May 1945. Even though populations are celebrating Allied victory, the German defeat doesn’t promise a better tomorrow. In the five years that separated the end of the Second World War from the start of the Cold War, the world had hoped for a lasting peace, but instead found itself on the brink of apocalypse.
Five years of chaos and hope for the people of a shattered Europe, who became pawns in the games of the major powers. May 8th, 1945 : A terrible war finally ended in the smoking ruins of the Reich. The civilian populations celebrated the victory. It was a time for jubilation. But the celebration lasted little more than a few days. The defeat of Nazi Germany did not mean a rosy future lay around the corner. A shattered Europe had to rebuild, heal its wounds, and deal with the fall-out from an interminable and barbarous conflict, whilst sketching the outlines of its future.
Throughout Europe a human tide is rising. In 1945, Europe was a continent of refugees. Millions of men and women who had been deported, interned, or subjected to forced labour, waited for weeks, sometimes months, to return to their homelands. Having been chased out by the newly established authorities in Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, millions of Germans are displaced or are being held in camps. Thousands of Jewish survivors refuse to go back to their home country and attempt to reach Palestine. Thousands of orphans are walking down ruined cities. For many civilians, the aftermath of the war was even more brutal than the conflict itself. Barely coming out of conflict, The Allied forces have to face, in the utmost emergency, one of the biggest population movements in History, while at the same time, the red threat occurs in the East. The Allied have won the war. Will they lose the peace?
Five years marked by founding events: the liberation, the founding of the United Nations, the Nuremberg Trials, the Marshall Plan, the Czech coup, Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, the expulsion of German minorities, changes in borders, the Berlin blockade, the division of Germany, and so on.
Five years of confusion tinged with optimism, before finding themselves one side or the other of the Iron Curtain.
Based entirely on remastered and recolored archives, After Hitler will immerse the viewer into the searing reality of these post war years. This ambitious 2×52’ film will compile unseen Russian, British, German, French, Canadian and American archives, unique images of daily life that give the feeling we are experiencing this story in the present and not the past.
A Film by David Korn-Brzoza and Olivier Wieviorka ; A Cineteve Production with participation of France Televisions,Planete+,RTBF,RTS,TV5 Quebec Canada,Blue Ant Television,Discovery Networks International,NRK,ZED and Middle East News