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Homework answers / question archive / Week 5 Written Assignment - My History Journal/Blog For your blog entry this week, you will write about excerpts from a Nazi Propaganda Film titled: "Triumph of the Will

Week 5 Written Assignment - My History Journal/Blog For your blog entry this week, you will write about excerpts from a Nazi Propaganda Film titled: "Triumph of the Will

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Week 5 Written Assignment - My History Journal/Blog

For your blog entry this week, you will write about excerpts from a Nazi Propaganda Film titled: "Triumph of the Will." Read below for instructions about how to rent or watch the film online. You do not need to watch the entire film. The instructions will explain which sections to watch.

Film: Triumph of the Will

This film is available widely, both from online sources like the Itunes Store, Amazon, and through local libraries. Obtain a copy of the film. Make sure you have a copy that contains English subtitles. Watch it in German with subtitles. DO NOT watch a dubbed version. I have found a link to the film as well. Triumph of the Will. For the purposes of the course, you are required to watch only a portion of the film (outlined below). You are encouraged to view the film as a whole.

"Triumph of the Will" is a Nazi propaganda film recorded during the National Socialist or Nazi Party's Nuremberg rallies of 1934. This digitally re-mastered copy of the film, originally filmed in 1934 and released in 1935, runs 120 minutes. It was funded by the Nazi Party, and depicts events surrounding the Nazi Party Rally (annual convention in our parlance) of 1934 in Nurenberg, Germany. It was directed by Leni Riefenstahl, a German actress turned filmmaker. The film depicts actual events from throughout the Rally, though Riefenstahl did construct some sets so that cameras could be used to record events. At some points, Hitler was filmed separately, rather than in the moment or in context. The film was shown throughout Germany, in almost every movie theater, throughout the period of the Third Reich.

In a sense, the film is a primary source, as it was created in the time we are studying and by the historical actors we are considering as we explore the meaning and character of fascism. It is important to view any film, primary source or otherwise, through a critical lens.

Key questions to consider while viewing this film include:

  • Describe the content: What do you see and hear?
  • Who was the audience?
  • Why do you think the film was made and what is (are) its message(s)?
  • How do techniques like editing, camera angles, music, etc., construct the image of the Nazi Party?
  • How valuable/useful is the source for understanding the past?

While it is difficult, because we have hindsight and know the war crimes committed by Germany during World War II, it is important to consider how the director uses symbols, images, camera angles, and music to elicit a positive emotional response, especially to Adolf Hitler. Pay attention to symbols of the Nazi Party and how/when they appear during the film. Think about how Hitler appears and is portrayed by the film...how Nuremberg is portrayed...how the people of Nuremberg respond to their leader.

Watch:

  • The opening credits and Hitler's arrival (motorcade) in Nuremberg. This is the very beginning of the film and lasts no more than 10-15 minutes.
  • The closing of the rally/closing ceremonies. It begins with a procession and ends with Hitler's speech. This is a longer segment, 15-30 minutes.

Write a paragraph reaction to "Triumph of the Will." In the first paragraph, describe your initial reactions to the film. What did you see and hear that surprised you? What were your reactions to the interaction between the German people and Hitler...to Hitler's speech? In the second paragraph, think about the film as a primary source. If you were a historian and were utilizing the source to understand German fascism, what information about the past could you extract? What does it tell us about this history and how reliable is the film as a source?

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