The following is a lightly trimmed version of an e-mail I sent back in 2006.
In my research, I like to reference primary source material. This led me to renting the 1935 Nazi propaganda film Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) this weekend.
I was rather surprised that my 5 year-old daughter came in near the beginning and watched the whole two hours with me. She asked a lot of questions: who are the people, what are they doing, why… and added even more commentary of her own as she told me the story. This naturally led to talking in simple terms about WWII. It was one of those precious events that couldn’t be captured other than in my mind.
Here are a few main points about WWII (and the movie) through the eyes of a five-year old.
- A long time ago there was a bad king¹.
- The bad king had lots of helpers.
- The bad king and his helpers tricked the good people.
- The good people did bad things but thought they were doing good things because they tricked them.
- Lots and lots of good people worked for the bad king.
- The bad king wanted to teach the good children bad things.
- The bad king killed lots of people who believed in Heavenly Father.
- A lot of people died in a very big war to get rid of the bad king.
- Lots of good people’s houses were burned and broken when they tried to get rid of the bad king.
- Good people have to be careful so the bad people don’t trick them.
I don’t know that I could come up with a better summary with so few words.
¹ The word “king” is a word we settled on for füher. To her, one is either a “king” or a “prophet.” We’re still working on the idea that George Washington was the president of a republic, not a king. For now he’ll have to put up with being a really good man that fought the bad king and his helpers that were really mean, whom the people chose to be the good king.