A New Germany

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"A New Germany"
The World at War episode
Episode no. Episode 1
Directed by Hugh Raggett
Teleplay by Neal Ascherson
Original air date October 31, 1973 (1973-10-31)
Running time 50 min.
Episode chronology
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"Distant War"

"A New Germany" is the first episode of the 1973 Thames Television documentary series The World at War, narrated by Laurence Olivier. It covers Germany from 1933 to 1939 and includes interviews with Hugh Greene and Ewald von Kleist.

It starts in the French market town of Oradour-sur-Glane and explains the systematic extermination of the entire population and destruction of properties by the SS. On the orders of the then French president, Charles de Gaulle, the original, abandoned site has been maintained as a permanent memorial and museum. The episode goes on to explain that it stands among hundreds, even thousands of other ruins in other countries. This remembering the past establishes not only the mood of the series, but one of its main themes.

The episode then turns to the Nazi rise to power through promises of work, security, material prosperity and rebuilding Germany's greatness, to a country in the depths of the Great Depression and anger at how they were treated in the Treaty of Versailles. The episode goes through lots of footage of Hitler including walking of Hitler to the ceremonial opening of parliament and speeches by Hitler calling for the general public to work with every ounce of strength they had and Germany would repay them through money, housing, food and the purge of anything "anti-German".

A New Germany goes on to show the burning of books that were Jewish or "anti-German". The persecution of the Jews is shown in part but only shows the vandalism and harassment of Jewish businesses. The beginning of the cleansing of the German race had begun. It shows the new Nazi marriage ceremonies where members of the SS were only allowed to marry the correct race and even if they were already married to an "inferior race" they would remarry.

It goes through the neutralizing of the SA through the murder of their leaders, and their replacement by the SS. The systematic takeover of land stripped of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles is shown to make the other nations think Germany is just standing up for itself. It goes on to explain how this view changed as Hitler took Austria, and Czechoslovakia. The propaganda displayed to the German public is shown to make this all look like Germany is just taking care of itself but still some Germans interviewed say they knew it was much worse when Czechoslovakia was taken.

The episode ends with Hitler's 50th birthday and Hitler's signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

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