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Here Is Germany (1945)

| Documentary, War
Frank Capra directed this film in the vein of his Why We Fight series. It was intended to be shown to American troops participating in the invasion and occupation of Germany. But by the ... See full summary »

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(story preparation), | 2 more credits »
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Anthony Veiller ...
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Frank Capra directed this film in the vein of his Why We Fight series. It was intended to be shown to American troops participating in the invasion and occupation of Germany. But by the time it was ready, Germany was on its way to falling. Hence, the film was shelved. Never widely distributed or shown, it covers the events leading up World War II and comments on the character of the German people.

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nazi | propaganda | world war two | See All (3) »

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Documentary | War

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1.37 : 1
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Capra Does Propaganda
10 December 2013 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

The first few minutes are shockingly repellent, yet necessary viewing. The mountains of corpses in various stages of desiccation and decomposition are, as they say, mute testament to the horrors of war. In this case, they are apparent atrocities committed in the name of the Third Reich. But why not a single mention anywhere of the Nazi's chief victims, the Jews. It might have also been instructive to include gore from the fire-bombing of Dresden or the A-bombing of Nagasaki. But then this is a propaganda film through and through, and I would think an embarrassment to the prestigious names attached to it.

The chief propaganda technique is to decontextualize Germany's history, such that its militarist tradition—the movie's chief culprit—looks like it occurred in an historical vacuum. That way such WWII allies as France, Great Britain, and Russia cum Soviet Union, are not implicated in the rise of that tradition. Yet, each of these allies went through their own periods of militaristic expansion in pursuit of empire, as did the US in its steady westward expansion. Can we really blame one wolf for holding its own among the rest of the pack. Contrary to the film, pacifying a militaristic Germany really requires pacifying the entire pack, much as the EU has helped to do.

No need to go on with the selective vision of the filmmakers. After all, the production never really saw the light of day, and a good thing for post-war Europe.

These comments are not intended as a rationale for Hitler's very real murderous regime. They are intended to insist on an historical context for the rise of German militarism that goes beyond the film's state figureheads and pre-selected terms of the Versailles Treaty. At the same time, it's apparent that Capra and co. are no more above creating state propaganda than are artists from more notorious regimes. Too bad.


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