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Nazi Propaganda Film Website Activity - Resources - Triumph of the Will

Triumph of the Will


Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) 1935 B&W. 110mins.
Production: NSDAP Director: Leni Riefenstahl Chief Cameraman: Sepp Allgeier Music: Herbert Windt Architectural direction of the Nuremberg Rally: Albert Speer


Triumph of the Will is one of the most important films ever made. Not because it documents evil--more watchable examples are being made today. And not as a historical example of blind propaganda--those (much shorter) movies are merely laughable now. No, Riefenstahl's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, politics aside--combines the strengths of documentary and propaganda into a single, overwhelmingly powerful visual force.

Riefenstahl was hired by the Reich to create an eternal record of the 1934 rally at Nuremberg, and that's exactly what she does. You might not become a Nazi after watching her film, but you will understand too clearly how Germany fell under Hitler's spell...

Like the fascists it monumentalizes, Triumph of the Will overlooks its own weaknesses--at nearly two hours, the speeches tend to drone on, and the repeated visual motifs are a little over-hypnotic, especially for modern viewers. But the occasional iconic vista (banners lining the streets of Nuremberg, Hitler parting a sea of 200,000 party members standing at attention) will electrify anyone into wakefulness. --Grant Balfour  Amazon.com

Many of the events of the congress are covered, though not in strict chronological order, because the rhythm of the film is intended to build up Hitler's personal image. Susan Sontag has referred to the film as 'the most successfully, most purely propagandistic film ever made.' Filmeducation.org

Stills from the Film

drum.jpg (55567 bytes) flags.jpg (51138 bytes) podium.jpg (52080 bytes)
workers.jpg (68019 bytes) salute.jpg (100862 bytes) leni.jpg (89999 bytes)
For more images see Art Serve at the Australian National University 


History Today

History Today has an article by Brian Winston, one of the historians you will have seen in the video shown in class. You usually have to pay to see these articles but at the moment this one is free.

Filmeducation.org a fantastic cinema education website, part of Britain's National Grid for Learning.

The 'official' website of the director of Triumph of the Will

Pages dedicated to Hitler's favorite director. 'She was beautiful and talented. She was a woman in a man's field. Three strikes and you're out'.
David Hart's Film History website at the University of Adelaide was one of the pioneering history sites on the web. No longer updated (he now works in the US for Liberty Fund) his site still provides plenty of useful information for history students interested in the cinema.