Morgen letzter Tag!: Ich und Du und der Weltuntergang (German Edition)

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Thus the narrative demonstrates not only that the celebrations are inappropriate when brave German soldiers are risking their lives as a result of Nazi policy, but also that the Nazis are responsible for the horror at Stalingrad. For example, we see newspaper reports, radio programmes and documentary film footage, which not only appear to add to the veracity of the fiction, but also illustrate just how effective Nazi propaganda was on the German public. The sharp cut to shots of dead soldiers, however, immediately negates the glamour of the parade, and reveals the reality of war that Hitler tried to keep hidden from the public eye.

Thus, from the outset, the film demonstrates an awareness of the propaganda that was disseminated during the Nazi era, and appears to highlight how Hitler misled both the German public and Wehrmacht soldiers. There are simply too many wounded and not enough medical supplies to help.

Hence the narrative demonstrates that only those fighting on the Eastern Front could have known the truth, and offers the contemporary German viewer a defence for believing Nazi propaganda during the war. As a result, the film exonerates not only the Wehrmacht, but also the German nation from involvement in Nazism. The rhetoric of innocence is further assisted by the clear separation of Wehrmacht soldiers from the Nazi regime, which suggests that the true Nazis are the Nazi elite in Germany, rather than soldiers on the Frontline or the German public.

That is, he has been indoctrinated by Nazism as a result of his education at an Ordensburg, a school for the Nazi elite.

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Wir haben gelernt, uns auf uns selbst zu verlassen, und sind damit recht gut gefahren. Moreover he has survived the war with his reputation intact: he has committed no atrocities; no longer believes in Hitler; and has fought bravely and honourably on behalf of Germany.


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He could therefore be perceived by the post-war West German audience to be an ideal role model for a Bundeswehr officer. In making a distinction between the Nazis and Wehrmacht soldiers, and depicting the Sixth Army as having been sacrificed at Stalingrad by Hitler, Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?

This representation would arguably have been welcomed by the post-war West German audience, since it allowed them to be proud of their former soldiers who had endured hardships on their behalf. Moreover, it allows the audience to separate themselves from Nazism, and hence be removed from Nazi atrocities. However, whereas Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?

In a similar approach to the narrative in Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben? This idea is reinforced by the fact that the soldiers are imprisoned on Soviet soil four years after the end of World War Two, and are treated inhumanely by their captors. The opening sequence of the film manipulates the viewer into an anti-war sentiment and immediately establishes the notion that Hitler is responsible for the loss of millions of German soldiers in the Soviet Union.

Prior to the credits, the film opens with an off-screen voice that sounds like Hitler giving a political speech. As the speech continues, the shot changes to show an inn where men are drinking and listening to the radio. Subsequent images of warfare contrast with this peaceful scene. Whilst Hitler disseminates his propaganda to the German nation, Stalingrad is literally and symbolically burning.

The contents of the speech, with the emphasis on taking Stalingrad at all costs, are undermined by the noise of bombs and gunfire, and images of a row of injured soldiers in a military hospital. As a result of this technique, the film indicates that the German public were misled, and the Wehrmacht let down by Hitler. The words are taken from a speech given by Hitler in Berlin on 30 September , where he optimistically declared that the worst of the fighting was over and that Germany would win at Stalingrad.

This gives the impression that they have been carefully selected by Radvanyi to ensure that the viewer is receptive to the idea of Germans as victims of Nazism, and that Hitler is blamed for the defeat at Stalingrad. The scene where the main characters are captured by the Soviets clearly intimates that the Germans are also victims of Soviet brutality. A panned shot of injured soldiers reveals that the action is set in a cellar being used as a military hospital, whilst the sound of gunfire reveals that the battle is nearby.


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The Soviets are therefore instantly portrayed in a negative manner, in that they apparently make no allowances for the fact that they are in a military hospital. Furthermore, the fact that they are armed and are invading the defenceless hospital suggests that the Soviets, rather than the Germans, are the aggressors. By integrating actual footage with fictional scenes an air of authenticity is given to the film, implying that the fiction that follows is based on fact.

Yet, although the opening sequence does show shots of the destruction that has been caused during the Battle of Stalingrad, the camera mainly focuses on the hardships of the German soldiers as they march into captivity; hence the viewer is manipulated into sympathising with the prisoners of war, rather than with the Soviets who have had their city destroyed. In other words the viewer is led into identifying with the aggressors rather than with the defenders of Stalingrad, and the Soviet victims of German aggression are not represented on screen.

This omission is at odds with the apparent desire to give the film a measure of authenticity.

