Sunday, December 05, 2010

Der Untergang (Downfall): Last Days of Adolf Hitler


Before I talk about Harry Potter movie, I would like to share a review on this other movie which I watched before my final exam. In fact, I watched this for a background understanding of Adolf Hitler’s life in another and simpler perspective while preparing for my second document analysis for EU3212.

The movie starts with Traudl Junge, together with several other ladies, heading towards the Wolfsschanze to be interviewed personally by Adolf Hitler for the post of Hitler’s personal secretary. Junge was chosen and the plot continued as Nazi Germany was going downhill. The movie was not only about the last ten days of Adolf Hitler, but also the last twelve days of Nazi Germany. As the plot continues, Nazi Germany was challenged by the Allies forces. Adolf Hitler spent most of his last days in his underground bunker in Berlin while Berlin became the frontline city of Germany. This period of time was depicted as a nerve breaking episodes as the Nazis supporters started to lose their faith in their leader but at the same time wished to serve the Fuhrer till the last moment of their life. In between, there were those who fled but ended up their life terminated by the Fuhrer’s order; there were those who stayed due to their fear towards the Fuhrer following death of those betrayed the Nazi – and there were those who volunteered to serve the Fuhrer, regarding him as a charismatic and dedicated leader. Some would say these people had been blinded, some would say Hitler had indeed been a great leader – but one thing was sure, many sacrificed under Nazi Germany, including the supporters and the non-supporters.

Outside the bunker, there was a small part of the story, of a boy who was brainwashed under the Nazi regime and swore to serve the Fuhrer at a young age. Not listening to his father, he joined the force as Berlin became shelling targets. Civilians were the victims and everything became chaotic as the tensed situation showed the ugliness of humanity inside Berlin itself. On the other hand, life under the bunker, though tensed, yet did not have much affect of the bloodshed outside. Junge spent her days working obediently and was one of the female workers who regarded Hitler as a great leader. There were emotional moments and story span in with more and more crisis. Hitler went from believing in victory to decision of writing his last testament. Junge was responsible in typing both Hitler’s and Goebbels’ political testament and was anxious with the fact that Nazi was going to fall under the Allies. The front part of the movie were more of a depiction of Hitler’s life in his bunker. As situation tensed, the focus went on to the ‘farewell’ part. Hitler made sure everything is planned before he committed suicide on 30th April 1945 under his own gunshot with his newly-wed wife Eva Braun. Their bodies were then burned outside the entrance to the lair. Consequently, Joseph Goebbels became the Chancellor but committed suicide as well, this time, with his whole family, poisoning all his six children with morphine and ampules of cyanide and the couple shot themselves. Their bodies were also burned.

At the same time, people like Junge were actually asked to leave but did not leave due to their ‘ultimate’ faith in the Nazi leader. But when everything came to an end, the Allies closed in and Germany surrendered. Several loyal Nazis committed suicide leaving not much of those who were close to the Fuhrer himself left to disclose about the Fuhrer at a more personal level. Through this movie, it is easier to understand the history better and at the same time get an insight on how Adolf Hitler’s life was still a mystery to the world. He himself had been a person who kept his personal story secret, giving people the impression as a man who dedicated fully to the country. Besides, his action in grabbing his followers’ faith and death of theirs, led no trace back to the very close distance of understanding Hitler. Whether it is a planned action or not, I would say, it worked somehow. Though, it is hard to tell the history in a two hour film.

The movie ended with the real Junge being interviewed. One of the famous thing she said was she only realized what terrible things Nazi had done after she left the bunker and she thought at first she should be pardoned due to her young and naive age – until she saw the monument commemorating Sophie Scholl – that she realized young age is not an excuse. However, overally, the movie emphasized also on the blindness of people following Nazism, without understanding what it really is, resulting in so many unwanted consequences…

Here is the trailer for the movie:

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