Hitler's ideas concerning music and art shaped the cultural atmosphere and political policies for all of Germany. He decried the "degenerate" influence on German culture and stated his repugnance repeatedly. Any artist who did not fit into the ideal of Volk was not to be included. Volk was a key component to Hitler's ideal of Germany. It recalled a simple, pastoral life, meaning "folk and folkdom." True art as defined by Hitler was linked with the country life, with health, and with the Aryan race.

In 1933, three months after being appointed chancellor of Germany, Hitler issued the Law for the Cleansing of the Civil Service, declaring that any employee who was not of Aryan blood was to be fired. He also established the Reichskammern (Reich Chambers, or government departments) with Joseph Goebbels as minister. Artists and musicians who did not or could not become members were forbidden to work in their profession. Professors and art teachers who were Jewish or suspected sympathizers were dismissed from their posts. Many of those who did not flee the country were sent to ghettos and concentration camps. The Bauhaus, an internationally renowned architectural school, was closed.