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War on the Silver Screen. Thaddeus Sonnenfeld, Jacob Kestner, John Rechtoris . Thesis. World War II cinema, regardless of ideological boundaries, expressed common themes. . ALL HANDS ON DECK !!!. Learning to Adjust. Facing Your Fears. Oh the Humanity!. Friends and Foes.

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war on the silver screen

War on the Silver Screen

Thaddeus Sonnenfeld,

Jacob Kestner,

John Rechtoris


World War II cinema, regardless of ideological boundaries, expressed common themes.

great sacrifice

Great Sacrifice

Battleground (1949)

Destiny of a Man (1959)

Underground (1941)


Grave for the Fireflies (1988)

Invisible Agent


fight for the greater good
Fight for the Greater Good

“Super Rabbit” 1943

Underground (1941)

“This is the Voice of Freedom. We will tell you what the government does not want you to hear.” –Kurt Franken

Battleground (1949)


Sherlock Holmes

and the

Voice of Terror (1942)

Invisible Agent


“So, what are you a Nazi? That’s right! If you don’t help me, then you’re helping the Nazis.” -Kitty


The Third Reich: National Unity and the Nazi Party

“The Party is Hitler - and Hitler is Germany just as Germany is Hitler! ”

-- Rudolf Hess, 1934 Nazi Party Congress

Members of the Labor Service pledge before Hitler to support Germany despite their different origins.



National Unity in Democracies

“There’s only one side… England! ”

– Kitty, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror



National Archives and Records Administration

Veteran Posters, Control #NWDNS-44-PA-2260


Sherlock Holmes and

the Voice of Terror (1942)

The Best Years of Our Live (1946)


The Soviet Union and War Patriotism

“He would have been a fine man... but we remember him

just as a soldier- a Russian soldier.”

- Ballad of a Soldier




Alyosha, like most soldiers

in the Soviet Army during

World War II, comes from

a village in the countryside.

Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

Destiny of a Man (1959)


Traitors in Their Midst

“Tomorrow, when they ask for the Communists, officers, and Jews,

do not try to hide. I will point you out to them.”

- Destiny of a Man

“…Loose lips sink ships. ”

– Richard Maltin, Bugs & Daffy: Wartime Cartoons




In Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), a Nazi radio station broadcasts from inside England

Hitler from Triumph of the Will (1935) giving a speech in which he warns against subversives in the Party

In Draftee Daffy (1944), cartoon icon Daffy Duck gradually Becomes the villain of the of the show as he tries to evade the draft.

post war japan
Post War Japan

Akira (1988)

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of Little Boy.

Naussica and the Valley of the Wind (1984)

The mushroom cloud rover Nagasaki after the dropping of Fat Man.

“A Giant Guardian?! You mean, the ones that burned the world in the Seven Days of Fire...?! “ -Mito