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Vienna War Exhibits
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| Words: 928 | Submitted: 29-Apr-2011
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DescriptionDiscusses impact of Vienna War Exhibit and how the public dealt with War
In 1914, the attitude towards entertainment paralleled the general temperament of the Viennese population. Both women and men were expected to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice amusement in respect for the sacrifices soldiers were making in battle. This had great implications for the entertainment business in Vienna. Many theatres and other entertainment venues were either closed or suffered economical under the current public scrutiny of indulging in amusement. However, with the advent of state wartime propaganda using various entertainment channels to drive their message to the mass public for national military support, the face of theatre and amusement shifted in Austria. Maureen Healy, using several primary resources such as letters, pictures, and newspaper articles, explores this realm of government-influenced entertainment in Vienna from 1914-1918, explaining the implications of this type of national entertainment policy can have on a country.
Wartime cinema was a reaction to the changes in what was deemed appropriate media or entertainment during a time of war in Vienna. Filmmakers saw cinema as a necessary component of life on the home front and realized that the survival of the industry depended on integrating war into their product. The films produced sought to provide a diversion from the atrocity of war while simultaneously providing instruction about the war. The films shown in Vienna were divided into three categories: feature films, the “assembly line” films, and weekly film programs. Segments of the assembly line films and weekly war footage were often “woven into feature films that did not have an otherwise explicit war orientation” (Healy 68). Thus, it was inevitable that a cinemagoer in Vienna would view at least some war content during his visit to the theatre.
However, the weekly film programs that focused on war censored what was essential into understanding the World War I battle experience: killing. The Viennese films meant for public consumption did not depict any scenes of brutality or violence. However, the initial intentions to protect the public from violent images by essentially not acknowledging the true condition of warfare only created a backlash. The Viennese wanted to understand the implications of war from the perspective of those that experienced it firsthand. Their curiosity of carnage was fueled by the repressed media and cinema that attempted to hide the atrocities of war from the public.
Cinema owners endorsed the positive educational benefits of film, arguing that war enabled mankind to pursue new technologies by continually pushing the envelope. However, the public began to become skeptical of the perceived benefits of cinema. A rise in youth delinquency became a major social issue in World War I-Vienna. Many people contributed the increase in youth crime to the material being showed in feature films and to the ...
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