Counter-cultural figures sometimes claim to be attracted to Nazi aesthetics but not Nazi politics. My problem with that is less that this is disingenuous than that I find Nazi aesthetics totally repulsive. While I do not think it unethical to find the styles of the Third Reich appealing I think it is indicative of bad taste.
Speer and Riefenstahl were geniuses, yes, but Nazi culture was, I think, far more the product of the third-rate artist and the failed novelist. Their humourless, dogmatic and maladjusted minds perverted the Germanic culture that they claimed to be defending.
Nazi architecture confused size with grandeur, taking classicism to inelegant, aggressive extremes. The inhuman scale of their hyper-nationalism doomed Germany to militaristic feverishness and the inhuman scale of their hyper-classicism doomed their buildings to seem kitschy when they did not seem oppressive.
Their statues, of stern, swollen men in various states of undress, are just embarrassing. Contrast the lean, sober Achilles of Athenian artwork with the steroid-enhanced and downright psychopathic-looking characters of Arno Breker. Nazis were role-playing as their imagined European exemplars rather than building on the heritage their ancestors had left them. Along with the leather, and the sadism, these statues also evoke more than a hint of sexual fetishism.
I can understand admiring aspects of this culture (I am, for example, interested in Speer’s theory of “ruin value”) but the arrogant proportions, obtuse sincerity, frigid humourlessness and eccentric body worship were suggestive of small and grubby man’s idea of the sacred. This indeed they were.