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The Architecture of Doom: A DVD Review

Updated on February 15, 2012

A Chilling Documentary

Propaganda: A Potentially Deadly Weapon

We Must Never Forget!

This is a fascinating 1991 documentary about the way in which Hitler orchestrated the use of art and propaganda to sway public opinion and move forward step-by-step to the "Final Solution". What emerges from the unfolding of the evidence is a portrait of an obviously unhinged being, unable to succeed as an artist or architect, who became intent upon using Germany as a stage, canvas and/or a diorama.

He longed to create a great, Wagnerian style opera or a great work of art. To this end, he designed all of the Third Reich uniforms, flags, and other visible elements. He designed buildings and thoroughfares. He orchestrated crowd scenes and dramatic events. He gathered and hoarded art and set up art shows, first of "depraved" art (abstract/non-representational) as an example of the kind of people and thinking that must be eliminated, and then of "classical" art which depicted perfect physical forms, perfect landscapes, perfect still life illustrations, and so on. In fact, he staged a big annual art show every year of his rule and collected hundreds of rather drab, mundane works for himself.

His aim was to replace all depraved art with classical art and to replace all depraved people with classical (Aryan) people. So, he started by having propaganda produced to make it clear to the public that people with disabilities and deformities were the models for depraved art and had to be eliminated. People like Jews were described as "germs" that infected society and had to be eliminated.

And of course, classical buildings and cities had to be built, classical art had to be produced, and Aryan people had to be nurtured and bred. And this went on even as the war raged. Hitler sat in his bunker tweaking the diorama for his perfect country and stepped up efforts to eliminate the unsightly Jewish population, even as Germany crumbled around him and defeat was only days away. It was as if he were living a "virtual life" and had to score his points before the game ended.

As a teenager, I studied WWII and the Third Reich extensively, but I have never seen or read anything that so thoroughly examined Hitler's personality, psychology, and motivations. This is a chilling documentary, and the scariest thing about it is, the process of the propaganda almost seems logical. This documentary gives a very good illustration of how a nation can be convinced, one tiny step at a time, to pursue an absolutely deadly and horrific goal. It's all done with smoke and mirrors. Play up the positive, downplay the negative, and never reveal your hand.

I would not recommend Architecture of Doom for young teenagers (unless they are quite somber and studious) because it is a bit slow paced and didactic. Older teens who are interested in the subject matter would benefit from watching it. Adults who have some familiarity with and interest in the events of WWII will particularly appreciate this documentary. Additionally, as a study of how propaganda works, Architecture of Doom can stand alone.

I give Architecture of Doom 4 Stars for value; although, if you are looking to be entertained, look elsewhere!

Thanks! :)

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  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

    Hi Denis - There are crazy people everywhere. Especially these days. Texas doesn't have a monopoly! :D

  • profile image

    Denis DellaLoggia 7 years ago

    Suzanne, how in the world are you from Texas? Home to cheerleader murders, David Koresh, Waco (wacko) and George Bush right next door in Crawford?? I am a million times better with psycho-linguistics than Glenn Beck is with his frigging blackboard. Are you married?

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

    Very understandable, but unfortunately, that can make it difficult to see the parallels today!

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    Linda 7 years ago

    I am pretty certain your review is on target, but I decided some time ago that it would do far more harm than good for me to in introduce more images and thoughts from Hitler's Germany into my brain.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Jim. Based on your articles, I am sure you will find this documentary extremely interesting!

  • Jim Bryan profile image

    Jim Bryan 7 years ago from Austin, TX

    This is absolutely something I would be interested in checking out after reading your review. Thanks.