This film is part of Free

Germany - Handle With Care

A group of young Nazis meet in a clandestine ‘Werwolf’ gathering as they plot resistance against the occupying Allied forces, in this frontline report from postwar Germany.

Documentary 1947 18 mins


This March of Time film mixes genuine footage and dramatised scenes in a vivid snapshot of an uncertain time. The suffering of ordinary Germans, the continuing prosperity of Nazi party members, a rampant black market, Denazification procedures, and America’s desire to unify the country in the face of Russian opposition, make up a complex picture of the reconstruction of a country, which, the commentary insists, is being done for the good of the world, not for the benefit of Germany.

This report attempts to explain why America was spending $200 million dollars a year on a nation with which it had been recently at war. If it achieves its aim it is through an oddly jarring mixture of cynicism and optimism. The reconstructed scenes are entertaining but so over the top as to be ridiculous: as the commentary notes the ‘inherent arrogance of an egotistical people’ we see a German man bowing and scraping before a US officer but then seething with hatred after leaving the room. More convincing in conveying the gravity of the situation are the genuine scenes: from the wreckage of the Krupp factory in Essen to the sudden drama of a black market deal being broken up by German police.