|The Victory of Faith|
1933 German film poster
|Directed by||Leni Riefenstahl|
|Produced by||Leni Riefenstahl|
|Written by||Leni Riefenstahl|
|Music by||Herbert Windt|
|Edited by||Leni Riefenstahl|
|Distributed by||Universum Film AG|
Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith, Victory of Faith, or Victory of the Faith) (1933) is the first propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from 30 August to 3 September 1933. The film is of great historic interest because it shows Adolf Hitler and Ernst Röhm on close and intimate terms, before Röhm was shot on the orders of Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives on 1 July 1934. All known copies of the film were destroyed on Hitler's orders, and it was considered lost until a copy turned up in the 1990s in the United Kingdom.
The form of the film is very similar to her later and much more expansive film of the 1934 rally, Triumph of the Will. Der Sieg des Glaubens is Nazi propaganda for the Nazi Party, which funded and promoted the film, which celebrates the victory of the Nazis in achieving power when Hitler assumed the role of Chancellor of Germany in February 1933.
Like her Nazi propaganda films of 1935, the short Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces) and the classic propaganda feature Triumph of the Will, Der Sieg des Glaubens documents a Nazi Party rally, the Fifth NSDAP Congress, in a straight chronological format. It has no voiceover or commentary. The activities captured include the welcoming of foreign diplomats and other party members and politicians – such as Franz von Papen – at the Nuremberg train station; Adolf Hitler's arrival at the airport and his meeting with important party members such as Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring; massive Sturmabteilung (SA, colloquially known as "Brownshirts") parades; and Hitler's speech on the assumption of power by the party, and the tenth anniversary of the German National Socialist movement.
The events shown are in roughly chronological order, starting with the arrival of Hitler in Nuremberg and the welcome given by the Nuremberg Gauleiter, Julius Streicher. Rudolf Hess is shown sitting next to Hitler, and the Fuhrer passes him a bunch of flowers given to him by admirers. Hitler is also shown in several cameos with Ernst Röhm, then leader of the SA. The welcome includes a speech from a senior official of the Italian National Fascist Party, Arturo Marpicati, with conveyed greetings from Benito Mussolini. It is followed by the rally on the vast parade ground recently built by Albert Speer, and includes a shot of a Zeppelin airship floating by, complete with swastika on the tailfin. There is also a separate rally of Hitler Youth, with an introduction by Baldur von Schirach. There follows a march past in the streets of the old city, with the party leaders receiving the salutes of the massed goosestepping ranks of the SA and the SS. Familiar faces include Hermann Göring and a brief cameo appearance of Heinrich Himmler, who would be the star of Riefenstahl's next propaganda film, The Triumph of the Will, after his and Gōring's successful efforts incite Hitler to massacre the leadership of the SA.
Marching troops feature again in the final sequences in the main parade ground, with tributes to the fallen from Hitler and Röhm, and various flag ceremonies which appear to have quasi-religious significance to the members of the party. The shots of marching feet and legs has an almost hypnotic effect on the viewer, well parodied by a later British wartime short which matches the time of the marching to the popular song "The Lambeth Walk".
Ernst Röhm, head of the SA and, at the time, the second most powerful man within the Nazi Party, is prominent in The Victory of Faith. In less than a year, during the Night of the Long Knives, Röhm and many of his lieutenants would be executed under Hitler's orders. Hitler personally roused Röhm from his bed at his lakeside hotel when he arrested him for alleged treason in devising a plot against Hitler, a trumped up charge created by Himmler, Göring and Reinhard Heydrich. All references to Röhm were ordered to be erased from German history, which included the destruction of all known copies of the film in 1934, probably on Hitler's order.
The 1935 film Triumph of the Will was produced to replace it but differs in that the upper hierarchy of the Party, "Hitler's paladins", do not receive nearly as much attention in the later film as they did in the earlier one. (This film can also be viewed on the Internet Archive.)
Riefenstahl's next propaganda film, Triumph of the Will, which documented the next year's party rally, follows a similar script, which is evident when one sees both films side by side. For example, the city of Nuremberg scenes – down to the shot of a cat that is included in a car-driving sequence in both films. There are panning shots across the roofs of the old town, showing the city awakening before the rally starts in earnest. The camera angles and editing that made Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will a ground-breaking film are already demonstrated in The Victory of Faith. Furthermore, Herbert Windt reused much of the musical score for this film in the later one, which he also scored.
