The Nightmare Years (1989)
Director: Anthony Page.
Starring: Frances Barber (Helga Bauer), Bill Bailey (Knick Knickerbocker), Péter Benkö (Putzi's Agent), Bruce Boa (Nick Roosevelt), Ottilia Borbáth (Nurse), Flavio Bucci (Dr. Fleischmann), Ken Butler (Bob Best), Georges Claisse (Dr. Obermann), Antal Cserna (Baggage Inspector), Angéla Császár (Sarah Schneider), Mirella D'Angelo (Karin), Gillian Eaton (Agnes Kickerbocker), Keith Edwards (Ralph Barnes), Anna Fehér (Nazi Woman), Michael Fitzpatrick (Jeff Higgins), Anna Galiena (Ruth Klauber), Zoltán Gera (Walter Schwertfader), György Gonda (Shirer's Agent), Walter Gotell (Gen. Von Fritsch), Garrick Hagon (Edward R. Murrow), Günther Maria Halmer (Kellenbach), Alexander Harborne (Ernest Schneider), Anne Harrington (Anne), Jerry Harte (Seymour Berkson), Basil Henson (Lord Stanwood), Greg Hicks (Sculptor), Courtney Ingersoll (Petra Schneider), Donna Ingersoll (Harriet), Frederick Jaeger (Wilfred Bade), Peter Jeffrey (Norman Ebbutt), Marthe Keller (Tess Shirer), Cecelia Kindelan (Eileen Shirer), Xaver Kreichbaum (Paul Schneider), Ronald Lacey (Emil Lugers), Antal Leisen (Vendor). Andras Marlon (Emil Maas), Lajos Mezey (Sweeper), Christopher Muncke (Peter Butler), Gábor Nagy (Lt. Wolfe), Ronald Pickup (Putzi Hanfstaengl), Gábor Reviczky (Col. Keller), Shane Rimmer (Ambassador Dodd), David Sibley (Jan Muller), Kurtwood Smith (Dr. Josef Goebbels), John Steiner (Reverend Lenz), Kati Sír (Ellen Wilkinson), Pip Torrens (Major Radford), Tamás Tóth (Censor), Vara Venezei (Mrs. Lenz), Sam Waterston (Bill Shirer), Steven White (Pete), Peter Whitman (Victor Schneider), Michael Wolf (Herman Goering), Madeleine Wynne(Martha Dodd).
tv mini-series: story of American journalist William Shirer observes up close the increasing extremism of the Nazis; Shier wrote the book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
Newsreel footage of large crowds turning out to see Hitler riding in a car down the avenue. There are masses of troops. People raise their right arms up at a 45 degree angle.
1934. Reporter Bill Shirer and his wife Tess from the USA are in Germany to report the activities of Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Mrs. Shirer is Austrian in origin. They are on a train headed for Berlin. In the same compartment they have a German military officer sitting across from them. The married couple are studying photosof the German leadership.
The train stops unexpectedly. The officer suggests that the couple put away the photos because the train people or the guards can become very inquisitive if they see the couple going over their photos dealing with the German leadership. So they put the photos away.
Billwants to leave his compartment. He wants to know what's going on. The officer suggests that he not go out of the compartment, but Bill goes anyway. The wife tells the officer that she is a photographer and her husband is a reporter. They came to Germany to report on what's going on in the country under Hitler.
Bill opens a window and is told to shut it by an SS man in his black colored uniform. The fellow also yells at Bill to get back into his compartment.
Bill gets out of sight from the SS fellows. He goes into another compartment and opens the top window a little. He sees six men in business suits being shoved around the by the SS. The SS are pushing them toward the rear of the train.
The military officer in the compartment tells Mrs. Shirer that everyone must be very careful in Germany. And that goes double for journalists. He says that there is a high price to pay to live under Hitler and he doesn't think this gets reported.
Bill goes snooping around. He crawls past a compartment holding SS men. And then he keeps crawling underneath a sign that says no admittance. He makes it back to the last car where the SS men are holding the six civilians. The men ask Bill where is the train going? To Berlin. They are six Lutheranpastors and they want Bill to contact Reverend Lenz in Berlin.
As Bill is talking an SS man grabs him by his jacket and pulls him inside the train car. The SS fellow tells Bill that those men are criminals. Now the SS guy wants to see Bill's papers. His address in Berlin? Adlon Hotel. "Go back to your carriage."
When they arrive in Berlin, Bill goes to check on the criminals on the train, but two SS men are watching him so intently that his wife comes and gets him.
Now they are looking for Norman Ebbutt. Tess warns Bill that they are still being followed. Norman comes up and shakes hands with Bill and gets introduced to Tess. Norman is nervous and he wants to get in a taxi quickly where they can talk freely.
In the cab Norman says he wasn't there on the platform to greet them because he saw the SS men nearby. Norman says he's on their list of dangerous characters. Bill tells Tess and Norman about the Lutherans he saw locked up in the last car. Norman says there's no direct censorship, but the SS gets reports on everything the journalists write. And if a journalist protests against this, he or she is expelled from the country.
They arrive at their hotel and start settling in. Norman comes up to talk with them. He says he wants Bill to meet this peculiar person named Putzi Hanfstaengl, head of the foreign press department in the ministry of propaganda. The man provides most of the official news there is to be had in Berlin. This Putzi fellow is said to be very funny and thinks of himself primarily as a musician.
When the three go into the hotel lobby, Putzi is playing the piano. An old friend of Bill is Agnes Knickerbocker and she comes over to greet Bill. He introduces Agnes to Tess saying that Agnes and he worked together for three years in war torn Madrid, Spain.
