‘Triumph of the will’ is a film of the 1934 Nazi Rally at Nuremburg. It was directed by Leni Riefenstahl and funded by the Nazi party. The question of whether Triumph of the Will was created for the purpose of Nazi propaganda or simply as a documentary has provoked historical debate. There is no doubt that the film was used as propaganda, as when the Nazi’s annexed Austria, triumph of the will was streamed in every cinema to convert the disillusioned Austrians into practising Nazis. However, historians have questioned the intentions of the film’s creator. Leni Riefenstahl was found to be a Nazi Sympathiser by the French in 1950, but, her reluctance to accept that the film was created as propaganda has triggered a debate among historians
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Thus, any recording of this propaganda becomes propaganda in itself. Leni Riefenstahl was not simply recording a documentary that would be shown to future generations, but was broadcasting the rally to the rest of Germany who were not present at the event. Triumph of the Will was to have the same seducing effect that the rally itself had and Leni Riefenstahl was completely aware of this.
The second Flaw in Leni’s argument arises from a statement that she made saying Hitler ‘wanted a film showing the congress through a non-expert eye, selecting just what was most artistically satisfying.’ Hitler said himself that Propaganda was the ‘function of an organisation to win members,’ and asking Leni to put what was most ‘artistically satisfying’ into a film would win members. Therefore, Leni’s claim that she just wanted to create art is completely irrelevant to her argument that the film was a documentary, as creating art was a persuasive method used to seduce the public to follow the Nazi Regime. Leni was aware that she was in fact seducing the public, and as an ‘artist’, as she so pretentiously classed herself, knew that all art presented a certain view point and as the British Film historian Paul Rotha once said ‘In one form or