Scope and Content of Collection
Title: UFA motion picture newsreels
Date (inclusive): 1933-1945
Collection Number: 48007
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
450 motion picture film reels, 3 envelopes
(45.0 linear feet)
The UFA Motion Picture Newsreels depict German military operations and conditions in Germany during World War II, mainly during
the 1939 to 1942 period.
Hoover Institution Archives
Universum Film AG (Firm)
Collection is open for research.
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copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], UFA motion picture newsreels, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1948.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the library catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Universum Film AG (UFA) is a German film production company that was founded in 1917. The UFA motion picture newsreels at
the Hoover Institution consist of World War II era newsreels produced by the Third Reich and include the German weekly newsreel,
or Die Deutsche Wochenshau (DW), and the foreign weekly newsreel, or Auslandtonwoche (ATW). The bulk of the newsreels in the
collection were produced from 1939 to 1942.
At its inception in 1917, UFA was envisioned as a state-controlled vehicle for military propaganda films, but the company
greatly expanded its output in 1918 to include feature films, documentaries, newsreels, and public service films. With a broadened
focus that was further spurred on by the 1921 privatization of the company, UFA made an especially significant impact on world
cinema during the Weimar Republic era (1919-1933), most notably through its German Expressionist films.
In 1937, all German film companies were nationalized under the Third Reich (1933-1945). UFA and its competitors were brought
under the oversight of the Third Reich’s propaganda ministry, and Joseph Goebbels, in his role as propaganda minister, oversaw
production. Initially, UFA maintained some autonomy and continued success with production and distribution of feature films,
but under Goebbel’s increasing control, the propagandistic appeal of newsreels ultimately dominated the company’s focus. Wartime
news films favoring a National Socialist point of view were widely distributed to both the German public and international
In 1940, prompted by the Nazi invasion of Poland and efforts to sway public opinion in support of the German war cause, the
Third Reich combined newsreel companies Ufa-Tonwoche and Deulig-Tonwoche (both under the broader UFA umbrella), as well as
Tobis-Woche and Fox-Tönende-Wochenshau, into a single war newsreel titled Die Deutsche Wochenshau (DW) or the German weekly
newsreel. With reports that doors were often closed and even locked in many German theaters during DW screenings, German audiences
were literally held captive by the footage.
As the single DW newsreel emerged, the foreign weekly newsreel, or Auslandtonwoche (ATW), was restructured and refocused,
again in support of the German war effort and particularly in support of the Polish campaign. ATW was distributed to occupied
and neutral countries alike. Initially, ATW and DW newsreels differed only by language. As ATW operations grew, the newsreels
were customized to their respective target audiences. Although ATW and DW reels contained similar content, scenes were often
edited and German nationalism toned down in ATW reels to appeal to wider regional interests. Regional ATW editorial offices
were also set up in select countries, including in Belgium and Spain.
Shortly after merging all German newsreels into a single war newsreel, Goebbels combined all German film production companies
into a single, state-run film monopoly called UFA-Film GmbH (UFI). UFA, Tobis, Terra, and other film companies were assimilated
into UFI. This overarching state control of German film production resulted in censorship and selectively edited scenes in
newsreels. In DW and ATW reels, scenes of dead German soldiers, as well as scenes of significant military failures on the
Eastern Front, such as in the Battle of Stalingrad, were cut from final versions.
Though selectively edited in conformity with the broader Nazi agenda, the combined efforts of DW and ATW generated a cinematic
product unlike any other. With a drive to influence audiences from across Europe and beyond, these newsreels employed compelling
and dramatic cinematic techniques, which set them apart from their American and European counterparts. American newsreels
were modeled on newspapers that led with headline news stories, followed by news segments of decreasing importance. DW and
ATW films, in contrast, were edited in a fashion similar to narrative movies, featuring seamless fades and dissolves between
scenes and a build-up of story and action to a climactic turning point or conclusion. War scenes captured by cameramen at
the front lines of battle were also central to the drama and action of Nazi-era newsreels. Sound was likewise used for cinematic
effect. Voice-over narration conveyed a sense of continuity and authority, while dramatic music amplified the intensity of
the visuals and narration.
Today, these newsreels serve as significant historical documention of World War II and a National Socialist perspective of
the world. In addition to the UFA and Tobis newsreels at the Hoover Institution Archives, other known collections of these
newsreels exist at the University of California at Los Angeles Film and Television Archive, the Library of Congress, the Imperial
War Museum in London, and the Bundesarchiv in Berlin.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection is comprised of films and photographs depicting military operations and conditions in Germany during World
War II. It includes a few pre-war newsreels of Nazi leaders and rallies, and a few photographs. Most newsreels were distributed
Ernest D. Rose papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns.
World War, 1939-1945--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945.