Citation: Assorted Nazi political films, 1932-1943 [videorecording]. Videocassette. International Historic Films, 1985.
This film recording provides an opportunity to further understand the effect of the Nazi regime on Germany and its people. The video begins by showing audiences the speech that Hitler gives to the people of Germany after winning the election in 1932. Hitler speaks of the way in which the country needs to unite and rid itself of the 30 plus political parties that now exists in the country and instead join as one front. He goes on to makes statements about the leaders who have been in charge for the past thirteen years, holding them accountable for any financial, cultural, or societal dilemmas that had arisen to weaken Germany. Finally, he challenges the people to rise up with him in the hopes of creating a stronger, more powerful Germany. He explains that the strength of the nation starts with the people and that no progress can be made without their support. The next recording is a speech of Hitler’s in Vienna in 1938 on the Anniversary of Munich Putsch. The crowds roar and soldiers raise their arms towards their leader as Hitler speaks once again of a country united in a fight for power and strength. Finally, the video displays a speech given by Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, in 1943. Within his speech, he challenges the German people to remain loyal to their motherland. He explains that this is the time in which people must be willing to make heavy sacrifice for the greater good of their others and their country. He ensures society not to lose hope and reminds them of the potential German had to exude dominance and power in the world.
After watching this film, I could not help but relate it back to the idea of Nazi propaganda and reflect on the way in which Nazi power had such a great influence over German society. In every clip of this recording, there is an abundance of German citizens cheering and saluting, each in favor of the Nazis quest for power. Even in 1943, when the tides of the war were beginning to turn, Nazis still were able to influence the people and instill in them a sense of duty and loyalty to the Nazi hierarchy and Germany in general. These video recording demonstrate that, during the Nazi regime, Nazi leaders held the power to persuade the German people and evoke emotion within them. This insight into the societal structure in German society proves to explain how film production could affect the sentiments of society. The German people was so heavily shaped by the Nazi regime that it is not hard to believe that Nazi films, such as Wunschkonzert, were indeed capable of evoking in audiences a particular emotion and leaving a last impact on their outlook on cultural, war, and many other aspects of German life.
Citation: Zimmerman, Clemens. “From Propaganda to Modernization: Media Policy and Media Audiences under National Socialiam.” German History 24.3 (Aug 2006): 431-454.
In the section entitled, “ ‘Propaganda’ as the Key Concept of Earlier Media-Oriented Analyses of the National Socialist System,” Zimmerman takes a close look at propaganda and its impact on National Socialism. First, Zimmerman emphasizes the fact that the real study of propaganda lies in an examination of subliminal messages that are being displayed. He goes on to conclude that it is not only the content of the message that is important but also the function that the media performs within the communication of society. Zimmerman presents an opposing view to many of the other sources included which is based on the idea that entertainment films were predominantly meant for entertainment and only marginally produced to present propaganda. However, although Zimmerman states that an audience interprets media differently in regards to their gender, educational background, sex, age, and previous life-experience, the author does suggest the fact that media mass communication can influence people’s emotion, that people tend to agree with majority opinion, and that the media can set agendas on topics in which uncertainty exists.
Despite the fact that this article presents some facts in opposition of the thesis stated above, the facts presented in support of propaganda in entertainment film can be supported through an analysis of German society during the Nazi regime. The fact that the Nazi hierarchy had power over much of the culture and activity in Germany did not leave much freedom for citizens to develop their own thoughts and beliefs or to express them openly. Therefore, film production and the messages being relayed by these works of art and entertianment played a large role in the formation of society’s opinion on a variety of different topics, including politics and war. It is undeniable that films such as Wunschkonzert served as an escape and form of amusement for the German population; however, one mustn’t fail to recognize the conditions of the society at the particular time and the heavy influence that the Nazi regime had over society and their overall beliefs on important issues.
