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World War II

The British Film Institute has a YouTube channel that offers a lot of historic films. Here is “Santa Claus’ by G. A. Smith in 1898. Apparently the special effects were quite a feat 110 years ago.

For something longer and more in tune with this blog’s recurring theme of war and society, see “Christmas Under Fire” (1941), which looks at Britain at war on Christmas Eve. This film from the Ministry of Information has an American narrator for an American audience. It was made before Pearl Harbor, when the American public had no stomach for going to war in Europe.

Almost anyone who has lived in Germany over the past sixty years will find the following video very strange indeed. It appeared in the early days of the occupation, when the Cold War was still only on the horizon and a strict anti-fraternization policy made sense to the U.S. military leadership.

By the way, if you are a Dr. Suess fan, listen to the language. I’ve read many of his stories to my son, and I can hear the hand he had in this film.

If that film appears ridiculous, here is a piece of wartime propaganda from Walt Disney to put it into context.

By the way, Dr. Suess also addressed the question of war and peace in a famous children’s book from the Cold War, The Butter Battle Book, in which one side ate its bread butter side up, and the other butter side down. This led to mistrust, the erection of a wall, and an arms race.

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