Mommert. Wilfried . "Wartime Germany: Concerts and cinema to the bitter end," Deutsche Presse-Agentur 19 Mar 1995. LexisNexis. 29 Nov 2008
Nazi Germany had a thriving arts and entertainment culture until all theaters were shut down September of 1944 as a step toward pursuing “total war.” Up until this point, the theaters held regular showings of films and concerts despite the fact that many were destroyed by Allied bombings. These theaters were in use until the Nazis were on the edge of defeat. Despite setbacks with the war and the continued bombings by the Allies, films were still made and shown up until the end of the war. Twenty eight films were works in progress when the war ended. Concerts were also still shown regularly. Thirty operas were ready for performance but never actually put on stage. Resources were still being allocated to put on new operas and films despite the fact that Germany was in "total war," and all resources were allocated to the war effort supposedly. Film and concerts were the main forms of amusement and diversion for the German people, and the Nazis felt that keeping the masses' minds diverted and happy was still important.
This article really shows the misguided priorities of the Nazis. Resources that could have been used for the war effort were misallocated to film production and concert staging. The Nazis were concerned with appeasing the masses, even though they were about to lose the war. Maintaining the support of the masses was a core value for the Nazis to attain and maintain their power, but if they lost the war, they would lose their power immediately. These efforts to keep the masses happy were completely pointless and wasteful. Goebbels proclaimed that he closed the theaters to put Germany on the track of “total war,” yet this obviously did not shut down the entertainment industry. The film Kolberg began production in 1942 and was not released until 1945 (Thompson and Bordwell 274). This film was the costliest of the Nazi cinema projects, and it was made at a time when Germany was losing the war and about to be defeated (Thompson and Bordwell 274). Goebbels even diverted 200,000 troops from battle to be used in Kolberg's production (Thompson and Bordwell 274). Overall, the Nazis wasted their resources on film and the arts during a critical time during the war when Germany could not afford it.
Thompson, Kristin, and David Bordwell. Film History An Introduction. 2nd. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.
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.