Both Hitler and Goebbels knew that films were an important part of the propaganda machine. They set up a specific department to create ‘proper’ Nazi films as early as 1930 and Goebbels took an especial interest in it. The film industry was controlled by the Nazis and ranged from anti-Semitic films such as “The Eternal Jew”, to propaganda films to ‘enlighten’ youths about theHitler Youth movement (“Hitlerjunge Quex”) to coverage of the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Leni Riefenstahl. Whatever topic it was, all of this was controlled by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda.
Propaganda films were seen by many more people than the other apolitical films were. These films were in more cinemas because of tax breaks and political pressure. Secondly, viewers liked going to see these films. They were better made and were cast with more prominent actors. Since you could also be sure to encounter Nazi propaganda, people would learn what they should say about political issues in general.
“We are convinced that films constitute one of the most modern and scientific means of influencing the mass. Therefore the government must not neglect them.”
Joseph Goebbels, Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment
Nazism and cinema
List of German films of 1933–45
Films in Nazi Germany
History Learning Site
Film and Propaganda: The Lessons of the Nazi Film Industry
California State University, Fullerton
Cinema of Nazi Germany
Nazi Cinema: The SA ‘Movement’ films of 1933
The most successful anti-Semitic film the Nazi’s ever made.
Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Department of Film (Nazi Germany)