Hitler, the Rise of Evil: a Critical Review

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Hitler the rise of Evil is a successful miniseries from 2003, directed by Chrstian Duguay and starring Robert Caryle, that won two Emmy awards. The miniseries presents Adolf Hitler from a small boy until his rise to power in the German Riech in 1939. The miniseries was created for entertainment purposes; however, during its promotion makers marketed it as a very accurate adaptation of the period. Therefore the film is of interest to historians who wish to explore the subject and the films accuracy. It is excellent historical nonfiction. It follows the most notorious tyrant in history. During a period of economic and political turmoil, left over from the reign of Wilhem II and then the ever failing leadership of the parties from the Weimar Republic, and the resulting growth of the Nazi party, from the Munich Putsch in 1923, to gaining the majority of seats in the 1932 elections, and Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in 1933. Historians look at this period in Germany as the prequel to the most destructive change to the world in history. Consequently, the Nazi era and WW2 remains one of the most popular eras to represent and document in education and popular entertainment. Other such productions include Dad’s Army, the famous English comedy television series, Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood blockbuster and the celebrated documentary, narrated by Laurence Olivier, The World at War. The miniseries is directed to show a more human and realistic side to “the most evil man in history”. This challenged the stereotypical persona of the 19th century leader that until the miniseries had been the status quo for Hitler features including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and ‘Allo’ ‘Allo’, the British comedy show. The audience is the 21st century generations, whose limited experience of Hitler is from the class room and some entertainment productions. For historians the miniseries is a source of evidence about the history of the people that the miniseries intended to entertain, by studying the film the historian can work out themes that may be present in the miniseries, but are directed to grasp the attention of the current audiences, in Hitler; the Rise of Evil, this could include the ideology of different politics and how they still effect today’s audience, and acts of terrorism, which are represented in the miniseries but still effect the lives of the modern viewers the miniseries is aimed at. and it also challenges historians to present history to a modern popular audience.

The miniseries gives historians facts on Germany, The life of Adolf Hitler, and the rise of the Nazi Party, as much of the miniseries content is true to history. For this reason the miniseries if of value to the historian. Hitler’s life is correctly portrayed in the series. Including Hitler’s attempts to become an artist, his time living on the streets of Vienna before WWI and his affiliations with the German workers party in its humble beginnings in a beer hall., where Hitler joins the party in July 1921. Later in the series, when the party wins the majority of seats in the Reich Stag, Hitler recalls “it’s a far cry from a few drunks in a beer hall” Hitler uses his early alliances to integrate his anti-Semitic values onto a devastated post-war Germany. His arrest in 1923 and the growing popularity of the party after the publication of Mein Kampf, continues to the fatal error of the President of Germany, Von Hindenburg. Hindenburg tries to naturalize Hitler by appeasing his desire for a seat high in the Reich. Which later leads to the Enabling act and Germany suppressing to Hitler.

Hitler’s character aspects are well illustrated in the film. In 1943, the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI (known then as the OSS) made a personality profile about Hitler. According to their results, the Hitler portrayed in the film is correct. He is shown as psychotic and unstable. The OSS report also included incest tendencies. Which is portrayed in the relationship he has...
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