Hitler and Wagner

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Hitler wrote in his first volume of his book Mein Kampf: "At the age of twelve, I saw ... the first opera of my life, Lohengrin. In one instant I was addicted. My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master knew no bounds."

Aged 16, Hitler quit school and spent the next three years being idle. He is said to have spent a tidy proportion of his pocket money on going to the opera. He became passionate about Wagner.

Wagner's anti-Semitic and fervently nationalistic writings are thought to have had a quasi-religious effect on Hitler. His theories of racial purity were partly drawn from Wagner. According to Wagner: "The Volk has always been the essence of all the individuals who constituted a commonality. In the beginning, it was the family and the races; then the races united through linguistic equality as a nation."

On January 13, 1933 the newly-elected National Socialist Party celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Wagner's death by staging a grandiose memorial ceremony in Leipzig, the composer's birthplace. Adolf Hitler invited Siegfried Wagner's widow, the English-born Winifred, and her son Wieland to be guests of honor at this event....

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