Hollywood Wars

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Savvy political manipulators as far back as Woodrow Wilson and V. I. Lenin recognized the pivotal role of motion pictures as a strategic weapon of the State’s predatory policies of war, aggrandizement and exploitation.

Soon after the commencement of the American intervention in the Great War, Hollywood was enlisted in the martial endeavor of shaping and molding misperceptions and disinformation in Wilson’s bloody crusade.

The cinematic struggle for the malleable minds of the masses continued throughout the post-war intermediate years up to the global conflict of the Second World War. Classic movies such as StrikeOctoberBattleship PotemkinJ’AccuseLa Passion de Jeanne d’ArcMetropolisThe Public EnemyI Am a Fugitive from a Chain GangModern TimesThings To ComeTriumph of the WillAlexander NevskyThe Eternal Jew, Young Mr. LincolnMr. Smith Goes To WashingtonConfessions of a Nazi Spy, and countless others acted as ideological change agents of the new medium.

Once again during World War II, Hollywood put forth its propagandistic best with such films as The Great DictatorSergeant YorkCasablancaHangmen Also DieKeeper of the FlameThe Pride of the MarinesAction in the North AtlanticSaharaPassage to MarseilleWatch on the RhineMrs. Miniver,To Be or Not To BeLifeboatThe Master RaceCommandos Strike at DawnHitler’s ChildrenThe Mortal StormThe Seventh CrossTomorrow, the WorldDragon SeedFlying TigersBlood on the SunThe Fighting SeabeesThe Purple HeartDestination TokyoThe Fighting SullivansBack to BataanThe Sands of Iwo JimaThis Is The ArmyThe North StarSong of RussiaMission to MoscowMoscow Strikes BackCounter-Attack, and Frank Capra’s Why We Fight series.

After WWII, during the crucial year of 1947 when the National Security State was born, a Congressional investigating committee began its intrusive inquisition of Hollywood Communists and fellow-travelers after widespread internecine disruption and Red-led strikes on the back lots and sound stages of the major studios.

The divisiveness and division of those years has never ceased, as outlined by LRC contributing author David Martin in this perceptive article, “Elia Kazan, American Hero.” The Hollywood wars, both internal and external, continue to shape our national consciousness.

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