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Fox Options Film on German Hero ‘Arminius,’ a Favorite of Third Reich

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The Third Reich commissioned this romanticized painting of Arminus defeating the Romans for propaganda purposes.

Screenwriter Frank Moll has reportedly optioned a script to 20th Century Fox about ancient German hero “Arminius.” He defeated a Roman army in a key battle that shaped Germany. Only one problem; Third Reich propagandists used him to promote Nazi Germany’s superiority.

There’s no question the story of the ancient warrior would make for interesting cinema, especially for those fond of movies like “The Gladiator” or Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart,” according to deadlinehollywood.

The German warrior’s exploits involve political intrigue, a battle against immense odds and a military victory that ultimately convinced Rome at the height of its imperial power to end further expansion into modern-day Germany and central Europe.

But in more recent times, Arminius, also known as Hermann in Germany, became a political symbol to promote intense German nationalism, which ultimately led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and all the havoc he caused.

In 1808, German playwright Heinrich von Kleist published a play about his exploits, but it so inflamed German nationalism, Napoleon banned it after he extended his authority into Germany. The play was especially popular during the Third Reich, which also commissioned works of art to celebrate him.

In fact, the story of Arminius has been used in almost every German war to rouse nationalism. A statue of the ancient warrior was erected in 1839 to celebrate Germany’s victory in the Franco-Prussian war. A similar statue was erected in the United States in 1897, according to a popular biography.

Arminius was considered a traitor by Rome because he trained as a Roman soldier and later gained Roman citizenship and became a minor noble. He switched sides when Rome attempted to extend the empire into his territory.

Footnote: Former Congressman and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wrote a fictionalized 1995 account of a Nazi invasion of the United States. He dubbed the invasion plan “Operation Arminius.”

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