Citation: Von Papen, Manuel. “Keeping the Home Fires Burning? Women and the German Homefront Film 1940-1943.” Film History. Vol. 8.1 (Spring, 1996): pp. 44-63
Within this article, Von Papen attempts to depict what constitutes a home front film as well as their impact on Gemran society. He explains that the Home front film can be described as an entertainment film. Typically, the home front film is a love story, comedy, or entertainment film that serves as a reminder of everyday life. The author goes on to describe, in detail, the components of film that would constitute it as a home-front film. First, Von Papen explains that the plot must contain a love story between a man off at war and a woman back at home, holding down the fort. Next, he explains that the woman must be employed in occupations such as a conductress, auxiliary nurse, or actress, and emphasizes the fact that, in home front film, women are always looking for a man. He further describes the crucial components of home front films by focusing on the fact that women in the films typically go through a learning process during wartime in which they come to recognize that their own private happiness may have to be put on hold for the greater good of their man and country. Additionally, the author reiterates that idea that, in home front film, lthere is little mention of the hardship of the war; rather, there is a positive mentality that is maintained throughout the films. Finally, it is noted that these films embody romances which stand the test of time and separation and end up with the lovers finding each other again after some time.
In his observation of Wunschkonzert, the author focuses on the fact that the film depicts war in a very light manner. For example, he includes the fact that soldiers within the film are always seen enjoying a musical performance or even their own engagement party, or seen writing letters to loved ones back home. In addition, the author emphasizes that only one death occurs in the film and the death is seen as positive due to the fact that the character suffered death in the name of his country.
This article helps us to fully gain knowledge on the aspects of the film that categorize Wunschkonzert as a home-front film. Indeed, the romance between Inge and Herbert fall under the criteria stated above and Inge plays the role of a faithful lover who is willing to stand the test of time and support the war efforts in the name and honor of her fighting lover. In addition, the author’s description of the lighthearted approach to war in the film proves to an even greater extent the way in which this film uses the notion of entertainment to show audiences that war does not have to be seen as aggression or violent fight against an enemy; instead, the film aims at demonstarting the importance of staying optimistic, loyal, and proud of not only their fighting loved ones but also Germany as a whole.
Citation: Blair, John. "Nazi Cinema as Enchantment: The Politics of Entertainment in the Third Reich." German Quarterly. 78.2 (Spring 2005): pp. 258-259.
In this book review, Blair discusses the way in which O’Brien expresses the Nazi administration’s obligation to cinema as both entertainment and propaganda. O’Brien emphasizes how Nazi Film followed a similar model to that of classical Hollywood cinema through its promotion of identification. In addition, the book review explains that O’Brien presents the fact that “only 153 of the 1,094 feature films produced in Germany during the Third Reich are "generally considered outright propaganda;" (1) thus, the rest of the propaganda film depicted political agenda in a variety of different genres. Through the close scrutiny of thirteen Nazi films, from five different film dramas, O’Brien determines the impact of each genre on German society and the way in which each particular genre excels. When observing films created during wartime, O’Brien ventures to suggest that the state tried to promote different attitudes in correspondence with different periods of the war. In chapter three, O’Brien focuses on Wunschkonzert and its impact on German society. She explains that the film is full of confidence and optimism about the war and life back at home in addition to suggesting the idea of sacrifice and support of the war efforts on the home front.
The article is significant in understanding that Goebbels and the Nazi regime undeniably strove to provide audiences with a source of entertainment during a difficult time in Germany. However, it can not be overlooked that despite the fact that these films, including Wunschkonzert, centered on a story of love and light heartedness, the film proved to audiences that support o f the Nazis and the idea of warfare was crucial in obtaining success and maintaining the morale of Germany in this period and struggle and hardship.
Citation: Giesen, Rolf. Nazi Propaganda Films: a history and filmography. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2003. 151-162
The chapter entitled “Black-Out: The Home Front, or “That’s Not the End of the World,” describes movies during the Nazi film period which focused on the environment back at home during wartime in Germany. Throughout the chapter, the author depicts the role of women during this period by showing that the typical bride or fiancé in many films would be waiting for their brave, faithful soldier to return victoriously. Within the chapter, Giesen discusses Wunschkonzert as an example of a home front film. He explains the way in which movies such as these strived to keep German spirits high through a focus on music and an upbeat screenplay that depicts war in a positive light. It is also important to recognize that Wunschkonzert can be used to better understand the role of women at the time. Through the character of Inge Wagner, we witness the way in which women in German society reacted to war. Despite being separated for three years, Inge waits for Herbert and remains devoted to him until they are reunited in a hospital.
