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Title page for ETD etd-07182011-113459

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gibson, Robert Michael
URN etd-07182011-113459
Title Spasmodic Effervescence: Outsiders' Perspectives on Revolutionary Nationalism in Germany, 1815-1848. The Aesthetics of Propaganda: Weimar Continuities in Filmic Representations of Frederick the Great
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Helmut Walser Smith Committee Chair
Michael Bess Committee Member
  • Weimar Cinema
  • Nationalism
  • Vormärz
  • Germany
  • Nazi Propaganda
Date of Defense 2011-08-17
Availability unrestricted
The first section of this thesis describes the development of nationally-minded revolutionary sentiment in Vormärz Germany. Using British and American diplomatic envoy reports from the German states, the paper clarifies and enunciates the development of nationalist revolutionary feeling in Germany from the perspective of contemporary observers. It argues that the desire for national revolution spread over time among ever widening groups of people, creating conditions for that sentiment to be expressed intermittently through acts of disobedience or violence.

The second section analyzes four German films about Frederick II released between 1933 and 1945. The paper treats the films as part of a continuous historiographical, literary, and filmic discourse about Frederick, and compares their aesthetic and narrative strategies and how these affected the films’ effectiveness as propaganda. The paper’s most significant argument is that certain films incorporated aesthetic strategies from Weimar cinema in order to emphasize propagandistic content.

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