Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Second Advisor

Beverly Weber

Third Advisor

Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz

Abstract

This thesis expands on the idea that cinema from the Third Reich used entertainment as a form of propaganda. During the Third Reich, over one thousand films were made, only a small portion of which were considered overt propaganda. Goebbels preferred the covert method, and believed that film was the best medium for the job. Cinema has a unique ability to capture the audience into a new reality by combining music, text, and visuals. Goebbels honed in on this ability and used it to his and the Nazis advantage. There was a shift in the usage of propaganda by the Nazis, and specifically Goebbels, which allowed for total control of the culture. Films promoted Nazi ideologies, including pro-Nazism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and fear of the foreigner. Nazi cinema succeeded in endorsing these ideologies by utilizing escapist and narrative films. Goebbels took complete authority over cinema production and reception, which allowed him to manipulate the masses into following Hitler’s reign and philosophies. This thesis argues that cinematic techniques, tone, music, and characterizations played a crucial role in the creation of an entertaining form of propaganda. This thesis closely analyzes key films from the Third Reich, such as, Hitlerjunge Quex, Hans Westmar, La Habanera, Wunschkonzert, Robert und Betram, and Jud Süss.

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