Casabloga: Downfall (Der Untergang)

“Do not compare yourself to others. If you do so you are insulting yourself.”

“Hate is more lasting than dislike”

“Words build bridges into unexplored regions.”

These are inspirational quotes I have seen everywhere since I was a kid. They are included in collections of inspirational quotes. Usually they are attributed to “Anonymous”. The reason they are attributed to no one is because if you read someone an inspirational quote, it tends to lose it’s value when you tell people they were originally said by Adolf Hitler.

The next sentence will probably be the most controversial statement I have ever said; History has not been kind to Hitler.When he is portrayed in movies and shows and other forms of media, he is essentially a demon-possessed creature. People forget that he was just a human. It was well-documented by his personal physicians that he had a list of health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, coronary sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, syphilis, and tinnitus.

I am not saying I am a Hitler supporter, or that he doesn’t deserve the ridicule he receives. By all means, make fun of Hitler.

I  am just saying that in reality, he was a human. When Downfall (Der Untergang) was released in 2004, it caused controversial for humanizing Hitler. It was based on a book by Traudl Junge, a personal secretary of Hitler’s. She was present and wrote a firsthand account of his final days. That is what the film is about.

Downfall is famous for the “Hitler Reacts” meme.

When I say the film humanizes Hitler, I really mean that. We all know that Adolf and Eva were in love, and that they eventually got married before they took their life together. But you never really think about them being a couple. Immediately following the famous freakout scene, you see this:


Downfall Kiss


I think this is the first time Adolf and Eva has been portrayed kissing. At least more than a quite peck on the check. In this film, you can see the love they feel for each other. He cares about her and doesn’t want her be caught up in the mess that’s going to happen when the Russians reach Berlin. He tells her several times to get out of Berlin, but she refuses to leave his side.

Eva is seen as trying to keep everyone’s mind off what was going on, and in one scene she is at a party when an explosion shakes the building. There is a lot of screaming, but Eva tells everyone to keep on, and she gets on a table and starts dancing. A few seconds later the windows are blown out and smoke and dust fills the room, causing everyone to run out, Eva pleading with people to stay.

You really see how ill Hitler had become at the end of his life. It was well-documented that he had Parkinson’s Disease. You see his left hand shaking behind his back when he’s with people. Most notably in the recreation of the famous footage of his last public appearance.

He has clearly lost his mind there at the end. At one point, someone says that he’s ordering around troops that only exist on his map. The only person believes the Third Reich will continue is Hitler himself. He keeps talking about his plans for when “this” is over, how they will rebuild and be stronger than before.

When Hitler finally realizes the truth of the situation, we all know how he reacts. e and Eva go into their room, and everyone waits outside for the sound of a gunshot, then they go in and move the bodies outside to burn them.

The film ends with the real Traudl Junge saying that she had no idea the full extent of Hitler’s madness, that she was horrified to discover that the Holocaust happened. If you were run into an old German person and they told you, “I was a former Nazi”, you would most likely call them evil and society would outcast them. But in reality, not all Nazis new what was going on. The Swastika flag wasn’t a symbol of evil until after the war ended and the truth about the Holocaust was uncovered. I have read up on this, and a vast majority of Nazis burned their uniforms when they found out the truth.

They say history is written by the winners. We tend to look back and think World War II was fought to free the Jews from concentration camps. But when you go back and look, you find that not many people even knew that was going on. We look at Nazi soldiers as an army of evil minions, when really a vast majority of them wee innocent people just trying to survive. Most were forced to join. We tend to look back on Hitler and see horns and a tail, and when you hear stories about him being nice to children or how he was a friendly to his workers and that his favourite movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, it’s easy to forget he was a human. A human who just happened to order the deaths of millions of innocent people.

You know what? Screw that guy!


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