Over 25,000 books were set on fire by students at 34 universities in Germany, May 10, 1933. While students offered the Nazi salute, Jewish authors like Albert Einstein or Sigmund Freud were set ablaze alongside blocked American authors like Ernest Hemingway or Helen Keller. What Books Did The Nazis Burn? Continue reading to learn more.
Why Did The Nazis Burn Books
We all know that the Nazis are notorious for feeding their xenophobia and killing millions. The Hitler-led group not only committed genocide but also promoted ignorance and disregarded scientific progress. They were unable to stop intellectuals and liberals around the globe from writing, so they decided to burn books. People have tried to control culture and knowledge through censorship, media blackouts, and burning down libraries forever.
The Nazi book burnings were a phenomenon in the 1930s when the German Student Union led a campaign to torch books. Books are given to Nazism as targets were deemed politically unsound and deemed “un-German” as they were subversive or resembling Nazi ideologies. Karl Marx and Karl Kautsky were the first books to be burned.
Germany saw one of the most horrific acts of book burning on May 10, 1933. In support of Nazi ideology, the German student’s union burned more than 25,000 books they considered “un-German”. They believed that the fire would facilitate a cultural cleansing of Germany. These book burnings were a warning sign of more atrocities to come. The rest is history.
Here are some of the most important and beloved literary works that Nazis scorned and despised.
What Books Did The Nazis Burn?
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The book, set against the background of World War I, is a first-person account about a love story between Frederic Henry, an American expatriate, and Catherine Barkley, an English nurse. The book, which is based on Hemingway’s personal experiences during the First World War’s Italian campaigns, is considered one the most important literary works to depict war.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The science fiction novella “Time Travel” popularized the idea of time travel using a vehicle that allows you to travel backward or forwards in time. This vehicle can be used purposefully and selectively. This is the firsthand account by a time traveler of his 800,000-year journey beyond his own time.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The book was originally written in German and is now being translated by a veteran of World War I. Remarque reveals how German soldiers suffered from mental and physical stress during World War I. He also shows how they were disconnected from civilian life, which haunted many soldiers for a long period. The Nazi government did not like the book.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis is one of Kafka’s most well-known works. It’s a short novel that tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman. Samsa wakes up one morning and discovers that he has been transformed into an enormous insect. He struggles to adapt to his new situation. It has been well-received by many critics, and there have been many interpretations.
How I Became a Socialist by Helen Keller
Helen Keller is an inspirational figure for many reasons. Despite her inability to hear, see or speak, she became an author and a prominent voice for education. Helen, a member of the Socialist Party, was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She also became one of the most prominent humanitarians of the 20th century. “How I Became A Socialist” is a radical essay that describes her beliefs, thoughts, and ideologies. It was published in the New York Call on November 3, 1912, a daily newspaper belonging to the Socialist Party.
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley’s dystopian masterpiece is set in a future world with genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy. This book examines the scientific advances in sleep-learning, reproductive technology, classical conditioning, and psychological manipulation that have been initially believed to create a utopian society. But, an outsider challenges these ideas.
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” is a science fiction story that details a conflict between humans and extraterrestrials. This story is told in the first person by two characters. One is a character named Wells from Surrey, and the other is his younger brother, who lives near London. The book inspired Robert H. Goddard to create the multistage rocket and liquid-fueled rocket. This led to the Apollo 11 Moon landings 71 years later.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Communist Manifesto is one of the most influential political theories ever created. The Communist Manifesto is a pamphlet by German philosophers that outlines their vision of Communism. It is a political pamphlet in which they present their concept of Communism. They argue that the exploitation of workers will eventually lead in the end to Capitalism being overthrown.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy is well-known for his many books. His epic opus, “War and Peace”, is a story about the French invasion of Russia. It tells the story of five Russian aristocratic families and reveals the Napoleonic era’s effects upon Tsarist Russia. Tolstoy beautifully depicts characters from different backgrounds, including civilians, nobility, peasants, and civilians, as they deal with current culture and problems.
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The science-fiction masterpiece ‘The Invisible Man’ is both entertaining and nerve-wracking. This book offers a fascinating look at human nature. Griffin, a scientist by trade and an advocate of random and unrestrained violence, is an iconic character in horror stories. He is also a model for science without humanity.
Ulysses by James Joyce
James Joyce’s modernist novel ‘Ulysses’ loosely draws inspiration from the Odyssey. The book captures a day in the lives of various characters. It draws structural correspondences between characters and the experiences of Leopold Bloom, all Dubliners. The book also reveals important themes and events from the early 20th-century modernism, Dublin, and Ireland’s fragile relationship with Britain.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
This book tells the story of a group of British and American expatriates who visit Pamplona’s Festival of San Fermin to see the bull races and watch the bulls run. It is a moving look at the despair and anger of post-World War I generations.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert Humbert is the book’s unreliable narrator. He is a romantic scholar and a romantic, but he also falls for Dolores Haze (12 years old), whom he affectionately calls “Lolita”. This literary landmark is well-known for its humor, boldness, heartbreaking, and clever wordplay. It was also one of the most important English-language novels of the 20th century.
Mother by Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky’s groundbreaking book “Mother”, published in 1906, is about revolutionary factory workers. Gorky was determined to spread the spirit of the proletarian movement among his readers after the defeat of Russia’s first revolution in 1905. Based on real-life events, the novel follows Anna Zalomova’s life and her son Piotr Zalomov.
National Socialist Germany: Twelve Years that Shook the World by Birchall, Frederick T
Based on the New York Times May 11, 1933 story about the Berlin book-burning. This article describes the student parade that preceded and followed the bonfire. It also describes the chants that were heard as authors’ works were added to the fire.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual 2 by Stern, Guy
This article examines the reaction of many literary figures to Nazi book burnings and their later use as a political lightning rod by the growing German exile community in the United States. Includes bibliographic references.
Nazi Book Burning and the American Response: Distinguished Lecture by Stern, Guy
This article examines the United States’ response to the 1933 book-burnings. Examines the initial news reports, continued media coverage, related propaganda, and the variety of literary output inspired by the burnings. Many illustrations.
Nazi Book Burnings and the American Response by United States Holocaust Memorial Council
This guide provides a brief overview of the 1988 Library of Congress exhibition on Nazi book burnings. This article summarizes the American media’s response to the burnings and lists the photos, cartoons, and books included in the exhibition.
What types of books were burned by the Nazis starting in 1933 Quizlet?
Books that were considered subversive or which represented ideologies against Nazism were targeted for burning. Jewish, communists, socialists, liberals, pacifists, religious and esoteric authors were included.