Nothing To Do With This Movie

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and From Mainline to Sideline. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Reason and many other publications.


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Those in shock and disbelief over U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s apology over a movie about Muhammad and Islam might ponder this scenario:

November 25, 1940. Roosevelt Administration Disowns  “The Great Dictator” Movie.
By Vernon T. Dinsdale

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull yesterday issued a disclaimer to German foreign minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop for “The Great Dictator,” a Hollywood movie protestors in the United States and abroad say ridicules German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Germany’s National Socialist government.

“Let me make it perfectly clear that the United States government had nothing whatsoever to do with this film,” Hull said in a statement. “The United States government regrets that some individuals have abused their right to free speech by showing disrespect for other nations, governments and leaders with which the United States is at peace and wishes to remain at peace.”

The German-American Bund and similar groups in other countries have been protesting the “The Great Dictator,” a film produced, written and directed by comedian Charlie Chaplin.

In the film Chaplin plays Adenoid Hynkel, ruthless dictator of Tomania, who believes in a pure Aryan state, the decimation of the Jews, and world domination. Tomania first invades neighboring Osterlich, an obvious reference to Osterreich or Austria, which Germany annexed two years ago in the March 1938 Anschluss.

“Austria has always been German,” said Fritz Kuhn of the German-American Bund, a group promoting friendship and trade between the United States and Germany. “And Germany’s leader deserves better than to be portrayed as a buffoon by the Hollywood clown Chaplin, who is only trying to drag American boys into war.”

Last February 20 the Bund held a rally in Madison Square Garden in which Kuhn told 20,000 people that president Roosevelt should be called “Frank D. Rosenfeld” and his New Deal the “Jew Deal.” Bundists clashed with protesters and violence has also broken out near theatres showing “The   Great Dictator.”

German foreign minister Ribbentrop has yet to respond to Secretary Hull. Last August Ribbentrop and Soviet diplomat Vyacheslav Molotov signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact, also known as the Hitler-Stalin Pact.  Shortly after the Pact was signed, Germany and its Soviet communist ally invaded Poland. England is at war with Germany but the United States has remained out of the conflict despite calls for U.S. intervention from England, now standing alone against a German onslaught.

Since the signing of the Pact the Communist Party of the United States has been picketing the White House and calling President Roosevelt a “warmonger.” Communist groups have been collaborating with the Bund and other pro-Nazi groups to keep the United States out of a “foreign war” and “imperialist conflict.”

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  • http://twitter.com/ygalg @ygalg

    history repeats itself

  • oldtimer

    Hellary wants to be president and Willie is hosting the muslim brotherhood president of Egypt….Nice "Un-American" couple…..

  • Glennd1

    And the propaganda campaign continues. There is one huge problem with comparisons between Nazi Germany and the threat from Islamism and it's various Jihadist cadres. First, Germany had 100 divisions to the U.K.'s 5 in 1938. England was essentially defenseless against the Germans. You folks should really digest this. Iran is no real military threat to the U.S. If we were determined, we could wipe out Iran's entire military and government in a matter of days with very low casualties.

    The other key reality that seems missing from such alarmist rhetoric above is the fact that the Islamists aren't unified. The hard core radical Salafists battle the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Al Qaeda subsidiaries fight various governments across Northern Africa, and the Iranians rail against Sunni and other Shia sects. They are not working together, they are not unified. Accordingly, each threat needs to be countered on its own terms, yeah? The threat from Iran is completely separate and distinct from that of the Muslim Brotherhood – they aren't allies, they aren't the same enemy, yes?

    Lastly, and this is very important, we are the invaders there. It's not our territory that is being contested, it's their's. Whether you right-wing know-nothings want to admit it, we are intervening there, we are projecting our power and interests there – making the dynamic utterly different from the German aggression. It makes me sick to my stomach to hear the constant drumbeat of comparison between Islam and Nazism in terms of the threat to us – it's not supported by reason or the facts. Wake up – this is just propaganda folks!

    • LibertarianToo

      Wait . . ."constant drumbeat of comparison between Islam amd Naziism in terms of the threat to us" ??? What on earth are you talking about?
      And "we are the invaders" where? What territory is "being contested"?

      Good Lord how silly.

      • Glennd1

        That's the best you can do? I make very substantive points about how comparisons with Nazi Germany are wildly inaccurate and without basis, and you go "Good Lord…"? Do you really not hear the comparisons with the Nazis non-stop? Really? Do you live on planet Earth? As for us being the invaders – are you blind? Do you not see our occupation in Afghanistan or our recent on in Iraq as invasions? What about the 18 U.S. military bases surrounding Iran? Our permanent bases in Saudi Arabia?

        Silly? Me? It's you has has your head in the sand. Wake up, get a clue – they are usually free, fyi…

        • deprogrammer

          One thing you have remember about a good FPMer is their ability to foam at the mouth about Muslim/Socialist/Liberal (they can't tell the difference) being synonyms for Nazism and then deny ever even hearing of the concept.
          To pull off something like this doesn't take a strong mind just a well disciplined one. The second category of good FPMers are out right liars. Good luck separating the idiots from the liars.

    • Kufar Dawg

      I agree "this is just propaganda". Your entire diatribe that is.

  • Schlomotion

    Mr. Billingsley overlooks the fact that Mr. Roosevelt was also pumping money and munitions into the Allies and launched the attack on Japan. Or are we going to ignore the whole part where he led the US through WWII?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Are you going to ignore that Neville Chamberlain style diplomacy never works?

    • LibertarianToo

      And here I thought the point was that the State Department has a history of apologizing to totalitarians for American values.

    • guest

      I should have guest you would apologize for the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese as well.

      You ridiculous creature.

    • Pontotoc Bill

      President Roosevelt launched the attack on Japan?
      Japan launched an unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, moron.

