Monday, June 06, 2005


Saw "Downfall" on Sat night - Adolf Hitler and his associated gangsters in the bunker while up above is their self-created Dante's Inferno. Great start to the film where they are in denial about the bangs and thuds heard overhead "That can't be artillery!"

Oh yeah?

Wanna bet?

It's a compelling but nasty film that doesn't spare the details - in film and drama our German cousins share our neurotic obsession with getting period detail right, whether it's the thickness of 1940s fabrics compared to today's lightweight clothing, or the presence of the just-issued STG44 Assault Rifle which in the early 1950s Comrade Kalashnikov copied and simplified for the AK47.

For me the most upsetting parts of the film don't take place in the bunker at all, but in the streets above. Several vignettes illustrate the rock star-like cult following National Socialism had among some of the young - children and young teenagers aged roughly 10 to 14.

Today, this is the age group that vote people out of the Big Brother house and decide what song is Number One.

So it isn't impossible to see why so many of them liked at least some aspects of the Nazi package - the immaculate uniforms, the runes, the technology, the “traditions,” the idealism of creating a new classless society, the youth and fitness and beauty cult and so on. And for several exhilarating years (what triumphant vindication!) the feeling of riding the tide of History.

Unstoppable as fate itself.

Of course the dream always was a nightmare, and in April 1945 only the most deluded kept the faith. But enough did so to commit suicide. Too young and impulsive and romantic to understand what they were doing.

And what of their adult supervisors in the Hitler Jugend and Bund Deutscher Madel?

Some things are beyond belief.