The music in Triumph of the Will evokes the images of other worldliness, heroism, and discipline to cast Hitler and the Nazi Party in a positive light. The image of other worldliness is evoked in Scene 1, when Windt’s original music is played as the airplane carrying Hitler flies above the clouds. Heroism is the theme in Scene 2, as Windt’s arrangement of the Horst Wessel Song accompanies the airplane’s descent into Nuremberg. During this descent, the camera reveals the never-ending column of soldiers marching into the city. They are marching to see their leader and hero, Hitler, who will lead them to greatness. In Scene 3, the music returns to the theme of other worldliness. Windt’s use of the music from Die Meistersinger accompanies the scene’s beautiful views of the city of Nuremberg, giving the city a heavenly quality. Instead of the home of average German citizens, Nuremberg appears to be the home of the gods. Scene 4 reveals the image of discipline: the massed soldiers stand erect, motionless, and silent as Hitler, Himmler, and Lutze pay their respects the dead.
The music in Triumph of the Will stands as just one of the many cinematic elements that helped to make the film an artistic masterpiece. I hope my analysis was politically objective while still drawing important connections between the film’s music and content. It is extremely easy, knowing what we know now, to condemn Riefenstahl for creating a film that glorified such villains as Hitler and the Nazis. When the film was made, Hitler had only recently come to power and had, only a month before the rally, just become president as well as chancellor of Germany. We must not be too swift to condemn, but at the same time not too quick to forget. The film serves as a reminder that good things, artistic endeavors in this case, can be used, whether consciously or not, to promote evil ends.