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The Third Reich In Colour

Episode 1: The Dictator

During the tumultuous years of the 1930s and 1940s, as the world was embroiled in two world wars and political parades unfolded in Nuremberg and Moscow, some individuals were quietly capturing life’s moments in a medium largely overshadowed by classic black and white. Among these unheralded pioneers were notable figures like Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s companion, and Hans Baur, the Führer’s personal pilot. In their pursuit of personal pleasure or the documentation of significant historical events, they wielded the relatively new technology of color film, offering a unique perspective on a world in turmoil.

Their celluloid creations, now meticulously scanned in high-resolution HD, reveal an intimate and realistic glimpse into the public appearances and private life of the dictator at Obersalzberg. As we look back on the 20th century, these forgotten reels, tucked away in film archives and private collections, emerge as a testament to a shared passion. Whether it was Marlene Dietrich, Roosevelt’s Minister of Finance, soldiers of the Wehrmacht, or the cameramen of the OSS, they all played a role in painting history in vivid color, immortalizing moments that have endured through the generations.

Episode 2: War Against Hitler

Throughout the conflict with the Soviet Union, the Nazis harnessed 35mm color footage for their propaganda machine. In an intriguing twist of history, Hitler’s pilot accompanied the dictator during a visit to the frontlines, capturing these moments in vivid color. Meanwhile, in North Africa, famed Hollywood director John Ford embarked on a cinematic journey, crafting breathtaking color footage alongside his team. Notably, during the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, a camera crew stood on behalf of US President Roosevelt, bearing witness to the Allies’ demand for Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender.

The first half of the 20th century witnessed two world wars, grand parades in Nuremberg and Moscow, and the iconic appearances of leaders like Roosevelt and Churchill—all etched into memory through classic black and white imagery. Yet, concealed within film archives and private collections, a lesser-known treasure trove of images persevered. This cache of historical footage was not only the result of official documentation but also a shared passion among individuals such as Hitler’s companion, Eva Braun, the Führer’s pilot, Hans Hans Baur, the legendary Marlene Dietrich, and Roosevelt’s Minister of Finance. Even some Wehrmacht soldiers and the intrepid cameramen of the US secret service OSS played a part in this unique endeavor: filming history in vibrant color, whether for private enjoyment or to chronicle pivotal moments in time.

Episode 3: The Liberation of France

In 1944, as southern England became the staging ground for the Allied troops’ imminent Normandy landing, the presence of US soldier Jack Lieb and his amateur camera was quietly profound. Meanwhile, on the pivotal day of the D-Day invasion, the renowned John Ford wielded his camera crews to capture the chaos and courage in striking color. In a parallel narrative, Ford’s Hollywood counterpart, George Stevens, embarked on a journey to northern France with his own dedicated team on that fateful 6th of June, 1944. Together, these individuals chronicled the relentless march of progress and the eventual liberation of Paris from an intimate vantage point.

While the annals of the first half of the 20th century brim with memories of two world wars, grand parades in Nuremberg and Moscow, and the indelible presence of leaders like Roosevelt and Churchill, there exists an obscure trove of images concealed within film archives and private collections. This collection isn’t the work of official documentation alone, but rather the fruit of a shared passion that bridged unlikely individuals. Whether it was Hitler’s companion, Eva Braun, or the Führer’s pilot, Hans Hans Baur, the enigmatic Marlene Dietrich, or even Roosevelt’s Minister of Finance, alongside Wehrmacht soldiers and the intrepid cameramen of the US secret service OSS, they all united in a singular passion: the art of capturing history in vivid color. Whether for private pleasure or as a solemn chronicler of momentous events, their lenses breathed life into history’s vibrant hues.

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