In April 1934, Riefenstahl was visiting Great Britain to speak at major universities to discuss her propaganda film techniques. It is during this visit that at least one copy of this film is known to have been duplicated. It was found after being in storage for over 60 years, and is the only known surviving print. In the home video editions most commonly available, the opening credits appear to have been shot off a screen projection, but the remainder of the footage appears to be a direct copy of a print. It is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive (see below).
A digitally restored edition was released on DVD by International Historic Films in 2012.
Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
Hitler was born in Austria—then part of Austria-Hungary—and was raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, and was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.
By November 1932, the Nazi Party had the most seats in the German Reichstag, but did not have a majority, and no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.
Hitler sought Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in Eastern Europe, and his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and, on 1 September 1939, invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hitler declared war on the United States, bringing it directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. Less than two days later, on 30 April 1945, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army; their corpses were burned.
Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims who he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) or socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare, and the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history.Adolf Hitler's Munich apartment
Adolf Hitler's Munich apartment was an apartment owned by Adolf Hitler, located at Prinzregentenplatz 16 in the German city of Munich, the birthplace and capital of the Nazi Party which was formed in Munich in 1920.Brown House, Munich
The Brown House (German: Braunes Haus) was the name given to the Munich mansion located between the Karolinenplatz and Königsplatz, known before as the Palais Barlow, which was purchased in 1930 for the Nazis. They converted the structure into the headquarters of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). Its namesake was the result of the early Nazi Party uniforms, which were brown. Many leading Nazis, including Hitler, maintained offices there throughout the Party's existence. It was destroyed by Allied bombing raids during the Second World War.Censorship in Nazi Germany
Censorship in Nazi Germany was extreme and strictly enforced by the governing Nazi Party, but specifically by Joseph Goebbels and his Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Censorship within Nazi Germany included control of all forms of mass communication, which included newspaper, music, literature, radio, and film. The same body also produced and disseminated their own literature which were solely devoted to furthering Nazi ideas and myths. Anti-semitism lay at the core of their works, including 1940 films such as Jud Süß and The Eternal Jew. The ministry promoted the cult of Adolf Hitler by sponsoring early films such as Triumph of the Will of the 1934 rally and The Victory of Faith made in 1933, and which survives now as a single copy recently discovered in the UK. It was banned by the Nazis owing to the prominent role of Ernst Roehm, who was murdered by Hitler on the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.Death, Deceit and Destiny Aboard the Orient Express
Death, Deceit and Destiny Aboard the Orient Express is a 2000 thriller film about a group of international terrorists who, a few days before the start of the new millennium, lure a group of very rich celebrities and businesspeople on board the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul in order to extort large sums of money from them. The screenplay for the movie was written by Peter Welbeck (aka Harry Alan Towers) and Peter Jobin. The film, which was directed by Mark Roper, starred Richard Grieco, Joanna Bukovska, Romina Mondello, Christoph Waltz, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Götz Otto.Ernst Röhm
Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (German: [ˈɛɐ̯nst ˈʁøːm]; 28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German military officer and an early member of the Nazi Party. As one of the members of its predecessor, the German Workers' Party, he was a close friend and early ally of Adolf Hitler and a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung (SA, "Storm Battalion"), the Nazi Party's militia, and later was its commander. By 1934, the German Army feared the SA's influence and Hitler had come to see Röhm as a potential rival, so he was executed during the Night of the Long Knives.Führer Headquarters Wasserburg
The Führerhauptquartier Wasserburg, or Wasserburg, was a bunker facility built by the Organization Todt as a front-line Führer Headquarters for Adolf Hitler during the Second World War about four kilometers north-west of Pleskau (Russian: Pskov) in the Soviet Union, on a loop of the Welikaja River.
