History

Why no Requiems for Europe’s Greatest Social Reformers

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Hitler is touring Paris. He’s visiting the Opera House & military museum Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon’s tomb- which he thinks is too small.

Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler had much in common. The first was Italian yet he liberated and led the French nation. The latter was of Austrian birth but freed and championed the German people. Napoleon put an end to French revolutionary abuses. Adolf Hitler brought an end to the corruption and banking houses’ usurious deprivation following the victors’ vicious terms inflicted upon Germany after World War One. 

Both national leaders were social reformers and both had humble origins, revolutionary zeal, courage beyond question, rags to riches legends and undoubted military prowess. Yes, both lost wars but such were the odds against them they could not hope to emerge triumphant even with the help of God.

Yes, both social reformers were Christians. Both believed in God. Napoleon and Hitler reconciled the Catholic Church to the State. The German Reich half the size of Texas was overrun by the combined forces of three world empires; British, Soviet and the Corporate United States, none of which could be considered of Christian belief.

During the minutes inside the crypt of Napoleon, Adolf Hitler was the main character of the dialogue that would become historically famous due to the extended commentaries of Hermann Giesler. On the heels of a few minutes of a wordless beholding above the grave of the French Emperor, Hitler turned to Giesler to the left and said that the architecture would build Hitler’s tomb in the future. Subsequently, the German leader would clarify his words in the crypt with the commentary that his grave should belong to Munich. Hitler also wished that his tomb should be at the height in order for the visitors to climb to it rather than looking down, as with Napoleon’s one. The entourage exited the cathedral on the Northern side to accommodate themselves again inside the cars, which had already rounded Hotel des Invalides. In the open-air one again, Hitler turned to Martin Bormann, known as ‘the shadow of Fuhrer’, and ordered to deliver the remains of Franz Herzog von Reichstadt, Napoleon’s son from Vienna to Paris to bury him next to his great father. Source

The multitudes adored them whilst the privileged classes with vested interests trembled before them. After their defeat in battle, both Napoleon and Hitler were ludicrously vilified and demonised.

A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead or Mass of the dead, is a Mass offered for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal. It is usually, but not necessarily, celebrated in the context of a funeral.

OPERA GARNIER 
The first Hitler’s path point in Paris was fated to become the most cited among the second-hand sources, which would, at any rate, refer to the recollections of Albert Speer, Hermann Giesler, and Arno Breker. On the way to the first stoppage across the city still asleep, Hitler had time to see live in person the famous wide boulevards, the XIX century heritage of Georges Eugène Haussmann, a city planner of Paris, which German Fuhrer had admired to the extent of a craving to outclass the French source of pride with the mighty of German cities in the Third Reich. Years prior to that June 1940 trip, Hitler and Adolf Speer had given consideration to a Parisian opera and the museful images of gaudery guests and lackeys uniformed in liveries of the past. Hitler appreciated a visit to the Opera as a mandatory site of interest across Paris, which city plan he had claimed to have in his head for years.

Neither of these historical figures had a requiem or funeral march composed in their honour. It is true to say that when Ludwig van Beethoven was asked if he might be inspired to write a funeral march for Napoleon Bonaparte, gruffly replied: ‘I have already composed the proper music for that catastrophe.’

He was referring to the second movement; the funeral march of his Eroica (Heroic) 3rd Symphony. The honour was removed when, upon hearing that Napoleon was to crown himself emperor, Beethoven furiously scratched the name ‘Bonaparte’ from the symphony’s title.

Napoleon I at the tomb of Frederick the Great, 27 October 1806, (1936). ‘Napoleon I Am Sarge Friedrichs Des Grossen, 27 Oktober 1806’. The French emperor Napoleon (1769-1821) visits the tomb of King Frederick the Great of Prussia (1712-1786) in the crypt of the Garrison Church in Potsdam, (Germany). From “Bilder Deutscher Geschichte”, (Pictures of German History), No.12, cigarette card album. [Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, Altona-Bahrenfeld, Hamburg, Germany, 1936]

Several months later, the gifted composer had second thoughts.  He instructed his publisher that the original title must remain. Napoleon was also respected and admired by Adolf Hitler.

Upon the surrender of Paris, the German leader who, at the time, many described as the leader of the free world, forbade the triumphant playing of the Paris Entry March. During his visit to The City of Light, the German Leader paid homage to the Napoleonic Tomb. The two great leaders did however part company when it came to personal aggrandizement.

It is inconceivable that the Fuhrer would crown himself emperor.  Hitler was enthused by Richard Wagner’s works. Those familiar with the great composer’s operatic sagas and the Fuhrer’s life will be fascinated by the parallels drawn from the stories of these heroes of Germanic folklore. Were these early manifestations translated through Wagner to be re-born through Hitler?

The Ring of the Nibelungen recounts the struggle between the Forces of Light led by Wotan, Brunhilde, Siegfried and Sigmunde against the bacillus of evil and darkness. These are the Nibelungen, swarthy misshapen dwarves who dwell out of sight and steal the Rheingold (Germany’s wealth).

In another quirk of Hitler’s history, Das Lied der Nibelungen is said to have been composed in the evocative Kurnberg Castle set on the Danube Plain. The fortress’s imposing edifice is situated just a short country walk from Adolf Hitler’s childhood rural home and not far from the grave of his parents. As a schoolboy, the future Fuhrer walked in its shadows with his schoolbooks and pencils.

THE DEATH OF SIEGFRIED
Hermann Hendrich (31 October 1854 in Heringen, Thuringia, Germany – 18 July 1931 in Schreiberhau, Lower Silesia, Germany)

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Had Richard Wagner been asked if he was inspired to compose a funeral march for Adolf Hitler, who can doubt he would have immediately replied: ‘I have already done so: Siegfried’s Death and Funeral March.’

I like both but think Karajan the most dramatic but lacking imagery… not that there is much on the other.

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