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Cinema's Military Industrial Complex$
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Haidee Wasson and Lee Grieveson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291508

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291508.001.0001

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From Wartime Instruction to Superpower Cinema

From Wartime Instruction to Superpower Cinema

Maintaining the Military-Industrial Documentary

(p.192) 11 From Wartime Instruction to Superpower Cinema
Cinema's Military Industrial Complex

Noah Tsika

University of California Press

This chapter, by Noah Tsika, considers the U.S. military’s cultivation of documentary as a form of “useful cinema,” arguing that the institution’s emphasis on formal hybridity and pedagogic adaptability, far from being a neutral reflection of the contingencies of wartime, was, in fact, strategic—part of a broader attempt to naturalize the large-scale military and ensure its permanence. Even when the military identified them as timely documents designed to catalyze an Allied victory, many World War II training films were meant to last—to remain useful tools of the American military-industrial state, whether screened in conjunction with the public-education initiatives of local newspapers or excerpted for use in private manufacturing plants.

Keywords:   World War II, documentary, useful cinema, visual education, propaganda, government sponsorship

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