Baptism of Fire

Baptism of Fire

Feuertaufe (Original Title)

The Legend of the Luftwaffe began in Poland, the first victim of Hitler's blitzkrieg. Feuertaufe, directed by Hans Bertram, himself a world-renowned aviator, captures war as never seen before. Combat cameramen filmed the aerial campaign, showing preparations for flight, massive air strikes, and the appalling devastation wreaked upon Polish towns and armies. (Seven cameramen died during filming.) The use of trick photography and maps makes this documentary one of the Third Reich's most sophisticated propaganda films. Norbert Schultze's original score lyrically enhances this masterpiece, and his concluding anthem - promising ""Bomben auf Engelland"" - predicts further triumphs for the mighty Luftwaffe.

Highlighted by a riveting sequence depicting the siege of Warsaw, Feuertaufe inspired Germany with pride and confidence and foreign viewers with dread, and captivated audiences around the globe. In a prelude to the Polish campaign, the cause of the war was blamed on the corrupt plutocracy of Great Britain, which had sworn to destroy National Socialism. Britain and France providing a blank check to the Poles despite two decades of diplomatic failure to address German grievances about the Polish Corridor, Danzig, and endangered Germanic populations in East Prussia was skillfully woven into the narrative. Thus, the inevitable response from Germany was shown not only as righting a long-standing wrong, but as the culmination of an historic mission.

1h 30min
April 5, 1940
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