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Cinema as Propaganda during the Third Reich

Posted on Jun 23, 2012 by in Abstracts | 0 comments

Sean Goodell
University of Utah
Member ΦΑΘ–ΑP
Published in Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers, Vol II.

The use of film as a method of propaganda is a powerful tool, and it is one the Nazis used quite efficiently. From bluntly political films that had clearly stated goals, to subtle artsy films that hid the message behind entertainment, the full gamut of genre and style can be find in the over 1,000 films produced by the Nazi Regime. These films can be broken down even further into the subjects: Kampfzeit, Führerprinzip, Blut und Boden, Enemies of the Reich, War, and Escapism.  This article seeks to educate the reader about Nazi Cinema, rather than argue its varying degrees of success. When a film has the power to drive people to the streets, its desired effect is in evidence. It is impossible to get a clear view of this particular subject through literature, thus the films themselves are referenced as well. Only the most successful or most applicable films were used. For example: Triumph of the Will was both very successful and applicable, but Ich klage an (although reasonably successful) was chosen for its relevance to the topic of Blut und Boden. And what of the Audience? Goebbels and his Ministry of Propaganda accounted for all parts of society. His efforts did not go to waste.

Sean is a recent graduate of the University of Utah where he majored in history. He plans on attending graduate school in the future. Sean is a member of the Alpha Rho chapter of Phi Alpha Theta.

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