Norman introduces Peter Butler, bureau chief of International New Service. Peter doesn't shake Bill's hand. Peter says that a lot of people here condemn the Nazis out of hand. Ralph Barnes from the Herald Tribune introduces himself to the newcomers.
And now they meet Putzi. Putzi says his mother was an American and he graduated from Harvard. Putzi also says that Hitler and him are close friends.The news people talk about Dorothy Thompson, the third journalist to be fired. Putzi says Dorothy was writing a book filled with slanders about Hitler.
Putzi takes Bill to the side and tells him there is absolutely no story to be had about the prisoners on the train. They are just ordinary criminals. Bill says that's not what they told him. Bill is amazed at how fast the news came to Putzi about something that happened in the morning.
Norman warns Bill about Peter. He's too close to the Nazis. He says Peter will report on Bill if he can find anything amiss.
Back at the hotel Tess tells her husband that every day the daily press orders are given out to the journalists of what stories and names can be printed or not. Tess maintains that this is definitely censorship. Bill writes in his journal that the warm climate of Berlin ten years ago is in stark contrast with today's cold atmosphere city. Long gone are the wide open discussions of politics, the arts, sports, etc.
The next morning Bill goes over to Putzi's office and he shows Bill the paperwork on the Lutherans that say that each Lutheran is a criminal. The men were being transferred to Spandau prison. Bill looks over the paperwork and says these men are not the men that he saw on the train. One of the priests onboard said the men were priests. So now Bill asks to see the daily press orders for that morning. Putzi now says that Shirer is abusing his hospitality. After all, Bill is a guest in Germany. Bill says he just wants to check his facts like he always does. Now he asks how does the Ministry of Propaganda work? So Putzi takes Bill on a tour of the Ministry of Propaganda.
A group of American journalists talk with an official of the American Embassy in Berlin. They want to protest the kicking out of three American journalists. The official says that the USA doesn't want to get involved in Germany's internal policies. The official talks with Tess. He suggests going to the 1935 Nuremberg Rally where she and Bill will see the whole propaganda machine at work.
As Putzi and Bill watch a screening of a film on Frederick the Great, Bill asks if Germany finances the film makers? Putzi says they sure do. Bill says that must give the Nazis a great deal of control of film making.
Next they go to the offices where they monitor foreign radio transmissions dealing with Germany. A file is maintained on each foreign journalist in Germany.
Bill is going alone to Nuremberg. While he's gone, he wants Tess to find the real Pastor Lenz.
Bill talks with Norman, who says that the Germans don't understand democracy. And then there's the problem of their defeat in WWI and the punitive Treaty of Versailles. Hitler has now given them their self-respect and national-respect.
The reporters speak to Putzi and the higher-ups in the ministry. They berate some of the reporters for their untrue stories. Why don't they write about the Polish aggression against Germany? A reporter says no independent sources can confirm that report. This makes the leader Goebbles shout that of course Poland has attacked Germany.
Now the leader says they will give out information about the Nuremberg Rally for 1935. [This is the one made famous by the film made by Leni Riefensthal, The Rally of Freedom: Our Army (or Triumph of the Will. The 7th Party Congressreintroduced compulsory military service, violating the Treaty of Versailles. It was also when the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws were introduced.]
Bill is there in Nuremburg when Hitler flew in on an airplane. He says Hitler came through Nurembreg like a Roman Caesar. "He was their Messiah."
Bill and Norman arrive early at the Nuremberg Stadium. They want to get some early interviews, but they are thrown out of the stadium. The military paraders cover almost every inch of the huge stadium field.
Norman and Bill are typing out their stories. Putzi dressed in his uniform comes to give the reporters some quotes from Hitler about German womanhood.
Bill and Norman go into an area where they are forbidden. Bill observes a lot of boys from the Hitler Youth devouring the symbols depicting Hitler at a vendor stand. Referring to the symbols, Bill says: "Look it. They look like religious relics."
As the journalists go by, a man selling the symbols wants to talk with them. He wants to tell them about all the good things that Hitler has done for them. Bill asks don't they bemoan the fact that they don't have a lot of freedom? The salesman says: "Freedom for what? To starve?" No, he doesn't mind.
In Berlin Tess and her friend Martha Dodd see a small group of marchers coming down the street. They are shouting "out with the Jews" and "wake up Germany". When they pass an old couple on the street who didn't give the Nazi salute, they stop their marching to check on them. The old man starts to explain why he didn't salute, but the two leaders just start beating the hell out of the elderly man. Tess and Martha run over and protest the beating. The two leaders retake their places in the formation and march away. Tess wants to report this at the next police station, but Martha tells her that this is not New York. The police would just start harassing her husband and her father.
Tess and Martha take a look at a fantastic apartment to rent. The owner is an artist and he is leaving Germany because Hitler doesn't like what he calls "degenerate" art. The artists has sculptures, paintings and sketches on the walls and a library as well. He will charge Tess only 80 marks a month, so Tess really wants the apartment. The man gives them his card with the address in London where he will be staying.
Bill is getting bored waiting around for a real story to write about. So he grabs his coat and heads out to find a real story. Tess keeps looking for Rev. Lenz.
Putzi comes into the newsroom. He doesn't see Bill so he asks around about the man's whereabouts. A fellow says he went out to find a "real story". Putzi quickly walks out of the newsroom in search of Bill. He finds Bill in the forbidden zone talking with a German general. Putzi puts up a fuss, but the general still wants to speak with Bill. Bill asks him about the large German army. The general says the military is not big enough to conquer any territory. And this must change.
As narrator, Bill says about the mass demonstrations that these mass actions were very disturbing. He goes on to say that this was a "rabid, mindless tribalism".
At home, Tess gets a call from the real Rev. Lenz. She asks about getting an address and a telephone number. He is not going to give her either. He says he will call back.
