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.”