'Selbstgefuhl, Todesschicksal', and the End of 'Parteidichtung': Herybert Menzel's Anders kehren wir wieder (1943)
The 'Parteidichtung' published in the Third Reich is commonly viewed as formally rigid and thematically trite political propaganda. Such a judgement accurately describes the work produced by poets such as Heinrich Anacker, Baldur von Schirach and Hans Baumann, a group of writers known as the 'Junge Mannschaft'. Theirs was a functional poetry, written to be narrated, sung, or chanted on private and public occasions, with the aim of mobilising readers and performers alike in the direction of the 'national revolution' and, later, in support for Germany's efforts in the Second World War. Viewed within this context, Herybert Menzel's volume of poetry, Anders kehren wir wieder (1943), is a remarkable achievement: written by one of the leading voices within the 'Junge Mannschaft', this is a book that speaks not of self-confident bravura and unshakeable faith in the mission of National Socialist Germany, but of personal loss, doubt, and of the travails and insecurities brought about by war, sentiments made even more effective by being framed in the near-Expressionist style used by the author. The very existence of Menzel's Anders kehren wir wieder seems to suggest that even within the genre of officially sanctioned National Socialist literature important idiosyncratic voices could be heard.
German Life and Letters
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