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Important years in Richard Wagner's life

1813 born in Leipzig
1834 Die Feen completed
1843 Holländer premiere
1845 Tannhäuser premiere
1850 Lohengrin premiere
1852 text of Rheingold and Walküre
1854 Das Rheingold completed
1856 Die Walküre completed
1859 Tristan completed
1865 Tristan premiere in Munich
1868 Meistersinger premiere
1869 Das Rheingold premiere
1870 Die Walküre premiere
1871 Siegfried completed
1874 Götterdämmerung completed
1876 First Festival in Bayreuth
1882 Parsifal premiere
1883 Wagner dies in Venice

 

Stukas (Nazi propaganda film, 1941) - director: Karl Ritter

This is a clip from Karl Ritter's Nazi propaganda film Stukas from 1941. The scene shows a depressed and apathetic bomber being cured by listening to Götterdämmerung at the Festspielhaus. The music – which he says would have sounded even better played "vierhändig" on a piano (!) – gives him spirit and energy to return to the battle field to bomb England.

Before the Festspielhaus scene, the bomber and the nurse is relaxing at the Bürgerreuth Restaurant on the hill above the Festival area, still a place much visited after performances. The nurse explains to the doctor why she wants to take him to Bayreuth: "Es gibt keine Menschen die von dort ohne Ergriffenheit weggehen kann."

Should one laugh or cry?

Quotations about Stuka

"It was a monotonous film about a bunch of obstreperous adolescents who dived bombed things and people. The bombed anything and anybody. That's all the film was - just one bombing after another. Finally the hero got bored with bombing and lost interest in life - so they took him off to the Bayreuth music festival where he listened to a few lines of Wagner's music; his soul began to breathe again, he got visions of the Fuhrer and of guns blazing away, so he impolitely left right in the middle of the first act and dashed back and started bombing things again with the old gusto." Broadcast journalist Howard K. Smith in "Last Train From Berlin"

"New Ritter film, 'Stukas.' Quite good, with some wonderful air footage, but a typical Ritter production. He cannot lead people. Rather too noisy."
German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels in his diary (entry for June 2, 1941) after attending a preview

Although the action focuses on dive bombing, the real theme of the film is the willingness, indeed the necessity, to risk death in the service of Germany. In the moral universe of "Stukas", there is no finer death in the world. Hauptmann Bork (Raddatz) salutes the fallen: "Yes, one does not think about their death, but instead about what they have died for, and remembers them like the young gods that they are." Deeply moved, Doctor Gregorius (O.E. Hasse, known from Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess) recites lines from Friedrich Hölderlin's poem Der Tod fürs Vaterland ("Death for the Fatherland").

The verse reads in part:

"O take me, let me join that circle, so that I will not die a common death! I do not want to die in vain; but I would love to perish on a hill of sacrifice"
[...] "for the Fatherland, to bleed the blood of my heart, for the Fatherland - and soon it is done! To you, dear ones! I come , to join those who taught me to live and to die!"

Quotations drawn from Jay W. Baird's "To Die for Germany". See below for the whole poem in German by Friedrich Hölderlin.

The reason the bomber says that this music would sound even better played fourhanded on a piano, is that he has heard two officers play it on the piano earlier in the film (the one nearest is O.E. Hasse):

A short version from a BBC documentary about Hitler and Bayreuth:

Richard Wagner: Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt / Simon Rattle · Berliner Philharmoniker

Siegfried's Rhine journey from Götterdämmerung.

About the dive bomber Stuka

The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, "dive bomber") was a two-seat (pilot and rear gunner) German ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.

Friedrich Hölderlin: Der Tod fürs Vaterland

Du kömmst, o Schlacht! schon wogen die Jünglinge
Hinab von ihren Hügeln, hinab ins Tal,
Wo keck herauf die Würger dringen,
Sicher der Kunst und des Arms, doch sichrer

Kömmt über sie die Seele der Jünglinge,
Denn die Gerechten schlagen, wie Zauberer,
Und ihre Vaterlandsgesänge
Lähmen die Kniee den Ehrelosen.

O nimmt mich, nimmt mich mit in die Reihen auf,
Damit ich einst nicht sterbe gemeinen Tods!
Umsonst zu sterben, lieb' ich nicht, doch
Lieb ich, zu fallen am Opferhügel

Fürs Vaterland, zu bluten des Herzens Blut
Fürs Vaterland - und bald ist's geschehn! Zu euch,
Ihr Teuern! komm ich, die mich leben
Lehrten und sterben, zu euch hinunter

Wie oft im Lichte dürstet' ich euch zu sehn,
Ihr Helden und ihr Dichter aus alter Zeit!
Nun grüßt ihr freundlich den geringen
Fremdling und brüderlich ists hier unten;

Und Siegesboten kommen herab: Die Schlacht
Ist unser! Lebe droben, o Vaterland,
Und zähle nicht die Toten! Dir ist,
Liebes! nicht Einer zu viel gefallen.

The aircraft was easily recognizable by its inverted gull wings, fixed spatted undercarriage and its infamous Jericho-Trompete ("Jericho Trumpet") wailing siren, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the Blitzkrieg victories of 1939-1942.

The Stuka's design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the plane recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration. Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective, the Ju 87 was vulnerable to modern fighter aircraft, like many other dive bombers of the war. Its flaws became apparent during the Battle of Britain; poor maneuverability, lack of speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required a fighter escort to operate effectively.

Source: Wikipedia

Further reading

Stuka Lied

At the end of the scene you can hear the bombers cheerfully sing the so called Stuka Lied in the air.

The Stuka Lied is recorded for non-political use and is available on Third Reich's Military Music Archives Volume 5 / Military Music of Nazi Germany, 1933 - 1943

Stuka Lied (lyrics)

Stukas posterViel schwarze Vögel ziehen
Hoch über Land und Meer,
Und wo sie erscheinen, da fliehen
Die Feinde vor ihnen her.
Sie lassen jäh sich fallen
Vom Himmel tiefbodenwärts.
Sie schlagen die ehernen Krallen
Dem Gegner mitten ins Herz.

Refrain:
Wir sind die schwarzen Husaren der Luft,
Die Stukas, die Stukas, die Stukas.

Immer bereit, wenn der Einsatz uns ruft,
Die Stukas, die Stukas, die Stukas.
Wir stürzen vom Himmel und schlagen zu.
Wir fürchten die Hölle nicht und geben nicht Ruh,
Bis endlich der Feind am Boden liegt,
Bis England, bis England, bis Engeland besiegt
Die Stukas, die Stukas, die Stukas!

Wenn tausend Blitze flammen,
Wenn rings sie Gefahr bedroht,
Sie halten stets eisern zusammen,
Kameraden auf Leben und Tod!
Wenn Beute sie erspähen,
Dann wehe ihr allemal,
Nichts kann ihren Augen entgehen,
Den Stukas, Adlern gleich aus Stahl!

Refrain

Tod säen sie und Verderben
Rings über des Feindes Land.
Die Spuren sind Trümmer und Scherben
Und lodernder Himmelsbrand.
Es geht schon in allen Landen
Ihr Name von Mund zu Mund.
Sie schlagen die Werke zuschanden,
Die Schiffe schicken sie auf Grund.

Refrain

 

     

 

 

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