IGCSE History
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Nazi Propaganda Film - Extension Questions

Hitlerjunge Quex is pure propaganda, of interest to the historian only. Triumph of the Will is different. If you have read the reviews on this site and any of the links to other sites, you will know that TOTW is different because it is art. The following questions are taken from the excellent filmeducation.org website and get you to consider some of ethical issues associated with the role of the artist in a dictatorship.

Steiner on Triumph of the Will. 
Does he think it is a documentary
Two different viewpoints on the 
propaganda v documentary debate
1. Think about how the historian would view Triumph of the Will. How valid do you think it is as an accurate portrayal of the Nazi rally at Nuremberg in 1934? If you do not think that it is an accurate record, is such a film useful to the historian in other ways?

2. At her trial after the war Leni Reifenstahl was acquitted of war crimes on the grounds that Triumph of the Will only depicted what other German newsreels of the time had also shown of Nuremberg and that she had not falsified or constructed anything in her film. In your opinion, does the film look like a newsreel or do you think that it has been arranged and shaped to affect the audience in a specific way?

3. What effect do you think that Triumph of the Will would have had on the audience when it was first screened?

4. For whom do you think the film was made?

5. Do you think that the film maker is unbiased towards the events that she is recording?

6. What are the relationships between the images and the sound track in the film? (For an example of the importance of music to the meaning of images, have a look at how Goebbels is portrayed in the beginning of this documentary)

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