Film and Propaganda in Nazi Germany

Course Material 2023/24

By examining a range of cinematic works — from explicitly ideological pseudo-documentaries to entertainment movies — this option will explore the transmission of propaganda into the everyday life and culture of Nazi Germany. Since Goebbels deemed film as one of the most valuable means to disseminate propaganda in a more subtle form, analysing films that were produced during the Third Reich is key to our understanding of how Nazi propaganda worked. Furthermore, the movies that we will watch and discuss in this seminar will reflect critical elements of Nazi ideology, like ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ (People’s community), euthanasia, and anti-Semitism. The films themselves will be analysed as our main source material, there will be a weekly screening of each film, which will be introduced by the course convenor. Students are encouraged to attend the weekly screenings.

Additional primary source material in German will be provided, as for example excerpts from files from the Ministry of Propaganda and reviews of the films we will analyse from German newspapers of the 1930s and 1940s.  

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Image: Jürgen Ohlsen in the 1933 Nazi propaganga film, Hitlerjunge Quex.