27 May 2022


Comparison of Triumph of the Will and the Great Dictator

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Art is an integral part of society as it plays various roles in the lives of families. One of the main roles of art is that it gives a reflection of society. In addition, art conserves people's history and acts as a future reference on the culture, beliefs, and practices of a society (Braden, 2016). In retrospect, the two films that are Triumph of the Will and the Great Dictator presents a critical relationship between art and propaganda. There is a slim difference in the manner in which people can differentiate art and propaganda since the two are intertwined and based on the interests of the status quo. The difference between art and propaganda among the two films can be differentiated based on religion, unity and power. 

Many people do not usually consider propaganda as a form of art because propaganda is based on biased themes aimed at giving one-sided bias. Many people believe that art should be founded on facts and not misleading art pieces that can destroy society (Rich, 2016). However, propaganda is a form of art only that it is aimed to promote a certain view and influence the audience or people to take a certain political path by the use of pieces of art that is usually in written form or in the form of a film. The Nazi regime in Germany is known to be one of the historical regimes that have leveraged the film industry to promote propaganda. Films from other countries have marinated the concept of art in detailing Germany's lives before and after World War I. 

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The Triumphs of the Will is a propaganda film that was written in the mid1930s by the renowned writer, producer and director Leni Riefenstahl. The file is based on the accounts of the Nazi Congress party, including the party's activities, such as elections, public rallies, speeches, members, and leadership (Rich, 2016). The film was sanctioned and introduced by Adolf Hitler, the famous German dictator who is accused of murdering citizens. The fact that Adolf Hitler authorized the airing in public spaces is one of the clear indications that the film was purely based on propaganda to enable Hitler to rule Germany by influencing citizens to support his clarions calls. Though the film is regarded as propaganda, its artistry elements cannot be underrated as the film leverages various forms of cinematography, such as the use of music, long aerial shots and motion pictures. 

On the other hand, The Great Dictator film details the accounts of Nazi Germany. The film is a political satire mocking the dictatorial rule of Adolf Hitler that promoted the killing of non-Nazi people, such as Jews and White people (Chaplin, 2012). The film is filled with comedy and drama that satirizes the rule of Hitler that was characterized by political conman ship, politics of deceit and hatred. The film can be regarded as a masterpiece of art that condemns the evils in society by providing comic relief to the audience. Comparing the two films in terms of global impact, The Great Dictator has been widely used to show the atrocities and propaganda advances by the Nazis, whereas The Triumph of the Will is not widely shown in Germany and if aired, it is accompanied by several disclaimers not to dismay the public. 

One of the themes that can be used to differentiate the two films in terms of arts and propaganda is unity. For any political formation to advance its political agenda, it needs to easily unite people to govern people (Chaplin, 2012). The main idea of uniting people is to acquire a political concept known as legitimacy. According to the Triumph of the Will film, Adolf Hitler propagated the narrative of unity to push his Nazi agenda in Germany and beyond. The call for unity was based on Germany's need to restore power on the international front (Bach, 2017). Most Germans bought the idea of unity, thinking that it would place the country in the league of the US, Russia and France. However, the clarion call for unity was based on Hitler’s selfish agenda of amassing wealth. 

On the other hand, The Great Dictator film satirizes Adolf Hitler’s call for unity by comparing two different sets of people that is people of the ghetto and the people of the palace. Notably, Adolf Hitler can be described as an egocentric leader who is after his own selfish interests and uses unity as a decoy of enriching the political class and defrauding the poor of their earned wealth (Noga, 2018). The fact that Charlie Chaplin worked as a soldier in World War I and lost his memories for 20 years, and was not compensated by Hitler's administration is egocentric. Hitler's main aim is to use unity as a stepping stone to becoming a superpower leader that has authority over various countries in the world. 

The second fundamental theme that cuts across the two films is religions. It is imperative to note that Germany has always been a religious country. During Hitler’s reign, the country was predominantly occupied by Christians that is Catholics and Protestants (Noga, 2018). In the film, Comparison of Triumph, Hitler tries to revolutionize the Nazi into becoming a religion. In the film, Hitler descends in the front cathedral and declares that one day Nazis will become a religion. On the other hand, the Great Dictator film through Chaplin satirizes Hitler's efforts to change the country's religion to the Nazis (Bach, 2017). Chaplin comics the fact if Christianity does not help the poor people in Germany, then how Hitler does expect the Nazi religion will change the country. Both films present different views, either advances the propaganda or art agenda in society. 

The third theme that cuts across the two films is power. Notably, power is what drives nations into achieving various economic prospects. In the first film of Leni, Adolf uses propaganda to lie to people that if the young men join the army, Germany is going to become a superpower, which is not the case as the dictator needs an army of young men to kill people that are not aligned to the ideologies of the Nazi Congress Party (Dekker, 2015). Chaplin makes fun of Adolf clamor for power by showing how he is intoxicated with power to an extent whereby he kills his close friends and family. 

In conclusion, arts and propaganda are both similar and distinct in equal measure. To better understand and give a better perception of arts and propaganda, the research paper analyzes three themes that are unity, power and religion. The Triumph of the Will is propaganda films that present misconstrued stories about unity, power and religion with the sole aim of advancing the dictatorial regime of Adolf Hitler. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator satirizes the advancement of power, unity, and religion in Hitler's reign. 


Bach, S. (2017).  Leni: The life and work of Leni Riefenstahl . New York: A.A. Knopf 

Braden, L. (2016). Collectors and Collections: Critical Recognition of the World's Top Art Collectors.  Social Forces,    94 (4), 1483-1507. 

Chaplin, C. (2012).  My autobiography . Brooklyn, NY: Melville House Publishing 

Dekker, E. (2015). Two approaches to study the value of art and culture, and the emergence of a third.  Journal of Cultural Economics,    39 (4), 309-326. 

Ewa Mazierska. (2014). Introduction: Marking Political Cinema.  Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media,    55 (1), 33-44. doi:10.13110/framework.55.1.003 

Noga S,. (2018). Beyond the Local Discourse: Re-thinking the Israeli-Jewish “Hitler-wave”.  Israel Studies,    23 (2), 118-141 

Rich, B. (2016). Film Criticism in the Era of Algorithms.  Film Quarterly,    70 (2), 5-8. doi:10.2307/26413760 

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