© DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst
This collection focuses on the First and Second World Wars from a leftwing German perspective. They explore connections between the wars involving Germany from 1871 to 1945 and seek to untangle the precedents of the Second World War, which was the primary formative experience of the East Germany policy. Thus, the WWI films focus less on soldiers’ experience of trench warfare and more on the wartime experience of individual men and women, of generations and families, and of what war’s interface with the contemporaneous workers’ movement and Russian revolution. The WWII films, in contrast, more fully explore the experience of soldiers, while they craft a nuanced portrayal of political pressures on Jews and non-Jews alike.