Hitler: A Profile is 1995 documentary series hosted by David Ritchie which is one of the earliest comprehensive television biographies of the German dictator Adolf Hitler, produced with the assistance of various renowned historians. The series is a SBS and ZDF co-production (Australian and German) and makes use of interviews with eye-witnesses, relatives of Hitler, and victims of his crimes. Each of the six episodes focus on one particular character aspect of Hitler, collectively they present a profile of the man.
We have all six episodes available to watch here on Documentary Vine, navigate them via the numbered tabs beneath the video player or via the episode list below.
An exploration of how a quiet and private man could rise from obscurity to become the most infamous personality of the 20th century. The episode looks at his past to reveal how he was an unpopular and troubled loner who thought that the world was against him. Hitler had few close friends and hated to be touched, in private he was not the charismatic man that his public persona suggested.
An examination of the way that Hitler managed to build a cult of personality around himself in 1930’s Germany, particularly with his impassioned speeches which wooed people who had been the victims of the economic depression which followed the conclusion of the first world war. The episode includes archive footage of some of his early speeches. It also explores the League of German Girls movement and the Hitler Youth movement which were created to build the next generation of his support base.
Covers how Hitler ignored the Treaty of Versailles and began to rearm his country in preparation for war, then progressing to occupying the Rhineland and annexing Austria to enlarge Germany, actions which met with no resistance so he proceeded to invade Czechoslovakia and subsequently Poland. It was at this stage that allied forces decided they needed to take action against an increasingly power hungry Hitler.
The fourth episode examines the conditions under which Hitler was able to encourage an entire nation to submit to him, using rare extracts from some of his speeches and film footage from German archives. Features first hand witness accounts from those who experienced life under his rule and describe the climate of fear that he created.
This episode is dedicated entirely to Hitler’s military strategy and revealed that he was so anxious to retain centralised power that he created a war council. It also explores the often indecisive nature of his decision making which led to a series of tactical blunders which were the fault of Hitler himself, most notably failing to prevent the allied invasion of Dunkirk which left German forces having to fight on both the Eastern front and Western front simultaneously.
The sixth and final episode explores how Hitler developed his ideas prior to his foray into politics, beginning as a penniless youth reading the works of obscure right-wing philosophers who preached white supremacy, and how this early reading influenced his horrific policies once he’d reached the level of Fuehrer.