The construction began on 1 November 1942. The centerpiece of the complex was an old castle-like mansion. The bunker was never used by Hitler, but after the completion it was used by Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord) of the Wehrmacht as a military headquarter.Geli Raubal
Angela Maria "Geli" Raubal ([ˈɡeːliː ˈʀaʊ̯bal]; 4 June 1908 – 18 September 1931) was Adolf Hitler's half-niece. Born in Linz, Austria-Hungary, she was the second child and eldest daughter of Leo Raubal Sr. and Hitler's half-sister, Angela Raubal. Raubal lived in close contact to her uncle from 1925 until her presumed suicide in 1931.Health of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler's health has long been a subject of popular controversy. Both his physical and mental health have come under scrutiny.Hitler family
The Hitler family comprises the relatives and ancestors of Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945), an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), commonly known as the Nazi Party. He was dictator of Germany, holding the titles Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and served as head of state as Führer und Reichskanzler from 1934 to 1945. He is noted for his central role in the rise of nazism in Germany, provoking the start of World War II, and the death of millions of people in the Holocaust.
Before the birth of Adolf Hitler the family surname had many variations that were often used almost interchangeably. Some of the common variances were Hitler, Hiedler, Hüttler, Hytler, and Hittler. Alois Schicklgruber (Adolf's father) changed his name on 7 January 1877 to "Hitler", which was the only form of the last name that Adolf used.The family has long been of interest to historians and genealogists because of the biological uncertainty of Hitler's paternal grandfather as well as the family's inter-relationships and their psychological effect on Hitler during his childhood and later life.Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler (baptised 28 February 1792 – 9 February 1857) was considered the officially accepted paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by Nazi Germany. Whether Johann Georg was in fact Hitler's biological paternal grandfather is disputed by modern historians.Julius Hare
Julius Charles Hare (13 September 1795 – 3 January 1855) was an English theological writer.Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (German: [ˈʁiːfn̩ʃtaːl]; 22 August 1902 – 8 September 2003) was a German film director and actress.Born in 1902, Leni Riefenstahl grew up in Germany with her brother Heinz (1905–1944), who was killed on the Eastern Front in World War II. A talented swimmer and artist, she also became interested in dancing during her childhood, taking dancing lessons and performing across Europe.
After seeing a promotional poster for the 1924 film Der Berg des Schicksals ("The Mountain of Destiny"), Riefenstahl was inspired to move into acting. Between 1925 and 1929, she starred in five successful motion pictures. Riefenstahl became one of the few women in Germany to direct a film during the Weimar Period when, in 1932, she decided to try directing with her own film called Das Blaue Licht ("The Blue Light").
In the 1930s, she directed Triumph des Willens ("Triumph of the Will") and Olympia, resulting in worldwide attention and acclaim. The movies are widely considered two of the most effective, and technically innovative, propaganda films ever made. Her involvement in Triumph des Willens, however, significantly damaged her career and reputation after the war. The exact nature of her relationship with Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler remains a matter of debate. However, Hitler was in close collaboration with Riefenstahl during the production of at least three important Nazi films, and a closer friendship is claimed to have existed. When in 2000 Jodie Foster was planning a biographical drama on Riefenstahl, war-crime documenters warned against a revisionist view that glorified the director. They stated that publicly Riefenstahl seemed "quite infatuated" with Hitler and was in fact the last surviving member of his "inner circle". Others go further, arguing that Riefenstahl's visions were essential to the success of the Holocaust. After the war, Riefenstahl was arrested, but classified as being a "fellow traveler" or "Nazi sympathiser" only and was not associated with war crimes. Throughout her life, she denied having known about the Holocaust. Besides directing, Riefenstahl released an autobiography and wrote several books on the Nuba people.
Riefenstahl died of cancer on 8 September 2003 at the age of 101 and was buried at Munich Waldfriedhof.Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives (German: Nacht der langen Messer ), or the Röhm Purge, also called Operation Hummingbird (German: Unternehmen Kolibri), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, ordered a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his hold on power in Germany, as well as to alleviate the concerns of the German military about the role of Ernst Röhm and the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazis' own mass paramilitary organization. Nazi propaganda presented the murders as a preventive measure against an alleged imminent coup by the SA under Röhm – the so-called Röhm Putsch.
The primary instruments of Hitler's action, who carried out most of the killings, were the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary force under Himmler and its Security Service (SD) under Reinhard Heydrich, and the Gestapo, the secret police, under Göring. Göring's personal police battalion also took part in the killings. Many of those killed in the purge were leaders of the SA, the best-known being Röhm himself, the SA's chief of staff and one of Hitler's longtime supporters and allies. Leading members of the leftist-leaning Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, including its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were also killed, as were establishment conservatives and anti-Nazis, such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Bavarian politician Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. The murders of SA leaders were also intended to improve the image of the Hitler government with a German public that was increasingly critical of thuggish SA tactics.
