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Hitler’s propaganda film on Irish history

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Movies about Ireland and Irish history have been a cinema favourite for decades. Everyone from John Ford to more recently Ken Loach have turned their hand to portraying Ireland on the big screen. Lesser known however is the German Max Kimmich. Klimmich was a Nazi era German director and as a brother in law of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, he became a well known figure in the late 1930s.

In 1941, as the German war effort in the second world war was at its most successful, he treated the population of the Third Reich to a film entitled “My life for Ireland”. Released in February 1941 before the disastrous Nazi invasion of the USSR, the film focused on Hitlers main enemy at the time – Britain. Dramatising Ireland’s war of independence it hoped to discredit the British as blood thirsty warmongers. While it enjoyed a successful reception, some audiences read an alternative message into the film.

For those living in recently conquered parts of The Third Reich they identified with Irish resistance to foreign British aggression paralleling the Nazis to the British and therefore drew inspiration for resist. Incidentally “My life for Ireland wasn’t the only Nazi propaganda to feature Ireland. Kimmich also directed “The Fox of Glenarvon” along a similar theme.

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