The majority of the German footage shot during World War II was made by Army Propaganda Kompanien for the production of newsreels (Die Deutsche Wochenschau). As is clearly shown in this masterfully edited film by Veronique Lhorme, images that we recognize today as objective records of the reality of war were, in fact, created to raise German sprits, and they had been usually staged. The documentary investigates the wartime fate of the cameramen whose images continue to form the canon of war pictures even today: from the unsteady flight of the bombs falling on Poland in 1939 right up to the last images of Hitler, his trembling hand decorating teenagers from the Hitlerjugend in the courtyard of the Reich Chancellery. Some of the reporters were amateurs, discovered on the front by the Ministry of Propaganda, while another one was a professional photographer and cameraman who had worked before the war with Leni Riefenstahl, among others. A deconstruction of the best-known images showing German military operations makes it possible to trace the evolution of Hitler’s propaganda during various stages of the war. Although various aspects were stressed at different times, the most oftenly used image of the war was much closer to Karol May’s adventure stories than to the reality on the front. As highlighted by the filmmakers, the most popular Wochenschau report in the Third Reich was one showing soldiers from the Afrika Korps frying an egg on a tank under the hot Saharan sun.
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