Through Giesen’s depiction of Wunschkonzert, we gain a greater understand of the way in which entertainment film was used by the Nazi regime to unite German society and keep spirits high in the time of war. Indeed, through the character of Inge Wagner, women throughout Germany were given an example of what it means to be in support of soldiers and their country in a time of fighting, yet another way in which the Nazi regime gained support through entertainment film.
Citation: Kallis, Artistole. “Nazi Propaganda and ‘Coordination’: The Haphazard Path to Totalitarianism.” European Review of History 13.1 (Mar 2006): 115-139.
This articles presents information on censorship in regards to German cinema during the Nazi period. Kallis explains that once Goebbels takes charge as the Minister of Propaganda, he goes to work to rescue German cinema from its current financial and cultural problems that lingered when the Nazis came to power. In order to create change in the film industry, Goebbels created institutions such as the RKK and RMVK. These groups were established to bring all aspects and cultural and leisure activity under the control of the National Socialist regime. In addition, Goebbels made the decision to stray away from negative censorship and instead focus upon an idea of positive censorship. This new method of production would enable the regime to partake in every step of the film’s creation rather than simply view the end product. The article argues that, with this change, the Nazi hierarchy could not only ensure that film conformed to the regime’s political planning but could also promote and actively endorse its own objectives.
This source serves as background information for further evidence that the Nazi regime whole-heartedly sought to promote a positive feeling about war and a strong connection between home and the front through the creation of Wunschkonzert. Due to the fact that hierarchy had a hand in every step of film production, it was easy for the Nazi power to ensure that war, self-sacrifice, and the idea of community were portrayed in the best light.
Citation: Kallis, Artistotle. Nazi Propaganda and the Second World War. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005
In the section entitled, “Commercial and political value? The ‘entertainment film’ and NS Propaganda,” Kallis addresses film production during the sensitive war period. He explains the idea that during this time, groups such as RMVP and the RPL in accordance with the Minister of Propaganda managed every aspect of the regime’s film policy and suggests that, despite this control, there is a blur in the distinction between politics and entertainment. He goes on to present the idea that strictly political or historical films were much less appreciated than romantic comedies or dramas in German culture. In fact, it seemed as if many audiences were unmoved by the importance and significance of events captured in political film and showed little admiration or respect for political productions. Therefore, the author concludes, that “the most commercially successful films ever produced under the Third Reich were indeed popular Unterhaltungsfilme, such as the Wunschkonzert” (212). The novel stresses the belief that the success of Wunschokonzert and films of its kinds could have power over an audience and society and thus, could be used as a new form of Nazi propaganda during a time in which traditional methods of political propaganda were suffering.
This portion of the novel is relevant to looking at Wunschkonzert as a Nazi propaganda film because it stresses the idea that despite the fact that this film was considered an entertainment film, there can be no doubt that its content had an impact on German society. The film touched on social conformity; however, it remained predominantly influenced by political objectives. In fact, the way in which political propaganda was much more dispersed within the plot line rather than being the driving force behind the story seemed to be better appreciated and well received by audiences.
Citation: Welch, David. Propaganda and the German Cinema, 1933-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. 112-121
In the fourth chapter of the novel, Welch focuses on the impact of the Olympic Games in Berlin in the section entitled, “Olympiade (1938): The Master Race and Strength through Joy.” Within this section, Welch explains how the Olympic games and films made surrounding this event served as the perfect medium for Goebbel’s execution of Nazi Propaganda. As the host of the games, Germany used this opportunity as an exercise in national respectability. The Olympic games were an opportunity to portray Germany as a peace-minded country in both the eyes of foreign guests as well as German citizens. Similarly, Welch suggests that, with the creation of one of the most popular films of the Third Reich, Wunschkonzert, this Nazi philosophy was conveyed to an even greater extent. Wunschkonzert once again displays Germany as peace-loving nation and, through the story of two lovers who meet and fall in love in the Olympic Stadium, helps to convert the feeling of pride, strength, and joy that was felt during the Olympic games to the first phase of the war.
