Friday, March 14, 2014

"The Double Headed Eagle: Hitler's Rise to Power: 1918-1933" shows pre-Nazi Germany on the street with raw video

How did someone with the personality defects of Adolf Hitler rise to power, and how were the people in Germany so easily duped? 

A 1973 video by Lutz Becker, “The Double Headed Eagle: Hitler’s Rise to Power: 1918-1933”, available from Kino through Netflix, gives some insight into this question merely by compiling many historical videos and home movies from the period, without any real narration. 
The film opens with a speech by Hilter on January 30, 1933, about the time of the Enabling Act, where he talks about the enemies of the German people and how their “insolence” will not be tolerated.  The psychological point seems pertinent. 
Throughout the film one sees how propaganda worked.  Information was passed through chains of authority, which might be political, or which might be within a party movement.  People did not develop their own ideas independently, the way we have learned to. 
Some of the clips trace the conflict between fascist and communist ideology.  There was quite a “red” presence in German in the 1920s.  There is a scene late in the video where a father chides his song about singing a German anthem and instead tries to teach him what is now known as Russia’s anthem, sung at the Sochi Olympics (and also appearing in the 1982 film “Reds” right before the intermission). 

Toward the end, there is a chilling book burning, colorized in red, anticipating Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, a novel in 1953 and film in 1966.  

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