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Nazi propaganda: history of Germany

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.147.1 | RG Number: RG-60.0886 | Film ID: 26

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    Nazi propaganda: history of Germany


    This historical feature film begins in 1862 with King Wilhelm I appointing Otto von Bismarck as head of the Prussian government. Since Germany was divided into 35 different political entities and transferred to various principalities, the nation is portrayed as desperately longing for national unity. Bismarck's first political action of dissolving the Prussian parliament because the opposition leader Virchow refused to finance a military reform and rearmament plan is followed by tough censorship of the press. From 1866 to 1870, Bismarck wages wars against Denmark, Austria, and France according to his main political principle -- the most decisive political questions are not solved by parliamentary discussions and resolutions but by "Eisen und Blut" [weapons and blood] alone. The movie ends with the proclamation of a "neues Deutsches Reich" [new German Empire] in the mirror hall of Versailles 1871 united under the leadership of Prussia and armed with a strong military force to withstand its powerful and malevolent neighbors.

    Like the 1942 sequel "Die Entlassung" ["The Dismissal"], which was also directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, this film intended to depict Bismarck as a national leader of exceptional genius and focused on national unity and strength as the most important issue for any German government. His task is further portrayed as "den deutschen Michel mit Gewalt zu seinem Glück zwingen" [to force the ordinary Germans into their own happiness with violence]. Thus parliamentary democracy is shown as being incapable of addressing the basic political needs of Germany and military might and violence as necessary for the existence of Germany. After passing censorship on November 19, 1940 the "Staatsauftragsfilm" [movie commissioned by the state] premiered on December 6, 1940 and very soon became a box-office success with an estimated profit of RM 1,989 million. It won the distinctions "staatspolitisch und kuenstlerisch besonders wertvoll" [state-politically and artistically especially valuable] and "jugendwert" [of worth for the youth]. According to the "Meldungen aus dem Reich" [Reports from the Reich] compiled by the "Sicherheitsdienst" [Security Service of the SS], the audience understood and appreciated the analogy drawn between Bismarck and Hitler concerning genial leadership, anti-parliamentarism, and aggressive foreign policy and thus the suggested continuity between Prussia and Nazi Germany.
    Film Title
    Production:  1940
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv
    Director: Wolfgang Liebeneiner
    Producer: Heinrich Jonen
    Camera Operator: Bruno Mondi

    Physical Details

    Feature. Propaganda.
    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    03:00:00:00 to 03:52:28:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 26 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Federal Republic of Germany. Bundesarchiv.
    Conditions on Use
    Researchers who wish to use this footage should contact the Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv at to sign a release, or submit the online request form at:

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased this from the Imperial War Museum in London in May 1995.
    A special booklet was distributed at the cinemas with main propaganda points of the film and short biographies. Length of entire film: 106 minutes

    Other Credits:
    Script: Rolf Lauckner, Wolfgang Liebeneiner
    Music: Norbert Schulze
    Cast: Paul Hartmann as Otto von Bismarck, Friedrich Kayssler as King Wilhelm I, Lil Dagover as Empress Eugenia, Kaethe Haack as Johanna von Bismarck, Maria Koppenhoefer as Queen Augusta, Ruth Hellberg as Princess Victoria, Margret Militzer as Maria von Bismarck, Werner Hinz as Prince Friedrich, Harald Paulsen as Ambassador Benedetti, Walter Franck as Napoleon III, Karl Schoenboeck Emperor Franz Joseph, Guenther Hadank as General Moltke, Hellmuth Bergmann as von Roon, Karl Haubenreisser as Virchow, Karl Meixner as Loewe, Otto Gebuehr as King of Saxony, Jaspar von Oertzen, Hans Junkermann as Wrangel, Otto Graf, Franz Schaffheitlin, Bruno Huebner, Paul Hoffmann, Otto Stoeckel, Otto Below, E. von Winterstein, Karl Fochler, Wilhelm B. Krueger

    There are several gaps in picture and sound, most probably due to reel changes. Film ID 27 holds the first half of the movie; Film ID 26 holds the second half. See Film and Video departmental files for extensive documentation and a summary of the film.
    Film Source
    Imperial War Museums
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2240
    Source Archive Number: GWY 537 R7-12
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:54:59
    This page:

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