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The Nazis - A Warning From History [DVD]

 Parental Guidance   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
Price: £5.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Nazis - A Warning From History [DVD] + Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution [DVD]
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Product details

  • Producers: Laurence Rees
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 24 May 2004
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001MIQ94
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,754 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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 Walker

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Black & White, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Examines the reality behind the seemingly well-structured and ordered Nazi party in government, and how despite the regimented displays and image of the dictator Fuhrer the actual rule of government was more haphazard. Covers the disposal of Rahm and bureaucratic set ups and rivalries within the main government building. Looks at how ideas and policies often came about through rival party officials jostling for influence and favour with Hitler and formulating policies based on what they thought he wanted and on vague ideas or statements from Hitler. It also considers how the Gestapo could not have worked so effectively without the support or information from the populace, and looks at many surviving examples of letters sent to the authorities denouncing neighbours or relatives, including an interview with a woman who wrote such a letter. Also looks at how the policy of official euthanasia for mentally or physically handicapped children and adults came into being and at attitudes to anyone who was 'different' in any way. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...The Nazis: A Warning from History - 2-DVD Set (UK)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
195 of 202 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and poignant 14 Nov 2005
This is one of the finest television documentaries I have ever seen. It probes behind the usual cliches and half-truths about the Nazis and presents a picture of the party that is altogether more disturbing. The documentary concludes that once in power the operation of some of their darker policies was facilitated by the assistance of lower party officials and ordinary Germans. This expounds the myth that all Germans were manipulated into compliance from the top down. Neither are the sentiments that fuelled Nazi policies restricted to Germany, as in one of the most disturbing parts of the documentary a Lithuanian man who volunteered without coercion to join a shooting squad and execute his Jewish neighbours is interviewed. This series is given weight by the latest scholarship and authenticity and emotive power by a multitude of interviews. The music and narration is also of the finest quality. The documentary will leave you better informed, but also asking some uneasy questions. It is divided into the following six chapters, each approximately 48 minutes in duration:
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.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Brilliant 22 Nov 2004
The Nazi's - A Warning From History is one which i only saw in its entirety this year on UK History. I found it an engrossing and fascinating series. From the outset the brilliant music featured in the credits create in the viewers mind a programme that is going to convey a story that is perhaps unsurpassed in its horror and of historys' main role as being teacher for us in the present and future.
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.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important record to keep in mind 24 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This series, now shown 3 years ago still sticks in my mind as one of the profound documentaries I have ever seen. The 'Warning from History' is the story of a highly civilised democracy that turned into a violent military state. The warning lies in the fact that these events are not as much in history as we may like to tell ourselves for two main reasons. Firstly, it's not that long ago - many of the unrepentant interviewees who supported the fascist regime are alive and well and happy to discuss their feelings of the time. Secondly, they are ordinary members of society who were caught up in series of events that best served them as individuals and threatened them if they resisted. As ordinary selfish individuals, they responded and went along with the mainstream, ignoring the realities they did not like in the interests of their own survival. By mixing personal, sociological and historical vews, the history comes frighteningly into the present. We all live in a society on this knife edge. If we too were brutalised and threatened, we could and would turn on eachother to ensure our own survival. This video should be bought, remembered and shown to the next generation
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb exposé of a monstrous regime 11 Feb 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Why are there not more DVDs like this? If I could, I would rate it a 7 out of 5.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
it was used to help young students with corse work
Published 16 days ago by paul tarrant
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent video.
Published 19 days ago by Liam O'Mahony
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very pleased
Published 2 months ago by dwayne hesler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
brilliant to teach from- lots of info that isn't available in school texts
Published 2 months ago by sheilaa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A warning from history is very apt,very harrowing , but have we learnt anything since the war ?
Published 2 months ago by rennie 42
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not what I thought it was but I cant complain about postage etc
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Derek Behan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by William Adamson
5.0 out of 5 stars First class interpretation of the era
Laurence Rees' knowledge of this period of German history is thorough and he conveys it well without histrionics or embellishment as so often happens. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wiltshirebob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series worth watching again and again
I first watched this series when it was first aired and it was so good it stuck in my mind and many of the examples can still be remembered. Read more
Published 3 months ago by DCheyside
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Series - But not in 16:9 Aspect Ratio
There's nothing I can add to all the other great reviews here. This really is a superb series - The music is particularly moving and the narration is excellent. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sonscope
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