I’m a bit late posting my question answers this week since I was out of town all weekend (at ALA! but more on that later). I am still very excited about The Monuments Men though. In fact, I’m recommending it to people already, even though I’m not done reading it! I can just tell that it’s going to be good and expect the movie to be very funny. If you’re reading along, be sure to link up your answers at Bookalicious Mama.
1) Hitler wanted to gain ownership of art in order to place it in the Third Reich’s museums —ones that already existed, and then in the Führermuseum that he planned on building in his hometown of Linz, Austria. Why did he want art that was from all over Europe? Why did he think that appropriating art from other people and countries would glorify the Third Reich?
I think in lot of cases he felt Germany had a right to art from other countries, because it was from countries he blamed for Germany’s economic situation. Despite being a horrible person, it also seems as though he simply had an appreciation for the value of art. Property rights, not so much.
2) Who owns art? Why is art important to the culture in which it is created?
The artist and then who ever they give or sell it to. Although art is valuable to society, I don’t believe that artists have an obligation to exhibit their work. Art is important because it can cultivate a national identity and sense of pride in your country. It’s also often a valuable record of a country’s history.
3) The Monuments Men’s directive was to preserve cultural properties in war zones, provided that they did not interfere with any military operations. At what points did these two directives conflict with each other, and how was that handled?
If protecting art could cost lives, the soldiers’ lives came first with the exception of a few volunteers, mostly the monuments men. In cases where the protection of art simply required some discomfort or inconvenience, protection of the art typically came first.