Adolf Hitler saluting at a parade in Nuremberg, September 1938 (Photo: Getty)
Here's some (not very light) weekend reading: the August 9th issue of The Hollywood Reporter includes an excerpt from 'The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler', a new book by Harvard post-doctoral fellow Ben Urwand.
If you've got the time, the excerpt is worth a look. It gets into some of the major claims from Urwand's book.
He writes that various Hollywood studios let members of the Nazi party censor scripts, remove Jewish filmmakers' names from movie credits, and prevent films from being made during the 1930s.
There was even one case of a Hollywood executive ending his marriage. Urwand writes that the head MGM executive in Germany "divorced his Jewish wife at the request of the Propaganda Ministry. She ended up in a concentration camp."
The book is based on a study of archival documents from the U.S. and Germany. It argues that the Nazis succeeded in pressuring major Hollywood studios into changing their output by threatening to ban all their films from the German market.
According to Urwand, the German term "zusammenarbeit," which translates as "collaboration," "was used repeatedly to describe dealings that took place in Hollywood. Even studio heads adopted the term."
In his introduction to the excerpt, Andy Lewis writes, "Historians have long known about American companies such as IBM and General Motors that did business in Germany into the late 1930s, but the cultural power of movies - their ability to shape what people think - makes Hollywood's cooperation with the Nazis a particularly important and chilling moment in history."