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My Four Years in Germany (1918)

The experiences of the American ambassador to Germany, James Gerard, are recounted in this semi-documentary.


William Nigh


James W. Gerard (book), Charles Logue (scenario) (as Charles A. Logue) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Halbert Brown ... Ambassador James W. Gerard
Willard Dashiell Willard Dashiell ... Sir Edward Goschen
Louis Dean Louis Dean ... Kaiser Wilhelm II
Earl Schenck ... Crown Prince of Germany
George Ridell George Ridell ... Field Marshal von Hindenburg
Frank Stone Frank Stone ... Prince Henry of Prussia
Karl Dane ... Chancellor von Bethmana-Hollweg
Fred Hearn Fred Hearn ... Foreign Minister von Jagow
Percy Standing Percy Standing ... Undersecretary Zimmerman
William Bittner William Bittner ... Grand Adm. von Tirpitz
Arthur C. Duvel Arthur C. Duvel ... Field Marshal von Falkenhayn
Anne Dearing Anne Dearing ... Aimee Delaporte (as Ann Dearing)
A.B. Conkwright A.B. Conkwright ... Socialist
William Nigh ... Socialist


After exhibiting their cruelty through a number of incidents, including one in which a German officer kills a lame shoemaker in Zabern, Germany, the German troops invade Belgium. As World War I progresses, the United States ambassador to Germany, James W. Gerard, witnesses many instances of German subterfuge and cruelty, although he successfully defends the Allies' philosophy in arguments with Kaiser Wilhelm II. In the end, the U.S. joins the Allies in their struggle to defend the cause of freedom. Written by Pamela Short

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You will become a raving, fighting, want-to-kill-the kaiser American after seeing this picture. SEE WHAT GERARD SAW! KNOW WHY WE ARE AT WAR! (Print Ad- Duluth Herald, ((Duluth, Minn.)) 3 June 1918)


War | Drama


Did You Know?


Made for $50,000, this film grossed an astounding $1.5 million and was the first bona fide hit for Warner Brothers. The success of this film encouraged them to concentrate on film production rather than distribution. See more »


Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »

User Reviews

The Heat Of War
27 February 2009 | by FerdinandVonGalitzienSee all my reviews

Herr James Gerard was the US ambassador in Berlin during the first world and "My Four Years In Germany" (1918), relates Herr Gerard's impressions and experiences during that troublesome time in Deutschland . The film was directed by Herr William Nigh, an anodyne silent director; when his "Desert Nights" (1929) was screened in the Schloss, this German count noted that Herr Nigh "likes especially exotic film productions in which he uses many clichés". This aristocratic silent quotation is equally valid for "My Four Years In Germany".

This German count has been living in Deutschland during the last century, not a very long time, certainly, but very much longer than Herr Gerard, who, in his boldness, seems to believe that to spend only four years in Germany is enough time to show the world how Germans are in private life; their habits, customs and how all these were transformed by the Great War.

For example, in the film there are many illustrations of Teutonic dogs with Prussian helmets or vultures in uniform ( an absolute outrage because the latter could easily be confused with genuine Prussian military men… ) but that temporary fashion was due to the spirit of war that affected everyone in Deutschland during that time, be they animals, military men or even human beings. Even this Herr Graf forced the servants to wear those Prussian helmets during the meals in order to support such patriotic sentiment.

Obviously during that terrible time, strict German behaviour was accentuated and that was the reason why, as can be seen in the film, the Teutonic soldiers act so badly towards the enemy, but… what do you expect??.. to invite French to dinner when they didn't allow us to pay a visit to Paris??.

On the other hand, Herr Nigh depicts accurately the Kaiser's uniform as well as the greed of the high rank military men around his Excellency and the uselessness of the diplomats and politicians in the film, continually proposing mixed up nonsense involving futile agreements and impossible strategies, quite unlike the military men who preferred action instead of boring talk and a complicated process of intense and long negotiations that in the end still didn't keep America from entering the war.

Using Herr Gerard's memories and misunderstandings, Herr Nigh made a well done propaganda film that makes witty use of real images from newsreels together with dramatization scenes of real facts. Like any propaganda film is supposed to be, the oeuvre is tendentious, Manichean, simplistic and in this case, long but it accomplishes very well its patriotic proposals which is all that counts in this film genre. The film must be seen as a product of its time where artistic values are left behind and the goal is to stoke the heat of war in the hearts of the audience.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must spend four days in Baden-Baden.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

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Release Date:

10 March 1918 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mis años en Alemania See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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