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3.8 out of 5 stars11
3.8 out of 5 stars
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2008
Written by esteemed German scholar and historian Joachim C Fest, Hitler: A Career (Hitler - eine Karriere) is a mesmerizing look at the rise and fall of Adolph Hitler, as well as the complicity of the German people who catapulted him into power. Cleanly and thoughtfully constructed, Hitler: A Career relentlessly hammers home Fest's theory that Hitler gave the defeated, humiliated German nation exactly what they wanted in the early thirties, through a calculated shell game involving phony Germanic folklore and a soothing balm of violence and order to appease the middle classes fear of modernism. Fest's narration, read by Brit Stephen Murray, eschews a scholarly drone to appeal directly to the viewer's emotions. It's a spellbinding documentary, mainly in black and white but with some astonishing colour footage towards the beginning. I would highly, highly recommend Hitler: A Career.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2011
The footage in this documentary is genuinely fascinating to watch, much of which I had not seen before. The sequence of footage is also interesting and tells the story of the rise of evil eloquently, that is, with the sound muted! The commentary is pure propaganda of the worst kind. It has no real analysis or insight of the man, just a ridiculous parody. The commentary does no justice to history or truth about an evil and complex dictator. Hitler is portrayed here simply as a lazy tyrant with artistic pretensions in this infantile script. What a waste of great footage.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2009
I borrowed this from the library. Glad I didn't purchase it.
I don't think the cause of the rise of fascism in Germany can be so easily explained as is attempted here. As the 19th century social critic, Alexis de Tocqueville observed: "the public will believe a simple lie rather than a complex truth".
This wise perception applies as much to Germany in the thirties as it still does today to us in understanding that period of history. I think it also ironically explains the apparent popularity of this dire documentary. Otherwise, if the thesis presented in this documentary were accurate how to explain why and how fascism gained such popular support elsewhere in Europe (Britain with Moseley, Spain with Franco and Italy with Mussolini)?
To suggest that the Germans were so very different to every other nation in Europe in the forties, as Joachim attempts to do in this documentary, seems to me like some form of self-denial.
And that we still today fall into the same failing that Tocqueville discerned is evident by the rave reviews this DVD has been given. i.e we still haven't learned the lesson.

The reason why Germany was particularly ripe for fascism is better explained by the unjust and humiliating Treaty of Versailles, which stripped it of its colonies and forced it to compensate the allies for war damages, thus plunging it into a major economic crisis.

Both Italy and Germany, (the one a "winner" and the other a loser in WW1), were both bitter about the Treaty of Versailles and anxious to reverse its verdict.

If you want an accurate analysis of the rise of Hitler and Fascism in Germany then this I regard as so deeply, deeply flawed that despite its fine collection of footage, it gives a distorted and superficial understanding that I regard as worse than no clear understanding.

This documentary is just another example of the plethora of inaccurate victor-propaganda that resorts to easy demonisation of Hitler and Nazi Germany without giving any proper understanding of the rise of either.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2009
We are all familiar with documentaries exposing Hitler, the politician, the artist, the sexual fiend, the occultist, etc, etc. This documentary gives us an insight into Hitler, the Man. It traces Hitlers rise from a beer-hall activist to the absolute leader of a nation. But this exposition does not follow the usual commercial steps of explanation. No, it follows the man himself, tracing his changing attitudes, his manipulation of the German people and, indeed, his own party. This is not a political expose, but an attempt to understand the psychology of a man who allowed an absolute evil to be be committed in his name. The general opinion of the commentator is that Hitler, having achieved fame and fortune, grew lazy and let his minions run the nation. Watch this. You decide.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2009
Very disappointing. This film is very like the BBC 'The Nazis: A Warning from History'. It suffers from the same major fault, in that it continually uses propagandist language. Listening to the descriptions of Hitler and the Third Reich reminds one immediately and overpoweringly of Joseph Goebbels describing the opponents and victims of Nazism - full of easy slurs like 'evil', 'monster', 'liar', but very little serious analysis. I expected the film to be far more analytical from descriptions I had read about it, and in particular I expected a rational description of how the nature of German society at the time produced (to some extent) the Nazi regime. I did not hear such a rational analysis. The propagandist approach of this film, and that of The Warning from History, is never going to be very impressive and leaves one thinking that the Nazis and their opponents share the same basic propagandist view of life.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2009
The first few sentences of this 135min DVD both sum it up and pose a profound question for those of us who look back on these events some eighty years later. 'Deutschland Awake' was the rallying cry from a man who believed himself the chosen 'saviour of a world on the brink of disaster'. Germany certainly rose to Hitler's call; and the result was certainly disasterous, but was the end of the old Europe really as inevitable as this programme claims? The basic theme is that the German population felt threatened by the coming of the multi-racial capitalist future we now live in.

