The Hitler Film

The full title of the motion picture is The Eva Braun and Hitler Story. It is made up of actual photographs of people and events, and a large number of shots were taken in Hitler’s own domestic circle.

Why this picture was not brought out years ago is a trifle puzzling since all the filming took place up to 1945. Perhaps the answer is to be found in the warning tagged on the end of the title on the screen, “it must never happen again.”

One thing that stood out from start to finish of the film was that it was meant to spotlight the military aspects of Hitler Germany and to say as little as possible about working class conditions there. In the light of up-to-date events in Germany, the propaganda of the period of the picture shows the complete hypocrisy of capitalist propaganda. During the showing, when one had just got used to seeing German military uniforms, the scene suddenly switched to a conference of “Allied” war men, amongst them Eisenhower and Montgomery, and for a moment apart from knowing the faces, one could see no difference.

The scenes when Hitler drove through the streets lined on both sides with cheering, flag-waving workers, were quite similar to those witnessed when members of the Royal family and political leaders do the same thing here and elsewhere throughout the world. The spirit of nationalism and patriotism is built and fostered in all cases.

A lot was made of the privilege and comfort enjoyed by Eva Braun and the children, whilst other Germans faced privation and hardship, particularly after D-day and the air-raids on German cities. We are presumably supposed to think that the allied rulers were different in this respect.

The film tries to convince us that it was merely the dreams of Hiller and his “love of power” that drove Germany to war, as if the need to expand and find markets and resources in a capitalist world had had nothing to do with it. Under capitalism each nation grabs what it can in territories, resources, markets and trade-routes and although these things are the concern of the capitalist class they are a ways prepared to “grab” or “defend” them with working-class lives. After Germany’s defeat in the 1914-18 blood bath for profits, the pickings of Europe were taken. The idea of keeping Germany out of the game lasted until French capitalism showed signs of having ambitions of its own. Then the “balance of power” policy was reverted to. When Hitler came along he adapted himself to the prevailing conditions by promising work to the unemployed and revival to the thwarted industrialists. The war-machine and the State dictatorship were to be the means to expand. The fact that from the earliest days Hitler’s Germany was building warships and going ahead with rearmament far in excess of what was permitted under the treaties, was very well known. The slogan “expand or bust,” applies to all capitalist nations. That is why there are always new rivals, new line-ups, and new wars being planned.

To expand is to develop industry and production, which means the creation of vast surpluses of goods for which markets must be found—or bust, which means slump, crisis and depression. Since the markets and resources of Europe were already being exploited, to “expand” for Germany meant arming and marching. The film under review was really nothing more than a record of the process whereby Germany shook off the restraints of defeat and reasserted herself as an industrial power. Who was it that said “history repeats itself?”

The commentator, during a conference between Hitler and Mussolini, referred to them as these “Fascist” leaders, but no comment was made on Churchill’s one-time admiration for these figures (particularly Mussolini) in pre-war days.

Our case as Socialists is that capitalism is rotten and ugly wherever it may be, in that it rests on the exploitation of the many by the few and all the pacts and alliances are nothing but manoeuvres for position amongst the thieves. We said in 1936: “No frontier is worth the life of a single worker” (P. 4 “War and the Working Class”). Years before this at the outbreak of the 1914-18 war we made similar statements, and to-day we say exactly the same.

In spite of the denunciations of one Power by another, opposing groups are prepared to line up together if it suits their purpose. Did not the British and American capitalists, while affecting to despise one dictatorship, line up with another—Russia? We know it is claimed that this was only done to “smash Fascism,” but now the ex-allies are planning to smash one-another with half the ex-Fascists on each side. Surely the complete farce of capitalism is self-evident.

No film of Hitler’s Germany would be complete without some reference being made to the persecution of the Jews. Let it be recognised, however, that racial discrimination is not something of which Germany alone was guilty. Though, of course, not to be compared with the mass brutalities perpetrated in Germany in the name of race, race prejudice exists everywhere. Even at the time of writing certain states in the U.S.A., for example, are talking of forcibly resisting the High Courts order to end segregation in American schools.

The conclusion we come to is that if any propaganda film tells the truth in full it will expose the foul deeds of its own side as well as those of its opponents. Truth then can never be the stock-in-trade of capitalist propagandists; the stories are always told with the slant of whatever national capitalist group puts them over.

As Socialists we do not merely find fault with this or that capitalist country. We say that where there is capitalism, i.e. class ownership of the means of living, buying and selling, wage-labour and profits, there is poverty, misery and drudgery, and in no country do the working class own anything to die for. The fight of the world’s workers is the fight to get the capitalist class off their backs by introducing Socialism—i.e.. a world system with no wages, profits, buying or selling, where all the means of living are held in common and war and war propaganda are things of the past.

H. B.

Leave a Reply