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Essay: Triumph of the Will (1935)

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  • Subject area(s): Media essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: 15 September 2013*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 744 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 3 (approx)

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Triumph of the Will (1935) is a film made during the rise of Hitler’s power just after he had declared himself Fuhrer in 1934. It can be seen that the true nature of the film is to show the population’s undeniable support for Hitler himself, as well as his leadership role. It also touches upon the ideology that Hitler envisioned for Germany as this is shown through extensive symbolism. This is a film that is a clear depiction of the Nazi ideology, encompassing elements such as the traditional role of women, a militarized mindset as well as overarching admiration of the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
In the beginning of the film, the tone that is set is one of enthusiastic joy as Adolf Hitler arrives and crowds cheer him on. He arrives from the sky which shows how he wants to be perceived, above his people and admired. This can signify the the post World War I  “culture [that] created something like a political void, a situation Hitler did not hesitate to exploit”.His entrance from the sky creates a God-like presence to him which centers the topic around his strong personality campaign as his rule and rise to power were strongly centered around this. He travels throughout the country to demonstrate his expansive power and support on screen as he could be seen as a “creature of the masses”1.
The audience in consideration of this film is partly the general German public and those who wish to oppose him. Furthermore it could be used for an international demonstration of the strength his country has and that he has over his country. This is demonstrated with the film showing expansive crowds that gathered to witness his speeches.
The soundtrack embodies this as it is a very nationalistic and militarized music that is in the background yet it is also joyful and gives off an air of success. This expands on the idea of femininity and masculinity in Nazi Germany as the men are shown working in the fields, laughing and enjoying themselves, while women play a passive role, shown as the provider of stability for the husband. This plays a large role in Nazi Germany as the basis for Hitler’s movement in part relied on men feeling defeated after the First World War and thus them trying to regain their masculinity. This resulted in women being pushed to stay at home and be mothers and assume more traditional gender roles.
In one of his speeches he asks many of his followers that are young men where they come from and they proceed to list different places for each one. This diversity sets a frame of mind for the unity that Hitler wished to create for Germany and the demographic he wanted to dictate this unity; this demographic is young militarized Christian men. Even Hitler’s close helpers such as Goebbels, the minister in charge of propaganda, originate from very strong Christian families. With this unity Hitler wished to eliminate class differences and to approach the outside forces directed towards Germany with his population as a united front.
In many instances in the film, there is a reference to the importance of the youth of Germany. Hitler says that the youth are the future of Germany. Because of this, it is very clear how Hitler wished to influence youth and essentially raise the country’s children himself through the institutions he put in place. Some of these are programs such as Hitler youth motivated young children to pursue the agenda that was present at the time. As this, “Nazi child’s education suit[ed] the military needs of German society”.The influencing of the youth is a very important aspect to consider as it shows that there was a planning for a future of Nazi Germany to remain the way it is.
In conclusion, this film is a very striking work that attempts to convince the audience of three things in specific about Nazi Germany. The first, is the happiness of its citizens as well as the support they have for their leader, Hitler. Second, there is a strong emphasis on gender roles and a lead in the masculine direction as militarization is taking place. Lastly, there is a focus on the future and how a unified Germany will achieve a happy and successful future. Overall, Triumph of the Will (1935) is a well rounded propaganda film that portrays the ideologies of Nazi Germany clearly.

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