Films about the German navy during the First World

The battle at sea was an important part of the war. After England had declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 following the German army's violation of neutral Belgian territory, plans were afoot '(England) in die Knie zu zwingen', to force England to its knees. Two powerful weapons would be deployed to this end, the Zeppelin and the U-boat. Not surprisingly, expectations were high. Even before the war, the navy had gained a special place in the German consciousness. This national pride...

Notes to Chapter

1 Part of the subtitle over the review of 1914. Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand, in Welt am Abend 21 January 1931. 2 The only earlier publications devoted to this film are Bernadette Kester, 'Context en betekenisgeving Duitse oorlogsfilms in de periode 1926-1933', Opossum. Tijdschrift voor historische en kunstwetenschappen, 16 1995 42-48 Wolfgang M hl-Benninghaus, '1914. Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand', in Helga Belach amp Wolfgang Jacobsen ed. , Richard Oswald. Regisseur und Produzent...

Neid Leid Trnen das ist der Krieg

Although male characters such as soldiers or marines dominated war films in numbers, female characters also played a substantial role. One need only think of the respective spouses of czar Nicholas II, in 1914. Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand, of Karl in Westfront 1918 and of troop captain Von Arndt in Tannenberg. Captain Liers's mother in Morgenrot, and the many lovers featured in nearly all war films either in the foreground or the background should not be forgotten. These characters often...

The battles of Lige Tannenberg and the Marne River

The first historical battle to be waged was the one with Belgium at the beginning of August 1914. In the original film, this battle scene was indicated by the intervening caption 'Siegesrauschen', which is lacking in the compilation film. The violation of Belgian sovereign territory, which according to international agreements would stay neutral, is not mentioned. In the film, the conquest of Belgium is confined to the battle of Li ge, one of the towns closest to the German border, circled by...

Cultural historians Eksteins Winter and Mosse

The lack of interest in German war films cannot simply be attributed to the limited number of films that have been preserved. True enough, more than half of them are lost, but those that are still there have hardly been examined. I have defined these films as war films because of the fact that the war plays a prominent role in the narrative, in other words, the characters' actions are in large part determined by the war. 'Documentary' films are films that explicitly take the war as their...

Research into war films film historians

The place of the war in literature, painting, monumental architecture, photography and postcard pictures has often been the subject of research.21 It is therefore all the more remarkable that the German war films from the Weimar period have largely been ignored. The period itself has been studied more often than nearly any other period in German history before the Second World War.22 More than thirty war films were made between 1925 and 1933. While this fact has been observed, it has never been...

Suffering and love in other war films

An extreme picture of reconciliation, this time between the Germans and the Russians, is painted in Volk in Not, a film by the Neff-Droop-Hegewald trio. Nowhere is the aspect of reconciliation as prominent as in this film, a fact that is due to the female protagonist. The film premiered in December 1925, which makes it the earliest war film of the Weimar period with the exception of Namenlose Helden. Incidentally, both films are lost. As indicated by the title, Volk in Not, with the subtitle...

Scapa Flow and the navy rebellion

In 1930, the year in which Somme and Westfront 1918 saw the light of day, the year also in which All quiet on the Western Front caused such a stir, Leo Lasko made the silent film Scapa Flow. Two years earlier, he had taken part in the production of Der Weltkrieg II. Leo Lasko worked both as a director and as a writer of screenplays.64 At first sight, the title of Scapa Flow does not appear to give much cause for controversy. It is the name of the British naval base near the Scottish Orkney...

Siegfried Kracauer

The German critic, essayist and journalist Siegfried Kracauer is one of the best-known experts in the field of Weimar film culture. His standard work, From Caligari to Hitler, written during his American exile shortly after the Second World War, and based on his experience as a film journalist with the Frankfurter Zeitung, is unrivalled in its comprehensiveness and depth. Kracauer saw film as an important symptom of the modern age, an age marked by the all-pervasive influence of metropolitan...

Realism and antiwar tendencies in four films

Films such as Namenlose Helden 1925 , Westfront 1918 1930 , Die andere Seite 1931 and Niemandsland 1931 , like the war documentaries, can be related to New Objectivity. Westfront 1918 especially showed 'striking similarities to the basic doctrine of the New Objectivity', according to Kracauer.2 These four films represent another approach to the war than has been discussed so far. Lacking archival footage, or making only limited use of it - with the exception of Namenlose Helden, which appeared...

Credits Weimar War Films

M music mostly at the premiere seen by the author in the Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv Berlin BAB . The credits are based on the Illustrierter Film-Kurier, censorship reports cr and film journals, in particular Reichfilmblatt Rfb and Kinematograph Kin . Missing credits are due to the fact that the information could not be found in these or other sources. Besides the distribution firms mentioned other company's also distributed these films. 1914. Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand D Richard Oswald P...

The battles at Verdun and the Somme

While Langemarck, according to Huppauf, was mainly associated with the myth of youth and nationalism, the battles at Verdun and the Somme symbolised the technological war machine and the genesis of new, modern man i.e. the male .70 The battles that took place around fort Douaumont near Verdun and at the Somme were connected in a military and strategic sense, both were fought in 1916 and they partially overlapped. The plan to capture Douaumont, which was considered the strongest fortification in...

