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The Architecture of Doom: A DVD Review
A Chilling Documentary
An Interesting Book
Propaganda: A Potentially Deadly Weapon
Documentaries and Movies About WWII and the Holocaust
- The Last Days
- Defiance: DVD Review
This remarkable movie is based on a true story of a community of 1200 Jews in hiding in the Belorussian woods during WWII. The history of this community was chronicled by Nechama Tec in the book Defiance.
- The Two of Us DVD Review
When French Director, Claude Berri was a little Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII, his parents decided that it would be safest to send him to the countryside to live with a Catholic family.
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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!
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