Film

Still Image from Prelude to War

Still Image from Prelude to War

Another huge form of American propaganda was the use of film and newsreels to spread information and beliefs. Being able to “see it in action” for Americans helped immensely in the effort, especially when it came to things such as the revenge for Pearl Harbor campaign. Being able to actually see what was going on was, for many Americans, essential in lighting the fire in their hearts and minds. Being able to see soldiers out there and envisioning it being their husband, father, brother, and more made more and more Americans that much more passionate about playing their part and winning this war. 

Still image from Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"

A still image from Charlie Chaplin's film, "The Great Dictator" in which he plays a dual role as a dictator, representing Adolf Hitler, and a Jewish barber. In this image his Dictator, Adenoid Hynkle, is delivering a speech comprised mostly of gibberish.

Still Image from newsreel from World War II

This is a still image from the news reel "Avenge Pearl Harbor" where they appeal to the hearts of Americans across the nation.

There was also the seven-part Why We Fight series by Frank Capra that was created in order to educate American soldiers about the war and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” which used a mix of comedy and complexity to show what was happening in the world. High and Low culture became combined during this era by using genres such as Western films. Americans were soon attending film showings or movies more than they were theatre for the first time in our history. With this change, newsreels were played before the movie began and often would last ten minutes showing the public clips of what was happening in the world as well as spreading their political agenda. Here we will explore what exactly these films and newsreels depicted as well as what they were trying to get across to the people of our country.

Film