15 Kasım 2008 Cumartesi

THE GREAT DICTATOR

“The Great Dictator” :
Compare and Contrast Essay

There were many historical events that was memorized by people. Also these events are in our history books and related multimedia tools. Especially, we could remember historic battles, rulers, big empires. Nevertheless the most important moment that everyone could remember is the World War I and World War II. These historic events are known all around the world since they are the war of the world, many countries participated and millions had died and billions had suffered due to the economic scarcity and psychological problems came with the Huge War.[1] Before, World War II, we know that there was unstoppable nationalism and dictatorship. Particularly three big power in Europe, which were Germany, Italy and Soviet Russia were dictated by Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. These dictators were managed the faith of the 1940’s society and also the faith of ours. At that time society made their reaction against the war in different ways. Democratic countries know that the way they were going is the way that fight between dictatorship and democracy. However, there was not only the fight, there was also psychological wars between countries. Countries published books, other media related objects, and movies. Before the war and during the war, people showed their response against war. From these response, I am going to discuss the film, directed by Charlie Chaplin and Wheeler Dryden, named “The Great Dictator”. “The Great Dictator” was also accepted as one of the best films throughout the film history. The film had many controversial issues that many people have had many different ideas from now. Some people have thought that the film is magnificent, and Chaplin made a good job by criticizing “the Hitler” or “Axis” phenomenon that was done in 30’s and 40’s Germany. On the other hand, some other part of the society have thought that the film had the extreme criticizing. Especially, for the ordinary film, it was so criticizing that German Dictatorship community was accepted as awful in the film. So there was two opposite opinions, and I will explain the good side of the two opposite issues.
First of all, in my opinion, the critics over the film are not as extreme as some people considered. People reconsidered opinions and the consideration of the time of the 30’s and 40’s. Someone had to do something against the war, since from day to day, causalities were increasing exponentially. “The Great Dictator” was the representative of the against war and dictatorship opinion. The film was directed in a way that we see the power of the Hitler’s Germany as “Tomania”. Also, we see the weak part of the Adolf Hitler. We see the power since there was huge armies and commanders with numerous medals and honors. As we know, in reality, Hitler’s army conquered Russia in a short time up to Moscow. They were really powerful. Nevertheless, Chaplin made a clever movement in there. He wanted to prove, the power that the Axis have, was not the real power. According to him, the real power was the humanity and peace and when these power was discovered by the world society, everything has changed. Also, Chaplin’s object was simply to persuade viewers that Germany and Italy, but especially Germany under Hitler, posed a clear threat to world peace. He understood the elements of mass persuasion because he understood cinema art as designed for mass audiences: touch the emotions first, and paint the characters in monotones so that there would be no mistaking the distinction of good from evil. Scene after scene in “The Great Dictator” evoked fear, love, hate, sympathy, or humor, emotions which elaborated Chaplin’s central purpose of taking sides in the conflict of good against evil as epitomized by innocence brutalized.[2] That was the main idea of film, and tragicomic incidents were related at the center of against war opinion. Also, Chaplin made the film that Dictatorship management at the Germany was “awful” in some points. For example, their secretary of war or Field Marshal “Herring” was “left handed” in the scenario. In the film, Hitler’s Dictatorship suppose that they had the largest army and the most technologically developed ones. Instead, when Billy Gilbert as “Herring” made new innovations, they were unsuccessful in the testing part that was made in front of Chaplin as “Hynkel”. That was the message to the world by the film. No matter how they had the power and technologically developed, Hitler’s community were human beings as the other people in the world. So they could not be flawless as the community believed in Germany and all around the world. As a final comment for these issue, Chaplin was right to show them inexpert since Adolf Hitler had chosen to commit a suicide after the defeat at WWII. Hitler was helpless at the end of the war when we compared his inspired speeches before the war and during the war, and his helpless was the reason of why he choose to commit a suicide. He did not think that his magnificent days of Germany will end soon. However, Chaplin saw the future and in his film, sometimes we see powerful Hitler character, and also sometimes we see that he is helpless.
In addition, against the war opinion thought, we may say that Chaplin criticized the Jewish Genocide. In the scenario, we see that there were happy Jewish Ghetto. People were living their ordinary love. Also, Chaplin as a “Jewish Barber” was happy and soon he was in love with a girl. However, their happy lives were ended with the “Hynkel” one day decision. One day decision is important key point in my sentence because Hitler was famous with unexpected decisions. I believe that Chaplin criticized Hitler’s decisions in that way. If Hitler did not think about conquering the Europe and even world, Germany and the world would be different today’s world. As a notice there would be no absolute power of US. Moreover, we see that Hitler’s advisors have the great effect over final decisions. Jewish Genocide begun with his advisor’s advise. Meanwhile, the Jews terrorized no one and beat up on no one (except when Hannah and the barber bounced frying pans off the heads of storm troopers). When faced with Hynkel’s policies, they simplified to the friendlier confines of Osterlich. There was a mixed message here. Clearly, Chaplin preferred peace, but he also advocated resistance by the Jews and others to the dictator and his storm troopers, because non-resistance only encouraged them. Free people must do more than merely desire freedom; they must fight for it when necessary, and in case any one missed this particular point, Chaplin gave Hannah these lines following the skillet-bashing incident: ‘That did me a lot of good. Sure got a nerve the way you fought back”. As a final notice, we could agree that Hitler characterized well, and his weak points determined to show that Hitler was also a human and he was not as a flawless person as the world society considered. With this film we saw that the most powerful dictator may have sentimental weakness and also he might be managed by his advisors.
