Tomorrow Belongs to Me

by Bob Schwartz

tomorrow-belongs-to-me

There are two outstanding movie moments—one light, one dark—that tell two stories about Nazi Germany.

We will start light, from the movie The Producers (1968). In it, Mel Brooks incorporated an unthinkable stage musical called Springtime for Hitler. The title song-and-dance number mocks the lunatic aspirations and monstrosity of the Third Reich—mockable because just twenty-three years earlier, they had lost the war. It provides the most laughs anyone has provided or will provide on the subject. It is the most audacious thing any movie director has put on film.

Germany was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new leader to restore
Its former glory
Where, oh, where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me

And now it’s
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Deutschland is happy and gay!
We’re marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Rhineland’s a fine land once more!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Watch out, Europe
We’re going on tour!

Springtime for Hitler and Germany!
Winter for Poland and France
Come on, Germans
Go into your dance!

The second, darker vision is from the movie Cabaret (1972). It is set in 1931 Berlin. The characters sit at an outdoor café. A young man in a brown shirt begins singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me. It is a sweet tune at first (“The sun on the meadow is summery warm…”), but as the crowd stands to join in, the song grows belligerent and menacing. We know how the story turns out, and though some may think rehashing it is overdone and almost clichéd, we are chilled each time. Because the threat is never as far as we might think.

The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gathered together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me

The branch on the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come
When the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs
Tomorrow belongs
Tomorrow belongs to me

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