The US Ambassador to Germany goes to talk with Putzi about the problem of the Germans not haveing a free press and Putzi's habit of throwing American journalists out of Germany. And right now it seems that Putzi wants to throw Shirer out of the country. He brings up the possibility of the Americans throwing out a German journalist. Putzi laughs at what he sees is a silly bluff. And, anyway, they have already filed numerous objections with the Americans about the current American ambassador who is not friendly at all to Germany. The ambassador leaves, but says that Shirer has his full support.
Heading back to Berlin on the train, Bill tells Norman that Hitler is going to war in order to develop a large military. He adds: "This is the biggest con on the German people of all."
Bill is now in the new apartment. His wife is very glad to see him. While he was gone, she was working on an article about the horrific situation in the German schools. Every teacher has to take a loyalty oath to Hitler. Then they tell the parents that the children belong to the state, not to them.
Bill has an appointment to see Pastor Lenz 10 a.m., Sunday, at the Lutheran church in Dahlem. They start heavily kissing which might have led to something, but the door buzzer is sounded. The man at the door is a neighbor that lives on the floor above Bill's apartment. He asks Bill to come for dinner some time next week. Sure.
And now the Shirers have some alone time to make love. They have picnics and dancing in their apartment at night. And they both work on their writing.
At dinner with the neighbors, Bill asks if they know anything about the Lutheran Church in Dalhe? The husband Viktor and his wife say that the church is famous. And it'd pastor, Niemoeller, is a well-known resister of Hitler's rule. At any time in the near future, the SS may come and arrest Niemoeller.
Bill asks Viktor is he is afraid of what may happen to him as a Jew? No, he says, he is safe. Is Viktor sure about that? Viktor says one can never know for certain.
Bill and Tess attend a sermon at the Dalhem church. The pastor really criticizes Hitler. Also in the church is Peter Butler. Bill leaves the church in search of Pastor Lenz. He stops to smoke a pipe and someone opens a door that soon closes. Bill heads over to the unlocked door and goes in. There is Pastor Lenz.
Lenz tells Bill that the men on the train were Lutheran pastors. Their crime was to oppose Hitler. There is a knock at the door. Bill hides and Peter tells the pastor that he was looking for a bathroom. He comes into the room and it looks like he probably spotted Bill. After that Peter quickly goes away
Bill asks if any other reporters know about this situation? Yes, there is a man from the Berlin Times that has all the information. But he can't publish it. The man's name is Schwerdtfeder.
Bill sees Peter at a fancy dinner and threatens to bash him in the head if he hears that something terrible has happened to the Lutheran church. Later at the dance Bill asks Tess if he was convincing in handling Peter? Yes.
Later they see Peter with Helga Bauer, a film maker. Norman sits with Goebbles and Putzi. Norman gets up and walks over to Bill. He tells him that Goebbles wants to talk to him about his talk with General von Fritsch. Norman then tells Tess that Putzi is in the doghouse.
Bill goes over to Goebbels' table and sits down. Goebbels praises Bill's reporting from Nuremberg. But he does ask about General von Fritsch. Bill says he doesn't remember much of anything about his reporting on the general. Now he asks if Goebbels knows anything about the Gestapo going after Lutheran preachers? Goebbels answers that only criminals are arrested. Even Niemoeller is still free. Bill says he's heard that 63 of the pastors were arrested. Goebbels now ends the conversation.
Norman brings over Walter Schwerdtfeder to meet Bill. Bill immediately starts talking about Pastor Lenz. Walter tells him that he is not being careful. After all, how does he know that Bill is actually an American journalist? Bill just keeps saying that he needs help. Walter excuses himself from their conversation.
When Bill and Tess come back to the apartment, they find that the place has been ransacked. All their writings have been stolen.
The next day Walter brings the press orders that Bill wanted. Bill tells Walter that they raided his place last night. Walter hopes that he did not write down anywhere the name of the Lutheran pastor or Walter's own name. From the look on Bill's face, he may just have just done that.
Bill tells Pastor Lenz that the Gestapo raided his apartment and his name was in his notebook. They may have seen it. The reverend only says: "These things happen."
Tess says from the context of the writing where Pastor Lenz's name is mentioned, no one could tell what Pastor Lenz was doing. Bill is relieved.
Bill tells Martha to take a taxis over to his office and give a package to Herb Cooper.
Walter is arrested by the Gestapo.
Bill gets a letter that his article about Gestapo arrests of church leaders has been printed in 70 papers. "Congratulations, Universal Services, New York." Bill says: "The damned fools put it in a telegram!" He yells to Tess to contact Walter at the Berlin Times, now. He is going to tell Lenz. He runs over to Lenz's apartment. Lenz is not at home. His wife goes with Bill. They hop out of the taxi when they get close to the meeting place with Lenz. only to see that the Gestapo are about ready to grab him. Mrs. Lenz starts running toward her husband. He sees her and tells her to get back, but she won't listen. A Gestapo man grabs her and slaps her down onto the ground. But Mrs. Lenz gets up and chases after her husband.
At home Bill says to Tess. "Two men arrested because of me." A Gestapo man is outside on the street watching Bill's movements in and out. Bill now finds a good hiding place for his very sensitive material.
Bill and his wife to try to write the truth about Germany without getting tossed out of the country. "Our sources had much worse to fear." Hitler drafted a half-million men for the military, unveiled his new air force and taken away the citizenships of the Jews. Book burnings began.
Tess is taking photos and Bill is intently watching one of the many book burnings. Viktor his neighbor comes over to talk to Bill. Bill asks him if he is trying to get himself thoroughly beaten up by the Nazis. He tells Viktor to get out of here!
Viktor goes to work but the man at the reception desk tells him to get out of here quickly.