      What alternative world do you live on, Schlomo?

    • UCSPanther

      I guess you don't mind the fact that wherever Japan invaded, they wantonly murdered civilians with the most notorious example being their "holocaust" against the Chinese people. They would have done the same had they landed on North America.

      They got what they deserved when Hiroshima and Nagasaki got cleansed with nuclear fire as examples.

    • YetWave

      Not even at his most misinformed did the professional historical distortionist Howard Zinn make as dumb a statement as "Mr. Roosevelt……launched the attack on Japan."
      The prevaricating left are well represented by Schmo. This guy is the web equivalent of the hoodie-attired masked miscreants who throw Molotov Cocktails bombs during protests.

      • Schlomotion

        What do you call what the United States does in a war? Did we "visit" Japan? Did we "launch a peace mission?" Did we "bake them a cake?"

        • Kufar Dawg

          More importantly, did you remember to imbibe your healthy, steaming camel urine cocktail this morning?

    • Ghostwriter

      Your history is as screwed up as you are,Schlockmotion. Have you forgotten about incidents like the Rape of Nanking in which hundreds of Chinese civilians were butchered by the Japanese or the "Panay" incident in which an American gunship was attacked by Japanese airplanes even though it had an American flag? I've studied WWII for years now and I know a lot more than you do. The Japanese attacked US at Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt didn't even have a clue about it until it began. Your idiocy is just unbelievable. You need to read up more BEFORE you make another imbecilic statement.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Schlo's arguments are mostly an exercise in meaningless rhetoric supported by frequent trips to the thesaurus.

  • Marty

    It should be compeltely obvious that islam's inbred leaders and followers consider their death cult to be superior to any other religion. They have from the beginning and this sinister feature is not going to change. The effort to place islam, its pedophile founder, and its genocidal record beyond criticism is beyond doubt. I continue to teach college students that islam is no different than communism and fascism and may actually be worse. I'm including accurate features of islam that would probably result in my arrest and prosecution in most european countries for hate speech. So much the worse. I was considering retiring, but the toxic features of islam persuaded me to continue to tell the truth to students who are often manipulated by the radcial left.

    • Spider

      Thank you for fighting the good fight

    • Kufar Dawg

      I admire your courage, teaching the ugly truth about islam these days can't be a popular move in academia at any level.

  • guest

    I rank Chaplain's speech at the end along with Karl Malden's in On the Waterfront as one of the greatest ever in movies. What a talented actor he was.

    • Questions

      Neither even remotely approaches Al Pacino's classic speeches, especially those in "Devil's Advocate," "And Justice for All" and "Scent of a Woman."

      • Kufar Dawg

        Personally I liked Pacino in Serpico best of all.

  • Indioviejo

    Good of you to recall the Communist supporting the Nazis in America with their peaceniks on the streets, until the Nazi attack on Russia, then it became a holy war against Fascism. By that time, the left wing of the Democrat Party was in government (Alger Hiss), and US policy would forever change always leaning towards the far left. Even up to today. This is why the extreme left allies itself with the Muslims. It fits in nicely with their long term goal of "Fundamentally Transform" our nation. This is why History repeats itself in the reaction to "The Dictator" in 1938 and reaction to a low budget video of little value. The reaction is always to intimidate freedom, and from the State Department is to appease our enemies.

  • UCSPanther

    We have had trouble with Iran trying to create their own versions of the BUND in both America and Canada. That was one of the reasons why Canada has cut all diplomatic ties with Iran recently.

    Fritz Kuhn was arrested as an enemy agent and jailed for the duration of WWII, and then deported back to Germany after the war where he spent the rest of his life in obscurity. As such, immigrants who come here and then work actively to aid our enemies simply do not belong here and should get the same treatment .

    Cartoonists had lots of fun with ridiculing Adolf Hitler and his allies, and frankly they all deserved it. The Axis were making cartoons that dehumanized their enemies (Der Sturmer was a prime example). Therefore they were fair game for our satirists. Today, the Islamist terrorists are doing the exact same thing, so they deserve it as well, and if they don't like it, too bad.

  • Horace

    Somebody with some editing equipment and software (not me) should make a movie with book or chapter and verse from the koran and or haditha or bukhari etc. read out, followed with scenes of the actions called for being carried out. Stonings, beheadings, hands and feet being cut off, churches burned, ambassadors murdered, charred christian bodies lying dead – I've seen all these things on You Tube or elsewhere on the net. Put a sampling of them together in the movie with Obama or his fellow useful idiots swooning over the muslim evening call to prayer, or touting the "religion of peace" mixed in between the atrocities here and there. Collect about 45 minutes all in one movie. Disseminate widely. Real footage would be hard for the jihad machine to deny, or be offended by.

    • Kufar Dawg

      That would make for a bloody, truthful spectacle.

  • http://tarandfeathersusa.wordpress.com/ Iratus Vulgas

    Hey, let's not forget the 1942 Spike Jones song, "Der Fuehrers Face," which disrespected Hitler with the use of a rude chorus of razzberries. It was used as the soundtrack for a Disney cartoon starring Donald Duck. Propaganda for sure, but I don't think anyone objected. Funny stuff you couldn't get away with today. And I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the Three Stooges episode, "You Natsy Spy!", which actually preceded the Chaplin film by several months.

    • UCSPanther

      There was a Looney Toons cartoon where Daffy Duck lands behind Hitler during one of his speeches and clobbers him with a big wooden mallet.

  • JCS

    The 3 Stooges Hitler/Nazi parodies were even funnier than Chaplin's.
    Another frightening scenario is that if the current mainstream liberal media were in place in 1940-1945 I'm not certain we could have won World War II.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Hitler never had the same financial means to buy off legislators, judges, media outlets that the muslo-fascists do.