Hitler saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. He also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the German military, who feared and despised the SA as a potential rival, in particular because of Röhm's ambition to merge the army and the SA under his own leadership. Additionally, Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth. In Röhm's view, President Hindenburg's appointment of Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933 had brought the Nazi Party to power, but had left unfulfilled the party's larger goals. Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate German critics of his new regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies.At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been in the hundreds, with high estimates running from 700 to 1,000. More than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Wehrmacht for Hitler. It also provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extrajudicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime. The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as the supreme administrator of justice of the German people, as he put it in his July 13 speech to the Reichstag.
Before its execution, its planners sometimes referred to the purge as Hummingbird (German: Kolibri), the codeword used to send the execution squads into action on the day of the purge. The codename for the operation appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. The phrase "Night of the Long Knives" in the German language predates the killings and refers generally to acts of vengeance.Nuremberg Rally
The Nuremberg Rally (officially Reichsparteitag , meaning Realm Party Convention) was the annual rally of the Nazi Party in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. They were large Nazi propaganda events, especially after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. These events were held at the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg from 1933 to 1938 and are usually referred to in English as the "Nuremberg Rallies". Many films were made to commemorate them, including Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and The Victory of Faith.Psychopathography of Adolf Hitler
The psychopathography of Adolf Hitler is an umbrella term for psychiatric (pathographic, psychobiographic) literature that deals with the hypothesis that the German Führer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler suffered from mental illness. Both during his lifetime and after his death, Hitler has often been associated with mental ills such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other ones. Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who have diagnosed Hitler as having mental disturbance include well-known figures such as Walter C. Langer and Erich Fromm. Other researchers, such as Fritz Redlich, have concluded that Hitler probably did not have these disorders.Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens) is a 1935 Nazi propaganda film directed, produced, edited, and co-written by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by Nazi leaders at the Congress, including Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Julius Streicher, interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung (SA) and Schutzstaffel (SS) troops and public reaction. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The film's overriding theme is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the leader who will bring glory to the nation. Because the film was made after the 1934 Night of the Long Knives (on 30 June), many prominent Sturmabteilung (SA) members are absent—they were murdered in that Party purge, organised and orchestrated by Hitler to replace the SA with the Schutzstaffel (SS) as his main paramilitary force.
Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and became a major example of film used as propaganda. Riefenstahl's techniques—such as moving cameras, aerial photography, the use of long focus lenses to create a distorted perspective, and the revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography—have earned Triumph of the Will recognition as one of the greatest propaganda films in history. Riefenstahl helped to stage the scenes, directing and rehearsing some of them at least fifty times. Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden and other countries. The film was popular in the Third Reich, and has continued to influence films, documentaries and commercials to this day. In Germany, the film is not censored but the courts commonly classify it as Nazi propaganda which requires an educational context to public screenings.An earlier film by Riefenstahl—The Victory of Faith (Der Sieg des Glaubens)—showed Hitler and SA leader Ernst Röhm together at the 1933 Nazi party congress. After Röhm's murder, the party attempted the destruction of all copies, leaving only one known to have survived in Britain. The direction and sequencing of images is almost the same as that Riefenstahl used in Triumph of the Will a year later.
Frank Capra's seven-film series Why We Fight is said to have been directly inspired by, and the United States' response to, Triumph of the Will.Wolf's Lair
Wolf's Lair (German: Wolfsschanze; Polish: Wilczy Szaniec) was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which became one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) in various parts of Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union – in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian woods about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now in Gierłoż, Kętrzyn County, Poland). Three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer's bunker was located. These were guarded by personnel from the SS Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht's armoured Führerbegleitbrigade. Despite the security, the most notable assassination attempt against Hitler was made at the Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3½-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In mid-1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf's Lair original buildings. The work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in late 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces.Zweites Buch
The Zweites Buch (pronounced [ˈtsvaɪ̯təs buːχ], "Second Book"), published in English as Hitler's Secret Book and later as Hitler's Second Book, is an unedited transcript of Adolf Hitler's thoughts on foreign policy written in 1928; it was written after Mein Kampf and was not published in his lifetime. The Zweites Buch was not published in 1928 because Mein Kampf did not sell well at that time and Hitler's publisher, Franz-Eher-Verlag, told Hitler that a second book would hinder sales even more.
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