Scope and Content of Collection
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
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.
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.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1948.
[Identification of item], UFA motion picture newsreels, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.
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
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.
Ernest D. Rose papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Subjects and Indexing Terms
World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany
Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns
Propaganda, German -- Spain
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei