Untergang / Downfall (Germany, 2004)

Figure 1.--This scene is based on an actual event. Hitler on his birthday (april 20) enmerged ffom the Führer Bunket to decorate a group of Hitler Youth boys and soldiers who had destinguished theselves in the Berlin fighting. It was the last time he was seen in public. The image here, however, is not correct. While there were HJ boys as young as 11 years old, there were no boys as young as the ones pictured to the right. Put your cursor on the image to see the younger boys. Notice how Hitler is holding his left arm. This was to prevent a visible tremble as a result of Parkinson's disease. One of the boys involved commented after the War how shocked he was with Hitler's deteriorating condition.

'Untergang' (Downfall) is a Grrman film depicting the demise of NAZI Germany focusing on Hitler's final 10 days in his Berlin bunker--the Führer Bunker (April 1945). The Battle fior Berlin was one of the most costly of World War II. It was a hopeless struggle. Hitler had dispersed his few remaining SS formations in meaningless battles to save Budapest and Prague. The Wehrmacht commanders close to Berlin ignored his orders to come to the defense of the NAZI capital. After the War they described how they were awaitingv thge arrival of British and Anmerican forces so they could surrender to them rather that the Soviets. So the Germans in Berlin fought the battke with under-strength and pootly armed Wehrmacht units, the Volkssturm, and Hitler Youth boys. Even so the fighting was fierce. The film was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. The screen play was written by Bernd Eichinger. It was based on important books about the events depicted. One of the most important is Inside Hitler's Bunker, by Joachim Fest. Fest is one of tge most important German historiandns specializing on Hitler and the NAZIs. Other sources were: Until the Final Hour (the memoirs of Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries: Inside the Third Reich (a revealing, but self serving menmoir by Albert Speer), Hitler's Last Days: An Eye–Witness Account (Gerhardt Boldt), Das Notlazarett Unter Der Reichskanzlei: Ein Arzt Erlebt Hitlers Ende in Berlin(Doctor Ernst-Günther Schenck), and Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936–1949 (Siegfried Knappe). Thge film not only covers what was happening in the clautrophobic Führer Bunker, but was going on above ground as the Red Army fought its way across Berlin towrd the Reich Chancellery and and the Reichstag. What the Soviets xwanted most of all was the Reichstag. Itwas seen as thge seat of NAZI power. In g=fact after the Reuichstag fire (1933), it was never restored and used by the NAZIs. The seat of NAZI power was the nearby Reich Chancellry. The Führer Bunker was located in the courtyard of the Reich Chancellery. Thus we see not only Huitler anf his chronies along with the Goebbeks children in the Führer Bunker, but the sacrifices of the German soldiers and Hirlker Youth dieing in a futile attempt to protect Hitler. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


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Created: 8:58 AM 6/17/2012
Last updated: 8:58 AM 6/17/2012