The battle of Ypres the myth of Langemarck

Battle Langemarck

The battle of Ypres or Langemarck, as the Germans wished to call it October-November 1914 marked a second tragedy for Germany. In the compilation film, the scene begins with the caption 'Die neu gebildeten Freiwilligen-Korps wurden Mitte Oktober zum entscheidenden Stoss in Flandern eingesetzt', which is followed by a map of Ypres and its surroundings. Next, we see an interesting sequence of constructed images that mark a significant departure from the rest of the film, especially in terms of...

The Uboat films

Die versunkene Flotte and U9 Weddigen Die versunkene Flotte premiered on 8 December 1926 in Berlin, exactly two weeks before Unsere Emden. It was brought into circulation in no less than fifteen Berlin cinemas, showing the kind of enthusiasm that the producers expected the film to generate with the general public.80 Judging from reviews, the screenings were indeed a success. The T gliche Rundschau had serialised the book with the same title on which the film was based in June of the same...

Husbands coming back home Feldgrau and Heimkehr

On 11 November 1918, the armistice was signed, ending the war in strictly military terms. People began to get to terms with the economic, political and social misery into which the country had been plunged. For many people and in an almost literal sense, the war had not yet ended. One of the major problems that many families, relatives, wives and parents experienced was the uncertainty about whether their loved ones were still alive. Jay Winter devotes an entire chapter in his Sites of memory,...

The war scene

The enemy in Westfront 1918 is always portrayed as an anonymous figure. In the fighting scenes, we see him as a group. Sometimes we only hear the enemy, for example when a screaming French soldier is dying a slow and painful death on the barbed wire. While the image of a writhing soldier was cut from Namenlose Helden by the censor, here sound can create the suggestion of the same image - an effect that is sometimes stronger than the actual image itself. In accordance with Gollbach's anti-war...

Bufa and

The year 1917 saw the establishment of the Bild- und Filmamt Bufa on 30 January and the Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft Ufa on 18 December. Bufa became an umbrella organisation for all governmental and military film and press agencies. The production company was supervised by the Foreign Ministry's military section and concentrated on producing documentaries on military action and propaganda feature films.41 During the war, Bufa was responsible for the establishment of hundreds of small...

Fort Douaumont at Verdun

The two sequences devoted to these battles were originally part of Der Weltkrieg II and have also been preserved in the compilation film. The battle of Verdun takes up a sequence of approximately thirteen minutes in the film, with the emphasis on the fighting around fort Douaumont. The battle has been placed in a narrative framework, and it has been filmed from a German perspective. The sequence begins with the preparations for a shelling of enemy positions, then continues with the actual...

Notes to Introduction

Combat and identity in World War I Cambridge, etc. 1981, orig. 1979 x. 2 Please note, the object of study is films that were made after the First World War. For German films made during the First World War, see, among others Karel Dibbets amp Bert Hogenkamp ed. , Film and the First World War Amsterdam 1995 Hans Barkhausen, Filmpropaganda f r Deutschland im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg Hildesheim, Z rich, New York 1982 however, this is mainly an institutional...

F.w. Boterman Oskar Spengler Und Der Untergang Des Abendlandes Cultuur Pessimist

Pearson, Reframing culture. The case of the Vitagraph quality films Princeton New Jersey 1993 Uricchio, W., 'Die Kulturfilm a brief history of an early discursive practice', in Usai amp Codelli ed. , 1990 356-378 Usai P.C. amp L. Codelli ed. , Before Caligari. German cinema 1895-1920 Prima di Caligari. Cinema tedesco, 1895-1920 Pordenone 1990 Virilio, P., War and cinema. The logistics of perception London, New York 1989 trans. of Guerre et Cin ma logistique de la perception,...

Literary context war literature

New Objectivity is often thought to have reached its high point round about 1929, but Namenlose Helden, Westfront 1918, Die andere Seite and Niemandsland were nevertheless part of this cultural context.4 Perhaps only its tone of voice changed after 1929. While it was an aesthetic practice in principle, realism fulfilled a different function and gained prestige in a time of social, political and especially economic upheaval. According to some commentators, including Michael Gollbach and Modris...

The surface ships

In the period from 1926 to 1933, three films were made about the role of battleships during or shortly after the war Unsere Emden 1926 , Scapa Flow 1930 , and Kreuzer Emden 1932 . For many people, these names had a mythical ring. While the historical ship Emden represented the triumphant advance of the German army at the beginning of the war, Scapa Flow called attention to the honourable defeat of the navy right after the war. These different moments captured on film provide interesting...

Lehrreich und amsant

Historical films in the period 1896-1933 For a long time, the historiography of German cinema, understood as a complex entity of industry, films, audience and criticism, has been oriented mostly towards the years following the First World War. General studies begin with a description of the first German film screenings, only to make a carefree jump across two decades to the 1920s, a period in which film as art was said to have flourished. Gradually, this historical gap is being closed....