Finally, the issue that supports the against war and behalf of the peace is related with scene when “Hynkel” played with the ball in his office. Chaplin could have great criticism over the Hitler politics. In my opinion, Chaplin gave us a message that some people especially Adolf Hitler was a player of the world. They had the power and they wanted to use that power to play the world like a ball. In the film scene, “Hynkel” played with the ball very long time and these moments were the happiest time of him. When he played with the world, he was happy. In real life, Hitler was like “Hynkel”. He conquered Austria which was his homeland, then continued to Poland, Russia and west of the Europe even to Paris. He was probably happy when he conquered somewhere. Nevertheless, he did not consider the happiness of the society because war came with destruction of conquered country. People were hungry and homeless as we saw in Chaplin’s film, and many people, even in Germany, are penniless.[3] So there was also social and economic destruction all over the war countries. Many people migrated to somewhere else and lost their relatives. There would have been civil wars, if the war had not finished. As a final comment to that paragraph, as we see today dictators even today have had egoism that he could play with world. Even they have not had sufficient power, they like to play with his society. Chaplin saw the ego of the dictators as it was in Hitler and Mussolini.
On the other hand, other side whom could not be against war and dictatorship, also have opinion that there was extreme criticism in “The Great Dictator”. First of all, as Adolf Hitler or in film as “Hynkel”, they were dictators and dictatorship is managing a country with dictator’s and his representatives. So as its natural, people under the dictator must obey the rule. Hitler wanted to manage his society since he thought that they did not have sufficient background the rational thinking. He wanted to manage them as today’s dictators do, and as we saw they were very talented that they had speeches over millions that were listening. So there was also society’s irresponsibility. If they wanted, they would get democracy no matter how it was hard and could result with civil war. In Hitler’s speeches over the society, people supported him and he got the power of the society. Also, it is better to add that Hitler’s ability to manage the society was so high that millions were brain washed. As a conclusion of that issue, Chaplin might not consider the society tendency in Europe. Especially, we consider three power; Russia, Italy, and Germany had dictatorship.
In addition, critics level sometimes too high in “The Great Dictator”. From, the title to the end of the film we saw severe criticism over the dictatorship. As an example, when US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs, they were ruled with democracy and republic. As an another example, after WWI, invasion over Turkey was made by democratic countries. Many people believes that Hitler’s massacre over civil people and also destruction was non acceptable. However, other side of the war was not purely innocent. Stalin, Mussolini were also dictators and had been in war with Germany dictatorship and at the side of Allied countries. So as a final conclusion about that issue is “Allied countries had also mistakes and during the movie we could not see the critics over the Allied side”.
Finally, critics over the Hitler regime with “the Great Dictator” was also too unrealistic sometimes. As we know, Adolf Hitler was not only the ordinary people, he was also writer of his own book called “Mein Kampf”[4]. He was also good artist. Maybe, according to me, Chaplin and many people, he was only a dictator. However, he inspired his society as a great dictator. As their massacre’s and destruction was not happened, Germany could be more powerful for now. There were lots of inventions made by German scientists. Nevertheless, in the film we saw that these scientists were so awful that their inventions were useless. However, in reality, there were lots of inventions that effects today’s world. Consider the WW’s Beetle, it was the design of Hitler’s engineers. Also, new airplanes, bombers, missiles, submarines that has the main technology that US army use today.
As a final conclusion, in my perspective, I think that the film of Chaplin was used for increasing morale of the USA and other Allied countries. The film had also many messages to society, that could not the government carry easily to the far places. But Chaplin probably did with his film. He increased the morale of Allied countries and hope for peaceful and democratic world. From two points of view as you will predict that criticism over war and thinking against the war was my favorite one. The aim of the film was against the war and it was cleverly done by Charlie Chaplin. Especially, if you watch the film, you will like Chaplin’s tragicomic narrative, and most remarkably you will remember the last scene. It was played so well that democratic point of view magnificently explained by the Jewish barber. It is interesting…

References

1. Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” or “My Struggle” .
2. Jack Oakie, “When Your Boss is Charlie Chaplin”
3. ROBERT COLE, “Anglo-American Anti-fascist Film Propaganda in a Time of Neutrality: The Great Dictator,1940” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2001
4. “The Great Dictator”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Dictator
5. “The Great Dictator”, movie
[1] “Prizes for Basic Research – Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History”

[2] [2]
[3] World Economoy in 30’s and 40’s
[4] [1] “Mein Kampf” which is “My Strugle” in English and “Kavgam” in Turkish

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