The ‘National Community’ under Open Skies: The Thing(spiel) Movement and Its Arenas

Text: Gerwin Strobl

The Thingstätten—the Thing sites or arenas—dotted over much of Germany (and lands formerly German), are the colossal remnants of a failed experiment in twentiethcentury mass culture. Dating from the early years of Nazi rule, they constitute what was perhaps the most visible cultural investment made by the Third Reich. While the ideas underpinning the so-called Thing(spiel)—the Thing play—did not actually originate inside the Nazi Party, their emergence coincided with the fall of the Weimar Republic. That synchronicity gave the Thing(spiel)bewegung [Thing movement] crucial right-wing credentials,and the new regime a ready means to make its mark in the cultural sphere. Grassroots enthusiasm andofficial encouragement complemented each other. ——

Thing mania promptly ensued.

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Copyright by Gerwin Strobl
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