Outbreak of the war
End of the war

From ‘public nuisance’ to propaganda tool: state intervention and control in film and cinema

Although cinematography became increasingly popular and the number of film performances consistently increased, for a long time there were no official regulations regarding performances and content. Protests by citizens concerned about public morals prompted a call for a suitable regulatory and censorship system. Offenders, particularly ‘erotic’ films, led to confiscations and gave rise to a cinema reform movement. The aim of this movement was to encourage ‘better’ and ‘culturally uplifting’ films, although most of the film-going public preferred light entertainment. During the First World War, films were used systematically for propaganda purposes, organized by the film department of the War Press Office. Its successor in the First Republic, the Staatliche Filmhauptstelle [National Film Headquarters], also showed the consequences of war in its films.

Translation: Nick Somers