Charlie Chaplin and the Nazis

The Long German Campaign Against the Artist

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About the Book

Until recently, it was assumed that the Nazis agitated against Chaplin from 1931 to 1933, and then again from 1938, when his plan to make The Great Dictator became public. This book demonstrates that Nazi agitation against Chaplin was in fact a constant from 1926 through the Third Reich. When The Gold Rush was released in the Weimar Republic in 1926, the Nazis began to fight Chaplin, whom they alleged to be Jewish, and attempted to expose him as an intellectual property thief whose fame had faded. In early 1935, the film The Gold Rush was explicitly banned from German theaters.
In 1936, the NSDAP Main Archives opened its own file on Chaplin, and the same year, he became entangled in the machinery of Nazi press control. German diplomats were active on a variety of international levels to create a mood against The Great Dictator. The Nazis’ dehumanizing attacks continued until 1944, when an opportunity to capitalize on the Joan Barry scandal arose. This book paints a complicated picture of how the Nazis battled Chaplin as one of their most reviled foreign artists.

About the Author(s)

A retired district court judge and director from Buxtehude, Germany, Norbert Aping has published books on Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and slapstick television.

Bibliographic Details

Norbert Aping
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 150 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8740-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4940-5
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An unusually important book”—Kevin Brownlow, film historian, author of The Parade’s Gone By, The Search for Charlie Chaplin as well as co-creator of the documentaries Unknown Chaplin and The Tramp and the Dictator

• “Extremely well-researched and a perceptive interpretation of the complex series of events and agendas”—Glenn Mitchell, journalist, film historian, author of The Chaplin Encyclopedia

• “Amazingly comprehensive research which has unearthed fascinating material”—Dan Kamin, mime expert and one-man show performer, author of The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion

• “A masterpiece”—Lisa Stein Haven, professor of English, Ohio University, author of Charlie Chaplin: A Comedian Sees the World and Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp in America, 1947-1977