Internationalism on the big screen: Films on the League of Nations
Keywords:League of Nations, cinematography, public opinion, propaganda, NGOs
Building on the growing literature on the communication strategies of the League of Nations, this article discusses the films that a variety of actors made on the activities of the international organization. While the efforts of the League’s Secretariat in Geneva are at the center of this article, it is important to acknowledge the films made by civil society actors, gathered in national League of Nations societies. Not constrained by the ban on propaganda that applied to the League officials, these societies tried to mobilize their audience by making emotional appeals and adapting the League’s message to the national political context. After long delays and eventually with limited success, the Secretariat made its own talkie in the late 1930s, The League at Work. In all three films discussed in this article, the horrors of the First World War were portrayed to convince the audience that international cooperation was necessary to prevent a new catastrophe. With these films, the various actors promoted the League as the organization that could oversee a stable world order.
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