Quotes and analysis
The story called “Lieutenant Gustl” was written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1901. This work was created in a form of an inner monologue of a young military officer, the development of the story happens over a short period of time – basically, one evening, when Lieutenant Gustl decides to watch a concert and then in the wardrobe of the theatre lobby an unexpected event happens to him – this event causes a wave of thinking and analysis filled with multiple options the young man works through in his head. This event makes a happy and cheerful lieutenant feel frustrated, angry and scared at the same time. Arthur Schnitzler managed to re-create the thought process of a lost person very well, the confusion of the young man feels real and natural. The development of this thought process is caused by the confrontation, which happened between Gustl and a baker at the wardrobe area.
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The baker threatens to the young officer, saying “Lieutenant, if you dare to make the slightest fuss, I’ll pull your sword out of the sheath, break it in two, and send the pieces to your regimental commander. Do you understand me, you young fathead?” (Schnitzler 257). After that situation the young man goes through an emotional hurricane of thoughts and decisions, makes multiple conclusions, gets completely distracted from the reality and does not pay attention to where he is going. Lieutenant’s confusion is understandable, because he was harshly humiliated by a civilian, and there was absolutely nothing he could do to protect his dignity without losing his career, Gustl is furious, embarrassed and scared.
The quote and the whole context of the story are designed to depict the collective image of Austrian military officer of the time when the work was written – a shallow, narrow-minded ant-Semitic young gentleman with exaggerated feeling of self-dignity, easily distracted by women. His feeling of identity and superiority was damaged, and his best way to fix it was a suicide, which never happened because the baker died from a stroke and Gustl’s embarrassment remained secret forever.
The story called “The Wall Jumper” was written in 1984 by Peter Schneider. The work explores lives of people dwelling in two parts of Germany divided by the Wall. The goal of the story was to show that the fact that people of Germany were separated physically was not as important as the separations in people’s mentality. The narrator of the work is unnamed collector of anecdotes from both sides of the Wall, he travels legally back and forth, looking for illegal wall jumpers that have crossed the border in both directions. The story brings out multiple cultural differences between Western and Eastern Germans. Those two types of people, former citizens of the unified state truly seem to have very little in common.
The influences that the Eastern and the Western societies were undergoing at that time have shaped their attitudes, their behavior, their characters and lifestyles. This is why the author says that “it will take us longer to tear down the Wall in our heads than any wrecking company will need for the Wall we can see”. Truly, it seems like the Wall has grown through the people’s minds and divided them not just territorially but personally, influencing each and every one of them. This quote is the main sentence of the story, its most important point and the central theme. The narrator wonders why personal identity of a human being is so tightly connected to the identity of the state. The author makes his readers think about how quickly people of one country can become so different and intolerant towards each other just because of being opposed as groups by the political systems controlling their territories.
It turns out that the actual Berlin Wall was not the cause of division among the population. Former citizens of united Germany were mentally manipulated and conditioned to follow the lifestyles their political leaders adopted as proper ones.
The era I decided to explore in my paper is the Third Reich period. The time when everything in Germany was under a total control, multiple strict and harsh rules and limitations appeared and everyone, who dared to disobey, had to be severely punished or murdered. The era of ruling of Nazi Party and its leader Adolf Hitler is still remembered as one of the most horrifying periods the country and its society had to go through, the time of terror and fear. Minds of the masses were directed and manipulated. Nazi ideology was to be maintained at any cost. Creative people, thinkers and rebel artists were the first ones to face the censorship and its consequences. Art, literature, music and cinematography were suffering badly under the influence of the regime. All the art works produced in Germany of the Third Reich period had to be acceptable for the ruling party ideology.
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Otherwise these works of art had no right to be released or even created. The authors of such inappropriate works were in great danger. This is why at that time many famous German artists and their families were forced to leave their motherland in order to survive. Unacceptable art works were publically destroyed as a demonstration of the power of the regime. The examples of such demonstration were book burning sessions. Film industry has received a lot of attention during the Third Reich era, as it was the best way to create and maintain the ideology propaganda (Schoeps 205). The minister of propaganda Josef Goebbels was monitoring all the film making industry very carefully and sometimes allowed films without propaganda to be released; their goal was to entertain the masses during the hard times.
One of the most famous films made with the purpose of ideological propaganda “Triumph of the Will” was directed by Leni Riefenstahl in 1935. This film is basically a documentary chronicle of the Nazi Party Congress that happened in Nurnberg in 1934. The film is made according to all the basic and most important canons of the genre of political and ideological propaganda. It presents various images of patriotic crowds cheering for their political leaders, soldiers saluting to Hitler, general merriness in the masses. The main theme of the film is the raising Germany, a new force formed by Hitler and the Nazi Party, leading the nation to the glorious and heroic future.
Besides, “Triumph of the Will” is filled with the footage of troops, preparing to serve to their motherland, making their oaths of loyalty, honoring the ones who have already put their lives fighting for the better future, saying that they “are not dead, they are alive, they are Germany” (Nuclear Vault). This documentary was created at the request of Adolf Hitler, who gave the movie its title. The project involved one hundred and seventy two film makers and became one of the main influences on the masses (Levinson 228). The role this film played during the Third Reich era was to unite all the citizens under one idea, create a unified society, so that the people of Germany did not start to doubt their leaders. The mission was accomplished very quickly. The film’s influence created millions of ideologically directed young patriots following the orders of the Party and working hard to achieve the common goals.
Another film made with the purpose of national propaganda was “The Eternal Jew” directed by Fritz Hippler in 1940. It is, without a doubt, one of the most aggressive propaganda films ever created (Taylor 174). The movie is made to look like a documentary; it portrays Jewish people as a “race of parasites” (Jones). A series of footage made in Jewish districts with people walking the streets, working, chatting to each other, having meals and praying is accompanied by a hateful narration telling about the multiple dark sides of the Jewish as a nation. Ideologically obedient, controlled and conditioned German society was easy to manipulate by that time.
Cult of Hitler and Nazism was at its peak, the public opinion could be shifted in seconds through this kind of propaganda. “The Eternal Jew” caused a wave of unreasonable hatred directed at innocent people, after the film has appeared German citizens started to see Jewish people as enemies, as filthy demons that had to be eliminated. Unbelievable information presented in the film has reached the masses and started the deadly mechanism of Holocaust.
Jones, Elliot. “The Eternal Jew (Der Ewige Jude)”. Online video clip. YouTube. 2013. Web.
Levinson, Jerrold. Aesthetics and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.
Nuclear Vault. “Triumph des Willens (1935) – Triumph of the Will”. Online video clip. YouTube. 2011. Web.
Schneider, Peter. The Wall Jumper. Web.
Schnitzler, Arthur. Lieutenant Gustl. Web.
Schoeps, Karl-Heinz. Literature and Film in the Third Reich. Rochester, New York: Camden House, 2004. Print.
Taylor, Richard. Film Propaganda: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. London, United Kingdom: I. B. Tauris, 2008. Print.