In Volume 4, No. 6, The March of Time producers released their first single-subject issue, a journalistic exposition of the Nazi reign in 1938 Germany, with newsreel cuts of Adolf Hitler, ...
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James Sibley Watson,
In Volume 4, No. 6, The March of Time producers released their first single-subject issue, a journalistic exposition of the Nazi reign in 1938 Germany, with newsreel cuts of Adolf Hitler, the Fuehrer; propaganda minister Paul Joseph Goebbles; and Fritz Kuhn, the President of the German-American Bund. The M-o-T cameras poked behind the air of prosperity in Berlin to reveal the persecution of the Jews; the manufacturing of military equipment, and the build-up of the goose-stepping army. It also shifts to New England where the opposition to Fritz Kuhn's American-German Bund is shown. William E. Dodd, the retiring American ambassador to Germany is seen and heard delivering a Nazi-criticism speech. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Mr. Adams' quotation of various approving contemporary voices in his review of this March of Times episode is spot on and correct, but to the modern viewer, incomplete. Yes, many voices were raised in support of this effort, but just as many or more opposed it. This was a foreign country, said some, we have our own problems, said others. 'American Firsters' who thought we could turn our backs on the rest of the world were a vocal and influential section of the population, so much so that early efforts to aid Great Britain two years after this, when they were at war with Germany, had to be masked under various titles like 'lend-lease' and money had to be raised through private banking sources like J.P. Morgan. In 1938, saying things like this in every movie theater throughout the United States was a demand that we prepare to go to war -- and we did not want to.
Looking at this inflammatory -- there is no other word for it -- piece, even though we now know this was an accurate report, we can admire the skillful blending of accurate reporting and propagandistic handling of the subject. THE MARCH OF TIME, issued once every four weeks for sixteen years, was the leading newsreel during its lifetime, but was always intended as a loss leader to get people to read TIME magazine. Well, if you're going to tell people the important news, occasionally you have to explain why you consider it so. This one does. Take a look at it to see the model of how it is done.
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