- Welke Slag aan de Somme? Oorlog en neutraliteit in Nederlandse bioscopen, 1914-1918
- Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis
- Volume | Issue number
- 122 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- 508-521, 551
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
While the Dutch government tried to maintain neutrality during World War I, the belligerent nations closely watched the Netherlands and its public opinion. At the same time, the French, English, and German authorities used propaganda to influence Dutch public opinion. The famous documentary film The Battle of the Somme (1916) is a good example. Its critical reception in the Netherlands has been studied before, but its challenge to the cause of neutrality has escaped close attention. Not only did Dutch ministers, mayors, film distributors, and cinema owners get involved, but so did the intelligence services and
propaganda departments of the warring countries.
This article shows that at least three films about the battle of the Somme were shown in Dutch cinemas - French, English, and German - and that all of them were part of a struggle to secure the public’s favour.
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