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This sentiment is continued throughout the film. Following the credits, over a background shot of the camp, the years to flash on screen. This device not only establishes a clear time frame for the subsequent action, but also highlights the passing of time, and visually demonstrates that German soldiers are still imprisoned four years after the end of World War Two. As it is visually emphasised that they were not, it is implied that the Soviet regime is acting inhumanely.

The inhumane behaviour of the Soviets is further highlighted by the narrative which demonstrates that life in the camp is unpleasant: the prisoners do not receive enough food, are physically and mentally abused, and are forced to do hard labour even when they are ill. However, although it can be argued that the film depicts the severity of camp life, the portrayal is not as terrible as the reported reality.

Out of approximately one hundred and twenty thousand soldiers who were captured by the Soviets between November and February , it has been estimated that between sixty and seventy thousand did not survive the first four months of imprisonment. Thus, even though life in the camp is undoubtedly unpleasant, and the guards do abuse the prisoners, the true horror of Soviet prisoner of war camps is not shown.

Ich und Du und der Weltuntergang

Alternatively, the lessening of the horror can perhaps be explained by the fact that the film only focuses on a small group of prisoners, who can be seen to be representative of the prisoners of war as a whole. Consequently two deaths in this group are a comparatively large proportion, and the anti-communist rhetoric is upheld. Although the narrative informs us that the prisoners of war are on meagre rations and are treated badly by their captors, this is undermined by the appearance of the main characters.

They are therefore neither consistent with the traditional portrayal of prisoners of war as seen in posters and on stamps in the post-war era, nor with the reality that many soldiers repatriated from Soviet camps were undernourished and suffering from psychological problems.

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Hence it can be argued that the prisoners of war are not only shown to be victims, but also survivors of an inhumane communist regime. It also means that they can still be perceived as being ideal representatives of the German Volksgemeinschaft, which separates the German survivors of Soviet captivity from survivors of Nazi concentration camps. The film therefore shows German victims to be stronger than the victims of the Germans. In post-war West German medical theory, one of the main symptoms of prisoner of war dystrophy was loss of sexual desire, and the returning prisoners of war were often portrayed in medical journals as being emasculated by their captivity.

Even though the prisoners are in a largely masculine environment, the film strongly emphasises that they have heterosexual desires, which the camera voyeuristically follows. The camera first focuses on him looking towards a screen, before cross-cutting to show the silhouette of Kasalinsskaja undressing behind the screen, then to Markow sat stroking a cat and watching the prisoner. The implication is that the German has sexual desires, whilst Markow is more interested in his cat than looking at Kasalinsskaja.

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Similarly when Pelz is in a hurry to steal a scarf for an emergency operation, he makes time to look at the naked female kitchen workers in the sauna. Thus the film contradicts the traditional portrayal of the asexual dystrophic prisoner of war. This rhetoric is strengthened by comparing the appearance of the two men. Markow only has one hand, which suggests he is physically lacking, whilst Sellnow, although imprisoned, is a complete man. This indicates that German men are physically strong enough to survive inhumane treatment in Soviet camps, and, even when imprisoned, are preferable to Soviet men.

However, by showing that the Germans are not dehumanised by their captivity, but are sexually attractive to Soviet women, the prisoners are portrayed as survivors of a communist regime. Thus the film gives the impression that the German prisoners of war were stronger than Jewish concentration camp victims, hence were able to survive poor conditions. It is this emphasis on survival that dominates the film and it is therefore possible to argue that Der Arzt von Stalingrad not only perpetuates anti-Soviet ideology, but also, perhaps subconsciously, National Socialist thought that declared Germans to be the superior race.

Both Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben? That is, that the soldiers had behaved honourably during the war, and had been victims of Nazism and communism, rather than war criminals. Focusing on the predicament of the prisoners of war rather than German involvement in crimes against humanity not only added to the anti-communist sentiment that was prevalent in the s, but also enabled West Germans to view themselves as victims of a brutal regime rather than perpetrators of war crimes.

See also Robert G. Beck: Munich, The article argues that the implicit aim of the project is to ascribe to the collective body of the nation the role of a victim while relativising the German past, specifically National Socialism and World War II. From a sociological perspective it may be surprising that interest groups that were founded in reaction to an event 60 years ago continue to be of social and political relevance.

Had it been the case that the expellee organisations had been founded with the sole purpose to represent the social and economic interests of those who had been displaced by flight and re-settlement as a result of National Socialism and the Second World War, this loss of significance would have most likely been the case. In this case only a few elderly people would still be telling stories about the former Eastern German territories, for example when they talked to their grandchildren about their own childhood.