The Effect Film Had On Wwii Propaganda

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The Effect Film Had On Wwii Propaganda Essay, Research Paper Without the advent of the medium of film to wage a war of propaganda both the Axis and the Allies of World War II would have found it difficult to gather as much support for their causes as they did. Guns, tanks and bombs were the principal weapons of World War II, but there were other, more subtle, forms of warfare as well. Words, posters, and films waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the masses of the world just as surely as military weapons engaged the enemy. Persuading the public became a wartime industry, almost as important as the manufacturing of bullets and planes. Both sides launched an aggressive propaganda campaign to galvanize public support, and some of these nation’s foremost

intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers became warriors on that front. Propaganda in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representations. These representations may take the spoken, written, pictorial, or musical form. Since the cinema uses all four of these types of representations, a filmmaker would seem to wield a lot of power as a propagandist. If he so choosed to use his power to its fullest potential. The essential distinction lies in the intentions of the propagandist to persuade an audience to adopt the attitude or action he or she espouses. This is ever so previlant as Hitler gained support from his nation to exterminate the Jewish people from Germany and Europe alike. He adopted such support by using his Nazi propaganda

films as a weapon of mass distraction and manipulation of the people of Germany. The most famous Nazi propaganda film is Der ewige Jude (“The Eternal Jew”). Der Ewige Jude was engineered by Hitlers Minister of Propaganada. It was created to legitimize the exclusion, and the ultimately the destruction, of an entire people. It depicts the Jews of Poland as corrupt, filthy, lazy, ugly, and perverse: they are an alien people which have taken over the world through their control of banking and commerce, yet which still live like animals. The narrator tries to depict the Jew’s behavior as rat like, while showing footage of rats squirming from sewers and leaping at the camera. The film’s most shocking scene is the slaughter of a cow, shown in bloody detail, by a grinning Rabbi-

and it is followed by, of all things, three innocent (presumably German) lambs nuzzling each other. Hitler also provides the emotional climax of the film, with footage of his speech to the Reichstag from 1939. When preceded by sixty minutes describing the Jewish problem, and followed by thunderous applause, Hitler’s prophetic warning takes on even greater significance: “If the international finance-Jewry inside and ouside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations into a world war yet again, then the outcome will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!”(Adolph Hitler). The importance of this groundbreaking propaganda is often underestimated. Someone might characterize the film as a X-ray of the decisionmaking process that

led to the Holocaust. It can also be argued that the film is seen as the official promulgation of Hitlers’s decision, and that it – together with the feature film Jud Sub- deliberately was used to prepare both perpetrators and bystanders for the extermination of the Jews. Prior to all of this Hitler had to iniate the movement towards this propaganda war waged on the silver screen. In 1934, 413 English per 1000 went to the movies each week, 343 per 1000 Americans, and 160 per 1000 French. In Germany, only 86 of 1000 went to the movies, a far cry from the turn out that the English and Americans had. Leaving aside the cultural and historic differences between Germany and these other nations, it is clear that increasing German film attendance is among the most important tasks of