1936. It's been three years since the Nazis took over power in Germany. Bill reports that the Propaganda Ministry claims that 20,000 books will be burned tonight.
Viktor Schneider is arrested. He is taken in and offered a low price for all his paintings. They expect him to sign the sales document. Viktor says he won't sign it. The fellow with Viktor tells him he will leave him alone for awhile. He walks out of the room. Viktor shouts that he won't sign it. Viktor hears a lot of laughter coming from outside the room in which he is detained.
Bill is packing to go back to New York. He has no idea why his employers insists that he must come to the United States. What for?
Viktor comes to visit Bill. He has been badly beaten and his shirt is covered with blood. He says that the Gestapo held him for 16 hours. He wouldn't sign the document so they told him they will come and take his works of art anyway. And they will wreck his apartment to teach others to cooperate with the Gestapo.
As they talk two Gestapo men arrive on the street outside their apartment building. Tess is able to go upstairs and get Viktor's family and bring them down to hide in their apartment. A large group of Gestapo now arrive and start banging on the outside door to be let into the building.
The Gestapo go up to Viktor's apartment, smashing the furniture and other objects and taking the pictures.
Bill is back in New York City talking to his boss. The boss says that the Americans are not going to believe these stories Bill has written. In fact, they are thinking of closing down the bureau in Berlin. It's just too expensive to maintain. The boss tells him that all the Americans want are good human interest stories.
Bill goes with the boss to dinner at Nick Roosevelt's mansion. A number of the people have been to Berlin and had good times there. And some of them are going back to see the Olympic Games in Berlin.
After dinner Bill does his best to warn the men about what's coming: war. The men seem uninterested and non-believing toward what Bill is saying. The men say at least Hitler is not a Bolshevik.
Goebbels is really angry that film maker Helga Bauer has cut-out of her film most of the speech that Goebbels gave. Goebbels and Bauer shout at each other.
Tess uses her feminine wiles to coax Putzi into letting her interview Helga Bauer. The interview is arranged. Helga seems reluctant to be interviewed, but that does not discourage Tess. She is very frank about Helga's films. For instance, how can Helga say that her films are not political when they celebrate the cruel, fascist state in Germany that does terrible things to people? Helga defends herself, but then tells Tess to come along with her while she films some street scenes.
Helga is going to film the arrival from Britain of the officials of the England-German Fellowship. Coming off the train is Lord Stanwood, followed by Major Radford. They go inside to greet Putzi and Goebbels.
Norman is there too, but he is drunk and starts making a scene. Then Norman shouts out to the two British officials: "Don't let them fool you. They'll try to pull the wool over your eyes like they pulled it over ours." The German guards grab Norman and rush him out of the building.
Bill comes home and Tess says she hasn't slept for three days. The Schneider family has returned to Bill and Tess' place. Bill goes in to greet his guests. Viktor apologizes for the inconvenience, but Bill says it's no big deal.
Bill and Tess now have their mattresses in the living room where they will sleep. Bill says his experience in New York was terrible and he wants to delay talking about in until tomorrow.
Martha talks to her ambassador father about getting visas for people in need. Dad says the Germans are tightening the screws on them. Soon they will have no clinic to run. Martha wants to know if somehow they could stand up to Germany. Dad says that Washington is not ready to stand up to the Germans.
The ambassador goes to complain to Goebbels about the clinic closure. The ambassador says that the Germans seem to be just picking on the US Embassy. Gobbels gives the ambassador another nasty surprise. They are limiting the number of personnel in the Information Department of the Embassy. Goebbels says the Embassy criticizes Germany too much.
The ambassador decides to tell Goebbels that he wants to protest against the violation of human rights of the Jews. Goebbels doesn't want to hear it. The ambassador says when he is no longer ambassador, he will tell the American press and people about all the terrible things taking place in Germany. Goebbels warns him that this could bring reprisals down on the heads of the about 11,000 Americans living in Germany.
Goebbels decides that he will keep Shirer in Germany. His published articles are not influential. And everyone around Shirer thinks he is totally honorable. Therefore, it's better to have Shirer here than back in New York.
Shirer gets a five minute interview with Helga Bauer. Bill gets under her skin when he says her phony films are just more propaganda put out by the Nazis. She tries to turn the tables on him by saying all that journalists like him want is more information on Goebbel's casting couch. Then she tells him she wants him to come to the premier of her film when it is finished.
Shirer sees the headline in a paper saying that Norman has been thrown out of Germany. The government maintains that the American journalists are Jew lovers who want to darken the reputation of Germany.
Goebbel's office calls for Shirer to come to see Goebbels.. Apparently, they don't much like his recent articles.
Shirer bounds up the steps of the propaganda building. He is very angry. The secretary tries to stop him, but Goebbels tells her to let him come in. Shirer defends Norman's work and says the Germans should apologize to him. Goebbels says that if Norman's employers still had faith in his articles, they would have continued to publish his articles. But they don't because they know that Soviet Russia is a much greater threat than Nazi Germany ever will be.
Goebbels now changes the subject. He says if he wants to have a story with great news appeal, he will give Shirer the long list of Miss Bauer's lovers. Shirer tells him he's not interested in that subject.
Norman tells Shirer that the Times has suspended him. Bill says he's sorry about that. Norman is becoming increasingly drunk. He takes his glass of wine over to Butler and throws it in his face. Butler is very angry at Norman, but Norman tells him to tell his colleagues the good news he has. Butler says he has an interview with Hitler. The response of his colleagues is that only Nazi lovers get an interview with Hitler. Butler tells his colleagues that they are hypocrites and they make him feel sick.
The news about the expulsion of Norman is read to his American colleagues and they don't like it one bit. Bill says "bullshit" to the charges against Norman. The Americans start walking out of the department of propaganda.
