Program Details

Four Great Propaganda Films of World War II

Edward Shapiro
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Films were a major cultural phenomenon during World War II, and each belligerent nation encouraged the production of propaganda films during the war. As a result, hundreds of propaganda films were produced. We will view four: "Mrs. Miniver," "Mission to Moscow," "Kohlberg," and "Casablanca." Each film will be shown in its entirety, and there will be a discussion of the films' history and significance.


  1. "Mrs. Miniver", (1942): A moving drama about a middle-class English family learning to cope with war, told in a series of dramatic vignettes.
  2. "Casablanca," (1942): A cynical expatriate American cafe owner struggles to decide whether or not to help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape the Nazis in French Morocco.
  3. "Mission to Moscow," (1943): Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.
  4. "Kohlberg" (1945:One of the last films of the Third Reich, it was intended as a Nazi propaganda piece to bolster the will of the German population to resist the Allies.

About the Instructor

  • Edward Shapiro, Ph.D., earned his doctoral degree in history from Harvard University and taught American history at Seton Hall University for three decades.  His books include “A Time for Healing: American Jews Since World War II" (1992); “We Are Many: Reflections on American Jewish History and Identity" (2005), “Crown Heights: Blacks, Jews, and the Brooklyn Riot of 1991" (2006), and "A Unique People in a Unique Land: Essays in American Jewish History" (2022). Shapiro has received awards and grants from the American Philosophical Society, the Oxford Center for Jewish Studies, and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation and has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel.