Thursday, September 3, 2009

Anti-Nazi propaganda

TCM is showing the interesting movie Hitler's Children tomorrow at 7:30 AM. The title sounds like it would make for a wonderful exploitation movie, but unfortunately, it's not much more than run-of-the-mill World War II era propaganda about why the Nazis are so evil and why America had to be fighting them.

Bonita Granville, trying to play more meaningful stuff, stars as a German-American girl caught in Berlin when the Nazis come to power. The Nazis try to declare her German and turn her into a mother for the Nazis, getting knocked up and bearing children for the master race. Interestingly enough, this last part about having non-Germans who appeared otherwise "Aryan" to the Nazis bear new Nazi children turned out to be somewhat of a reality. The Nazis had an organization known as the Lebensborn which, among other things, involved providing refuge for women in Nazi-occupied countries who had gotten pregnant by Nazi soldiers. (It's actually a pretty sad story, as in countries such as Norway, the children produced by such relationships would go on to suffer a lifetime of discrimination.) How much of this Hollywood would have known in 1943, however, is a matter for debate.

Hitler's Children is by far not the only piece of anti-Nazi propaganda masking as entertainment made by Hollywood. There was a slew of it in the World War II years, just as there would be a bunch of anti-Communist movies in the years after the war. And, like the anti-Communist propaganda movies, these anti-Nazi movies are of varying quality. Some, like Hitler's Children, are more of a curiosity than anything else. There are laughably bad movies, such as Tomorrow the World!, about an American family that takes in a German war orphan who winds up being a Hitlerjugend who tries to proselytize everybody around him to the Nazi cause.

On the other hand, there are some really good Hollywood movies that point out the badness of the Nazis. To Be or Not to Be is probably at the top of the list, more because it uses comedy to make the point about the Nazis. But, there are some good dramas out there, too, like The Mortal Storm.

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

Interesting. I recenty read Evelyne Tannehill's book called Abandoned and Forgotten; An Orphan Girl’s Tale of Survival During World War II.
I enjoyed this book. as it was narrated through a child's perspective.
It's a memoir that covers about 8 years of Evelyne's life. From a psychological point of view the reader can get into the head of a young girl and follow her slow thought process as she struggles for survival while everything that made up her world is ripped away from her – her family, her home, all her relatives, her pets, her doll, even her language.