World War II in “The Rape of Europa” Documentary

The reviewed film was released in 2008 and entitled The Rape of Europa. This documentary dwells upon one of the facets of the World War II that are still being under-searched and even concealed. The film deals with Hitler’s (and the Nazi regime’s) attempts to expropriate the most influential works of art that could be found in the countries that were occupied or devasted by the war. The filmmakers tell the stories of some of the most remarkable artworks that were stolen by the Nazis. The use of evidence and different people’s accounts make the film a valuable source of information regarding the development of art or rather one of the darkest pages in its history. One of the major questions posed in the film is related to the value of art and human life, as well as the role art plays in the evolution of the human society.

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The Rape of Europa is based on extensive research and provides numerous facts and a sufficient bulk of evidence to support the provided claims. The documentary displays video evidence, as well as photos and documents, concerning the way the Nazi were robbing Europe and the way allies tried to protect or save artworks. The accounts of scientists and witnesses make the evidence full of life as dry facts could hardly make the viewer feel the atmosphere that reigned in the world of art during Second World War. The horrors of that war were manifested in different spheres of people’s lives, including art. The story of “Gold Portrait of Frau Bloch-Bauer” by Gustav Klimt is only one example among thousands of similar stories. Thousands or even millions of artworks were stolen, destroyed, or lost forever due to the activities of the Nazi army and government. The filmmakers also tell the story of “Monument Men” who managed to save or return numerous works of art. All these details make the film a valuable source of information on the impact of the war on the history of art.

Hitler was obsessed with the idea of bringing all those artworks to his homeland, and he invested a lot of effort into this endeavor. The robbery of the continent was large-scale and cynical as Hitler wanted to prove the might of his nation by accumulating the cultural wealth of the entire western civilization. His desire to conquer the world was overwhelming as he wished to take control over all spheres of life, including art. The filmmakers conclude that art was another battlefield during the World War II. The Nazi tried to rob other nations while the allies actively defended their land and their heritage. As mentioned above, the evidence provided by the filmmakers is convincing since the film appeals to viewers’ sense and emotions. The facts given during the documentary are concrete and supported by documents and people’s accounts; visual facts are specifically illustrative. The photos and videos of soldiers holding diverse cultural artifacts, as well as the scenes of devastated Europe and ruined masterpieces, make people feel the horror of the loss the humanity had to face.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the film under discussion displays the extent to which the Second World War led to the loss of many works of art that are now being found. At that, filmmakers also pose a very important question encouraging the viewer to think about the role art plays in the life of the society. One of the questions remains unanswered for many as some people still have doubts, as to the value of artwork and human life. Many people died fighting for masterpieces, but many works, especially when it came to architecture were destroyed. The filmmakers provide facts and visual evidence that appeal to viewers ratio and emotions, which makes the film a valuable source of knowledge and a reminder for future generations.

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StudyCorgi. "World War II in “The Rape of Europa” Documentary." September 14, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "World War II in “The Rape of Europa” Documentary." September 14, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'World War II in “The Rape of Europa” Documentary'. 14 September.

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