The doorbell rings at the apartment of Bill and Tess. It's Ambassador Dodd. He says he is leaving Germany. Bill and Tess say they are sorry to see him go.
Bill says that more and more of the best journalists and embassy personnel were being thrown out of Germany.
March 7, 1936. Germany marches into the Rhineland without a shot being fired. No one wants to stand up to the Germans.
Tess is leaving the apartment so she says good night to Viktor and his family and reminds them to turn off all the lights. They do turn off the lights, but then they light some candles.
The Gestapo guard goes up to the apartment and tries to get in. When he finds the doors securely locked he starts working on unlocking the lock. He gets into the apartment. With a flashlight he looks around the apartment. The little boy that was in the bathroom finds a better place to hide himself in the living room. The Gestapo man goes through all their papers.
He turns out his light and leaves. All the members of the Jewish family breathe a sigh of relief.
Shirer asks Goering to write some articles for the Hearst newspapers. Goering is happy to be getting the money. Goering shows Shirer his huge collection of confiscated art. He wants Shirer to write to Mr. Hearst about Goering's art collection of which he is willing to part for the right prices. Shirer says he does have a man that will buy one of the pictures. But with that he also wants five exit visas.
Shirer tells Viktor about the deal with Goering. Viktor says he has no foreign currency, but he does have gold. Viktor gives him a bar of gold.
Shirer has the gold in his briefcase. He is headed to see Goring but is picked up by the Gestapo. Shirer is questioned about the whereabouts of Viktor. Shirer says he doesn't know where he is. The Gestapo knows that Shirer recently received a letter from Victor that originated in Paris. Bill is revealing nothing.
The Gestapo says they found the gold bar in Bill's briefcase. The fellow in charge says that Germany has very strict currency laws. At a minimum Bill could get a ten year sentence in prison at hard labor.
Bill tells his questioner that he better be careful for that gold bar belongs personally to General Goring. Bill now tells the man to call Goering's private line at 6714. The fellow reaches Goering who backs up Bill's story and then tells off the caller, adding that he must never call on this telephone line again. The fellow has gotten a good scare and he lets Shirer go.
The purchased painting is delivered to Bill's apartment and when Viktor and family pull the wrapping off they are thrilled to get back their most valuable painting. And they see the five visas for them. They are ecstatic. Bill tells them they are leaving tomorrow along with a fellow reporter who is being expelled from Germany. They will travel by train over the German border.
Peter Butler calls to say that Bill's part of the news division has folded and that he has been asked to take Bill into his own bureau. So Peter will be Bill's new boss. And the first order of business is that he does not want Bill going down to the train station to see Norman off.
Bill and other American journalists come to see Norman off, despite Bill's orders. The Gestapo is there taking their names down. And Peter Butler is there too.
While Goebbels says goodbye to the England-German Fellowship officials, the gang of American journalists find Norman and give a big cheer for him. They also hand him presents.
Major Radford says that there are great things going on in Germany, but he's afraid that the Jewish population is suffering a great deal from the intolerance directed their way. Goebbels gives the order to strike up the band and the music drowns out what the major is saying.
Tess and the Schnider family arrive rather late and attention is drawn to them for this reason. A Gestapo guard goes over to check on what is going on. So Bill and his crew start singing "For he's a jolly good fellow" at the top of their lungs. Bill opens a bottle of champagne.
The guard now has to switch from Tess to Bill and his group. He tries to get the bottle of champagne away from Bill. The train starts pulling out and Bill and Tess wave goodbye to the Schneider family.
The Shirers are so relieved.
Bill as narrator says that the Germans now enjoyed their period of great prosperity. The smiling faces of the people further hide the nefarious actions of Hitler's government.
At an outside cafe Bill is ranting against Hitler to Tess. A man is getting very angry because he can't hear Hitler's speech because of Bill's loudness. His wife doesn't want to talk about Hitler for she has good news for Bill. She is pregnant. Bill is a bit drunk by this time and he starts talking about a baby, saying the words over and over again way too loudly. Eventually the German gets up and hits Bill in the stomach. Bill hits the man in the face and he goes to the ground.
Of course, the German government learns about this. They are upset with this Shirer who always seems to be getting into trouble. Putzi says he really likes the man. He says that Bill is so honest and these days it's not everyday you see an honest man. But there is another possible solution, rather than just kicking the popular Bill out of Germany. They turn Peter Butler out to harass Bill.
Peter gets made at Bill and tells him that he is going to fire him. Bill tells him to go ahead and fire him because he never wanted to work for Peter in the first place.
Tess tells her husband that he did the right thing concerning his job. And don't worry about money because they will pull through.
Now Tess changes the subject and tells Bill that she is going to write about how Germany is trying to take over Austria. She says Hitler wrote about this in his Mein Kampf book. Tess adds that maybe this could make a series of articles about Germany and Austria.
Bill gets a note form a new guy, Ed Murrow with Columbia Broadcasting. Bill comments: "Another visiting fireman buys me lunch and picks my brains."
So the two reporters meet. Bill gets a surprise. Ed is asking Bill if he would like to come to work in radio for Columbia Broadcasting. Bill says he's interested. Ed says Bill could stay in Berlin or go to Paris. Ed himself is posted to London. There's only one hurtle. Bill will have to take a voice test to see if his voice is suitable for radio.
Putzi and his colleague Wilfred Bade wait for a man from Vienna who is now the new head of Radio Austria. His name is Emil Luger. He is coming to the Propaganda Department to file a protest. The guest arrives. He complains that the transmitter in Munich sends Nazi propaganda into Austria. And if the Germans can't stop these transmissions, Radio Austria could built a bigger transmitter in Salzberg and broadcast anti-Nazi information to the Germans.
