Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and what modern armies have learnt from it.


Machjo
#1
YouTube - Triumph des Willens (Full movie - English subbed)

Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) was a Nazi-era propaganda film produced by Leni Riefenstahl (whom Goebels selected for her reputation for making quality films), to chronicle the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremburg.

The story goes that she was given a blank cheque to produce the best film money can buy at the time. And though the film is in black and white, we can't deny the quality of the cinematography, the camera angles, the integration of music and visual effects to produce the desired emotional reaction, presenting the Nazi Party in the best possible light.

Today, we continue to see military recruitment drives through various media, air shows being perhaps the most common example, with jet fighters flying in formation, airborn troopers presenting skydiving shows, and soldiers rapelling out of helicopters, that trigger the imaginations of young boys in the audience. We have army tattoos where young audiences get to see soldiers looking sharp and marching in perfect formation at the sound of inspirational music. We witness it through cadet corps as an alternative to the less militaristic boy scouts. And we see it again through hollywood films (The US Navy was involved in the production of the film Top Gun, and I wouldn't be surprised if other branches of the military have been involved in the production of other hollywood films that likewise portray them in a positive light that can potentially plant the seeds of future recruitment among young viewers).

You'll notice all of these parallels in Leni Riefenstahl's film, with women and children participating in the events, and the Nazi Youth being very much involved.

What parallels do you see between Leni Riefenstahl's film and military propaganda today?
 
Machjo
#2
And now we'll have Army Day in the UK. Isn't it just going to be used as an opportunity for the British military to attrract young minds with airshows and recruitment drives for the cadets?
 
darkbeaver
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

YouTube - Triumph des Willens (Full movie - English subbed)

Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) was a Nazi-era propaganda film produced by Leni Riefenstahl (whom Goebels selected for her reputation for making quality films), to chronicle the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremburg.

The story goes that she was given a blank cheque to produce the best film money can buy at the time. And though the film is in black and white, we can't deny the quality of the cinematography, the camera angles, the integration of music and visual effects to produce the desired emotional reaction, presenting the Nazi Party in the best possible light.

Today, we continue to see military recruitment drives through various media, air shows being perhaps the most common example, with jet fighters flying in formation, airborn troopers presenting skydiving shows, and soldiers rapelling out of helicopters, that trigger the imaginations of young boys in the audience. We have army tattoos where young audiences get to see soldiers looking sharp and marching in perfect formation at the sound of inspirational music. We witness it through cadet corps as an alternative to the less militaristic boy scouts. And we see it again through hollywood films (The US Navy was involved in the production of the film Top Gun, and I wouldn't be surprised if other branches of the military have been involved in the production of other hollywood films that likewise portray them in a positive light that can potentially plant the seeds of future recruitment among young viewers).

You'll notice all of these parallels in Leni Riefenstahl's film, with women and children participating in the events, and the Nazi Youth being very much involved.

What parallels do you see between Leni Riefenstahl's film and military propaganda today?

Military cooperation and influence with the motion picture industry is old, the offices have been open since the first silent films. It was a revolution in propaganda, it's still worth the money.
 
Machjo
#4
True. I remember that Walt Disney was involved in making animated training films for the US air force in WWII, but I'm not sure if they were involved in propaganda activity. As for foreign propaganda, the Nazis were involved right from the beginning in propagating their ideas in Fascist Europe and South America. The British established the British Council (which still engages in subtle propaganda activities by the way) soon afterwards to counter it. The Americans and Canadians learnt of the use of foreign propaganda later, resulting in the establishment of USAID and CIDA (it's interesting how our most active propaganda activities hide under the cover of aid and development (USAID and CIDA) and cultural relations (the British Council), all seemingly harmless and even philanthropic ventures).
 
Machjo
#5
YouTube - Olympia (Prologue) - Leni Riefenstahl & Vangelis

No wonder the Nazis chose Leni Riefenstahl! As it turns out, she filmed much of the Berlin Olympics and other films too. This film is called olympia, and truly inspiring. She truly was a master of cinematography. It's such a shame that her amazing talent was put to the service of Nazi propaganda. But it's hard to deny that her cinematography may have inspired many to support the Nazi cause if the superficial beauty of the Nazi footage should have blinded them to the message it contained within it.
 
