Tablet magazine has piece about a forthcoming book that alleges collaboration between Jews in Hollywood and Nazis. Until the book comes out its hard to judge how this extends our knowledge of the damage done in the pre-war years by Hollywood.
As it turns out, Hitler’s love for American movies was reciprocated by Hollywood. A forthcoming book by the young historian Ben Urwand, to be published by Harvard University Press in October, presents explosive new evidence about the shocking extent of the partnership between the Nazis and major Hollywood producers. Urwand, a former indie rock musician and currently a member of Harvard’s prestigious Society of Fellows, takes the subject personally: His parents were Jewish refugees from Egypt and Hungary. Digging through archives in Berlin and Washington, D.C., he has unearthed proof that Hollywood worked together with the Nazis much more closely than we ever imagined.
Regarding his film, The Great Dictator which came out in 1940, Charlie Chaplin wrote in his 1964 autobiography:
“Had I known of the actual horrors of the German concentration camps, I could not have made The Great Dictator, I could not have made fun of the homicidal insanity of the Nazis.”
By making fun of Hitler and the Nazis he probably helped many people not to take them seriously.
The thesis I’ve believed till now (and without reading this specific book I’m somewhat blind to any new information) is not that Nazis directly controlled Jews in Hollywood but that an attitude of “not rocking the boat” or making things worse for European Jews stopped people in the free world from telling the truth about Nazism’s ideology, roots and clearly stated (in Mein Kampf) objectives.
When the US’s ambassador to Berlin returned home in 1938 he went on a mammoth speaking tour to warn people. Just as Churchill’s warnings went unheeded, so did Ambassador Dodd’s. This is all told in the amazing book, “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin”. The start of this book is full of the search for “moderate Nazis” while people were blind to the reality: the ideology of Nazism is irretrievably evil. They woke up too late for the millions slaughtered.
And today many refuse to acknowledge there are core components which are not going to be removed from Islam. They refuse to consider how these could be a powerful influence for evil over many people. People dismiss or downplay the importance of ideologically inspired hate in children: the ideology is squarely to blame yet we ignore it or dismiss these actions as aberations. Only this time it’s worse. Islam is undying: there is no figurehead to kill, no Hitler to remove.
This is a cult that has endured for 1400 years and looks set to endure far longer. That it may provide benign solace to some of its adherents is not a reason to misunderstand those elements which have been continuously used to justify supremacist, violent behaviour since its creation.
After the war we sat millions of Germans down in classrooms and “denazified” them. Look it up. It really happened.
(h/t to this piece in The Times of Israel)