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Zum Ruhme Englands: the Vorgeschichte of the Nazi film "Titanic"

Strobl, Gerwin ORCID: 2007. Zum Ruhme Englands: the Vorgeschichte of the Nazi film "Titanic". German Life and Letters 60 (2) , pp. 196-211. 10.1111/j.1468-0483.2007.00382.x

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This article examines the background to the Nazi film ‘Titanic’. Commissioned by the Propaganda Ministry in 1940, at the height of war with Britain, the film was able to draw on extensive German engagement with the fate of the ‘R.M.S. Titanic’, stretching back to the original newspaper reports of April 1912. The sinking of the ‘Titanic’ had made a deeper impression in Germany than in other European countries, perhaps because a substantial number of the victims were in fact German or had ties with Germany. The extent of the emotional engagement showed not only in the tone of the newspaper reporting but in the sheer range of tributes that appeared in Germany: newspapers apart, there were films, paintings, poems, novels, lectures or even children’s toys. The enduring interest in the ‘Titanic’ throughout the 1920s and 30s may explain the propagandists’ decision to exploit the topic for Nazi purposes. Widespread German unease about the apparent preference given to first-class passengers during the rescue operation and rumours of financial improprieties surrounding the owners of the ‘Titanic’ made the topic especially attractive to the Nazis. Ultimately, however, the favourable German perceptions of ‘heroic British seamanship’ undermined the Nazi film and led Goebbels to restrict its release.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Language other than English: German
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISSN: 1468-0483
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:38

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