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World War II Movies – Propaganda and Patriotism

Monday, July 12th, 2010

During the early part of the 1940’s, Hollywood made a number of World War II movies that not only sought to entertain, but also to heighten the spirit of “patriotism” in the American people. These films would influence the entry of the United States into the war and support our military effort when finally involved.

War was raging in Great Britain and throughout Europe while America was still in its isolationist period. Director Alfred Hitchcock released Foreign Correspondent in 1940 allowing American audiences an insightful look into the war without actually providing the identity of the enemy. 

Charlie Chaplin chose to be more direct. In The Great Dictator (1940), directed by Chaplin, he gave us a scorching spoof of fascism and the Nazi party. Individuals were easily identified behind the thinly veiled character names used, and portrayed as the dictatorial, power hungry, tyrants that they were. The production was brilliantly written and executed by Chaplin and is still regarded as one of the most classic films of the century.

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