#26 The power of propaganda

Reports on the screening of German impounded material, 1945 (ref. H6.35)

In the 1920s Germany had a film industry to rival Hollywood with major studios such as UFA releasing big budget spectaculars such as Metropolis, Pandora’s Box and The Blue Angel. In the 1930s many of the industry’s brightest lights fled Nazi persecution and the industry itself was turned into a propaganda arm of the Nazi regieme.

Following the end of the Second World War in 1945 the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) produced detailed directives for the censorship of German films. This copy of the report was sent to Forsyth Hardy by the Ministry of Information. Hardy, a key figure in the development of cinema in Scotland, was responsible for the public information films produced by the Scottish Office at the time.

Pages from the file containing reports on censored German films (ref. H6.35)

The document included detailed reports on hundreds of propaganda films produced by the Nazi’s during the war. The sheer volume of films is astonishing, as is the range of genres, styles and stories produced. Each film is described and critiqued and the reason for its supression is also given. The fading pages of this typed report provide a stark reminder of the power and extent of Nazi propaganda and the thoroughness with which the Allies strove to ensure that all traces of it were erased in the post-war period.

Forsyth Hardy played an important role in the development of cinema in Scotland. His papers are held in the University Archives.



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