It's no secret that Nazi imagery was the major inspiration for Galactic Empire, from costume and weapon designs to how the villains are shot and framed.

However, in at least one instance, it's the Rebellion that gets the Nazi imagery, with the medal ceremony scene from A New Hope mirroring a similar scene from the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

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Given that the Empire is the clear Nazi analog, why is it the Rebellion that emulates them in this one instance?

closed as unclear what you're asking by user14111, Bellatrix, Ward, Rebel-Scum, Vanguard3000 Jun 11 '18 at 12:45

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    There are only so many ways you can film a medal ceremony – Valorum Jun 9 '18 at 22:55
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    I am downvoting because walking down an aisle flanked by troops does not constitute "Nazi imagery". – ApproachingDarknessFish Jun 9 '18 at 23:25
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    @ApproachingDarknessFish I did not invent this allusion. It has been noted by many. – Rogue Jedi Jun 10 '18 at 2:41
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    I can only assume you've never seen the inside of a cathedral. The Nazis didn't invent parades or triumphs or settings like these, they just copied the idea for their own purposes. – StephenG Jun 10 '18 at 3:31
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    This scene is not the only Rebel imagery that is reminiscent of Nazi imagery. The blaster used by Han, and by Luke in ESB, is based on a German pistol. The Rebels also had blaster rifles that were modeled on the Sturmgewehr assault rifle. – Robert Columbia Jun 10 '18 at 12:50

The in-universe explanation is simple. The Nazis did not exist in the past of Star Wars (since it takes place "a long time ago"). Therefore, imagery that we today associate with the Nazis would not have been anathema to the good-aligned rebels. They simply formulated their medal ceremony in a way that was intended to be impressive.

The out-of-universe reason is also simple. Lucas ha explicitly stated that Triumph of the Will was an important influence on his filmmaking style. (See, for example, this article in The New Yorker.) Leni Riefenstahl is still considered one of the most effective film directors of all time. As a person, her work filming in the Nuremberg rallies was damning, and negative feelings toward her persisted long after the Second World War; she did not get the quantity or kind of work that one might have expected for a director of her caliber. However, many filmmakers, including Lucas, cannot help but appreciate her skill and the visual effectiveness of Triumph of the Will. Essentially, Lucas just copied the Nazi propaganda look because it was a powerful look.

It is true, of course, that the original trilogy of Star Wars films also used Nazi imagery in connection with the Galactic Empire. The color of the gray uniforms worn by most of the imperial officers was not chosen at random; and the snowtrooper helmets are modeled after the German stahlhelm. However, Nazis were not the only source of suggestive imagery. For example, the bridge layout in the imperial star destroyers, with the most senior commanders walking above, while most of the crew toil below the level of their feet, was chosen to be reminiscent of slave galleys.

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    The in-universe part of this answer is wholly unnecessary. – Valorum Jun 10 '18 at 0:41
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    To my knowledge, Riefenstahl's influence is not apparent in any other scenes focused on the Rebellion. If the issue is as simple as Lucas wanting "a powerful look," why didn't he use similar imagery for the Rebellion ever again? – Rogue Jedi Jun 10 '18 at 2:44
  • Just because Leni used new camera techniques to record nazi party rallies doesn't make every exposition of a similar nature nazi. Forming up into columns is not a nazi invention though perhaps they are the first to promote people power through regimented lines. The people most famous today who do this are communist or former communist nations. – Daniel Jun 12 '18 at 2:03

No matter which political system, all award ceremonies have similar format

  • If you give awards in front of large crowd, you must have some kind of podium, so everybody could see those giving and those receiving awards.

  • If you give state awards, flags of that state are must

  • If audience of your ceremony consist of military personnel, they cannot just stand there like flock of sheep. One thing that makes difference between military and common rabble is discipline. Therefore, they must stand in some kind of formation.

  • You could have those receiving rewards standing on podium all the time while master of ceremony gives introductory speech. But that simply does not look well, so usually they walk to the podium .

  • Those receiving rewards could walk up to the podium from behind, but that also does not look good - they are not thieves in the night. Instead, they proudly walk in front of podium, while being greeted by audience. Of course, if the audience is military, they get military salute.

Therefore, as you can see, Rebels actually could not deviate much from standard practice for military award ceremonies.

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