shortly after the film began, the cinema suddenly smelled, and the strong smell of pepper made the audience cry. Some were forced to leave, while others hesitated. Then, something furry appeared at the feet of the viewers – countless mice “having fun” between the seats.

whether out of commercial interests, political pressure or ideology, the ambiguous relationship between many major American film companies and Nazi Germany has cast a gray color on the glorious years of Hollywood.

“I want to reveal a hidden Hollywood history that has not been faced up to.” According to the New York Times, young scholar Ben ewander has attracted attention in the academic circle with his new book “Collusion: the contract between Hollywood and”, which will be published this fall.

according to people who have been in contact with the manuscript of the book, ewander traveled on both sides of the Atlantic. Through the re excavation of historical archives, he threw out an embarrassing argument for Hollywood: in the 1930s and 1940s, major American film companies not only compromised the Nazi censorship system, but also actively acted as accomplices in the propaganda field of the Third Reich.

ewander, 35, was born in Australia. His grandparents, Jews, fled Hungary during World War II and were displaced. In 2004, ewander, who was still a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, saw an interview with the famous screenwriter bud Schulberg, saying that Louis Mayer, the head of MGM, had edited the film according to the advice of German consultants. The details of




aroused Evander’s great interest. In the following years, with the deepening of research, he found that the intimate relationship between Hollywood and Nazi Germany was far more extensive and lasting than previously estimated.

dance with Goebbels baton

on December 5, 1930, the premiere of “no war on the Western Front” was held in the Berlin auditorium. This classic film describing the first World War was shot by universal cinema in the United States and was highly praised in New York, London and Paris.

soon after the film began, the cinema suddenly smelled, and the strong smell of pepper made the audience cry. Some were forced to leave, while others hesitated. Then, something furry appeared at the feet of the viewers – countless mice “having fun” between the seats. Men, women and children rushed out of the screening hall amid screams and coughs, and the premiere was soaked in soup.

this is the first means by which American filmmakers learned about the Nazis – Joseph Goebbels, who later became the Third Reich’s minister of mass communication and publicity, led a small group of Nazi Party members to easily destroy the premiere of “no war on the Western Front” with a few stink bombs, pepper and a bag of mice.

then, under Nazi pressure, the Weimar government cancelled the release license of the film in Germany. Goebbels won the first public opinion battle, which also made American filmmakers fear and grovel. After the premiere of




, Carle, Lemuller, the owner of Universal Studios, hastily promised to mass delete the “no war on the west line”.

Ben ewander pointed out that Hollywood’s appeasement policy is mostly based on commercial considerations. The 1930s was the golden age of American films. Most film companies did not want to lose the European market, and Germany was indispensable in their blueprint. Therefore, Hollywood dare not offend Goebbels. It is the latter department that decides which foreign films can be released in Germany.

in 1932, the Nazi cultural censorship system intensified: if a film detrimental to the image of Germany is shown anywhere in the world, the business license of the relevant film company in Germany will be revoked.

American film companies should not only obey the Nazi censorship, but also try every means to improve relations with German executives. According to the American and German archives that ewander came into contact with, at that time, many American filmmakers believed that Hitler would win the war and curry favor with the Nazis could consolidate their business in Europe. In a letter signed in January 1938, the 20th Century Fox German branch humbly asked Hitler if he was willing to express his views on American films. The signature was “long live Hitler!”

Jews disappear on the screen

the bosses of Hollywood film companies are many Jews who have moved to the United States. However, under the influence of commercial interests and political pressure, they are not only unwilling to make films to expose and attack the Nazis, but also avoid talking about the latter’s evil deeds of persecuting Jews.

in 1933, after the Nazis officially took power, they soon issued a decree prohibiting Jews from appearing in German films. The decree has dealt a heavy blow to the booming European film industry.

people in the American film industry have received news that they are destined to obey this law with obvious discrimination. Fox, paramount and MGM kicked Jewish actors out of the studio just to do business in Germany as usual; Although small companies such as Colombia have closed their offices in Berlin to show their dissatisfaction, their branches in London and Paris still deal with Germans.

rwander pointed out in this regard, “Hollywood can not use ignorance as an excuse. They are fully aware of what happened in Germany, because they were also asked to fire Jewish employees, and the persecution of Jews was already in full swing at that time.”

among the many big name producers, only Warner Bros. drew a line with the Nazis. In April 1933, Phil Kaufman, the head of Warner Berlin branch and a British Jew, was beaten by a group of Nazis in the street. A few months later, Kaufman, who was expelled from Germany, died in Stockholm. Hearing the news of Jack Warner’s brother’s death in BerlinYou can’t get away from the attack. He immediately closed his German branch and gave up the German market.

