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Broehm, Barbara / World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth
(December 2000)

World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth,   pp. [1]-30


Page 15

Broehm 15 
During the war, three-fourths of the newsreels showed military or naval hostilities
or war-related activities. The government, however, influenced what was released.
Much of the combat footage was shot by professionals trained by the March
of Time, Fox 
Movietone, and Hearst's News of the Day. Early in the war, there was strict
government 
censorship of both the newsreels and the combat photographs in Life magazine.
It was a 
year before the government released footage of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Fearing that 
civilian morale was flagging, the government later allowed the release of
films and 
photographs of "atrocities that would shock the people in an effort
to redouble their 
commitment to the war effort."53 
"I went to the movies to see the news reels," commented a homefront
boy, "I 
found them fascinating. I liked seeing the shooting.., the tanks and the
planes.. .it 
made me wish I were old enough so I could join the army!",54 A young
homefront girl 
commented, "You know I'd see the newsreels and it did not seem real
... it seemed so 
far away."55 
Of course, the homefront children paid their dime to see not only the newsreels
but two full-length features, the previews, and several cartoons. The children
saw 
westerns and musicals as well as war movies. According to the Hollywood Writers
Mobilization for Defense, "The wartime function of the movies is to
build morale, and 
morale is... education.., inspiration.., confidence." Every motion picture
did not 
53 Raymond Fielding, The American Newsreel, 1911-1967 (Norman: University
of Oklahoma Press, 
1972), 288-95. 
54 Harlan Demsien, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
55 Betty Wilsman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 


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