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UFA motion picture newsreels
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Collection(s)

  • Title: UFA motion picture newsreels
    Date (inclusive): 1933-1945
    Collection Number: 48007
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: German and Spanish
    Physical Description: 450 motion picture film reels, 3 envelopes (45.1 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: The UFA motion picture newsreels depict German military operations and conditions in Germany during World War II, mainly during the 1939-1942 period. Includes a few pre-war newsreels of Nazi leaders and rallies, and a few photographs. Most newsreels were distributed in Spain.
    Creator: UFA (Firm)
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1948.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], UFA motion picture newsreels, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Historical Note

    Universum Film AG (UFA) is a German film production company that was founded in 1917. At its inception, 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 German and international audiences.
    In 1940, prompted by the Nazi invasion of Poland and efforts to sway public opinion in support of the German war effort, 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 weekly war newsreel titled Die Deutsche Wochenshau (DW). 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 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 to support 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.
    These newsreels serve as significant historical documentation of World War II and a National Socialist perspective of the world. In addition to the UFA and Tobis newsreels at the Hoover Institution Library & 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 UFA motion picture newsreels, produced by the Third Reich, depict German military operations and conditions in Germany during World War II, mainly during the 1939-1942 period, in the form of the German weekly newsreel, or Die Deutsche Wochenshau (DW), and the foreign weekly newsreel, or Auslandtonwoche (ATW). Includes a few pre-war newsreels of Nazi leaders and rallies, and a few photographs. Most newsreels were distributed in Spain.

    Related Collection(s)

    Ernest D. Rose papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Motion pictures
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany
    Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
    National socialism
    World War, 1939-1945
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns
    Propaganda, German -- Spain
    Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei