German cinema was greatly affected during the Nazi movement between 1933 and 1945. Once appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933 Hitler wasted no time and almost immediately began working on his propaganda strategy. Typically “propaganda targets a mass audience and relies on mass media to persuade. Propaganda is aimed at large numbers of people and, as such, relies on mass communication to reach its audience” (Gass, 14). The Nazi party used film propaganda to brainwash the German people, distract them from the harsh reality of the Nazi party, and attempt to intimidate the enemy. Hitler knew propaganda entailed mass persuasion and he knew just how to get his message out there; film. It was through the use of propaganda, largely film that made the Nazi party so powerful as they redefined propaganda.
Hitler’s strategy was to exploit those who he considered unworthy through the use of preexisting stereotypes. These stereotypes were already familiar to the population and by bringing national attention to the stereotypes through the use of film the Nazi party was able to make the population believe the exaggerated negative stereotypes to be true. By using propaganda films the Nazi party was able to get much of the German population to “freely” accept their skewed reality as truth. Oftentimes these films portrayed Jews as financially greedy and compared them to street rats. This of course got many in the crowd to feel this to be true and true for all of jewish decent. While portraying the Jews as a terrible nuisance Hitler’s propaganda films also showed German soldiers winning battles in hopes of the viewer feeling more patriotic.
According to Sakmyster often times the audiences reaction to war documentaries could vary greatly and left some prideful with the desire for more violent war scenes and other viewers empathetic for the enemy and overall saddened by the “horrors of war”. Knowing this, the producers of the German war documentaries intentionally added scenes of soldiers doing normal day to day activities in an attempt to add a human touch.
Not all German propaganda films were shown to Germans in an attempt to create a stronger support system for Nazi Germany. Some German of these films were made specifically to be shown to the enemy in an attempt to intimidate the enemy into submission. According to Sakmyster these films were far less successful and few if any of those that viewed the films actually believed the film content to be true. However, “the Germans did not really care if non-Germans actually believed the arguments in these films [as] they were meant to frighten others into submission, to intimidate any country that might be thinking of resisting German expansionism or of remaining on friendly terms with Great Britain” (Sakmyster). The Nazi party saw the opportunity to use film to attempt to portray themselves as a dominant power prepared to take on what Germany considered to be weak...