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The Negro Soldier

1944, DVD
The classic WWII propaganda documentary that offers a revealing look at the manner in which our government set out to kindle the fires of patriotism among African-Americans.

The Negro Soldier

Produced by FRANK CAPRA for The WarDepartment. This classic World War II propaganda documentary offers a revealing look at the manner in which our government set out to kindle the fires of patriotism among African-Americans. It is set in a black church whose preacher tells his flock that the Nazis are determined to kill Negroes just as they slaughter Poles, Slavs, Czechs and Russians.

There is not a man alive who does not know of the crimes of (Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo). The minister spotlights the role of the Negro in American history. Blacks served with Washington at Valley Forge and fought in the Spanish-American War and World War I. The preacher cites such renown black Americans as Joe Louis, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. He talks of how black athletes such as Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe bested Germans and Japanese in the 1936 Olympics.

However, the films glaring omissions are what make it so historically arresting. There is not a single mention of the word slavery. Nor is there talk of the Ku Klux Klan or the lynching of black Americans. Nor is there acknowledgment that the American military of 1944 was segregated and that the American nation of 1944 was separate and unequal for the vast majority of blacks. Major league ballfields were still for whites only. In Hollywood films most blacks were mammies or janitors who only knew how to fracture the English language. At the same time the concept portrayed in the film -- that blacks and whites have much in common as Americans -- does promote, however unintentionally, the idea of integration.

40 minutes.

NOTE: This DVD is published under license from Video Yesteryear - Plain Case - NO ARTWORK

A great quote from Frank Capra...

"I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries."

WWII Propaganda Films...

The dictionary defines propaganda as a derogatory term for information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. While the term has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most extreme examples, such as Nazi propaganda used to justify the Holocaust, propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally positive, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to law enforcement, among others.

Propaganda can be classified as either white, gray or black. White propaganda openly discloses its source. Gray propaganda is ambiguous or non-disclosed. Black propaganda purports to be published by the enemy or someone besides its actual origins. All three were employed during World War II and can be rather easily identified. In Spanish and Portuguese languages, the word propaganda simply refers to the most common form of persuasion and manipulation -- advertising -- which carries no particular connotation per se.

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • Triumph of the Will (Germany)
    28 Mar 35: Leni Riefenstahl's award-winning film chronicling the Sep 5-10, 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg
  • Ohm Krüger (Germany)
    04 Apr 41: Anti-British feature film shedding bad light on British imperialism toward Afrikaans-speaking Boers
  • No Greater Sin (USA)
    28 Aug 41: Military instructional film warning young soldiers about the dangers of prostitutes and the spread of syphilis
  • Why We Fight (USA)
    27 May 42: A series of seven Frank Capra-produced documentary films to show the the dire necessity of combating the Axis Powers
  • Mission to Moscow (USA)
    22 May 43: Feature film made to garner more sympathy and support for the Soviet Union
  • This Is the Army (USA)
    12 Aug 43: Irving Berlin's wartime musical designed to boost American morale and patriotism
  • The Negro Soldier (USA)
    10 Apr 44: Frank Capra-produced docudrama made to promote African-American military enlistment
  • Memphis Belle (USA)
    13 Apr 44: William Wyler documentary of the first crew of the 8th Air Force to complete 25 missions
  • Nazi Concentration Camps (USA)
    29 Nov 45: Films of concentration camp atrocities are shown at the Nuremberg trials

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