The Führer and Youth (Adolf Hitler with a Little Girl), Postcard (1933) Goebbels’s most successful propaganda tool was the “Führer cult” that revolved around the person of Adolf Hitler. Articles in magazines and newspapers, books, films, posters, postcards, and paintings presented Hitler as both universal genius and ordinary man of the people. The parallels with Jesus Christ were not coincidental. Apparently, God had predestined Hitler to lead the German people out of its misery; it was a matter of Divine Providence. This propaganda photo shows the new “savior of humanity” with a little girl. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann.
Goebbels’s Speech at the Sportpalast in Berlin (February 18, 1943) On February 18, 1943, Joseph Goebbels delivered the most famous speech of his career at the Berlin Sportpalast. The speech came shortly after the German capitulation at Stalingrad. In it, he praised the German dead of Stalingrad as heroes and emphasized that their sacrifice had not been made in vain. (He had nothing to say, however, about the tens of thousands who had been captured.) Goebbels urged Germans to commit anew to an all-out war effort – or what he described as “total war.” The members of Goebbels’s carefully chosen audience responded to the speech with fanatical enthusiasm. This photograph shows the interior of the Sportpalast during Goebbels’s speech. The banner in the background reads: “Total War – Shortest War” (“Totaler Krieg – Kürzester Krieg”).
"City Children to the Countryside" (June 1936) - The National Socialist People’s Welfare organization [Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt or NSV] started the "Children to the Countryside" program [Kinderlandverschickung or KLV] in 1934. Each year, tens of thousands of city children were brought to the countryside for stays of several weeks. The idea was to offer them a temporary escape from the health-related and social dangers of the urban environment. The "Extended Children to the Countryside” program, an initiative organized by the Hitler Youth [Hitler-Jugend], placed children ages 11 to 14 in KLV camps, often for several months at time. Removed from the influence of their parents, the children who participated in these programs were totally exposed to National Socialist indoctrination and education. By the end of the war, over two million children had taken part in them.
Against the Un-German Spirit: Book-Burning Ceremony in Berlin (May 10, 1933) The Nazi “coordination” [Gleichschaltung] of German culture and literature began soon after Hitler became chancellor. Art was to be rid of all “un-German” elements and used as an instrument in the ideological and racial awakening of the national community [Volksgemeinschaft]. In May and June of 1933, in the context of its operation “Against the Un-German Spirit,” the National Socialist German Students’ League (NSDStB) organized a nationwide “purification campaign” directed at public and private libraries. “Un-German” writings by a range of authors, such as Karl Marx, Heinrich and Klaus Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Sigmund Freud, Carl von Ossietzky and Kurt Tucholsky were subsequently burned in bonfires in a number of university cities. The largest of these events took place on May 10, 1933, on Berlin’s Opera Square [Opernplatz], where approximately 20,000 books were consigned to the flames. Within the framework of its “purification campaign,” the NSDStB also drew up a long “blacklist” of writers, books, and other sorts of publications and banned them from that point on.
In 1937 the Nazi government intensified its activities with regard to the covert nationalization of the film industry. The goal was secretly to buy up shares of the companies in question and become controlling partners without claiming a seat on the supervisory or executive board. In the course of this policy, Hugenberg was “bought out” of Ufa, while Klitzsch remained president and later became chair of the supervisory board. Finally, by merging the four largest production companies - Ufa, Terra, Tobis, and Bavaria - the Nazis established a state-controlled super-enterprise: the Ufa Film GmbH, known as UFI.The companies merged under UFI were intentionally left with a certain degree of autonomy, but there was hardly any way for them to develop profiles of their own. All the companies produced anti-Semitic, militaristic, and hate films. At Ufa, director Karl Ritter excelled at filming Nazi material non-stop, films like ”Verräter” (The Traitor, 1936), ”Patrioten” (Patriots, 1937), ”Über alles in der Welt” (Above All in the World, 1940/41), and ”Stukas” (1941). But even after World War Two began in 1939, these blatant propaganda films did not predominate. The cinemas showed mainly comedies, melodramas, and revue films featuring stars like Marika Rökk in ”Tanz mit dem Kaiser” (Dance with the Kaiser).
Why We Fight is a series of seven propaganda films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Most of the films were directed by Frank Capra, who was daunted yet also impressed and challenged by Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda film Triumph of the Will and who worked in direct response to it.
Titanic (1943) was the most expensive German production up until that time and endured many production difficulties, including a clash of egos, massive creative differences and general war-time frustrations. All of this resulted in Joseph Goebbels arresting the film’s director, Herbert Selpin, for treason and ordering him to be hanged in his cell the very next day. The unfinished film, the production of which spiraled wildly out control, was in the end completed by Werner Klingler.
"Where my uncle was an enormous fool, as many talented people are, was that he mistook his gift for intelligence. He was a great big famous film person. He looked better and talked better and had enormous charm. So he thought he was also far more intelligent than Mr Goebbels. Goebbels was 10,000 times smarter than my uncle." She pauses. "Film people, actors, are puppets. We are silly. We are silly folk."
Christiane Kubrick on her uncle Veit Harlan