Drama on the Deck- How Battleship Potemkin is an analogy for Interwar Europe

Mazower describes Europe in the years between the two world wars as a period of radical changes within the various countries due to social and economic disconnects between the ruling bodies and those governed by them. Eistenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin, specifically the 2nd scene, serves as an excellent analogy of revolutionary Europe.

If the battleship is viewed as Europe/anyone of the revolutionary countries, there is a connection between the sailors’ plight and that of the citizens of Europe. While Eistenstein deals with the oppression of civilians specifically in his movie, I feel as if the struggle the sailors undergo better represents Europe as a whole. Because they have the three basics tenets of life-Food, shelter and water- the sailors are in better living conditions than some following World War I. However, it is the quality of the trifecta that pushes them over the edge, much like the quality of life in Europe pushes many to revolt and change their system of government. The sailors deal not only with maggot-ridden meat, they have cramped living conditions and are forced to deal with an oppressive master, a master which represents the Tzar, the autocrats and the ineffective democracies of Europe.

The conflict that the sailors undergo against the officers is similar to that of the conflict Germans deal with in the 20’s and 30’s. While there is a governmental body, they have about as much influence and control over the German citizens as the officers have over the enlisted sailors. While they are able to attempt to control the sailors and even prepare to execute a few of them, it is a leader, selected from the mob of men that ends that crushing oppression, much like Hitler and the National Socialists emerged from Germany. The trends seen in Battleship Potemkin are those of a future war-torn Europe, one that was as “crippled” as Russia was at the end of the movie.

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