Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”

I just spent 3 hours investigating far-right political parties in Europe, and this came up randomly on YouTube: Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator.”

charlie-chaplin-hitlerx

I’ve actually never seen the film, but understand that this scene, of Hitler dancing with a bouncing globe, is a classic.

Some interesting history from Wikipedia:

At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin’s film advanced a stirring, controversial[4] condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini’s fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he mocks in the film as “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts”….

In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he would not have made the film had he known about the actual horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh that’s interesting.

  • LanceThruster

    YVW

    :-)

  • Silver_Witch

    Thanks so much for sharing this Lance…I am going to have to re-watch this weekend.

  • LanceThruster

    I agree with you entirely. Sometimes I tear up re-reading it. It’s why I love posting it.

    In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little.

  • Silver_Witch

    Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little ….this is so very true and my favorite part.

  • Badgerite

    Agreed. I don’t think of Hitler as ‘daffy’. I think of his as real mean. Snarling, even.

  • LanceThruster

    Franz Liebkind: Not many people know it, but the Führer was a terrific dancer.

  • LanceThruster

    This is one of the other golden nuggets from “The Great Dictator” —

    I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope, into the future! The glorious future, that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up!

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Interesting tidbit, Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, Oona, has had a role in the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, as Talisa, Rob Stark’s wife. Which in itself was angering, because they completely changed the storyline and character from the books. :)

  • Silver_Witch

    Agreed – he makes him look insane and harmless – he was indeed insane – certainly not harmless though..

  • Silver_Witch

    You should really see the whole video – it is wonderfully done.

  • jomicur

    Moe Howard did it better. W.C. Fields was right about Chaplin: “He’s a goddamn ballet dancer.”

  • Badgerite

    Chaplin was right. He makes Hitler look far too benign than was actually the case.

  • Indigo

    Thank you for reviving that classic! I’d forgotten about it but oh, my! there it is again and here we are again. Lessons from the past . . .

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