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The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler
by Ben Shapiro
In his blockbuster new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler, Ben Urwand documents how the film industry went out of its way in the lead-up to World War II to help Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Scripts dealing with the German military, including All Quiet on the Western Front, were run by the German government for approval. Full scenes dealing with German treatment of Jews were cut from several movies. Entire projects were quashed because of actual or presumed Nazi disapproval.
After All Quiet on the Western Front, "every studio started making deep concessions to the German government, and when Hitler came to power in January 1933, they dealt with his representatives directly," Urwand writes. The German government utilized what it called "Article 15," which allowed the government to ban a company's entire slate of films if even one of the films was considered anti-German.
In 1933, the German government went even further: they threatened to ban all American films in the country if Herman Mankiewicz and Sam Jaffe went ahead with an anti-Nazi film called The Mad Dog of Europe. The Hays Office, which ran the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America, tried to shut down the film. The picture eventually ended up being killed thanks to objections from Hollywood funders. "The episode," writes Urwand, "turned out to be the most important moment in all of Hollywood's dealings with Nazi Germany. It occurred in the first year of Hitler's rise to power, and it defined the limits of American movies for the remainder of the decade."
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