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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.
SENATOR CLAUDE PEPPER OF Florida: "The new March of Time picture awakens us to thing we do not know and should know. It should be shown in every theatre in the land";-- SENATOR KEY PITTMAN,Chairman-Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "'Inside Nazi Germany'shows exactly what happens when a dictator takes control of a nation. I think it highly desirable that this picture be seen by every American."--CHICAGO POLICE COMMISSIONER ALLMAN: "The film is not censorable--I lifted the ban." -- MELVIN M. FAGEN, Exec.Secy.---Conference on Jewish Relations, Inc: "March of Time has performed a notable public service...volumes have been written about Nazi Germany, but I doubt whether any or all of them together have been able to portray the problem in so stirring and in so complete terms." ---ERIC VON SCHROEDER, Chairman German-American League for Culture: "A thoroughly objective film which should everywhere because it represents the truth." -- PENNYSLVANIA BOARD OF CENSORS: "Showing of this film would have a healthy influence, "Inside Nazi German" should be shown throughout the country." -- RABBI STEPHEN S. WISE: "A truthful portraiture of the march of time in Nazi German. As an American, I congratulate 'Time" for defending the Democratic Ideal---by telling the truth about Regimentation in Nazi German."
This edition of "The March of Time" was dedicated solely to the
evolution and current status (in 1938) of Nazi Germany. It does not
mince words, describing the cost citizens have to pay for living in a
Fascist state. It deals with the propaganda and outright lies emanating
from the government-controlled media, the maltreatment of Jews,
Germany's stated aim of needing to expand its territory (the Ukraine is
specifically mentioned as a target of German expansionism) if it is to
become self-sufficient in food production and the way youth are trained
from a young age to see the world through Nazi eyes.
This is impressive. Although the United States was not at war with Germany at this point, and would not be for a few years, this newsreel makes it clear that we (America) was well aware of the activities going on there, the treatment of the Jews, and the military goals of the regime. Now, that does not mean we should have gone to war earlier than we did, but it does raise the question of why we did not press back harder against their policies.
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