Scope and Content of Collection
Title: UFA motion picture newsreels
Date (inclusive): 1933-1945
Collection Number: 48007
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
German and Spanish
450 motion picture film reels, 3 envelopes
(45.0 linear feet)
Depicts German military operations and conditions in Germany during World War II, mainly during the 1939 to 1942 period. Includes
a few prewar newsreels of Nazi leaders and rallies, and a few photographs.
Most newsreels were distributed in Spain.
Hoover Institution Archives
Universum Film AG (Firm)
Collection is open for research.
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copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
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[Identification of item], UFA motion picture newsreels, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1948.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the library catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Universum Film AG (UFA) is a German film production company that was founded in 1917.
Initially envisioned as a state-controlled vehicle for military propaganda films, UFA greatly expanded its output in 1918
to include feature films, documentaries, newsreels, and public service films.
With a broadened focus that was further spurred on by the 1921 privatization of the company, UFA made an especially significant
impact on world cinema during the Weimar Republic era (1919-1933), most notably through its
German Expressionist films.
In 1937, all German film companies were nationalized under the Third Reich (1933-1945).
UFA and its competitors were brought under the oversight of the Third Reich’s propaganda ministry,
and Joseph Goebbels, in his role as propaganda minister, oversaw production.
Initially, UFA maintained some autonomy and continued success with production and distribution of feature films, but under
Goebbel’s increasing control, the propagandistic appeal of newsreels ultimately dominated the company’s focus.
Wartime news films favoring a National Socialist point of view were widely distributed to both the German public and international
In 1940, prompted by the Nazi invasion of Poland and efforts to sway public opinion in support of the German war cause,
the Third Reich combined newsreel companies Ufa-Tonwoche and Deulig-Tonwoche (both under the broader UFA umbrella),
as well as Tobis-Woche and Fox-Tönende-Wochenshau, into a single war newsreel titled Die Deutsche Wochenshau (DW) or the German
With reports that doors were often closed and even locked in many German theaters during DW screenings, German audiences were
literally held captive by the footage.
As the single DW newsreel emerged, the foreign weekly newsreel, or Auslandtonwoche (ATW), was restructured and refocused,
again in support of the German war effort and particularly in support of the Polish campaign.
ATW was distributed to occupied and neutral countries alike. Initially, ATW and DW newsreels differed only by language.
As ATW operations grew, the newsreels were customized to their respective target audiences.
Although ATW and DW reels contained similar content, scenes were often edited and German nationalism toned down in ATW reels
to appeal to wider regional interests.
Regional ATW editorial offices were also set up in select countries, including in Belgium and Spain.
Shortly after merging all German newsreels into a single war newsreel, Goebbels combined all German film production companies
into a single, state-run film monopoly called UFA-Film GmbH (UFI).
UFA, Tobis, Terra, and other film companies were assimilated into UFI.
This overarching state control of German film production resulted in censorship and selectively edited scenes in newsreels.
Among DW and ATW reels, scenes of dead German soldiers, as well as scenes of significant military failures on the Eastern
Front, such as in the Battle of Stalingrad, were cut from final versions.
Though selectively edited in conformity with the broader Nazi agenda, the combined efforts of DW and ATW generated a cinematic
product unlike any other.
With a drive to influence audiences from across Europe and beyond, these newsreels employed compelling and dramatic cinematic
techniques, which set them apart from their American and European counterparts.
American newsreels were modeled on newspapers that led with headline news stories, followed by news segments of decreasing
DW and ATW films, in contrast, were edited in a fashion similar to narrative movies, featuring seamless fades and dissolves
between scenes and a build-up of story and action to a climactic turning point or conclusion.
War scenes captured by cameramen at the front lines of battle were also central to the drama and action of Nazi-era newsreels.
Sound was likewise used for cinematic effect. Voice-over narration conveyed a sense of continuity and authority while dramatic
music amplified the intensity of the visuals and narration.
Today, these newsreels serve as a significant historical document on World War II and a National Socialist perspective of
In addition to the UFA and Tobis newsreels at the Hoover Institution Archives, other known collections of these newsreels
exist at the University of California at Los Angeles Film and Television Archive, the Library of Congress,
the Imperial War Museum in London, and the Bundesarchiv in Berlin.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection is comprised of films and photographs depicting military operations and conditions in Germany during World
Ernest D. Rose papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns.
World War, 1939-1945--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945.