If there was no Richard Wagner, there would be no Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler was a fanatical Wagner fan. Many historians would like to dispute this fact, but if you read the words of Hitler, as well as the testimonies of those who knew him well, there is no question that the themes of German mythology captured in the Wagner's operas formed a crucial part of Hitler's ideology. Richard Wagner and Hitler obviously never met one another in person, since Richard Wagner died before Adolf was born. Yet Hitler did have ties to the Wagner family, which will be further described below. This is not to say that Richard Wagner himself had a direct role in the activities the Nazi Party. We are merely making the point that Richard Wagner was a powerful muse for the ideas that would later form National Socialist Germany and Adolf Hitler.


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"The great protagonists are those who fight for their ideas and ideals despite the fact that they receive no recognition at the hands of their contemporaries. They are the men whose memories will be
enshrined in the hearts of the future generations. It seems then as if each individual felt it his duty to make retroactive atonement for the wrong which great men have suffered at the hands of their
contemporaries. Their lives and their work are then studied with touching and grateful admiration. Especially in dark days of distress, such men have the power of healing broken hearts and elevating
the despairing spirit of a people. To this group belong not only the genuinely great statesmen but all the great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great we have such men as Martin Luther and Richard Wagner."

Source: Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Chapter 8, Paragraph 22.


"A precocious revolutionary in politics I was no less a precocious revolutionary in art. At that time the provincial capital of Upper Austria had a theatre which, relatively speaking, was not bad. Almost
everything was played there. When I was twelve years old I saw William Tell performed. That was my first experience of the theatre. Some months later I attended a performance of Lohengrin [A Wagner Opera], the first opera I had ever heard. I was fascinated at once. My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master [Wagner] knew no limits. Again and again I was drawn to hear his operas; and to-day I consider it a great piece of luck that these modest productions in the little provincial city prepared the way and made it possible for me to appreciate the better productions later on."

Source: Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Chapter 1, Paragraph 52.


"Moreover, certain memories and traditions which are present as pictures in the human mind may have a determining influence on the impression produced. Thus, a representation of Parsifal at Bayreuth will have an effect quite different from that which the same opera produces in any other part of the world. The mysterious charm of the House [Wagner's Opera House] on the Festival Height in the old city of The Margrave cannot be equalled or substituted anywhere else."

Source: Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Chapter 6, Paragraph 31.


"Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner."

Source: Spotts, Frederic. Bayreauth: A History of the Wagner Festival. Page 175.



"It will not be a question, however, of saying something new, but of explaining that unconscious feeling which proclaims itself among the people as a rooted dislike of the Jewish nature."

Source: Wagner, Richard. Judaism in Music. Paragraph 1.


"We have to explain to ourselves the involuntary repellence possessed for us by the nature and personality of the Jews."

Source: Wagner, Richard. Judaism in Music. Paragraph 3.


"The Jew... has no true passion"

Source: Wagner, Richard. Judaism in Music. Paragraph 15.


"The Jews had brought forth no true poet."

Source: Wagner, Richard. Judaism in Music. Paragraph 19.


The "Volk" as a Natural Life Force

"And this vital force [the force of life] is - The Folk (das Volk)."

Source: Wagner, Richard. The Artwork of the Future. Chapter 3. Paragraph 2.


The "Folk" is the epitome of all those men who feel a common and collective Want ("gemeinschaftliche Noth").

Source: Wagner, Richard. The Artwork of the Future. Chapter 3. Paragraph 6.


"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."

Source: Marc A. Weiner, Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 73-74.


The German Race

"Nature is so strong, so inexhaustible in its regenerative resources, that no conceivable violence could weaken its creative force. Into the ebbing veins of the Roman world, there poured the healthy blood of the fresh Germanic nations. Despite the adoption of Christianity, a ceaseless thirst of doing, delight in bold adventure, and unbounded self-reliance, remained the native element of the new masters of the world."

Source: Wagner, Richard. Art and Revolution. Paragraph 22.


"I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal."

Source: Wagner to Karl Graf von Enzenberg June 15, 1866, Wagner 1987, 697-698. Translated by Stewart Spencer.


"I was also present when Adolf Hitler retold [his first experience watching the Wagner Opera Rienzi] in Linz to Frau Wagner, at whose home we were both guests. Thus my own memory was doubly confirmed. The words with which Hitler concluded his story to Frau Wagner are also unforgettable for me. He said solemnly, 'In that hour it began.'"

Source: Kubizek, August. The Young Hitler I Knew. Chapter 10. Paragraph 16.


"Of course, we knew by heart Lohengrin, Adolf's favourite opera-I believe he saw it ten times during our time together in Vienna-and the same is true of the Meistersinger."

Source: Kubizek, August. The Young Hitler I Knew. Chapter 17. Paragraph 10.


"When he listened to Wagner's music he was a changed man; his violence left him, he became quiet, yielding and tractable. His gaze lost its restlessness; his own destiny, however heavily it may have weighed upon him, became unimportant. He no longer felt lonely and outlawed, and misjudged by society. He was intoxicated and bewitched. Willingly he let himself be carried away into that mystical universe which was more real to him than the actual workaday world. From the stale, musty prison of his back room, he was transported into the blissful regions of Germanic antiquity, that ideal world which was the lofty goal for all his endeavours."

Source: Kubizek, August. The Young Hitler I Knew. Chapter 17. Paragraph 20.


Winifred Wagner is Richard Wagner's British born daughter-law. She was famously known for her adoration of Adolf Hitler who she affectionately named "Wolf" and entertained frequently. She ran Germany's Bayreuth festival in the Nazi era throughout the 1930's. However, after World War II, she was forced to give up her role as the Bayreuth festival director because of her Nazi connections. She is frequently called "the last Nazi in Germany," because she was one of the few people after World War II who refused to publicly renounce Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. She further discusses her connections to Hitler in a 1975 interview with the German Film maker Hans Jürgen Syberberg.

Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried 1975 Hans Jürgen Syberberg

(Winifred's interview with German film director Hans Jürgen Syberberg in 1975)


Houston Stewart Chamberlain is a British born author who wrote books about political philosophy, natural science and Richard Wagner. He has often been described as a "racialist" writer. He also became the spokesman for the Wagner family on political matters in Germany after the death of Richard Wagner.

It is useful to read his letter to Adolf Hitler: Houston Stewart Chamberlain Letter to Hitler October 7, 1923 .

SEE ALSO:  Hitler, Wagner and His Concept of Political Prophecy    Richard Wagner Writing   Richard Wagner