How Hollywood Hides US War Crimes
There is an unspoken, yet very clear, bond between Hollywood and the US government that overtly supports US foreign policy. The movie industry in Hollywood has been active in hiding US war crimes and sanitizing the US military campaigns in NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Anglo-American occupied Iraq, and elsewhere in the world. Moreover, the dominance of Hollywood as a tool of cultural imperialism in Europe and the rest of the world make Hollywood films an excellent tool for getting Washington’s ideas out internationally and sedating global audiences with misleading narratives.
Hollywood as a Tool of Cultural Imperialism and Perception Management
Aside from news media outlets, it should come as no surprise that most the ideas and notions that the general public in the US and elsewhere have about wars come from movies, television sets, radio programs, video games, and the entertainment industry. Movies and the entertainment industry are ideal for identifying roles for audiences. In many instances movies and the entertainment industry surpass media outlets in shaping the perceptions of audiences about wars and conflicts.
Movies are used to identify which individuals, groups, peoples, and nations are heroes, victims, aggressors, and villains. In this regard Hollywood vilifies countries like Iran, China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea while it lionizes the United States. Hollywood also warps historical narratives and reifies revisionist narratives of history. In a far stretch from the historical facts and reality, this is why most US citizens and many Western Europeans believe that the outcome of the Second World War in Europe was decided in the Atlantic by the US and not in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by the Soviet Union.
The perceptions of most people in the US and Western Europe are influenced by Hollywood and the entertainment industry and not history textbooks or scholarly works. Polls taken in France by the French Institute of Public Opinion about the Second World War demonstrate how US cultural imperialism by means of Hollywood’s influence has played out. 57 % of the French citizens polled in 1945 believed that Germany was defeated in the Second World War because of the Soviet Union whereas 20% believed it was due to the US and 12% thought it was because of the British. These views become distorted by 1994 when 25% of the French citizens polled believed that it was because of the Soviets that Hitler was defeated whereas 49% believed it was because of the US and 16% believed it was because of Britain. By 2004 only 20% of the French citizens surveyed recognized the Soviet Union as the main force for ending the Second World War in Europe whereas 58% believed it was the US and 16% thought it was Britain.
We can infer that the younger generations or birth cohorts that did not experience the Second World War are having their perceptions shaped by modern mass media, specifically movies and the entertainment industry. This is why CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was able to boldly declared on June 6, 2014 at the Seventieth Anniversary of D-Day from the Chateau de Benouville in France that «the American effort — the supremely heroic effort of the United States — under General Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during World War II has been one that the whole continent [meaning, Europe] has thanked America for the last seventy years». While taking a swipe at Russia and undermining its role in the Second World War, CNN’s Amanpour also said that the French government has emphasized «that this is a day to thank the United States» and thank the US «most particularly for turning around the course of history».