The War Years, 1939–1945

Reynold Humphries

in Hollywood's Blacklists

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780748624553
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651153 | DOI:
The War Years, 1939–1945

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The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The controversy that raged in America between partisans and adversaries of the country's participation in World War II was rendered more complex by the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi-Soviet Pact and attitudes within America to Nazi Germany. If Americans were united from 1941–1945, films made in the period 1938–1940 showed that anti-fascism brought together filmmakers of very different political opinions. Before discussing certain war films, this chapter describes an event that occurred in September 1941 whose repercussions were revelatory of the political climate in America and were to return, in an inverted form, once the war was over: the Senate Sub-Committee War Films Hearings. The Sub-Committee was created at the request of two senators, the Democrat Burton Wheeler and the Republican Gerald Nye, to investigate what they saw as blatant propaganda films put out by Hollywood to support Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policy and create a situation where the American public would support America entering the war.

Keywords: United States; World War II; Hollywood; anti-fascism; war films; Burton Wheeler; Gerald Nye; propaganda films; Franklin D. Roosevelt; foreign policy

Chapter.  10625 words. 

Subjects: Film

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