Morgenrot (film)

Morgenrot is a 1933 German submarine film set during World War I.

Directed by
Produced byGunther Stapenhorst
Written byGerhard Menzel (Idea: Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim[1])
Music byHerbert Windt
Distributed byUniversum Film AG (UFa)
Release date
  • 2 February 1933 (1933-02-02)
Running time
75 minutes

Released three days after Adolf Hitler became Reichskanzler, it was the first film to have its screening in Nazi Germany. It became a symbol of the new times touted by the Nazi regime.[2]

The title (literally "morning-red") is the German term for the reddish coloring of the east sky about a half-hour before the sunrise. Dawn was the U.S. title.

It was filmed in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, the first German submarine movie made after World War I.


The film offered a heroization of death, with the captain explicitly stating that Germans may not know how to live, but they know how to die.[3] In a central scene, the captain of the submarine offers to his men that he and the first officer will go down with the ship in order that they may escape; they refuse on the grounds it will be all or none of them, and the captain glorifies the chance to die with such men, a theme that commonly appeared in Nazi-era films.[4]

The first officer, having learned that the woman he loves is in love with captain, not himself, and another sailor commit suicide to save the others – a common way to resolve love triangles in Nazi films, where the heroic death saves the man from failure.[5]

On the other hand, the mother of one man refuses to rejoice over her son because of the suffering of war – a theme that would not appear in Nazi film.[6]



The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures awarded it with Best Foreign Film for 1933.[7]


  1. E. Baron v. Spiegel on IMDb; Joerg Friedrich Vollmer: Imaginaere Schlachtfelder. Kriegsliteratur in der Weimarer Republik – eine literatursoziologische Untersuchung. PhD Thesis, Freie Universitaet Berlin 2003 (Chapter 5, p 413) Online Edition
  3. Baird, p. 8
  4. Leiser, pp. 20
  5. Leiser, pp. 20–21
  6. Leiser, pp. 21
  7. "New York Times: Morgenrot (1933)". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-10-31.


  • Baird, Jay W. (1974). The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-0741-9.
  • Leiser, Erwin (1975). Nazi Cinema. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02-570230-1.
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