The significance of Wunschkonzert as a Nazi Propaganda Film is strongly supported within this novel. Welch explanation of Goebbel’s plan to use the Olympic games as means of uniting Germany and changing the perception of the country in the eyes of foreign and domestic people alike is important in understanding the value of Wunschkonzert. This film enabled Nazi Germany to instill a sense of joy, strength, and love within the German community that could be converted to similar positive feelings about fighting and being triumphant in the Second World War.
Citation: Cocks, Geoffery. “The Ministry of Amusements: Film, Commerce, and Politics in Germany, 1917-1945.” Central European History 30.1 (1997): 77-89.
In Cock’s review of The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife, written by Eric Rentschler, he focuses on examining the fundamental arguments made by Rentschler in regards to propaganda film produced by the Third Reich. First, he explains Rentchler’s idea that Nazi made a strong attempt at mass deception through film production. Additionally, Cock discusses Rentschler’s belief that the Third Reich used entertainment as a substitute for “glimpses of everyday life,” that Nazi film could be linked to traditional Hollywood conventions, and introduces Rentschler’s suggestion that the Nazis sought to use film as a way of seducing and coercing the German people. Finally, Cooks notes that it is important to understand the fact that, in his book, Rentschler emphasizes the concept of film as a powerful means of expressing and evoking emotion.
Although this article does not address Wunschkonzert, the arguments presented as to what defines a Nazi Propaganda film can be applied to this production and demonstrate to a greater extent that this film was used as war propaganda. First, Rentchler’s idea of mass deception is evident in the portrayal of Germany as a peace-minded country. The film aimed at portraying Germany as a place in which the home-front should be a place of optimism and unity. In addition, the suggestion of seducing and coercing by the Nazis is evident in the way in which the film instills within the audience the idea that war, joy, romance and love can be intertwined and, thus, one should feel hope and pride in this time of warfare. Through the use of entertain, Wunschkonzert sought to associate positive sentiments and thoughts with then concept of war in the minds of audiences. Finally, the film does indeed evoke emotion within the German people. Wunschkonzert evokes positive feelings in support of Hitler’s struggle for triumph and power.
Citation: Baird, Jay. The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda, 1939-1945. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974. 3-11.
In the first chapter entitled “The Mythical World of Nazi Propaganda,” Baird seeks to explain to readers the unique way in which the Nazi propaganda merged the political and practical with the mythical. He describes how Hitler focuses on the irrational, such the use of myths and symbols, to covey Nazi propaganda. The author continues by explain the way Nazi propaganda film merges the themes of traditional German patriotism with Nazi ideological motifs. In the initial part of the chapter, Baird focuses on the way in which films such as The Eternal Jew and Jud Suss contributed to the feelings of anti-Semitism in Germany and help the Nazi regime gain support in their quest for the evacuation of the Jews. Baird goes on to discuss war as an important component in Nazi mythical ideology. He explains that films, such as Morgenrot and Wunschkonzert, help to convey the message that war was the German spirit of life; those who died in battle for their country not only were ensured eternal life but also served as an inspiration for Germans in future centuries. Finally, the author makes note of the importance of the anti-Bolsheviks motif in films that strove to depict the Nazi agenda of conquering Bolshevism and Soviet Russia.
This chapter helps to further explain the way in which Wunschkonzert depicts the positive side of war and, thus, serves as a propaganda film. It explains that, within through the heroic death of Schwarzkopf for Germany, the film conveys to the audience the Nazi idea that fighting for one’s country was an essential part of German life and should be looked at as a gallant and necessary duty by all German citizens.