.. ore each new aggressive move by Germany, as for example, against Czechoslovakia in 1938, the German press, radio and newsreels publicized alleged evidence of persecution of German minorities in the victim country. Incidents were manufactured and exploited to justify German intervention. The German war machine was depicted as invincible. The technique proved effective in dividing populations, weakening the power of the victim to resist, and causing its allies to hesitate.
Plus bring back films from the fronts lines of various German victories help win more and more support back home, along with helping to recruit young men who too wanted to be like the heroes portrayed by these films. By 1941 Nazi propaganda films were being shown in evening shows 45,000 times every month in areas that are without movie theaters. Nine to ten million citizens see both the latest films and the German Weekly Newsreel. More than 30 million soldiers received relaxation and entertainment from films shown by the party. In addition the 80,000 to 100,000 veterans of the war that return back to the Reich monthly are shown films in their camps.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 of 1940 33.7 million adults and 6 million youths were reached by party film shows. The proceeding numbers and facts prove that the task was being met, even when one considers that it was not being carried out by a fully-staffed and experienced team. Ruffly 50% of the Ministry’s people joined the army when the war broke out.
Yet they were still able to wield this propaganda and use it to reach out to far more people then they other wise would have been able to. The French and British also attempted to fight back and gain support for their causes through propaganda. In 1944 the British Ministry’s Film Division asked Alfred Hitchcock to make two French language adventure movies designed as war propaganda films. They were to be produced to raise the spirits of people in Occupied France and gain support for the French resistance there. So in the winter of 1944 “Aventure malgache”(which translate as “Madagascan Adventure”) and Bon Voyage were made over a four week period in Occupied France.
Having already edited a pair of English war documentaries (that were directed by others) in 1941, Hitchcock considered such work to be his patriotic duty, and he immediately accepted the offer. The plan called for Hitchcock to direct refugee French actors in two half-hour French language mini-movies designed to be shown in secret locations in Nazi-held France. Hitchcock wanted to keep the films simple as possible, achieving a dark, black-and-white “film noir” look which he felt the people of Occupied France could relate to. Walking in the dark shadows, telling secrets in dark corners, a very effective way to associate the film to its viewers. Hitchcock chose to highlight in the story irony, surprises, moral ambiguity, and the uncertainties of life.
The joint venture of the British and the French Nationalist to try to promote these two films fell short by the simple fact that the German Occupied France was isolated by the Germans. Reaching out to the masses of the population of France was all but impossible with the Germans controlling the theaters and projectors. Conducting secret screenings of only a select few people really didn’t have the same christening effect as would showing the films to thousands. Gathering support in a occupied country was a lost cause when the people are being fed German propaganda every day and seeing the appearance of their unsurpassable strength would be hard to over come, especially after falling victim to it. Besides the fact that the films never reached the masses they were intended for, Hitchcocks inability to resist his temptations to focus on ironies and ambiguities was for the majority the down fall of the two films.
Propaganda, especially in a highly political wartime context, strives to glorify one system or ideology and assault the opposing views. In other words, propaganda needs to be clear, direct, and orthodox, with every perception razor sharp and every moral issue purely black and white. No ambiguity or alternative thinking is allowable. It has often been asserted by critics that propaganda films make bad entertainment: Hitchcock demonstrated that good entertainment can make equally bad propaganda. The films are relatively unknown until their re-release approximately 50 years later. The United States also produced on a large scale propaganda films and newsreels.
Every week a person could go to the movie theater and before the movie started expect to see a newsreel about the war , or war effort that was being fought on our own shores. Even our F.D.R. was known to be filmed in giving a speech to the American people. Reaching out to the people of the United States to pull together as one and stand up to the forces of the day that threatened their freedom was a big undertaking indeed. Allied propaganda efforts were aimed at separating the peoples of the Axis nations from their governments, which were solely to blame for the war.
The United states attempted by sustained campaigns to win to their side the great masses of uncommitted people and thereby achieve their goal. But through the use of film they were able to gain support just like the Germans had with their own propaganda. And just like the German’s we too had special organizations in charge of doing just that for the people of our country. During the war the offices in charge of propaganda was the Office of War Information (OWI) in charge of disseminating information at home and abroad, and the Office of Strategic Service (OSS), charged with conducting psychological warfare against the enemy. Working together they both proved very effective in gaining support at home and abroad. One thing that was different how ever was the fact that once the first concentration camps were liberated, and even before this, we didn’t have to distort the truth about what was going on.
What was happening was plain as day, German aggression was in plain view and so was the atrocities they were committing . The only thing we had to do was show the people exactly what was going on, and let them see and decide for themselves. And in doing this the great many people of this nation pulled together and with out a doubt changed the tides of the war. Conclusion If one compares the directness and intensity of the effect that the various means of propaganda have on the great masses, film is without question the most powerful. The written and spoken word depend entirely on the content or on the emotional appeal of the speaker, but film uses pictures, pictures that for eighty years have been accompanied by sound. We know that the impact of a message is greater if it is less abstract, more visual. That makes it clear why film, with its series of continually moving images, must have a particular persuasive force.
Film is a very effective tool in waging a war. With out it, it would be hard to get the people to stand behind you and support your cause. Without the people it is hard to win a war. Thus I feel that with out films contribution to the propaganda effort the WWII would have been very, very different. Bibliography “Der exige Jude”: Quellenkritische Analyse eines antisemititschen Propagandaf ilms, Institute Fur Wissenschaftlichen Film, Gottingen, 1995,p.134 Ellul, Jacques, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes. New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 1965.
Hippler, Fritz, “Der Film als Waffe,” Unser Wille und Weg, 7(1937), pp.21-23. “Propaganda,” Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000. Films and Cinema.