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The Nazis - A Warning From History [DVD]
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The Nazis: A Warning From History exposes the popular myths surrounding the rise and fall of the Third Reich. The series explores how the Nazis came to power, how they ruled, how they treated their occupied territories and above all, how a cultured nation could be responsible for such acts of inhumanity.
Through compelling interviews and archive film and records, the series paints an astonishing and often unpalatable picture of Nazi rule. Contemporaries recall the true extent of Hitlers power, eye-witnesses describe the horrors perpetrated on the Eastern Front, specially shot film in Lithuania reveals the development of the Final Solution and ordinary Germans shed new light on the relationship between the Party and the people.
Arguably one of the most important documentary series ever made, 1997's The Nazis: A Warning from History sets out to show that, far from being a uniquely German aberration, Nazism fed upon and was fostered by the prejudices and lemming-like inclinations of ordinary people. Although culminating with the atrocities of the Holocaust, these programmes are equally good on the motives of otherwise perfectly normal people, who needed only the tacit encouragement of the regime to perpetrate horrors against their enemies, their neighbours, or their own family. When confronted with evidence of their Nazi past, elderly former party members are often unable to find any other justification for their actions than simply that they could get away with it. Far from being a monolithic dictatorship which compelled the citizenry to act in rigidly prescribed ways, the Nazi state just allowed people to give their worst inclinations free reign.
Hitler, it turns out, was a profoundly lazy man who rarely got out of bed before midday, and preferred to leave affairs of state to sort themselves out. He subscribed fervently to the doctrine of survival of the fittest as applied to all social and political matters, and actively encouraged in-fighting among his subordinates. The result was an organisational vacuum at the centre of state, which super-ambitious acolytes were only too eager to fill, often acting on nothing more than the Fuhrer's off-the-cuff remarks. One small example is revealing: after reading a letter from the father of a disabled child, Hitler agreed that it would be best for the boy to die. From this single statement arose a nationwide policy of euthanasia for all disabled children, carried out willingly and without compulsion by the doctors and "carers" themselves. It needed nothing more than the Fuhrer's nod. The message is clear and shocking: it happened in Germany, it could happen anywhere.
On the DVD: The Nazis: A Warning from History has six episodes spread across two discs. Picture and sound are standard TV quality; notable is the evocative use of Brahms's German Requiem as the series' theme. Other than subtitles, there are no extra features. -Mark WalkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Helped Into Power - this chapter examines how the political and economic turmoil of the Weimar Republic assisted the Nazis into a position of power. The economic depression of the early 1930s and opposition to communism from senior German politicians are shown to be important contributory factors.
Chaos and Consent – shows that behind the public façade of a rigidly ordered Nazi party, the lackadaisical approach to administration of Adolf Hitler created a cloud of confusion in which ambitious Nazis could exert considerable power in the formulation of specific policies.Read more ›
The programme itself keeps the right balance on information, making very effective use of documents and eye witness testimony, explaining very effectively how the Nazi's came to power, and although we now view it as an evil regime, one witness at the time said it was 'paradise'. It weaves a story together that appears seamless and interlinked, tying events that occured in chance meeting between Hitler with a Nazi official or his recieving a letter asking for permission to get rid of a disabled child, and how these in turn led to the various events and policy of Nazi Germany.
Its a rare and powerful documentary that is still as watchable 7 years on. Thoroughly recommended to those with even a passing interest in history and perhaps as a reminder to those who believe that as a species humans are advanced as we really think. This will make you think again.
The main thrust of this DVD has nothing to do with the conduct, management or execution of the war but rather the conduct, management or execution of the political field. So do not expect to see dive-bombing Stukas, menacing Tigers or obdurate Stormtroopers. None of these even have a walk-in part in this DVD.
Although we all hold a view that this was a barbarous regime, how did it manage to attain power & even more importantly, how did it manage to retain the power to memerise the German volk until the very end. Unlike the Stalinist regime which used terror by killing tens of millions of their own citizens, the Nazi state employed terror primarily against the undermensch and Juden. Undoubtedly terror was used against internal dissidents especially at the war's close but, in the main, the ordinary German folk were captivated or in thrall of Hitler and no doubt felt unbridled pride in the achievements of the German war machine especially with their initial, swift and essentially "bloodless" victories.
[...]Episode one deals with the birth of the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party or Nazi Party for short. Despondency had set in after their ignominious defeat in WW1. Disaffected elements without jobs & a future bandied together. These were revolutionary times in Germany with first the left trying to overthrow the existing order & establishing the short-lived Räterepublik in Bavaria. Then the right in the form of the Nazi Party had a go in the 1923 Putsch. Where Rees is outstanding, is marshalling little know facts such as the fact that the prosecutor in his trial had previously gone beyond the call of duty in assisting Hitler to evade justice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are so many reviews and so much written about this superb DVD that I cannot really add very much to it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by originalisa
Excellent documentary, with BBC at it's very best. It's a real wake up call for all generations to be aware of the danger of dictatorial solutions. Read morePublished 5 months ago by J Nobre Teixeira