The 1930s may have been a golden age in Hollywood but it was a period tarnished by an alliance with the Nazis. In new book The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler, Ben Urwand discusses the hoops some studios—including MGM, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox—jumped through to please the Nazis in Germany, once the second-largest movie market. An excerpt in the Hollywood Reporter explains that beginning with All Quiet on the Western Front in 1930 until after the Nazis' invasion of Poland, Hollywood execs not only edited films to suit Nazi tastes, they worked "in close collaboration" with Germany to cut Jewish contributions, names from credits, and even whole projects.
The German consul in LA even threatened studios, claiming a company that distributed an anti-German film—anywhere in the world—would be banned. When a script was written to showcase the treatment of Jews, he warned it might mean the end of American movies in Germany altogether. The boss at MGM even went as far as to say, "We have terrific income in Germany and, as far as I am concerned, this picture will never be made." Urwand writes, "At this critical historical moment, when a major Hollywood production could have alerted the world to what was going on in Germany, the director did not have the final cut; the Nazis did." Some other chilling details: A Nazi was named manager of Paramount's German branch in 1937, while MGM's German head divorced his Jewish wife, who was sent to a concentration camp, to please the Propaganda Ministry. Click for the full excerpt. (Read more Nazi Germany stories.)