Nazi Films in America, 1933–1942


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About the Book

From 1933 until America’s entry into World War II in 1941, nearly 500 Nazi films were shown in American theaters, accounting for nearly half of all foreign language film imports during the period. These poorly disguised propaganda films were produced by Germany’s top studios and featured prominent pro–German and Nazi actors, directors and technicians. The films were replete with overt and covert anti–Jewish imagery and themes, but in spite of this obvious intent to use the medium to justify Nazi ascendancy, viewers and film critics from such prominent publications as the New York Times, Variety, the Washington Post and the Chicago Times consistently overlooked the films’ anti–Semitic message, dubbing them harmless entertainment.
This is the complete history of German films shown in America from the founding of the Nazi government to America’s involvement in the war. Summaries, descriptions and discussions of these almost 500 films serve to examine the major filmmakers and distributors who kept the German film industry alive during the rule of Hitler and the Third Reich. Special emphasis is placed on films directly commissioned by Joseph Goebbels, head of the German Ministry for the Enlightenment of the People and Propaganda and the man directly responsible for ensuring that the anti–Semitic ideology of the new regime was reflected in all films produced after January 30, 1933. Rarely seen photographs and illustrations complete an in-depth study of the Nazi use of this global medium.

About the Author(s)

Harry Waldman is the author of several books about film. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Harry Waldman
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: 90 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020 [2008]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8079-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9206-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

1933: Deutsche Universal      19
1934: “You Are Jewish, Right?”      43
1935: Casino Film Exchange and Its Imports from Germany and “Vienna”      67
1936: “A Relief to Those Who Feared the Worst”      95
1937: From Traitors to Patriots      123
1938: The Circle of German Stars      159
Prewar 1939: Hans Westmar Signals German-Soviet Cordiality      193
September 1939–April 1940: “Where’s the Enemy Hiding?”      218
May 1940–1942: Feldzug in Polen, Der Sieg im Westen, and More      248

Epilogue: Bedeviled Gold      279
Selected Bibliography      285
Index      287

Book Reviews & Awards

“Highly recommended”—Argunners Magazine