Assess The Role Of Filmaker Leni Riefenstahl As A Nazi Propagandist Using Source Analysis

1672 words - 7 pages

Leni Riefenstahl was a German actress, artist, dancer and film director in the twentieth century. Her association with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party during the 1930's has turned her into a somewhat controversial figure since 1945. The several films that she directed for Hitler are classified as propaganda for their ideologies of Nazism. Often described as one of the best and most influential directors of the twentieth century, her skilful and masterful film-making techniques used in her Nazi films such as 'Triumph of the Will' has earned her the label of the most influential war propagandist that ever lived.However since the end of World War 2 in 1945 Riefenstahl herself has denied being involved with propagating for the Nazi's, stating that she filmed documentaries of a perfectionist nature. The effectiveness of her film in Nazi propaganda can be debated. Perhaps assessing the times and events of the Hitler era and Riefenstahl's work such as the film 'Triumph of the Will' we can get a better understanding of how effective a propagandist Leni Riefenstahl was for the National Socialist movement.Leni Riefenstahl's claims of never intending to propagate for the Nazi's can be seen as an attempt to distance herself from the Nazi Party and their policies. She claimed that she never wanted to make a film for Hitler but some of things she says and pieces of evidence contradict her claims. Riefenstahl's association with Hitler began in 1932 at one of the Nuremburg rallies. She admitted she was impressed by Hitler stating that '...Hitler was a demonically captivating person.' It was clear that Riefenstahl was hooked with Hitler's imposing figure from the beginning. She requested a meeting with Hitler and he told her 'When we come to power you must make my films'. In her 'memoirs' published in 1995 she claims she opposed the idea of making a film for Hitler, and told him 'no'. However the journal entry of Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, tells a different story on Riefenstahl's response to Hitler's request. The journal entry on May 17, 1933 states: 'Afternoon, Leni Riefenstahl; she tells me of her plans. I suggest she should make a Hitler film. She is over the moon about the idea...' As a historical document Goebbel's diary is more accurate and reliable because it is a primary source and also he had no reason to lie in 1933, unlike Riefenstahl in 1995. By considering that Riefenstahl was impressed with and attracted to Hitler we can observe that she would have happily attempted to propagate for Hitler's Nazi regimes.Her approach to the production and perfection of her films for Hitler is evidence that she employed her genius selflessly in the service of the Nazi's. Seeing that Riefenstahl was impressed with Hitler ands his policies herself it can be concluded that her Nazi films are examples of propaganda at its most powerful.The importance of propaganda for the Nazi Party also explains the significance of Riefenstahl as a Nazi propagandist...

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