The German National Music Collections consist of unbound, mostly piano-vocal music and song books unified by a common German nationalistic or patriotic theme. Although these materials date from as early as 1880, most of them seem to have been published between the late 1920s and the late 1940s, roughly analogous to the years of the Third Reich. The bulk of the songs seem to have been written for members of the armed forces, the Nazi party, or the general public and were probably distributed on an official or semi-official basis. Much of this music is associated with the Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei (NSDAP), its subsidiary organizations including the Schutzstaffel (SS), Sturmabteliung (SA), and Hitler Jugend (HJ); and the armed forces of the Third Reich (1933-1945). Among the many interesting items in the collection is a copy of a small song book entitled Liederbuch der Nationalsozialistichen Deutschen Arbeiter-Partei, autographed by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In all likelihood this was Himmler's personal copy. In addition, there are a number of pieces of manuscript music and typed or hand-written music sheets. These seem to have been submitted to party officials in the hope that they would be published. Some of the pieces have accompanying correspondence. The collection also includes a small number of programs, clippings, handbills, correspondence, and other materials relating to music in the Third Reich. These materials are listed in alphabetical order by composer and by title. When no composer is given, the works appear in alphabetical order by title. The class numbers that are written in pencil on many of the items in this collection should be ignored.
At the end of World War II, the allied powers found themselves in possession of enormous quantities of materials including books, periodicals, phonograph records, films, paintings, sculpture, assorted documents and music produced by the German government and military, the Nazi Party, and high-ranking officials during the Weimar and Third Reich periods. In October 1944, the Association of Research Libraries suggested that the Library of Congress use its official status to obtain some of these materials that might be of significant research value for the Library's collections. With the assistance of the Department of War and the Department of State, the Library established the Library of Congress Mission in Europe with the primary purpose of obtaining publications that were unobtainable during the war years. Among those who were sent to Germany on the European Mission was Richard S. Hill of the Music Division. It was Hill who assembled most of the materials that now comprise this collection.