WEST GERMANY: Hitler Without Cheers or Tears

A movie looks for the reasons why

Outside West Berlin's Zoo-Palast Cinema, near the bombed-out shell of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, as well as at scores of theaters in the rest of West Germany, long lines of Germans have been lining up to see a new hit. The central figure—his black hair combed flat across his forehead, his impassioned voice exhorting his followers to build a thousand-year Reich—is der Führer himself. The 2½-hour documentary movie about him, Hitler—A Career, is the smash of the summer, drawing thousands to the box offices and spurring a nationwide re-examination of the Nazi past.

The...

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