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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

1945 marked the end of World War II, the fall of the National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP, or Nazi Party), and led to a divided Germany. When the war officially ended, Germany was broken and Stunde Null, or ‘zero hour,’ was implemented. The intention was to allow Germany to rebuild and encouraged forgetting the past in order to move forward. Initiating this plan during this vulnerable period left fertile ground for the country to be swayed politically. An easy way to reach audiences was through cinema and photography. The NSDAP capitalized on technological advancements in film and photography to revolutionize the practice of propaganda. The newsreels became one of the largest components of Nazi propaganda shown before movie screenings, targeting their audience in large numbers at a time. Newspapers produced and distributed during this time would echo what was said in the newsreels and the photographs used enhanced the accompanying message. Citizens were under the impression that what they were being told was truthful. Understanding the Nazis’ cinema and photography is crucial in order to understand image’s employment in the post-war period. Since the population had previously acclimated to newsreels and photography, the occupying powers decided to implement newsreels alongside other propaganda tactics used by the NSDAP in their respective zones as part of the denazification initiative. The newsreels of the East and West differed in execution but the intent was the same: to politically influence the people living in their zones. The employment of newsreels and photography as propaganda tools initiated the divide between the two Germanies before the wall was ultimately built in 1961.

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