The formulation and implementation of U.S. feature film policy in occupied Germany, 1945-1948 / by H. Mark Woodward
Includes bibliographical references (p. 269-286)
- External Link
Electronic version from ProQuest
The War Department, with the help of the Office of War Information and the cooperation of the motion picture industry, initiated the propagandistic use of feature films in liberated war zones in 1943. As soon as the defeat of Germany became imminent, plans for a similar film program were made for that defeated nation. Whereas the earlier program for liberated countries used the films to reflect the "American way of life," the occupation film program was intended as a part of the "re-education" or "reorientation" of the German people away from Nazism and toward American democratic values. Through primary research in the files of the Office of War Information, the War Department, and the Information Control Division of American Military Government in Germany, all of which were involved in developing and implementing the feature film program in Germany, this study fills a historical gap in film and military history. The study traces the selection process from its beginning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the offices of movie men in the military government like Pare Lorentz. The development of selection criteria is described along with the dispute over showing "entertainment" fare to the enemy. Then attention is given to the implementation of the feature film program, especially the conflict between the Information Control Division of Military Government and the motion picture industry over the industry's attempt to gain a monopolistic foothold in Germany to stifle the renaissance of that country's film industry. Conclusions to the study include surveys made by the military government reporting on the response of the German people to the occupation feature film program. These surveys indicate that the program failed in its primary goal, i.e., re-educating the Germans toward "American values," at least at a conscious level. Indeed, the program may have reinforced the image of Americans that Nazi propaganda had propagated.
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