The Collaboration
Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler
Ben Urwand
Belknap Press, an imprint of Harvard University Press
October 14, 2013

The astonishing story of Hollywood’s dealings with Nazi Germany is told in full for the first time in THE COLLABORATION: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler.  Ben Urwand, a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, draws upon a wealth of secret documents that he uncovered during his nine-year-long investigation at archives in Germany and the U.S., to reveal the complex web of interactions between the American studios and the German government in the 1930s.

Urwand demonstrates how Hollywood’s relationship with the Third Reich was a real arrangement—an active collaboration—as opposed to a more passive one of self-censorship. Urwand is unequaled in the depth of his research in primary source material, including the notes of the German consul in LA who was working together with the Hollywood studios; scripts of Hollywood movies that were abandoned or severely cut because of the German consul’s interventions; and evidence that, after 1934 when the studios were no longer permitted to export their profits, MGM invested in the production of German armaments just before WWII, while at the same time Paramount and Twentieth Century-Fox became major producers of pro-Nazi newsreels.

The movie studios were putting profits above principles when they had the chance to show the world what was really happening in Germany. As Urwand says, “If this is a dark chapter in Hollywood history, then it is also a dark chapter in American history.”