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Memory, entertainment, propaganda: The great war and German popular cinema, 1933-1945

Alberts, PP 2013, Memory, entertainment, propaganda: The great war and German popular cinema, 1933-1945 , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Applying conceptual ideas of memory and propaganda, this study intends to shed light on feature films produced during the Third Reich which gave prominence to the Great War. Since the National Socialist movement presented an image of itself as not only part of the tradition of the 'undefeated German soldier' of the First World War, but also sought to rectify the perceived political injustices of the conflict, this study defines 'Great War films' as not only those which were set during the conflict, but also productions which used the immediate aftermath of the war and the 'post-war period' as the reference points for their plots. By using the National Socialists' own very broad conception of what the Great War signified, this study has identified a corpus of around fifty films which are the main object of the analysis. The principal question which the thesis intends to answer is: How did National Socialist film define the Great War, in what way did it portray the experience and consequences of war, and what did it attempt to communicate about that conflict and its aftermath? In order to provide an answer, attention will be given to the censorship process and other efforts to influence film-making. At the centre of the study is the analysis of specific features which recurred in the majority of the films: common to the two major categories of film were points of consistency in the portrayal of various 'enemies', women and soldiers; also significant were the ways in which the experience of war and peace were portrayed; more common to films dealing with the war were references to the hotly disputed issue of 'war guilt'; more common to the films dealing with 'post-war' was the connection made between defeat and the prospect of a brighter future under the National Socialists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: PP Alberts
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2013 09:58
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 18:13

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