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Triumph of the Will and Why We Fight : Prelude to War

These films were arts of propaganda, which is the attempt to control the beliefs and behaviors of people in times of crisis. This was the goal of each film, to try to persuade the world by the use of powerful film propaganda of different points of view. The film Triumph of the Will expressed how Hitler and his people wanted the world to see them. The main goal here was to encourage membership in the nazi party by emphasizing mass accommodation, mass gatherings, and above all collectiveness.

The film Why we Fight: Prelude to war on the other hand wanted to make America aware of why they had to become involved in WWII. The film describes the events that led up to WWII. The escalation of Japanese militarism and the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy are also explored. This series of films was created by the US War Department to appeal to Americans’ commitment to the War. The most effective element of each film to me was the use of visuals/images in the scenes and the use of sound (music etc. )

The reason is that in both films in order to really get the point across the use of the images were very specific, to make their audience really believe what they wanted to portray. In Triumph of the Will for example the use of the images of Hitler’s plane emerging like he is God from the sky. Also the use of the shots of Hitler from the windows and him acknowledging the crowd, and mainly the depiction of crowd support. Another scene that really portrayed Hitler as Godlike was the scene with the young children in school singing songs indicating Hitler is the best man and basically they should praise him.

This scene really grabs the attention of viewers. “Why We Fight” has modern historical value in its archival black-and-white film footage. Some of this is rarely seen elsewhere! Particularly fascinating are the segments on the rise of the Reich in Germany, the invasion and defense of Russia, and the bombing of London. Also enjoyable is the quaint, fervid narrative style, so reminiscent of 1940’s newsreels. These scenes helped convince the American public we had to get involved in another terrible war.

The freedom of the world depended on it! The director also used a certain scene to convey the thought that America and her Allies could beat the forces of the dark world. To convey that thought he makes the leaders of the Axis laughable. Capra has the narrator compare Mussolini’s chest beating gesture to that of Tarzan, and as a composite picture of Hirohito, Hitler and Mussolini appears on the screen circus music plays in the background which shows the usage of music in the film for portrayal.

The movie says the enemy is dangerous, but they are beatable. The film assures that our individuality, our free press, our religious faith, all the things that the enemy mocks, will in the end be the very things that defeat them. The use of the images in the scenes and music selection are the main effective elements of each film in advancing their goals. In addition, these were very well used in my point of view to try to make believers out of their targeted audience.

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