Propaganda In Nazi Germany

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Propaganda is undoubtedly an ever present companion of governments, whose purpose is to implement certain ideas into the psyche of a population. There are lots of definitions on what propaganda actually is, but they all express the same idea which can be pinpointed to: “…deliberate attempt to influence public opinion through the transmission of ideas and values for a specific purpose, not through violence and bribery.” (John Cullis, 318) Essentially, it is a method of controlling the masses. Rise of mass media, especially film, has given propaganda a new way to infiltrate society and take hold. As Nazi Germany sought to control every aspect of both society and individual life, they used propaganda and censorship to achieve that goal. Further…show more content…
In 12 years, there were around 1000 propaganda films produced for the German public, and the plot of each one of them had to be sent to Goebbels for approval. Film plots ranged from disseminating racial anti-Semitism and portraying Jews as an infection of Aryan society as in “The Eternal Jew” (1940), to overtly political films showing pride and unity of both German military forces and public as in “The Triumph of The Will” (1933).
One of the most important filmmakers in the Nazi Germany was undoubtedly Leni Riefenstahl, a close friend and companion of Hitler’s. Having strong personal relationship with Hitler, she was the only German filmmaker not responsible to Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda. However, that same access to Hitler was the reason why she was often accused of having a romantic or sexual relationship with him. She herself directed six films, two of which made her internationally famous: “Triumph of the Will” (1933) and “Olympia”
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It is deemed as a creative masterpiece because it “… is a true documentary, completely made up of “actual” footage - the ultimate incontrovertible credibility.” Such paradox puts the very notion of ‘documentary’ in question. Although Leni Riefenstahl stated that not a single scene from the film was staged and that it is all pure history, the truth is somewhat different: “It has generally been accepted that the Nuremberg Rally was staged for the cameras, rather than the cameras having to accommodate the action.” (citat) Essentially, the event was for the cameras and not vice versa. Rather than retelling the story, it is more important to describe the techniques which made this movie stand out from other 1000 propaganda movies. First and foremost, it cannot be denied that the film is an actual record of the event. Except some music, nothing is added to the events, and it is the clever use of camera techniques that made the whole event glorified and elevated. Such deliberate manipulation of emotion is what makes it a ‘propaganda movie’ rather than just an ordinary documentary. Entire event revolves around Hitler who, through scenes of endless clouds, is depicted as the god-like hero descending to Earth to meet his people. Passion and obsession of the Nazi people is depicted through their mass hysteria while they are greeting him, united
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