The Second World War is remembered as the bloodiest war in history, a conflict in which powerful battles were fought on all fronts of the world between the allies and the axis powers. While the Americans concentrated all their effort and sacrifice in winning the war, the powerful and growing film industry did the same on the screens; this conflict forever changed the history of American cinema and its development, but it also contributed to the efforts that led to the Allied victory. How did the Second World War influence Hollywood? War forever changed this industry and Hollywood during World War II played a crucial role.

A Growing Industry

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At the beginning of the 20th century the film industry, still recorded without sound, was still very young, but it continued to prosper and Hollywood in Los Angeles provided a space for those who wanted to stand out in the world of films without the interference of Thomas Edison, who at that time monopolized the industry of cinema. This is how in 1910 Hollywood produced its first film: In Old California, which was followed by many others. During the First World War, films were an effective tool to transmit messages, contributing to the war effort and patriotism, maintaining high morale and fighting spirit. This conflict inspired the creation of iconic films such as Hearts of the World (1918) and The Big Parade (1925).

After the end of the Great War, Hollywood continued to grow and its films became increasingly popular, but during the Great Depression the film industry was no exception to the economic crisis, as movie attendance fell and with it causing enormous losses. This industry had to reduce costs, close theaters and abandon many projects; however, the Americans continued to attend the cinema, which adapted to the hard times representing an escape for many in so difficult moments, with many productions based on the difficulties of the time like Gold Diggers of 1933 and The Public Enemy.

Hollywood during World War II

After America’s entry into World War II, the industry that was more popular than ever, contributed to the efforts with actors promoting the purchase of war bonds, propaganda and informational films that mainly contributed to the recruitment of soldiers to go to serve to the front lines. Anti-Nazi sentiment in Hollywood and its productions was a tool to acquaint the American public with the enemies of the conflict.

Throughout the years Hollywood had been growing, so that the cinema was already an essential source of entertainment for Americans; however, an iconic conflict as the World War II to this day has become a source of great productions due to its multiple events, feats, legacy and characters. Already during the years of the conflict, iconic films were produced, such as Since You Went Away that narrates the life during the conflict and especially Casablanca in 1942, one of the most emblematic films of all time, so Hollywood during World War IImaintained an important activity in terms of productions.

At the end of the conflict, the film industry had gained much more popularity and the years of the conflict served to increase the production of war films with government support; This informational tool contributed to increasing movie theater attendance, so Hollywood was in an ideal and lucrative position that it had never had before, in fact, at the time two-thirds of Americans used to go to the movies at least once a week, which shows how the film industry had grown during the war, as it triggered the creation of new productions and also the public’s interest in going to the movies, so the conflict marked a before and after in the development of Hollywood.

Hollywood Became a Global Industry

L.A. Hollywood and Vine 1950s | Vintage california, Hollywood california,  Street scenes
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After the end of the war, Hollywood experienced some problems that affected its growth, such as the rise of television programs and the fight against the monopolies of large producers and theater owners, which nonetheless contributed to competition and healthy development within of the industry.

Classic Hollywood recovered from this decline gradually and adapted to the new times, where the world had changed forever and despite the fact that in many cases in principle the countries opted for protectionism, globalization and economic openness was increasing, so the Hollywood film industry was able to expand to around the world, increasing the profit and interest in the cinema and in particular the conflict served for the expansion of war films, creating many productions related to the conflict and the war in general, an interest that lasted unlike that of the First World War since at the end of this conflict the interest in war films decreased rapidly. Hollywood during World War II learned to maintain the public’s interest in war films, something that lasts to this day.

World War II Changed Hollywood Forever

Years later with the rise of the cold war, the United States government knew that it could count on the film industry to promote propaganda messages this time against the communist threat, since previous experience during the Second World War had made clear the power of Hollywood to influence the population.

How did the Second World War influence Hollywood? In its growth, in which it became a powerful industry capable of transmitting messages and that developed during the years of this bloody conflict and after its end. Although Hollywood had been gaining popularity over the years, this war fueled and shaped it, proving that cinema was one of the most important hobbies of the American public and after the end of the war, the interest of the world became due to the fact that the nations became more interconnected: Hollywood during World War II and after became a global industry.

This war, despite being a terrible event, continues to be a source of inspiration for new productions, no matter how many decades have passed since the conflict ended: so many moments that remain in history and prominent characters who left their mark remain one of the Hollywood main themes, something that is reflected in its war films and it is important even today.