In 1932, Fox Helped Make Propaganda Films for Hitler
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
September 30, 2010
Observers of the current US election season have noted the prominent role of Rupert Murdoch’s reactionary Fox News Channel, which currently employs GOP and “Tea Party” partisans Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, and others. Some have alleged that a television network carrying so many potential political candidates and propagandists on its payroll is unprecedented. But there is a precedent for large-scale Fox intervention into a political campaign.
In 1932, the German newsreel subsidiary of Fox News Channel’s corporate ancestor, Fox Films, intervened in national elections in Germany.
The candidate Fox supported was Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
The basic facts are available in German historian Hans Mommsen’s authoritative study entitled The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy, which is translated into English and widely available in over five hundred libraries in this country. Mommsen, one of the most distinguished postwar German historians, is now Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Bochum. In Mommsen’s account of Nazi propaganda techniques, we find the following: “There was nothing that escaped the ingenuity of Nazi propagandists. A case in point was the use of film. Under Goebbels’ influence the party had begun to exploit the potential of the political propaganda film to an unprecedented extent as early as 1930. Such films were shown mostly in places where Hitler and other prominent party leaders were not able to appear as speakers. For the manufacture of outdoor sound film, the NSDAP turned to an American company, Twentieth Century Fox.“1
Scholar William G. Chrystal confirms this account and provides further important details in his 1975 article on “Nazi Party Election Films, 1927-1938.” Chrystal writes: “Support for two additional 1932 election films, Der Führer (The Leader), and Hitlers Kampf um Deutschland (Hitler’s Struggle for Germany) came from the German-based subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Tönende Wochenschau (Fox Weekly Sound Newsreel [i.e., Fox Movietone News]). In addition, they also supplied some mobile sound film vans to be used during the campaign. Thus at least part of Hitler’s support in that critical time was the result of Fox’s help. The background for this assistance is unknown since Fox Tönende Wochenschau records were destroyed during the war,” according to a July 9, 1974 letter to Chrystal from Joseph Bellfort, who was at that time the vice president of the Twentieth Century Fox International Film Corporation.2Fox Helped Hitler’s Voice to Reach Many Germans for the First TimeRead More...