White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Downfall: The Nazi Genocide as a Natural Disaster

Boswell, MJ (2012) Downfall: The Nazi Genocide as a Natural Disaster. Holocaust Studies: a journal of culture and history, 17 (Autumn). 165 - 184 (19). ISSN 1750-4902

Published Version: http://www.vmbooks.com/


This essay describes how the cinematic style, form and narrative of Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film Downfall (2004) convey a particular interpretation of history: one that is at odds with the schema of descent signified by its title. For as well as charting the disintegration of Hitler’s Germany, the film is equally concerned with the country’s moral regeneration, exploring and celebrating its capacity for reintegration with social norms. This affirmative counter-narrative rests on specific interpretations of perpetrator testimony and a Darwinian conception of social growth by way of natural cycles of destruction, with a generation of young and morally rehabilitated Germans outliving the weakened and morally decrepit Nazi regime, and specifically the virulence of Hitler. This essay worries about the fact that this view of history is not all that far removed from the pseudo-philosophy of Hitler himself and calls for a more critical and sceptical engagement with perpetrator testimony.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 08:41
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:40
Published Version: http://www.vmbooks.com/
Status: Published
Publisher: Valentine Mitchell
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74547

Actions (repository staff only: login required)