Like medieval Japan between the years 1638 and 1853, the German folk also wished to isolate themselves from a future which, with good reason; they believed menaced their existence. Firstly by strengthening their national/tribal identity; and also by recreating the old pre-industrial world of farm, village and craftsmen. Returning politically and socially to an older mythic world of tribal chiefs and warrior tribesmen, united by respect for blood and soil, honour, and duty. Under the old pre-war Government of Kaiser and Junker, this yearning for security might well have been satisfied in large measure; but the newly established 'democracy' of the Weimar Republic looked on such attitudes with distain; rapid modernization being regarded as the only way. When the economic slump of the 1930's arrived, it both discredited these socialist modernizers and left the hapless German voters with only one real option; Hitler! In January 1933 the Nazi's duly took office. Throughout Europe, Governments faced similar problems, but these where compounded by bloody memories of WW1. With Hitler's election, fear of German armies marching once more gripped Europe's leaders; who immediately took steps to strengthen their own positions militarily.

The greatest problem facing them all however, was that Europe's landspace was too small to support one Empire let alone several. From food production, through national populations, to industrial capacity, to sources of raw materials; even a united Europe compared badly when measured against the USA, USSR or in the longer term China. In the short term, Europe's colonial possessions could be used to make up the deficit; but the confined living-space was already impacting on Europe's birthrate, which in turn reduced the number of workers that could be employed in the factories, the number of administrators, settlers and soldiers that could be deployed to run the colonies. In the longer term Europe must unite or lose her colonies and with them her power in the world.
Hitler's answer was 'Der Grossraum'. One Europe, united from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains which once fortified, would become 'Festung Europa'; a continental fortress with natural boundaries rather like those America or China enjoy today. From within this Fortress European/Aryan humanity could face the future with rather more confidence that she would not be overwhelmed by Asia's numbers.

It was not to be. Rather than unite, the once great nations of Europe turned their weapons on each other for one last suicidal civil war. By 1945 it was over, some 50,000,000 were dead, virtually every city from Coventry to Karkov had been devastated, and the military/political strength of all the European nations had been shattered, their empires were finished; as was three hundred years of European world mastery. In the East the mongol soldiery of Asia raped Europe's women at will; in the West American liberators settled into their barracks.

Sixty years on nothing could conclude this review better than the words of Patrick J Buchanan, senior adviser to three American presidents and twice runner for the Republican presidential nomination; I quote:- "All about us we can see clearly now that the West is passing away.....Not one European nation, save Muslim Albania, has a birthrate that will enable it to survive through the century. As a share of world population, people of European ancestry have been shrinking for three generations. The character of every Western nation is being irremediably altered as each undergoes an unresisted invasion from the third world. We are slowly disappearing from the Earth. Having lost the will to rule, Western man seems to be losing the will to live". Hitler - A Career [DVD]
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2009
I expected more from J. Fest. Too biased, no deep analysis. The biography of A. Hitler written by Fest is really well written and complete. This dvd seems done in a hurry and does not reflect the profound knowledge of the subject by J. Fest.
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on 30 May 2015
Very interesting and comprehensive coverage.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2011
An excellent well narrated and documented film on Hitler. It includes some film clips I have not seen before. Well worth purchasing for those with an interest in WWII.
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on 12 November 2014
Excellent - thank you!
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