An analysis of two World War II propaganda films [electronic resource]: the German Feuertaufe and the Polish-British This is Poland
At the beginning of the 20th century, the introduction of the motion picture as a medium changed the way people disseminate information between each other and to the masses. The magnitude of this change was supplemented and amplified first by, the addition of sound, then color, and finally (possibly most importantly) the invention of the technology to send and receive motion picture signals along with their corresponding sound tracks. This would eventually all be combined in the production of the first television sets. Some of the most stunning illustrations of the power brought about by this medium can be observed in the way that Germany was able to utilize film during (and before) World War II. The idea of using cinema as a propaganda tool led to the creation of UFA during WWI (1914-1918). Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels' fascination with film and its propaganda potential led to the development of many successful public communication techniques and numerous tactics used to influence the people's thoughts and actions. This thesis provides background information pertaining to the outbreak of World War II including the German propaganda machine, and examines the role that motion pictures played in the distribution of anti-Polish messages before and during the early stages of the war. It focuses specifically on the film Feuertaufe as an example illustrating six major tenants of Nazi film propaganda namely: oversimplification, appeal to emotions, harnessing the power of the visual image, intentional blurring of lines between entertainment and facts, repetition, and the use of graphics combined with music. Next, this essay explores how each of the abovementioned characteristics were used by the Poles and the British in their pro-Polish film This is Poland in order to sway public opinion and spread messages aligned with their political views respectively. This thesis concludes by stressing the importance of being aware of these techniques so that one may be able to separate fact from hype, and by looking at the possible utilization of the six tenants in the years to come as smart mobile-devices usher in yet another metamorphosis of the art of information distribution.