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To Colonel Frank Capra
July 4, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I am sending you a copy of the Atlantic Monthly with a marked reference (page 85) to your superb direction in preparing the war films for the Army. You may already have seen this but if not I wished to be certain that you did note the extent of the appreciation of your films and the reference to their possible effect for world peace.
The comment is the more impressive in view of the fact that the remainder of the article is devoted to a rather critical and analytical criticism of the American attitude.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. James Lansdale Hodson—English author, playwright, and war correspondent—had criticized the American press for making anti-British remarks, which were often based on ignorance. “The need for interpretation between our two nations remains very great,” wrote Hodson. Films could do much good in bettering relations, but “the commercial gentlemen of Hollywood have something of a strangle hold on your screens.” He recommended that the American public see Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” series and similar films produced for the army. “It would, in my view, be for the good of unity among the Allies, and ultimately for world peace, that the magnificent series of films made for the United States Army, beginning with Prelude to War and going on through Divide and Conquer, The Nazis Strike, Battle of Britain, Battle of Russia, Know Your Ally Britain, Battle of China, and Negro Soldier, should be seen by the vast American public. . . . Nobody who saw them could pretend any longer that America is fighting Britain’s war.” (James Lansdale Hodson, “No Hard Feelings,” Atlantic Monthly 174 [July 1944]: 81-86.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 506-507.