Celluloid soldiers : Warner Bros., Alvin C. York, and the coming of World War II / Michael Edward Birdwell.
America was officially neutral between 1933-1941, and tried to resist intervention as Nazi Germany extended its influence across Europe. Most Hollywood studios agreed to abide by restrictions imposed on American films by the Nazis because they believed their economic survival was tied to the foreign market. Warner Bros. studio, under the guidance of Harry Warner, bucked convention and chose to discontinue business with the Nazis in 1934 because of official anti-Semitic policies. From 1934 on, the studio engaged in a number of anti-Nazi activities and produced the first openly anti-fascist films in America. In the course of their pursuit to inform the U.S. citizenry about the growing Nazi threat Warner Bros. produced Black Legion (1936), They Won't Forget (1937), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939), and the greatest pre-war call to arms Sergeant York (1941). A former anti-Semite, Alvin York came to admire Harry Warner, embraced the studio's political stance, and called once again for American intervention. By sounding the clarion the studio ran afoul of the U.S. State Department, Nazi Germany, the Production Code Administration, the German-American Bund, the Ku Klux Klan, Charles Lindbergh, America First, and the Nye-Clark subcommittee on pro-war propaganda. Warner Bros.' courageous stand marked a sharp contrast to the Hollywood and American mainstream.
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