Television Under The Swastika: The History of Nazi Television

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Television Under The Swastika: The History of Nazi Television

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5 Comments
  1. The quality of this DVD is exceptional, with crisp tones, vibrant color hues and excellent black and white footage. However, the actual content of the DVD is almost non-existent. The reason for this is obvious: the topic of “Nazi television” cannot sustain 60 minutes of viewing time. Why? The Nazis experimented briefly with TV in the period 1935-1939. They managed to actually have one TV station which “broadcast” in the calender year, 1939. I put this in heavy quotations because no actual footage remains of what the Nazis aired on their TV station. Some interviews with old technicians are reasonably interesting, but the subtitles are annoying and take up half the screen, thus obliterating the subjects’ faces!

    The documentary explains that with the coming of World War II, television was put on the back burner while Nazis marauded over Europe, gassed millions of “inferior races” and invaded most of the rest of Europe. Again, one is stupefied that anyone saw fit to make a film of this topic when there really is nothing to say. A curious exercise and a frustrating experience for the viewer.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  2. This is an interesting documentary in it’s depiction of the *variety* and types of programming which was attempted during the years of Nazi television.

    However, it is also disappointing because there are very few snippets of ACTUAL recorded broadcasts (kinescopes). Much of the documentary consists of *film* footage (produced as motion pictures, not TV) which was produced to be aired on TV. In one sense (content) this represents the TV of the era, but since it was produced as a film (or newsreel), such footage does not truly represent TV technology of the time.

    Thus, it’s interesting for it’s content, but not for the technical aspect (after all, *film* had been around for a long, long time; and the theatrical motion pictures of the Nazi era make for a fascinating study).

    For those interested in the technical aspects there are a few interesting bits (such as the truck top film camera which included an apparatus by which the just-exposed film would immediately exit the camera and flow down into a developing bath contained in the truck… and then on to the airwaves within a matter of minutes!).

    However, in places, there are also some questionable technical implications for the novice viewer (such as showing FILM cameras on the screen while talking about live TV technology, which implies to the non-technical viewer that it is a TV camera).

    Overall, this is an interesting documentary on a fascinating subject, and one has to give major credit to it’s creators for tackling the subject and pulling it off as well as they have done. It’s just too bad that they had so very little actual footage of recorded broadcasts with which to work.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  3. IS VERY INTERESTING AS FAR AS IT GOES. WISH IT WAS A LONGER PIECE, BUT WHAT’S THERE IS INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE. I HAD NO IDEA TV WAS THAT FAR ALONG BACK IN THE 30’S.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Television was considered the wave of the future in the 1930s and as such Nazi Germany invested resources in becoming a leader in the field. This program discussed programming more than the technology that was involved, but even so is was very interesting. Due to the novelty of television and the inordinate amount of resources it took compared to radio the medium was not used much during the war, when everything had to be justified as being vital to the war effort.

    Some very rare footage (recovered from East German archives) and interviews of surviving participants in German TV makes this a must if you want to learn more about early television.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  5. If you have any interest in WWII or the history of the Third Reich, this is a polished, well-produced winner! Even the music is excellent- truly first rate…better than most History Channel specials. Who could fail to love such niceties as a NAZI gardening show, the fact that the world’s first cooking show was filmed in the Third REich with a lovely NAZI hostess, and that doesn’t even account for all the exciting sporting events, informative programming, and rallies you’ll get to witness. It also includes a lot of background on the technical side. Superb!
    Rating: 5 / 5

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