Goebbels comes to meet Luger. They have lunch together. Luger says that Austria has been bombarded with news about the German leader and hero Hitler for some three years. With the power of radio the Germans can create favorable public opinion for their country. Indeed, with radio one could say that the Germans could take over in another country.
Goebbels says Hitler has no interest in taking over in Austria. Luger replies: "We will not be bullied." Luger gets up from the table and leaves the building.
Goebbels and the others start thinking of ways to get rid of Luger. They have a contact in Vienna named Schuschnigg who may be able to bring a lot of internal pressure on Luger.
At his hotel Luger gets a call from President Schuschnigg. If Luger cannot reach a compromise, then he will have to give ground. They must avoid bloodshed at all costs. Luger states his case well but Schuschnigg is not budging. That telephone call really shakes up poor Luger.
Bill takes his radio test under very difficult conditions. The microphone got caught up in the rafters and Bill has to stand on a chair that sits on a box in order to read the material.
Putzi brings Luger to a premiere of Helga Bauer's new film. She receivers a standing ovation. Following this, Putzi introduces Luger to Helga. Luger says artistically the film was of the highest quality, but the commentary in the film is just lies. "It was propaganda from beginning to end." Helga gets extremely angry and she shouts for Luger to tell her just one lie from her film. Luger does so and that upsets her even more. Luger will not back down. "It was Nazification by the back door." Luger's temper is just as effective as Helga's. He excuses himself and walks away.
At home Bill has not received a response from Columbia Broadcasting. He says it looks as though he is still without work.
Putzi tells Goebbels about how upset Helga was at Emil Luger. She says she is going to ask Goebbels if any of what Luger said is true. Goebbels says, of course, it's true. It's just that the public doesn't know it. Putzi was as much in the dark on this subject as Helga. Goebbels says to Putzi that a man like Luger shouldn't have such an important job. He is an obstacle for the Fuhrer.
Ralph Barnes calls Shirer and tells him that Luger, head of Radio Austria, has gotten into a terrible automobile accident. He urges Bill to get down here. Some car sideswiped Luger's car and Luger's car is now on fire.
Bill and Tess go down there. Luger has been badly burned. It seems a truck hit him and then left the scene. Suspicions start to rise that the accident was not really accidental.
Bill gets a telephone call from Ed Murrow. Bill tells him he will talk to his wife about it and get back to him. Bill tells Tess that they will pay him more money than his current $125 a week, but the company wants to have Bill work somewhere other than Berlin. The place they will have to move to is: Vienna, Austria (Tess' home city). She is delighted.
They travel by train to Vienna. In Vienna they go on a tour of the area where Tess grew up. They turn right by a side-walk cafe and a bomb suddenly goes off. The Germans were bombing and having protests everyday in Vienna. Hitler was setting up the Austrians for a German takeover. The purpose of the bombings and protests is to show that the Austrian government cannot maintain law and order in Vienna. The scenario is that Germany will move in to save Austria from anarchy.
At a luncheon Bill and Tess protest to their friends that CBS would not let Bill transmit his story about Germany moving against Austria. Bill says: "They won't let me talk and they don't think that Hitler is news, either." Instead, they want Bill to do a story on the Vienna Boys' Choir. That gets a good laugh around the table.
Tess sees her old friend Karin. She rushes over to catch her before she leaves the restaurant. Karin gets mad at Tess when she says something critical about Hitler. Karin says that Hitler is "my Fuhrer." That leaves Tess speechless from shock.
Bill covers the choir story. His next stop is Budapest, Hungary to cover the boys' choir there.
Poor Bill was away when the news story of the century pops up. The Nazis created a great deal of chaos in Vienna. And then Hitler called for Austria's complete capitulation or the German army will attack Austria.
Bill listens to the choir in Budapest.
German tanks and troops pour into Austria and don't have to fire a single shot. The populace comes out in big numbers to wave little Nazi flags and give the Nazi salute. The German soldiers are all smiles and they wave back to the Austrian people.
Tess is taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Bill returns to Vienna. A friend meets Bill when he detrains. He tells Bill that he has a brand new baby girl. Bill rushes to the hospital as the German troops head through the streets of Vienna.
Bill goes to see Luger, who has recovered from the accident, but Luger can only tell Bill to talk to his German replacement. The replacement just tells Bill to shut up and get out. When Bill tries to explain who he is, a guard pulls out his pistol and points it at Bill. Bill leaves.
Bill writes: "The Austrian tramp turned dictator had wiped his native land from the map of Europe, erasing its freedom with the same stroke."
Bill tells Tess that he has to go to London and will be back in 36 hours. Tess is upset about this. From London Bill can freely broadcast what he saw in Vienna.
Bill takes a flight. He says that radio would be scooping the story of the takeover of Austria by the Germans. "It was the first live European radio link-up."
Bill gets a telephone call from his wife's doctor. The doctor says that Bill should think about moving his wife to another hospital. The conversation ends there because the Gestapo grabs the doctor.
Bill tries to call back, but his radio program starts. The link-up makes it possible for radio to carry commentary from London, Paris, Vienna and New York.
Tess holds her baby while she is still in bed. The woman laying in the next bed says she doesn't understand why she can't have her baby to hold. The baby doctor comes in and tells the distraught woman that all Jewish patients must be moved to another part of the hospital. The lady wants her baby. So the doctor tells the nurse to bring the woman her baby. The nurse brings the baby and hands it of to the mother. The doctor says he is Jewish too and he is leaving to be with friends outside of Vienna. Tess wishes him good luck.
Bill flies home to Vienna and then takes a cab from there to the hospital. Tess tells him she thought he would never get here. The little girl's name will be Eileen Inga Shirer.
