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Charlie Chaplins 1940 Film The Great Dictator Essay

The film also depicts the victims of war as the viewer witnesses drafted civilians fighting in place of dead German soldiers and are introduced to the perspective of children fighting under the Hitler’s Youth regime. There is a scene that truly captures the victims of war element as a father with only one arm goes searching for his son and walks upon some kids dressed in the Nazi gear preparing to the Russian invasion. The father sees his son with bazooka in hand and demands that his son comes with him and return home.

The son looks at his father and tells hims to shut up and leave. His father makes a speech telling them that there is no use in fighting anymore and that if they stay they will killed. He looks around and sees that no one in uniform including his son can be over 14 years of age and then the viewer sees a young teenage girl also dressed in Nazi gear and overly excited to be fighting for the Third Reich. The father’s words are not felt and basically ignored as he returns home without his son.

This scene shows the naivety of the youth within the German efforts as we see them almost brainwashed in their understanding of why they are fighting. These child soldiers are almost disturbingly eager to fight why older Germans are trying to talk sense and rationalize their true efforts of the war. The other example of the victims of war can be seen in the numerous self conflicted deaths and those brought upon unknowing and helpless children. We watch as countless members of the inner circle commit suicide rather then being taking prisoner by the closing in Russians.

I think what really the depicts the horrific accounts of victims of war is Magda Goebbels who forces ampules of cyanide into the mouths of her five children. Hitler is given some humanized elements within the film as we see a very caring relationship between him and his secretary Traudl Junge who is blinded by Hitler’s power and beliefs in German’s future, but comes to the realization that the man has another side that is very irrational and brutal.

We also see Hitler and his love for Eva Braun which the film depicts a marriage between them in their final moments and before the eventually commit suicide. Many other characters in the film are humanized and again relates to the anti-war message, which has been criticized and attacked in Germany, “The most disturbing aspect is the way it allows the audience’s sympathy to gravitate toward some of these characters. Next to the Goebbelses, and to Hitler, many of the others don’t look too bad.

In part, this is a result of the conventions of film narrative, which more often than not invite us to identify with someone on screen, even if nobody is especially admirable. ” (Scott). The other film that I decided to watch and analyze its anti-war message was Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator. This film proceeds Downfall by 65 years, but embodies a message and warning that foreshadows the actual reality of what Hitler and the Nazi Regime brutally accomplished.

At the time of the film’s released the United States was still formally at peace with Hitler and Nazi Germany, but Chaplin seems to call upon not only the neutral Americans but the rest of the world to resist Hitler’s depredation and reject his and the Nazi followers hatred. Unlike the movie Downfall, The Great Dictator is a political satire comedy-drama that parodies the likeness of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, but still hits on issues such as fascism, the Nazis, and antisemitism.

Chaplin masterfully creates a unique parallel between the two characters he portrays on film with one being a poor jewish barber and the other being the fascist dictator Adenoid Hynkel. A scene that creates an existential meaning is where Adenoid Hynkel dances with an enormous globe and eventually makes it burst. I believe this is a message delivered by Chaplin who is in many ways hinting at the facts that a dictator of the like of Hitler plays with the future of the humanity and with an almost inevitable force will destroy it.

The film shares with Downfall the suffering brought onto the civilians in occupied parts of the war and above all challenges the concept of love of a country. As we witness the anger and hatred put on the jewish community by Adenoid Hynkel and his devoted XX storm troopers. The film depicts the XX storm troopers pillaging and condemning jewish ghettos that eerily resembles the Nazi party and the SS actions against the jewish race. The film also captures scenes of XX concentration camps which at the time were only thought of as work and labor camps.

The film and general public did not understand the true atrocities going on in those camps and Chaplin was later quoted in saying that, “I would not have made the film if I had known about the true extent of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time” (Chaplin). The most meaningful moment in the film comes at the end when the jewish barber is mistaken as the dictator Hynkel and makes speech full of truth, peace, and urging understanding by opening with, “You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful,” (Chaplin).

Chaplin’s character calls out his desire to help the “Jew, Gentile, black man, and white. ” This declaration of peace is weaved with an impassioned plea for brotherhood and goodwill. The speech not only tried to tackle the issue with racism and hatred brought by the Hitler and the Nazis but reached out to the American people and the separation between race on the home front. Richard Brody elaborates on this projected message to the American audience, “Chaplin’s call for equality was aimed at his audience in America, where anti-Semitism was a far less potent and real political force than was racism.

For that matter, the film’s horrific earlier depiction, in Tomainia’s ghetto, of a nearly-successful lynching, by hanging, of the Jewish barber must have reminded Chaplin’s American viewers that such crimes and horrors of hatred continued to be perpetrated here. ” (Brody). He ends the speech with, “Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite! (Chaplin). I feel this speech accounts for the overall anti-war message of the film and relates to other anti-war films that suggest that it is really not the dictators or generals that start the wars, but the naive and mislead people who support and urge war on. The film suggest it is up to the people in determining how they want to live and be free. The two films do a fantastic job on establishing a relationship between the realties of war brought upon a dictator like Hitler and the people most effected by war such as civilians.

The two films helped my understanding of anti-war elements such as victims of war and nationalism as they provided examples of the extreme loyalty and blinded understanding of patriotic people subject to supporting unnecessary violence. The film Downfall did this masterfully keeping the viewer locked in a bunker with Hitler and his inner circle while the end of the Third Reich was hours aways from surrendering to the Red Army of Russia.

This seclusion with Hitler and his supports shed light on why the supported this deranged man and what loyalty they had towards with, while also projecting the distrust and corruption within his inner circle that lead to his downfall. This helped my define nationalism as something that can be projected and instilled in an individual without fulling understanding the action and truth behind a patriotic promise. Chaplin best captures this in his film The Great Dictator by comedically portraying people who blindly follow a person like Hitler without really analyzing the person leading a nation by hatred and exclusion.

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