Overlord'S Blog: Propaganda!
First off apologies. This article is a bit of a short one, as I've been rather busy this week doing research for a well known tank computer game. Next week we'll be back to normal with the story of a Squad vs a Battalion. So here's a funny little thing that I recently found out about.
Its safe to say that every country carried out propaganda during the war, and its a fact of human nature that most of the propaganda produced worked really well at home, but failed utterly on the enemy. The Japanese had the strongest hand in this regard, showing themselves as liberators of Asia from Western occupation and liberators of countries from being oppressed by the various Empires. However it all went a bit wrong when backed up by the Japanese military's actions in those countries. This lead to things like the Philippine Resistance, which grew to such a size that one guerilla band formed part of the US Army’s forces on the Philippines, and it amounted to a division in size.
Across the Pacific in America, Disney was also churning out propaganda. We've already seen how Disney's thinking influenced the weapons of war, equally Disney was used to help with training films, such as "Stop that tank!"
However his main forte was propaganda. The studio's turned out about five times their normal peacetime production. Some of the productions like "Der Fuehrer's Face" were rather crude and simplistic. But other pieces had a much greater impact. A third of Americans who watched "Spirit of 43" later said that it got them to start saving their taxes.
In Germany the Nazi's are often considered to be the masters of propaganda. However their propaganda did on occasion turn round and bite them, two little things combined in 1942 to score an own goal. In 1935 Leni Riefenstahl produced the instant hit Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of Will". Then in 1939 a unknown Nazi official was giving a speech about the revolution of private life, and pointed out that one dance craze that was currently sweeping the country was "[...]a piece of Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping".
In 1942 at the British Ministry of Information (an entity that has only ever existed during both World Wars, and controlled all British propaganda) Charles A. Ridley edited Triumph of the Will, and put it to the soundtrack of the Lambeth Walk, the dance tune that had so outraged the Nazi's.
The Germans got hold of a copy of the film, and showed it to Dr Goebbels. The Nazi Propaganda Minister stormed out of the room screaming and cursing due to its effectiveness. Despite being uncredited on the film the Germans found out who had made the work, and added Mr Ridley to a Gestapo liquidation list should Britain ever be conquered.