Machjo
#6
She has too many good films. Just go here and look for yourself:

YouTube - leni riefenstahl
 
darkbeaver
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

YouTube - Olympia (Prologue) - Leni Riefenstahl & Vangelis

No wonder the Nazis chose Leni Riefenstahl! As it turns out, she filmed much of the Berlin Olympics and other films too. This film is called olympia, and truly inspiring. She truly was a master of cinematography. It's such a shame that her amazing talent was put to the service of Nazi propaganda. But it's hard to deny that her cinematography may have inspired many to support the Nazi cause if the superficial beauty of the Nazi footage should have blinded them to the message it contained within it.

That amazing talent still serves Nazis Machjo. The medium is the message.
 
Machjo
#8
YouTube - The Rise and Fall of Leni Riefenstahl
A good interview with Leni Riefenstahl on her ideas on the political responsibility of the artist in society.
 
darkbeaver
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

True. I remember that Walt Disney was involved in making animated training films for the US air force in WWII, but I'm not sure if they were involved in propaganda activity. As for foreign propaganda, the Nazis were involved right from the beginning in propagating their ideas in Fascist Europe and South America. The British established the British Council (which still engages in subtle propaganda activities by the way) soon afterwards to counter it. The Americans and Canadians learnt of the use of foreign propaganda later, resulting in the establishment of USAID and CIDA (it's interesting how our most active propaganda activities hide under the cover of aid and development (USAID and CIDA) and cultural relations (the British Council), all seemingly harmless and even philanthropic ventures).

I had great uncles sucked into war in europe in 1914 through watching the glory of the British Empire marching in parades to the adulation of the gratefull public, banners and streamers, flowers, leather, rifles, military bands, martial spirits lifted high accompanied by a house band and they all signed up and shipped out to save the world from tyrany. They failed. Philanthropic ventures delivered by greeks bearing gifts eh.
 
Machjo
#10
This last film is interesting. It mentions that Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will had even won an award in Paris before the war, but then after the war the film permanently ruined her future career. What hipocrisy on the part of the people themselves for having supported her before the war and then the same people despise her after the war.
 
Machjo
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver View Post

I had great uncles sucked into war in europe in 1914 through watching the glory of the British Empire marching in parades to the adulation of the gratefull public, banners and streamers, flowers, leather, rifles, military bands, martial spirits lifted high accompanied by a house band and they all signed up and shipped out to save the world from tyrany. They failed. Philanthropic ventures delivered by greeks bearing gifts eh.

The power of art truly is scary. Even Leni, after having met hitler, was taken aback by his oratory (he wasn't stupid, and unlike Bush's 'misunder-estimations', Hitler was a German Churchill; he could actually speak his language, speak it well, and use it as a weapon of wr, as Churchill did by sending his words marching out to war).
 
darkbeaver
#12
If Hitler had won we would no doubt have been treated to her brilliant work preserving the triumphant parrades through London by the victorious SS.
 
darkbeaver
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

The power of art truly is scary. Even Leni, after having met hitler, was taken aback by his oratory (he wasn't stupid, and unlike Bush's 'misunder-estimations', Hitler was a German Churchill; he could actually speak his language, speak it well, and use it as a weapon of wr, as Churchill did by sending his words marching out to war).

Obama has it too, he could easily send as many to death elequently.
 
Machjo
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver View Post

Obama has it too, he could easily send as many to death elequently.

Perhaps, but eloquence itself is neither good nor bad. it's a tools, and it's how we use it that matters. Personally, I think eloquence just proves a command of a language. In taht sense it's a good sign. it means you can communicate waht you want to communicate clearly and unambiguously. The question is though, what do you want to communicate. If the heart is pure, eloquence can be of great service to the cause of justice, peace, brotherhood. So now the quesiton is, to what cause will Obama's words be of service?

I'm optimistic that he will be, at least comparatively speaking, a good president.
 
darkbeaver
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

Perhaps, but eloquence itself is neither good nor bad. it's a tools, and it's how we use it that matters. Personally, I think eloquence just proves a command of a language. In taht sense it's a good sign. it means you can communicate waht you want to communicate clearly and unambiguously. The question is though, what do you want to communicate. If the heart is pure, eloquence can be of great service to the cause of justice, peace, brotherhood. So now the quesiton is, to what cause will Obama's words be of service?

I'm optimistic that he will be, at least comparatively speaking, a good president.

Obamas words will be delivered in the service of those who elevated him to power. I'm certain he will be the most powerfull president the United States will ever have.
 

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