Wilfred Bade sees his new office in Vienna. He comments to his host that the office is a bit over the top. He says he wants to keep a low profile. But for now they will leave the room as it is.
The woman in the hospital bed next to Tess' bed cries at night. Tess gets out of her bed slowly to see if she can lessen the woman's pain. She turns on the light and bends over to see the woman's face. The woman keeps saying that she is not Jewish. Her mother is not Jewish and that's what really counts. Tess keeps saying that she will be safe her in the hospital, but the woman tells Tess that she's wrong about that.
Bill and Ed attend Wilfred's little conference for the foreign correspondents. Bade gives his little spiel and then Bill gets up and says it seems the Germans are just taking their system in Germany and bringing it here to Vienna exactly as it was in Berlin. Ed tries to get Bill to sit down because there's a lot of commotion in the room. Bill warns the correspondents that this is only the beginning of the restrictions on freedom of the press.
Putzi plays the piano for the correspondents in Berlin. He tells them he has to pack because tomorrow he is headed for Vienna. Is he happy about it? No.
The correspondents gather around him and give him another drink. He sits down and starts to tell stories about Hitler when he and Putzi were acquaintances. He may be saying a little too much and Peter tells Putzi that he really should go and pack now. But Putzi is a bit drunk and keeps on talking. He only goes after he notices that one of the correspondents is writing down what Putzi has been saying.
The anti-Semitic posters go up and anti-Semitic films are shown comparing the Jews to the rats in the sewer. Tess tells Bill that this hospital she is staying in is only for those who are not non-Aryans.
Goebbels says to Putzi that he has not been given many documents lately. Putzi says he has noticed that. The reason is that Putzi has come to be too close to the foreign correspondents. Putzi indicates that he doesn't think he stepped over the line. So Goebbels starts quoting what Putzi said about Hitler to the foreign correspondents the other day. Putzi says he was drunk that night and didn't know what he was saying.
The Gestapo puts Putzi on a plane headed for Spain. The agents go with him. They say there are problems with the foreign correspondents in Spain and they need a real diplomat to settle things down.
When the others are asleep Putzi goes up into the pilot's cabin. He sits down beside him and smokes a cigarette. Putzi asks if they are headed to Madrid. The pilot says no. His order are to fly to an area half-way between Madrid and Barcelona and have Putzi bail out with a parachute. Putzi can't believe what he is hearing. The pilot says that he is as upset as Putzi about his orders. Putzi tells him: "Not quite!" He goes back to talk with the Gestapo agents. They say that Putzi's arrival in Spain must be kept secret. The plane cannot set down and still keep Putzi's arrival a secret.
Bill urges his colleagues to start fighting against the application of the Berlin system in Vienna. It's a lot easier fighting them now than later, because things are simpler right now. The two colleagues he talks to do not want to buck the system and get thrown out of Austria.
The pilot says there's something wrong with his engine. He says he has to set the plane down. He successfully lands the plane. Everyone gets off the airplane. The pilot in secret tells Putzi that there's nothing wrong with the plane. He says he didn't like his orders. They were going to drop Putzi over the red lines without a parachute. The pilot tells him to get out and run like hell to get away from the Gestapo.
Putzi shakes the pilot's hand and starts looking for an exit. He runs underneath the parked airplanes and gets out of the huge hangar. Then he runs like hell.
The nurses have the job of throwing Tess' roommate, Mrs. Klauber, out on her ear. Klauber repeats that she is not a Jew. The head nurse says her records have been checked. Mrs. Klauber must go elsewhere. They give the woman her baby and then lead her out of the room. Tess tries to intervene asking where are they taking Mrs. Klauber, but it's no use. Where are they taking her? Probably to a concentration camp.
Mrs. Klauber sees the SS men putting the Jews in the back of a truck. She starts to run away. She jumps out of a window killing herself and her baby. Tess collapses when she sees what happened.
Tess wants to get out of this hospital. She is so frightened. Bill talks with the new doctor. He shows Bill x-rays of Tess. Prominently displayed on the x-rays is a pair of scissors that were left inside Tess at the time of the operation. That's why Tess hasn't been feeling better.
Bill calls Ed to say that they need a place to set up that will not be involved in a war. He thinks Geneva would be the best place. He says to Ed that Ed has to organize this move, because Bill will be busy trying to move his wife out of the terrible hospital. Tess is in surgery at the moment.
Bill has to get the proper paperwork done. So he goes up to one of the workers and asks him to get his papers taken care of because he wife is very ill. The man says that Tess, as an Austrian citizen, will have to be searched. Bill says she will not be searched. The fellow calls over two Austrian guards.
The guards take Bill upstairs. They search him and then go see what should be done with Bill. Meanwhile, Tess is being manhandled. She resists which makes it worse for her. The women guards are bound and determined they are going to find out what's she hiding in the wrapping around her stomach. Tess tells them she just had a baby, but the women are only focused on taking off her clothes.
The stupid guards remove the wrapping and find that Tess's wound is bleeding a bit. They stop searching her now. Bill busts open his locked door. He demands to know where is his wife? Tess is brought out of the room and is a real mess.
They put the couple on an airplane and off it goes. Bill says he was obsessed with getting the story, but Tess herself was a victim of that story.
March 16, 1939. Now the Germans have taken over Czechoslovakia.
Shirer says that Britain didn't do anything about aggressor Germany and perhaps it should have.
The next country on Hitler's list is Poland.
Bill calls his wife. She says she misses him. Bill says he misses her.
Jeff Higgins, naval attache, hands Bill a copy of a talk by Hitler to his senior officers about handling their coming invasion of Poland.
Hitler and Russia made a deal to divide up eastern Europe between them.
