With its first appearance on American motion picture screens in February 1935, The March of Time startled journalists, filmmakers, and audiences alike with its controversial topics and unique approach to newsreels. The "issues", as the newsreels were called, were a blend of confrontational journalism and docudrama, often using actors to stage events that had not been photographed on newsreel cameras. The series began with brief segments in the 1930s and eventually grew in length and scope to television programs of in-depth coverage of a single topic. Though extremely popular worldwide, the series eventually ceded viewers to the popularity of television programming, ending movie theatre presentations in 1951 and airing its last television segment in 1967.
Guest curated by graduate student Katie Wills
Stories from people who were children during World War II and the objects in this exhibit animate the past and inform us of a time when war took over daily life. “Retrospect is a very interesting thing,” says Ruthie Kallnder. “At the time I don’t recall any of the information we got as being propaganda,” but the government tried to influence children to make “necessary” sacrifices. Propagandists made the war a battle between good and evil, democracy and fascism. They also asked children to share in the war effort. In response, many children took on more responsibilities. Ruthie explains that boys and girls felt “if that’s what it was going to take” to win they “were willing to do it.” The memories of the people in this exhibit and their wartime actions show the power of propaganda’s messages and its lasting affect on their lives. Propaganda posters, children’s books, and classroom assignments demonstrate how propagandists reached children and involved them in the national war effort.
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