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Triumph of the Will is one of the earliest propaganda firms that were produced in 1935 by Leni Riefenstahl. It is a chronicle of the Nazi Party Congress in 1934, which took place in Nuremberg in Germany. According to Foucault (2012), the film was seen as a deliberate attempt by the Nazi government to manipulate the German society by making some of their propaganda be acceptable.
Adolf Hitler had just taken over the leadership of the country in the previous year, and due to his ambitious nature, he was keen on implanting the manifesto of the Nazi Party. The speeches given by Adolf Hitler, his senior military generals, and senior members of the party show the desire to gain absolute power. Adolf Hitler was elected to the office through a democratic vote.
However, the movie presents him as a military leader who is keen on redefining his position as both a military and civilian ruler. The declaration by Hitler that Nazi party and state is a clear indication of the interest of a democratically elected leader to use absolute power with the help of the military apparatus. In this paper, the researcher aims at identifying the types of militarization as presented in this power.
Kinds of Militarization
In this film, there is a deliberate attempt by the political leadership of this country to militarize the society. According to Orr (2009), the Triumph of the Will is one of the best films that show the ambition of Adolf Hitler beyond the borders of Germany. This scholar says that the film presents various kinds of militarization at various stages.
Militarizing the Body
Militarization of the body is presented at early stages of the films by the pseudo-military drills. Adolf Hitler is presented as the savior of this society, and for him to save the society he needs the services of the able-bodied men who could engage in military battles. Through his inspiration, young people are seen to join the military and engage in military drills in readiness to serve their country.
As shown in this film, it is not possible to win a war without proper preparation. The volunteers are taken through early stages of military training where they try to learn the basics about military. They learn how to use guns while in the battlefield. Given that they are not trained soldiers, they use spades as symbols of guns that they will use when they engage in warfare.
The actual militarization of the body is seen on the third day of the film. At this stage, it is apparent that the main theme in the film is how to make the Germans ready for a possible outbreak of war. On this day, Adolf Hitler starts his morning activities by addressing youths in militaristic terms and informing them that they have to harden themselves in readiness for war.
A military pass and the armored vehicles with highly skilled military officers demonstrate the effort that the Nazi Party had to ensure that the targeted group had all the military trainings. Militarization of the body is best demonstrated when a large number of youths join the military training camps to learn how to use various forms of guns and other heavy artillery.
The training involves enduring pain and spending long hours in the field learning how to engage in a battle. The conviction of the trainers and trainees clearly hints at a possible target that should be attacked once the military training was successful.
Militarizing the Population
According to Maguire (2010), although Adolf Hitler was one of the world’s worst dictators, he knew that real power lies with the people. He was, therefore, very keen on engaging the population in all his militaristic activities. This is seen in this film when he engages actively with the public.
Over 700,000 people attend the first public forum that is organized for Hitler. Most of these people are youths who are not pleased by the current state of affairs in this country. They have attended the gathering hoping that the new leader will bring a lasting solution to the problem. Hitler takes advantage of this high expectation to offer a solution that is militaristic in nature.
He ignores the possibility of addressing the problems that Germany has with the international community through dialogue. Instead, he hands over the duty of liberating Germany to Germans themselves. Militarization of the population starts when Hitler makes a successful effort to unite the Germans against what he describes as a common enemy. His ability to evoke emotions and to make his audience develop a feeling that they have a common destiny plays an important role in the militarization of population.
This film demonstrates that Hitler and the Nazi party were keen on having a united population that is ready for war before engaging in any militaristic expedition. In his speeches, Hitler blames people he refers to as traitors for failing to achieve success in the World War 1.
He does not rule out the possibility of another World War, but he is keen on ensuring that this time round Germany comes out as the winner, unlike in the previous occasions. To do this, it is demonstrated in the film that he needs the population. This population could only go to war if they are militarized. This militarization is what Adolf Hitler was keen on doing as shown in this film.
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Militarizing the Inner Space
This film best demonstrates the militarization of the inner space. When Adolf Hitler came to power, German was under a heavy yolk placed on it by the international community when it was accused of causing the First World War. The society was not happy with this verdict, but they had no option other than paying the fine.
Adolf Hitler came to power through a heavy expectation that he would change the state of affairs for the better. In this film, Adolf Hitler is demonstrated as a leader who was determined to meet the expectations of the society and deliver them from the yolk placed on it by the international society. As shown in this film, delivering the nation could not be done through a peaceful engagement.
The previous leaders had tried this approach but failed. It was time to use other alternatives, and to Hitler, military engagement was the only way out of this problem. However, engaging in a war was not a simple affair of ordering soldiers to the battlefield. Before going to the war, there was a need to get the support of the society. The German people had to develop an urge to go to the war for the sake of liberating the country.
This could only be achieved through propaganda. Militarization of the mind starts on the third day of the film at a youth rally that is attended by Hitler and his top party officials. The party officials are allowed to engage the youths in a discussion on how the country can be liberated.
These officials are very critical of the current affairs of the country, and paint a picture of Adolf Hitler being the only possible savior that could address the problem for the society. They prepare a basis upon which Hitler can base is propaganda to the youths. True enough, Hitler comes out to address the youth gathered to meet the German ‘savior’. The ‘savior’ seizes this opportunity to militarize the minds of the youth at this rally.
He recounts the suffering that Germans have to undergo because of the fearful leadership that governed the country before him. He tells the youth that the country is being treated as a Third World Country by nations that could not match its military capabilities. He then tells the youth that the solution lies on them. They had to say to the current state of affairs.
He tells them of the superiority of the German race that is being trampled upon by weaker nations simply because the country was not ready to go to war. The message of Adolf Hitler to an audience of about 700,000 people seems to generate serious impacts among his audience, especially the youths (Latour, 2012). Hitler was keen on provoking their emotions.
He tells the audience how superior the Germans are to any other race that exists in the world. Hitler is very passionate about his message to the Germans. He tells the gathering that a time had come to liberate the nation. He says that the power rests with the people, and the youths had to make a decision about what they want in their own society.
Hitler knew that militarization of the mind was the best approach that he could use to encourage the Germans to prepare for another war that will help it liberate itself from the burden placed on it by the League of Nations. The cheers from his audience and the kind of reactions from the youth clearly demonstrate the he succeeded in militarizing the minds of his audience.
He captured their inner space, and evoked a strong urge to go to war. He made them feel that they could easily win a war if they remained focused and determined to this course. He lived up to the expectations of a true savior who came to liberate his people (Lande, 2011). The society believed in him, and was determined to walk with him on the path towards liberation.
Triumph of the Will is one of the German’s earliest propaganda films. The film portrays Adolf Hitler, through is Nazi Party, as the savior that German has been waiting for to liberate it from the injustice it suffered after the end of World War 1.
Hitler is preparing the country for a possible military engagement with the international community. He militarizes the body, the population, and most importantly the inner space of the Germans in readiness for war. He succeeds in his militarization process based on the responses from the audience as shown in this film.
Foucault, Michel. 2012. Docile Bodies In Discipline and Punish, excerpts. New York: Vintage.
Lande, Brian. 2011. Breathing like a soldier In Sociological Review. New York: Cengage.
Latour, Bruno. 2012. Give me a laboratory and I will raise the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Maguire, Mark. 2010. Biopower, Racialization and new Security Technology. New Jersey: Wiley.
Orr, Jackie. 2009. The Militarization of Inner Space In Critical Sociology. London: McMillan