Hitler: A Career
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How did a provincial rabble-rouser from Austria rise to become Germany's messianic Fuhrer? Why did Germans from all walks of life embrace the fascist Nazi philosophy and willingly follow Hitler into a titanic conflict and utter destruction?
Joachim C. Fest and Christian Herrendoerfer's meticulously assembled film dissects the Third Reich with a keen analytical blade, charting Hitler's improbable rise, his mastery of imagery and crowd psychology, and his consummate skill in exploiting the weaknesses in others.
Examining the public and private dynamics of Nazism's unhinged dictatorship by making use of an amazing array of never-before-seen film footage from secret archives and private collections, HITLER: A CAREER uncovers the deeper causes behind the rise and fall of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich.
FEATURING FOOTAGE OF: Adolph Hitler, Eva Braun, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess, Benito Mussolini, Erwin Rommel, Albert Speer, Paul von Hindenburg, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Neville Chamberlain, Charles Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Ernst Lubitsch & more.
Long lines of Germans have been lining up to see a new hit. The central figure - his black hair combed flat across his forehead, his impassioned voice exhorting his followers to build a thousand-year Reich - is der Führer himself. The 2-1/2 hour documentary about him, Hitler: A Career, is the smash of the summer, drawing thousands to the box offices and spurring a nationwide re-examination of the Nazi past.
The footage of Nazi atrocities and the wholesale destruction of German cities during the war never fails to stun audiences, even those Germans who have been immersed in an atmosphere of guilt for 30 years.
To younger viewers the film is a revelation. The school system of West Germany after the war either disregarded the Hitler period or raced through it. Among older viewers the reaction is often uneasiness. Says one Berliner, 76: 'That was how Hitler was. He was black magic, and intoxicated people.'
Producer Joachim Fest, author of a massive biography on Hitler, drew upon film clips of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, setting out to make a movie that would explore how an obscure Austrian postcard artist could win power and put it to such evil purposes.
Says Fest: 'If you want to make a society a little more secure against someone like Hitler, then you must give people an understanding of the forces that were so appealing. There is a big need to know how it all could have happened.' --TIME Magazine
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The documentary shows how Germany had deteriorated into riots and gangs and 30 political parties vying for power after WWI. The multitudes were tired and desperate. They were willing to follow anyone who could give them 3 things: law and order, a sense of purpose, and belief in themselves. Hitler offered all that to them: law and order under his strict-handed tyranny, a sense of purpose in serving the country and himself, and a belief that they were the super race who could and would defeat and conquer all others.
Hitler depended on mass gatherings, pomp and ceremony, and his own inspiring oration to move the people to do his will. He especially focused on converting the youth to his message, as he saw them as the future movers and shakers of the Third Reich. Those above 30 were stuck in the inglorious past. It was up to the younger generation to create the new, great nation and Aryan man.
His regime had two faces: fear and the fairground. Oppose him and you got prison or death, align with him and you got fun and friends and purpose.
Hitler's main desire was to capture Russia and crush the communists - a desire he got in his 20s. This dream died at Stalingrad right after his 54th birthday. And once that dream died, he became passive about the rest of the war.
He promised the German people glory and honor. All they and the rest of the world got was death and destruction.
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Like medieval Japan between the years 1638 and 1853, the German folk also wished to isolate themselves from a future which, with good reason; they believed menaced their existence. Firstly by strengthening their national/tribal identity; and also by recreating the old pre-industrial world of farm, village and craftsmen. Returning politically and socially to an older mythic world of tribal chiefs and warrior tribesmen, united by respect for blood and soil, honour, and duty. Under the old pre-war Government of Kaiser and Junker, this yearning for security might well have been satisfied in large measure; but the newly established 'democracy' of the Weimar Republic looked on such attitudes with distain; rapid modernization being regarded as the only way. When the economic slump of the 1930's arrived, it both discredited these socialist modernizers and left the hapless German voters with only one real option; Hitler! In January 1933 the Nazi's duly took office. Throughout Europe, Governments faced similar problems, but these where compounded by bloody memories of WW1. With Hitler's election, fear of German armies marching once more gripped Europe's leaders; who immediately took steps to strengthen their own positions militarily.
The greatest problem facing them all however, was that Europe's landspace was too small to support one Empire let alone several. From food production, through national populations, to industrial capacity, to sources of raw materials; even a united Europe compared badly when measured against the USA, USSR or in the longer term China. In the short term, Europe's colonial possessions could be used to make up the deficit; but the confined living-space was already impacting on Europe's birthrate, which in turn reduced the number of workers that could be employed in the factories, the number of administrators, settlers and soldiers that could be deployed to run the colonies. In the longer term Europe must unite or lose her colonies and with them her power in the world.
Hitler's answer was 'Der Grossraum'. One Europe, united from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains which once fortified, would become 'Festung Europa'; a continental fortress with natural boundaries rather like those America or China enjoy today. From within this Fortress European/Aryan humanity could face the future with rather more confidence that she would not be overwhelmed by Asia's numbers.
It was not to be. Rather than unite, the once great nations of Europe turned their weapons on each other for one last suicidal civil war. By 1945 it was over, some 50,000,000 were dead, virtually every city from Coventry to Karkov had been devastated, and the military/political strength of all the European nations had been shattered, their empires were finished; as was three hundred years of European world mastery. In the East the mongol soldiery of Asia raped Europe's women at will; in the West American liberators settled into their barracks.
Sixty years on nothing could conclude this review better than the words of Patrick J Buchanan, senior adviser to three American presidents and twice runner for the Republican presidential nomination; I quote:- "All about us we can see clearly now that the West is passing away.....Not one European nation, save Muslim Albania, has a birthrate that will enable it to survive through the century. As a share of world population, people of European ancestry have been shrinking for three generations. The character of every Western nation is being irremediably altered as each undergoes an unresisted invasion from the third world. We are slowly disappearing from the Earth. Having lost the will to rule, Western man seems to be losing the will to live". Hitler - A Career [DVD]
I am glad to have come across a DVD that kept personal opinion at bay, and I would recommend this DVD to anybody who is researching WWII, or who has an interest in the rise of the Dictator; Adolf Hitler.