US History II
11 March 2015
Can Movies Teach History?
Over the course of history it was taught through textbooks and actual footage of what occurred, but now in this time period movies have been made to recreate the footage in modern times. Debates over the years has been is history actually being portrayed accurately and if it gives accurate knowledge of the event. Producers of television series and movies of this generation have become the most powerful historians. Movies expose the viewer to possibly see what history was truly resembling, or it can even give a singularity of knowledge. Hollywood created many motion pictures about previous events, but added in things that was not a part in the true event. During 1989 in the New York Times, it was discussed if movies can accurately grasp the understanding of history. Richard Bernstein researched Mississippi Burning stating it showed violence with realistic detail, but it transformed one of the key events of the recent American experience of the civil workers. During The Final Days it was a highly imaginative reconstruction of the end of Richard Nixon’s final presidency, yet the television series showed accurate knowledge on the tense issue of history (Bernstein). The fictional fable of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas created a motion picture of a representation of the time period of the Holocaust. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas accurately represents the Holocaust and what occurred to all the Jewish Orthodox, yet inaccurately represents history with the impossible actions with the overall plot.
During the Holocaust between 1933 through 1945 carbon monoxide was originally used in gas chamber until pellets were developed. During this time period of the eleven million people executed during the Holocaust, six million were Polish citizens. Three million were Polish Jews and the other three million were Polish Christians. Most of the remaining victims were from other countries including Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Holland, France and even Germany (Schwartz). In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas an accurate theme that portrayed through the whole motion picture was “...Lines may divide us, but hope unites us.” Bruno the son of a German SS Commandant and Shmuel a Jewish boy were physically separated by a fence, but also separated by imaginary lines that were too dangerous to breakdown. These lines were drawn by the Nazis which separated Jewish citizens from the rest of society and took away their human rights. Bruno and Shmuel’s innocence and hope allowed them to step over these lines and unite as they developed a strong friendship despite the separation of human rights which was created between them (Berg). The friendship Bruno and Schmuel had was incredible. Bruno did not treat Schmuel any differently. Bruno would sneak rations of food to him when he was hungry and cared deeply about him. During the Holocaust social classes between Germans and Jews were completely different. Discrimination and isolation of the Jewish people started taking effect after the Enabling Act was passed in 1933. During the school year Germans were made to wear uniforms to tell the difference between the Germans and Jews allowing the Nazis to show aggressiveness towards the unwanted (Vashem). The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Bruno was shown as a young boy with bright blue eyes and was always wearing a type of uniform. This represented a German boy who was vulnerable to the actions occurring around him. Also with the sad facial expressions Bruno showed throughout the movie depicted the way German people looked during the Holocaust (Neal). During the Holocaust having somebody who cared the way Bruno did about Schmuel made him feel like everything would be okay evening living inside the barb-wired fence.
Nazi policy did a great deal to aid the denial of the Holocaust even as the killing operation unfolded across Europe during World War II. The Holocaust was a...
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Vashem, Yad. “Education: The Jewish Experience.” The Holocaust Explained 2011. (http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/life-in-nazi-occupied-europe/impact-on-jewish-communities/education-the-jewish-experience/#.VP5lkPnF-YI). 9 March 2015.
Neal, Jessica. “Representation in Socail Groups: Boy in Striped Pajamas.” SlideShare 19 January 2012. (http://www.slideshare.net/jessnealxoxo/representation-in-social-groups-boy-in-the-striped-pyjamas). 9 March 2015.
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