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How far was Hollywood to help the Nazis?

// New book argues that in the 1930s the major Hollywood studios

Ben Urwand spent a decade immersed in German and American archives to tell an "Hollywood story hidden episode," says to the British newspaper The Observer - the relationship of the bosses of the major movie studios with the Nazi regime in the 1930s. The result of his research will be published in October by Harvard University Press under the title The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler, and promises to settle the controversy.

 
The industry involvement with the studios was already known, but now the investigator ensures that the material gathered allows you to conclude that the "collaboration" - a term used to describe both sides of the nature of their connection - between Hitler and American film industry involved censorship in the movies already produced and the abandonment of projects that could contain critics to the Nazis.
 
According Urwand, the relationship was so tangled that MGM, the largest of the studios at the time, came to invest in the German rearmament in order to circumvent restrictions on movement of capital (there was a German law preventing the outflow of foreign money). "You can not go further than having the greatest studio of America to finance weapons a month after the Kristallnacht [November 9, 1938, when several shops, synagogues and other places linked to the Jews in Germany and Austria were destroyed by order of the regime], "says the historian. Paramount, meanwhile, applied part of the profits that made in the German market in small news documentaries that often extolled the Nazis.
 
Thomas P. Doherty, author of Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939, another work recently launched, alerts, however, that there are documents showing that the attitude of MGM respected indications from the Department of Commerce of the United States. And also the historian Steven Ross points out that the same bosses collaborators financed combating Nazi spy in Hollywood.
 
"In the 1930s, the studios were not only collaborating but also were refusing to make movies that attack the Nazis - neither Jews were defended nor the subject of German persecution of the Jews was touched," says scholar of Harvard University to The Observer. In the relationship between the Reich and Hollywood it was clear that the last word always belonged to the Germans, defends Urwand based on until now unpublished documents. The industry, adds to the newspaper The New York Times, collaborated "with Adolf Hitler, the person, the human being."
 
The most paradoxical, underlines the researcher, is that most of the major studios was on hand to Jewish immigrants, many arrivals to the United States to escape the Nazis. For the young Urwand, 35, it all came down to a question of money: "They felt that Hitler could come to win the war and therefore wanted to work with the Nazis to preserve their business."
 

 
The fear that the German market turned his back on Hollywood began in December 1930, when the Nazi Party protested against the exhibition of All Quiet on the Western Front, a film based on Lewis Milestone novel by Erich Maria Remarque, in which the author writes about the physical and mental fatigue of German soldiers during the First World War (Oscar for Best Director and Best Production for the first time in Academy history). Encouraged by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's confidence man who would become the Reich Minister of Propaganda, party members released rats and launched stink bombs in the rooms where the Milestone film was being displayed.
 
Afraid of losing new business opportunities, the bosses of the studios began to accede to the requests of the German Government, it is explained in the synopsis of the book The Collaboration available on the Internet. And when Hitler - who could recognize how few politicians of his time the impact the film might have on public opinion - came to power, the bosses of the film industry began to deal directly with their representatives. The dialogue - often held in meetings among studio executives and the German consul in Hollywood, Georg Gyssling - could happen at the highest level, having being involve Goebbels and Louis B. Mayer, the legendary producer who is credited with creating the star system in golden age of MGM.
 
"I did not mean what I wrote about the Jews would be widespread, but there are some Jews in the movie business who decided to work with Nazi leaders," continues the academic, noting that three of the biggest studios - MGM, Paramount and 20th-Century Fox - only left Germany in the mid-1940s.
 
Urwand discovered a letter dated January 1938, and signed "Heil Hitler," in which the German delegation at 20th Century-Fox manifests interested in the opinions of the Führer on American films. The investigator also tells that Hitler liked to productions that spun around strong leaders such as Indian Lancers or Mutiny on the Bounty, and hated Chaplin's The Great Dictator, as expected.
 
Deborah Lipstadt, Holocaust historian at Emory University, is eager to read the book from the young Urwand and says he may have at hand a true blockbuster. Speaking to the New York Times the academic praised "audacity of history" that has to count.
 
Ben Urwand, born in Australia, with Jewish ancestors (his maternal grandparents fled from Hungary and spent the war years hiding), began the project that will now give a book in 2004, when he gave an interview in which the writer Budd Schulberg vaguely referred to meetings between the producer Louis B. Mayer and the German consul in Los Angeles to discuss cuts in movies.

Source:
Publico.pt


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