The German film industry under American and British control 1945-1949

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis analyses the declared intentions of American and British occupation authorities with regard to the re-establishment of the German film industry between 1945 and 1949, when all German film production was subjected to Allied control. It asks what role(s) the occupying powers expected film to play in the new post-war order after twelve years of Nazi dictatorship. The Allies considered film not only as a cultural and economic product (deeming German-made films a potential asset in reviving the German economy), but also discussed among themselves film’s perceived potential to impart certain messages to audiences. In my thesis, I explore the following questions: how did American and British guidelines and regulations in respect of film – notably the precensorship of film scripts at the beginning of the occupation – shape individual projects? What direction did filmmakers, as well as contemporary critics paying attention to the reemerging film industry, envisage for post-war German film production? Did German plans and ideas align with those of the occupying powers or did they differ from them? Archival and other contemporaneous sources suggest that Anglo-US film policies established at the beginning of the occupation played a crucial part in shaping post-war German cinema in the Western zones of occupied Germany and later West Germany. My focus on the Anglo-US zones of occupation serves to analyse similarities and differences in the American and the British approaches to reactivating the German film industry. The research undertaken offers new insights into their respective film polices and emphasises that the British did not merely follow the American lead, as has often previously been suggested.
Date of Award1 Nov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorErica Carter (Supervisor) & Lara Feigel (Supervisor)

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