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Was Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will Propaganda, or was it purely a representational recording of the Nuremberg Rally in 1934?

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Was Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will Propaganda, or was it purely a representational recording of the Nuremberg Rally in 1934? I am going to discuss whether Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will (1934) was propaganda, or a representational recording of an event. Riefenstahl was considered "an intricate part of the Third Reich's propaganda machine1", yet she claimed that: "If you see this film again today you ascertain that it doesn't contain a single reconstructed scene. Everything in it is true. And it contains no tendentious commentary at all. It is history. A pure historical film... it is film-v�rit�. It reflects the truth that was then in 1934, history. It is therefore a documentary2" It is clear that there are two very different parts to this story, with general consensus being that Hitler wanted it to be propaganda, and with his influence on Riefenstahl he could get what he wanted, but with Riefenstahl's wish that there would be no political agenda, she insisted that she created it to be a record of the events at the rally. Riefenstahl had been making films for 10 years, and Hitler approached her to make an artistic film about the Nuremberg Rally, after he had been impressed by her previous work, which included Victory of Faith (1933), a short film about the 1933 Nuremberg rally. ...read more.


This scene is a startling metaphor for God coming from the sky, and this glorifies Hitler as some sort of god. Although this was a true event, the way the film is cut with the music gives the viewer the opportunity to create their own image of Hitler and his significance. Although not obvious propaganda, the viewer is given the opportunity to create an image of Hitler, which makes the film becomes objective because the viewer is being made to feel a certain way about Hitler. "Our sense of perspective and reality is lost in the views, the music and the steady regal pace of the moving plane9" In reality, Hitler was just arriving at the rally site, but on film, it is being made to appear that he was some sort of god. It is undeniable that this was done in a way to glorify Hitler; therefore it is propaganda because it influences people to think in a certain way. Although Riefenstahl claimed that her film didn't contain a single reconstructed scene, the film is set up in a way that builds up through the use of music and repetitive marching in time, to a finale where Hitler addresses the masses. ...read more.


"I am completely unfamiliar with all the subject matter. I can't even tell the SA from the SS... ...How am I supposed to know what is politically important or unimportant, what should or shouldn't be shown? If my ignorance makes me leave out some personality or other, I'll make a lot of mistakes11" The fact she had little or no knowledge of the Nazi party's politics, meant she could have had no agenda when cutting the film. She simply wanted to make an artistic film which was visually stunning. Hitler's insistence that Riefenstahl made the film led to her making a film which was artistic and visually stunning, but also glorified the Nazi party. Whether Riefenstahl intended this or not is up for debate, but the truth is that her film was an incredibly influential piece which glorifies a regime that bought terror to the lives of many people. After looking at all the evidence, I believe that Triumph of the Will was not a film that Riefenstahl intended to be Propaganda, but has been interpreted as Propaganda. The Nazi's were masters of Propaganda, and Riefenstahl's influences will most probably have been propaganda. There is no doubt that it is a true recording of an event, but it is also very powerful, and could easily have influenced Germans to support the Nazi party, thus making it propaganda in some way. ...read more.

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