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How Did Leni Riefenstahl Contribute To The Values And Culture Of Nazi Germany? Was Leni Riefenstahl A Nazi?

1894 words - 8 pages

Leni Riefenstahl was an amazing woman who lived an amazing life. Few would argue that her artistic beginnings paved the way for such a talented performer, actress, film-maker and photographer. However, her career has been tainted somewhat with controversy: consistently and unfairly associated with the evils of Hitler and the Nazi Party.Leni Riefenstahl was not a Nazi, nor did she deserve such a label and interrogation as a "nazi-sympathiser" in the form of de-nazification after the war. It is an issue that is often discussed in many sources."No words of anti-Semitism ever passed my lips, nor did I write any. I was never anti-Semitic and never joined the Nazi Party. So what am I guilty of, tell me that?" - Leni Riefenstahl.Her job was to make films for Hitler, which she did successfully, but were her films documentaries, Nazi propaganda, or something else?There are two dominant definitions of the term propaganda. The first is clearly more acceptable and widestream (in today's thriving media environment) than the second, and they contrast with each other somewhat. The public perception of the term is assumed somewhere in the middle of the two.1. information or publicity put out by an organization or government to spread and promote a policy, idea, doctrine, or cause2. deceptive or distorted information that is systematically spreadNothing was staged in Riefenstahl's films for the Nazi Party, and every piece of footage is an accurate and precise perception of what was going on at the time, as a quote from Riefenstahl herself reveals, from Ellen Cheshire's film analysis of Triumph of the Will:"If you see this film again today you ascertain that it doesn't contain a single reconstructed scene. Everything in it is true. And it contains no tendentious commentary at all. It is history. A pure historical film... it is film-vérité. It reflects the truth that was then in 1934, history. It is therefore a documentary. Not a propaganda film. Oh! I know very well what propaganda is. That consists of recreating events in order to illustrate a thesis, or, in the face of certain events, to let one thing go in order to accentuate another. I found myself, me, at the heart of an event which was the reality of a certain time and a certain place. My film is composed of what stemmed from that." IHowever, the effects that Triumph of the Will had on Germany were overwhelming. Despite being a documentary, the film still portrayed Germany as a peacefully powerful country, as the school issued booklet Individuals in Modern History details:"The film also reassures European audiences that the new and orderly Germany does not threaten peace. The army is content to march and play games rather than demonstrate military prowess... Nazi Germany's peace-loving nature is emphasised by a distinctly anti-communist stance... audiences are assured that the SA is no longer a threat to law and order... People (of Germany) are shown to be smiling, fit and...

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