Hollywood's War with Poland, 1939-1945
During World War II, Hollywood studios supported the war effort by making patriotic movies designed to raise the nation’s morale. They often portrayed the combatants in very simple terms: Americans and their allies were heroes, and everyone else was a villain. Norway, France, Czechoslovakia, and England were all good because they had been invaded or victimized by Nazi Germany. Poland, however, was represented in a negative light in numerous movies. In Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945, M. B. B. Biskupski draws on a close study of prewar and wartime films such as To Be or Not to Be (1942), In Our Time (1944), and None Shall Escape (1944). He researched memoirs, letters, diaries, and memoranda written by screenwriters, directors, studio heads, and actors to explore the negative portrayal of Poland during World War II. Biskupski also examines the political climate that influenced Hollywood films.
M. B. B. Biskupski, Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish History at Central Connecticut State University, is the author of many publications, including The Polish Diaspora, Heart of the Nation.
It will be the reference point from now on with respect to any treatment of Hollywood and Poland, but also of any work done on the OWI and American internal propaganda during WWII. -- Frank Turaj, coauthor of The Modern Cinema of Poland
[Hollywood’s War with Poland] makes the case that dealing with the Soviet Union . . . required media spinning and a scapegoat. Biskupski writes that Poland had to be ignored or discredited to salve our American conscience. -- New Britain Herald
This book provides a wealth of information on the Roosevelt Administration and his attitude toward Poland. -- Polish-American Journal
Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945 is a thoroughly documented study of how Tinsel Town portrayed Poland in films made during World War II. -- Polish American Journal
This passionate, carefully researched, richly detailed, well-written study draws fair, persuasive, and important large conclusions from an extremely limited film corpus….Well-reproduced images, copious notes, and a first-rate bibliography provide excellent support and resources for further study. Highly recommended. -- Choice
Well-written and well-argued... [and] surprisingly amusing at times... [Hollywood's War With Poland] argues that there was a deliberatre attempt by Hollywood studios to show Poland in a negative light. -- NEPCA Journal
HWWP is an essential resource that proves, behond any question, that powerful people, prompted by geopolitical competition and deep hostility worked hard to sully the image of poles, Polish-Americans, and Poland. -- Writing the Polish Diaspora
Biskupski digs deeply into one very important, indeed crucial, time and period of American life to investigate how the American film industry consistently ignored, belittled, and demonized Poland and the Poles, whether in Europe or America. -- Sarmatian Review
Biskupski outlines in impressive detail Hollywood's one-sided, negative portrayal of Poland during this turbulent era. -- American Historical Review
Winner of the Oscar Halecki Prize.
Named a 2010 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
Biskupski meticulously examines the propagandist undertones of an extensive range of Hollywood films and scripts made during the war years, offering a mine of information based on thorough archival research. -- Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Hollywood's War with Poland will be of interest not only to scholars of Polish history, Polish-American relations and the Polish disapora abroad, but also to historians and film scholars of ethnic/racial relations in America. -- Peter Polak-Springer -- European History Quarterly -- Qatar University