In the years preceding World War II, news outlets from home magazines to the New York Times ran profiles of the Nazi leader that portrayed him as a country gentleman — a man who ate vegetarian, played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. These articles were often admiring — even after the horrors of the Nazi regime had begun to reveal themselves, says Despina Stratigakos, an architectural historian at the University at Buffalo. Her new book, “Hitler at Home,” will be published Sept. 29 by Yale University Press... She notes that while many historians have dismissed Hitler’s personal life as irrelevant, his private persona was in fact painstakingly constructed to further his political ends.How media ‘fluff’ helped Hitler rise to power [more inside]
Use the enemy's own films to expose their enslaving ends. Let our boys hear the Nazis and the Japs shout their own claims of master-race crud—and our fighting men will know why they are in uniform.
Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
Donald Duck wants you to pay your taxes to fight Nazism, when he's not dreaming he's a Nazi. Of course, Disney didn't need Donald Duck in every propaganda film.
During a recent visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., I was reeducated in the power of branding — especially as applied to poster design — at the special exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, which demonstrates how the Nazi party used carefully crafted messages, advertising and design techniques, and then-new technologies (radio, television, film) to sway millions with its vision for a new Germany. (related)
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing — foreign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
To promote the launch of Dino D-Day, an FPS where you fight Nazis and their resurrected dinosaurs, Steam created a line of WWII-style propaganda posters that are pure win. (Via)
The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
The Corn Refiners Association has created a series of commercials to counter the increasing sentiment against high-fructose corn syrup. One commercial presents a lovely tableau of a couple in a park on a sunny day discussing how HFCS is not much to worry about (previously). A filmmaker reuses the technique to sell something a little bit less sweet.
In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
Propaganda. The death of Horst-Wessel . A clip from a documentary about the rise of the Third Riche and how it used Horst-Wessel's song "The flag on high" and his death as a tool of propaganda. Then ending with a clip about propaganda from the film Network.
An official comic book adaptation of the 9/11 commission report is due to hit bookstores this month. The U.S. Army seeks an Arabic-speaking comic book creator. Meanwhile, an Israeli blogger suspects a Kuwaiti company of misusing Marvel and DC comics. These are just the latest incidents in a long-running history of using comic books for propaganda purposes, ranging from Mussolini and Hitler to Captain America vs. the Nazi-affiliated Red Skull to anticommunist comics for Catholic parochial schools to a phony Black Panther comic book created by COINTELPRO to a comic book of the American invasion of Grenada. However, my favorite site of comic book propaganda tends to focus on more innocuous domestic issues such as bicycle safety, USDA nutrition standards, and fighting crack cocaine. (OK, that last issue isn't so innocuous, but comic book propaganda about health & safety issues still generally blows.)
Nazi swing music from the 30s. FMU's terrific blog presents mp3s of songs by Charlie and His Orchestra, a big band assembled by Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, to spread the Nazi message abroad even while trying to stamp out jazz and swing domestically. "Leave it to Goebbels to take the music of The Andrews Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin and fill it with venomous rants against Jews, America and the British." Vol. 1 is here. Some history. And now I want to see this movie about the band. via BB
Leni Riefenstahl, dead at 101 In response to her film making for the Nazi regime, she said "It reflects the truth as it was then, in 1934. It is a documentary, not propaganda." (more inside)
The virtuous image of the Bertelsmann media empire has been destroyed by a devastating historical study into the company's Nazi links that exposes its post-war success as built on a lie. The report, published this week, not only details the company's role in the Nazi propaganda machinery, but provides evidence of the company's use of forced labour during the war.