While April 20 is mainly known for clouds of marijuana smoke, a lesser-known fact about the day is that it was the birthday of the modern world's most evil dictator. As mentioned in yesterday's DayBird, April 20, 1889 was the day German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler began his maniacal career that brought Europe to the brink of destruction and back. Now that you've sobered up, perhaps now is the time to transition from revelry to revelation, and the following works can help shed a little light on the fascinating history of Nazi Germany and World War II.
Downfall, 2004 film
The movie that inspired all those parody videos of Hitler ranting about his Xbox Live account, the proliferation of the parody videos and everything in between (I even made one about the polio vaccine for a biology project) is not only an exceptional vehicle for humor but also a great film itself. Downfall (German title: Der Untergang) covers the last days of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and is set in the underground bunker that hid Hitler and other Nazi officials as Berlin fell to the Allied forces above. The movie is based on the memoirs of numerous people familiar with the last days of Nazi Germany, including Hitler's personal secretary and Germany's Minister of Armaments and War Production during World War II. It also probably holds the record for most suicides in a feature film, as the latter part of Downfall consists of a string of Nazi officers and soldiers taking their own lives rather than facing the consequences of the Nazi reign of terror. The film, ranked 81 on the IMDb’s Top 250 films (based on user votes) and a Metacritic.com score of 82, “indicating universal acclaim,” offers a dramatic, powerful look at a story not often told.