Call#: Ctr for Adv Judaic Studies Lib, 4th & Walnut Sts. CJS PN1993.5.G3 K7 1942
Kracauer, Siegfried. From Caligari to Hitler, a psychological history of the German Film. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.
“Nazi Views And Measures”
All films in Nazi Germany were propaganda films. Newsreels and features were the two forms of propaganda. Newsreels were a means of propaganda not information. The purpose of newsreels was to give the German people skewed world views. The production of newsreels greatly increased at the onset of WWII. While newsreels portrayed falsified messages, the scenes shown were never faked—they were always actual footage taken on site. This element made these propaganda newsreels more believable. The Nazis prided themselves on the fact that the cameramen for newsreels were like “regular soldiers, doing a soldier’s full duty, always in the first lines…” (Kracauer 276). The deaths of these cameramen and reporters at the front lines were emphasized to the public to reiterate the fact that the reporters were, indeed, amongst the soldiers on the war front. These newsreels were considerably long, so that the propaganda techniques could be repeated for increased effectiveness. While newsreels were long, unlike feature films, newsreels were produced rapidly so that the information was timely and viewed as actual news.
While in my thesis I use the broad term film, I only consider the term to describe feature films. This chapter highlights the importance of the newsreel. The newsreel is a form of film propaganda that I really should not have ignored. Because of the newsreel’s entirely different nature, its inclusion would have given my thesis more depth. The newsreel did not have the same production costs or length of time needed for production because all the footage is filmed live at the scene. Considering these facts, newsreels as film propaganda were much more cost effective than feature films. While newsreels directly told Germans what to believe, newsreels still were subtle forms of propaganda because they were being portrayed in documentary style as fact. In my thesis I argued that film was overvalued by the Nazis at times because of its great cost when resources were needed badly for the war effort. Newsreels, though, would have served as a good compromise. Still, though, when the situation with the war became very dire, resources should never have been diverted from the war effort.