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Kolberg as Nazi Propaganda

by Kate Fortmueller

Kolberg (released toward the end of World War II) tries to motivate Nazi soldiers and the German people to continue fighting. The film moves between moments of melodrama and impassioned speeches in an attempt to instill its message.  In this concluding clip the mayor of Kolberg reassures Maria that she was an important part of the war effort and even though the battle took her father, all of her brothers, and her love, she still won.  The final speech, which takes place during Napoleon's 1813 campaign, mobilizes Kolberg as a sign of German perseverance.

Although the film primarily makes its connection to World War II allegorically, the focus on the severely bombed out buildings in this final sequence strongly resembles what many German cities (or sections of cities) looked like toward the end of the war.  The film focuses on these buildings for several shots, but once the people emerge (in droves) from their houses the film launches into a message of rebirth - the German spirit will help rebuild the city!

Kolberg (1945) - The surrender, mourning, and celebration

Kolberg takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, but it was made as propaganda to inspire the Nazi soldiers and the German people to support the war effort. The bombed out buildings in this final sequence make this connection explicit.

from Kolberg (1945)
Creator: Veit Harlan
Distributor: International Historic Films, Inc.
Posted by Kate Fortmueller