Inside the Third Reich [4 Discs] [DVD]

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The Reich Underground
Michael Kloft's 2004 documentary The Reich Underground opens the cask to an aspect of WWII history long-sealed off from public knowledge and discussion. During the said conflict, the Nazis continually strove to gain an edge on the Allied Powers in the arena of artillery, and foresaw achieving their greatest coup via a byzantine system of tunnels that lay underground - and that would house the most state-of-the-art weaponry, hidden from public view and knowledge. Although the Americans did discover these tunnels when the war wrapped, they promptly sealed off the locales indefinitely. The Reich Underground witnesses researchers opening these tunnels for the first time in nearly 50 years. Via a combination of revealing archival footage and exclusive interviews, the program discusses the intensive and extreme efforts that went into the construction of the tunnels (which reportedly led to tens of thousands of fatal casualties), the artillery housed therein, and the role of the tunnels in the war per se. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

Television Under the Swastika: The History of Nazi Television
This 1999 documentary draws upon long-buried footage that originated in Nazi Germany, to convey an astonishing truth: from 1935 to 1944, Hitler's Third Reich eked out a historical first by establishing the world's premier network television broadcasts - broadcasts characterized by such programs as sporting events, man-on-the-street interviews, evening newscasts and racially-themed segments. Hitler's minions initially planned to distribute some ten thousand television sets to the populace, in order to facilitate their goals, though World War II erupted and impeded these plans. In addition to this, the presence of television cameras on the streets interrupted the fluidity and cohesiveness of Nazi propaganda by inadvertently catching things that Nazi officials didn't particularly want the public to see; moreover, Hitler perceived propaganda as television's highest goal, which cheapened the medium and made it painfully obvious and sinister. In relaying its tale, this program combines historical commentary with clips from 250 rolls of Nazi television film that surfaced in Germany during the late 20th century. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

The Goebbels Experiment
Joseph Goebbels has often been cited as the man who did the most to help Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power; he was the architect of the party's propaganda machine and helped to craft the public image of Hitler as he became one of the most hated and feared leaders of his time, and masterminded the greatest crime of the 20th Century. However, while Hitler's life outside of politics has long been a subject of interest, less is known about Goebbels, and The Goebbels Experiment is a documentary which draws upon Goebbels' own journals and rare archival to craft a portrait of his private side, including his passion for the Nazi cause, his devotion to Hitler, his battle with depression, his dramatic mood swings, and his severe contempt for anyone who did not live up to his standards. Kenneth Branagh narrates the English language version of the film. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Though even the most progressive historians generally regard the Allied tactics in the Second World War as just, fair and necessary, the German man-of-letters Joerg Friedrich argued otherwise in his revisionist historical tome The Inferno - a bestseller in Germany. The book reopens the chapter of WWII that pertains to the Allied air-raid bombings on German metropolises as the European campaign neared closure, and argues that the assaults entailed cruel and purposeless acts of vengeance. This documentary - a loose cinematization of Friedrich's book directed by Spiegel TV correspondent Michael Kloft - essentially makes the same point, by charting the trajectory of the air campaign per se, with footage that intercuts archival film, and interviews with civilian survivors and Allied veterans. The film wraps with an open-ended debate between Friedrich and English history expert Richard Overy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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