalin for instance in addition to tremendous technical aid:

- tanks 101 000
- military vehicles, trucks, jeeps etc. 2 200 000
- aircraft 240 000
- cannons 260 000
- ships 34 600]] -- suomalainen

suomalainen, do you have a link to the source material for these numbers? Because I *believe* that they exceed total U.S. production for the entire 1941-45 period in every category.

I'm going from memory, but if I recall correctly, the Reader's Digest Illustrated History of World War II, a large coffee-table book published in the early 1970s, cited these production figures for the war:

tanks: 87,000
trucks, etc.: 2.4 million

Either I can't recall figures for the other categories or the book didn't include them, but I'm almost certain the aircraft and ship figures are WAY high. I'm less certain about artillery.


30. allens - December 10, 2009 at 05:42 pm

I suggest that those who believe this is important are those who wish to elevate music to something that can really affect people in a specific direction. Music that elevates someone's mood can encourage them to good or evil; it is not, unlike writing or similar, something that is really directional. Given this, Sibelius' collaboration - if it happened - is not really more important than that of many - perhaps most adult - citizens of Vichy France, for instance. (France could have used some war crimes trials, just as Japan should have undergone full-scale Nuremberg-type trials.)

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