at the same time, many artists of Jewish descent embarked on the road of exile to the new world. Among them are Peter Lowe, Heidi Rama, Paul Henreid, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Marcos orphos, etc. These excellent actors, screenwriters and directors have rewritten the history of American film with outstanding works, but they can not be known by their compatriots in their hometown.

it was not until 1940 that MGM, paramount and fox completely bid farewell to Germany. Even after they started making anti Nazi films, they still avoided mentioning the experience of Jews, because the executives of these companies “don’t want to be the spokesperson of Jews”.

however, according to Stephen Ross, a historian at the University of Southern California, this history has two sides. Citing historical data, he argued that many anti Nazi organizations in Hollywood were funded by companies that ostensibly succumbed to the Nazis. “Those film company bosses who were approved to put their commercial interests before their Jewish identity actually helped the Jews behind the scenes.”

“Hitler reached out to Hollywood”

Hitler’s love of American films is a well-known secret. According to records, around 9 p.m., he often pauses his eloquent speech and takes the dinner guests to the private viewing room. When the lights dimmed, Hitler also calmed down. He laughed for cat and mouse, applauded comedians Laurie and Hardy, and burst into tears for the encounter of the queen of Sweden… His adjutant was responsible for recording Hitler’s feedback on these films, some of which are now stored in the National Archives of Germany.

Hitler especially appreciated the works describing “powerful leaders”, including “Heroes against the enemy” (paramount, 1935), “blood on the traitor” (1935, MGM), and “the queen of Sweden” (1933, MGM). He also favored the films showing “the inefficiency of democratic system”, For example, Smith travels to Beijing (1939, Colombia).

to a large extent, Hollywood and the Nazis are two-way interaction. On the one hand, many American film companies tried their best to invest in the favor of the German government. On the other hand, the German government intervened in American film production. In 1937, Newsweek published a report entitled “Hitler’s hand reached the Hollywood film company”. Based on this, erwande’s view is amazing: Hollywood actively arranged the content of the film according to Hitler’s preferences in order to meet the needs of Nazi propaganda.

this is not nonsense. At that time, German consul George gisin regularly “inspected” the studios in Hollywood. He relentlessly asked for the deletion and modification of the contents that were contrary to the interests of the third empire, and sometimes directly asked to stop shooting and distribution.

1936 “won’t happen here” is a film that shows that democracy is superior to fascist dictatorship. During the shooting process, MGM’s boss Mel learned that the film would annoy “some foreign governments” and had to stop shooting. “We have a considerable income in Germany, so I don’t think this film can be made.” Mel admitted.

“Hollywood grovels. The Nazis have the final say in some films that show the real situation in Germany.” Ewander said he found that at least 20 films intended to be released in the United States had been modified or banned by German officials. And some films that never had a chance to complete production “would have had an important impact,” he said. “They can really mobilize public opinion.”

until the spring of 1939, the confession of a Nazi Spy produced by Warner Brothers finally met the audience. This is a film integrating musical, publicity and history education, creating a precedent for Hollywood to expose Nazi crimes. So far, Hollywood began to judge the actions of Nazi Germany with a more fair attitude.

at this time, only a few months before the outbreak of World War II in Europe, even the most optimistic Hollywood producers smelled the danger: the Nazi regime was threatening the people to a road of no return, and Germany was no longer a happy place for American films.

groveling is the result of the general environment?

in European and American countries in the 1930s and 1940s, the voice of being close to the Nazis was influential in both the public and the government. Considering that the Vatican, Swiss bank, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, DuPont and even the US State Department have all faced the accusation of “ambiguous relationship with the Nazis”, Hollywood is naturally unlikely to be alone in such an environment.

MGM even funded Nazi preparations. The German government strictly restricted the currency export business of foreign enterprises, but made an exception for MGM, because the latter bought the bonds of German military industry and its funds went directly to the arsenal. Ewander told the times that MGM’s decision came a month after the “crystal night”, which marked the full exclusion of Jews.

even after 70 years, the truth revealed by Ben ewander embarrasses the still active Hollywood giants. Of course, some scholars have reservations about the highly “offensive” point of view in collusion.

historian Tom Doherty once wrote a book to justify MGM, “At that time, Germany was a friend of the United States, and the United States did not sign the Treaty of Versailles Sign on. I don’t think MGM did it because of greed. I just see people trying to adapt to weird rules and get the benefits they deserve through negotiation and exchange. At that time, many people believed that once Hitler gained power, the rational and relaxed atmosphere in Germany would return. However, this wish did not come true. ”

some American media also commented that Hollywood was “lack of integrity” in front of the Nazis