Miller. Peter. " Evil genius of Hitler's propaganda machine," Sunday Times (London) 05 Jul 1992. LexisNexis. 29 Nov 2008
This article is about Joseph Goebbels and his pivotal role in the formation of Adolph Hitler’s status and power. Goebbels was one of few individuals that realized early on the importance of the support of the masses in attaining power. As minister of propaganda, Goebbels was in charge of making sure that the citizens perceived all information the way that the Nazi Party wanted them to. While originally he was against Hitler, he soon recognized Hitler’s great oratory talents. While Hitler was the orator that delivered the message to the German people, Goebbels was the one making sure that the content of the message was, indeed, the "proper" message to be relayed to the masses. Goebbels utilized radio, television, and cinema to spread his propaganda. He was very effective with this media and realized their importance in fostering public support. Through this manipulation of the public did Goebbels enable the Nazi Party to accomplish its many terrible deeds. Goebbels was very committed to the Nazi cause and arguably was just as or even more important to many of its “accomplishments” than Hitler. Like Hitler, Goebbels and his family also suffered a bloody fate.
Goebbels realized that before the Nazi Party could gain power and take over the state, they had to win over the hearts and minds of the people. Because of the importance of fostering the support of the masses, Goebbels placed such a great emphasis on propaganda. His use of film allowed his propaganda to most effectively reach the masses. Film was the most influential medium for propaganda because it allowed for great subtlety in the portrayal of the message the Nazis wanted. The importance of film as a tool for propaganda and Joseph Gobbels’ high priority of attaining the support of the German public as minister of propaganda led to an overemphasis of the value of film, specifically when he unwisely allocated an excessive amount of money and troops—much needed resources for the war—to the making of the film Kolberg.
Marshall. L. "A Nazi Piece of Work," Herald Sun 06 May 1995. LexisNexis. 1 Dec 2008
While Kolberg, has been criticized for being such an extravagant film that was filmed very late in the war and so close to Germany's defeat, there was another film that was being produced after Kolberg. The production of this film went on almost until Germany’s defeat. With shortages, bombings, and death only twenty miles away, Goebbels ordered the making of another extrazagant film, Das Leben geht weiter or Life Goes On. The set designer of this last film of the Nazi era, was instructed to “spare no expense to recreate the aftermath of the devastating Berlin air raids in November 1943”(Marshall). This film was meant to be an updated version of Kolberg that just as extravagant. The idea of the film was Goebbels', who definitely became obsessed with film. This last film had mostly been forgotten in history. This is in part because those involved were embarrassed they were part of the film , so they did not talk about the film. The other reason is that the footage was completely lost.
Most film historians view Kolberg as Goebbels' last production and biggest folly, but Das Leben geht weiter apparently takes its place. This last film shows how illogical Goebbels was. Germany did not have the resources to endure in World War II, but Goebbels felt that it had the resources to make a 2.5 million marks budget film. Goebbels' priorities were very misguided. He definitely should have had someone checking his power. Goebbels wasted so many of Germany’s resources on useless film production. Kolberg was barely viewed by audiences and Das Leben geht weiter was never finished and the footage was completely lost. Even if these films had been viewed, they still would have been wasteful because the resources were needed so much more for the war effort. Goebbels definitely overvalued film to the point where he was willing to sacrifice the war. While this wasteful film production was not the cause of Germany’s loss, it definitely did nothing to help Germany endure with so many resources were being diverted away from the war.
Anderson. David. "An Early German Collapse Now Predicted By the British," New York Times 09 Jul 1944. ProQuest. 28 Nov 2008
This historic article published in the New York Times is a report from British economists in London via wireless. Experts in Britain predicted that Germany would collapse because of economic weakness in three to six months (the report from London was released July 8, 1944). Germany’s economy was stretching itself and running at full capacity, but British economists pointed out that the pace at which Germany was functioning could not be maintained and would ultimately result in collapse if Germany were not defeated militarily first. In July of 1944, the attacks of the Allies were fierce and Germany was struggling to keep up with the demands of manpower and material resources. Germany’s production efficiency was decreasing while its demands continued to increase. Recruitment continually fell short and all resources (except coal) were scarce. Overall, the British reported that Germany was completely worn down by the Allies and would soon collapse into surrender.
By 1944 the situation for the Nazis was, indeed, dire. The German economy was being stretched by the demands of war and could not keep up with the strength of the Allies. At this time, though, films were still being produced. Resources and manpower were lacking according to the British economists, yet Goebbels ordered for 200,000 troops to be used in the filming of Kolberg. Kolberg was the costliest film of the era, and it was filmed during this critical time period for the Nazis (1942-1945). This report by the British made it very clear that the Nazis should have been concentrating all of its resources and efforts to staying in the war, yet they were being diverted to the film industry. Clearly, the Nazis did place an overly high value on film. (Thompson and Bordwell 274)
Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History An Introduction. 2nd. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.