August 31, 1939. Prisoners from a concentration camp nearby are taken to a radio station in Gleiwitz on the German border with Poland. The prisoners are told to put on Polish army uniforms. They are given Polish rifles and walked a ways out from the radio station. There they are shot down by automatic weapons fire.
Then the Germans broadcast information saying that Polish soldiers have taken over the radio station at Gleiwtz. Meanwhile, German soldiers pick up the Polish bodies and put them around the radio station.
At a press talk the Germans hand out photos of the dead Polish soldiers. Bill gets up and asks if this means Hitler will be acting in self-defense when he invades Poland? The newsmen and women get on the back of a truck and are taken over to Gleiwitz. Bill remains seated as the other journalists go out to see what happened at Gleiwitz.
Bill says to the one German official remaining behind with him that the German army has been mobilized on the border with Poland for three weeks already. Does the Fuhrer wish to begin another world war?
When the correspondents try to communicate with the outside world they find that they can't get through to anyone.
September 1, 1939. Bill gets a telephone call from Agnes saying that the invasion of Poland has started. She tells him to turn on his radio.
Three days later it was a world war.
Helga Bauer is filming sequences in Poland to be used for her next film. A German officer tells her to come with him. He takes her to a place where four German soldiers were killed by partisans. She sees 20 Jews digging a long trench. The officer tells her that she will film the shooting of the Jews. The film will be used as a warning to the Poles showing them what will happen to them if they kill a German soldier.
Right in front of Helga a German machine gunner mows down the Polish Jews. Helga is horrified.
Jeff Higgins asks if Bill would ever go to Kiel in the northern German state ofSchleswig-Holstein to check on the naval maneuvers there? He insists that it would be beneficial if Bill did travel there. Jeff and Bill sit down to watch Helga Bauer's latest film. Goebbels introduces the film to the audience. The film is pure propaganda from start to finish, but it does show some of the damage done to Poland by the German "counter-attack". The Germans jump up and clap wildly for Helga. The foreign correspondents remain sitting.
Bill gets up to say that the film was "hogwash". The Germans invaded Poland with overwhelming force. Helga says that everything in the film actually happened. For the first time in history her film crews went up with the German bombers to film events. Bill brings up the slaughter of 31 Jews in Konski. Helga says she was aware of it. "But it's not part of the story I was telling."
After the film has been viewed and after the question-and-answer session Jeff tells Bill that he is one bold fellow for trying to provoke the Germans. Bill says he's just sick of all the lies they have to listen to from the Germans.
Again Jeff urges Bill to go to Kiel, especially at Christmas. Jeff says he will help Bill. Bill rejects his help, but Jeff reminds Bill of who's the naval expert here? Him or Bill. Jeff makes the point that Bill alone would be an untrained observer. Bill says Jeff is out of line, but Jeff says he can at least teach Bill how to recognize the silhouettes of the German ships and U-boats.
Bill calls Jeff and Jeff says he will come over to Bill's place and fill him in on what he needs to know.
Bill telephones Tess to tell her that he will go to Kiel on December 23, 1939. He will be in Kiel on Christmas Eve. This bothers Tess because she can't understand why can't Bill just sometimes say: "The hell with CBS, the war, Hitler, even America. I wish I could be with my wife, my child." Bill says he would like that too, but . . Tess just slams the phone down.
Bill is on the train. He is worried because he knows he is acting more like a spy than a journalist.
Bill is shown around the harbor at Kiel. He tells his guide that he counted eighteen U-boats in Kiel. The guide keeps saying he doesn't know anything.
Bill actually makes his broadcast from one of the German ships. Everything goes well until Bill interviews one of the sailors, who says that the English forced Germany to fight. Bill asks why the sailor thinks that?
The Propaganda Department discusses the link between Bill and Jeff. When Bill returned from Kiel, he and Jeff went on a walk. Jeff handed Bill an envelope. They thought it would have been the other way around because Shirer has been getting out uncensored material to his wife in Geneva. Bill probably does this by the U.S. Embassy diplomatic bag. His wife then cables it to the USA for broadcast. One of the men asks for Tess' address in Geneva.
The German goes through Tess' papers late at night. He drops some folders and this wakes up Tess. She goes into the living room and sees her papers have been moved about. She goes through the rooms until she spots the man. He takes off and Tess does not try to stop him. She now calls Bill. Bill is stunned that Hitler's men could get at his wife even in Geneva, Switzerland. "Even neutrality was no barrier to the Gestapo."
Bill flies to Geneva to be with his wife and child. He will stay with them for a couple of days.
Dawn, May 10, 1940, Hitler attacks Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. It was now clear that Hitler wanted to conquer all of Europe.
At the press briefing the Germans tell the journalists that Germany only rushed into the low countries in order to prevent an attack on them from Britain and France. Now the correspondents are really mad. They want to see the evidence that Britain and France were planning an invasion of the three countries.
The German forces moved quickie through France and were about to strike at Dunkirk, but the British assembled a whole armada of ships that picked up the English and French troops and took them to England. England saved 300,000 of its British soldiers.
The Propaganda Department arranges tours of the battle grounds in France. Bill saw that the Allies had to leave all their weapons and trucks on Dunkirk beach.
To save Paris from destruction, the French declare it an Open City.
Bill catches rides that take him to Compiegne where the Germans were forced to surrender in a railway car to the Allies in 1918. Bill just walks up to where the German soldiers are standing. He sees the railway car just waiting for the representatives from both sides of the war. Bill talks with a German officer and gets to go right up to the train car. The officer lets Bill come with him into the car itself. The German points out where Marshal Foch of France sat to watch the German capitulation in 1918. It is most likely that now Hitler will sit where Foch sat.
They leave the car when the ceremony starts. Hitler arrives. Then the French arrive. Bill goes over to a communications car and listens to the broadcast in German. He writes some notes down from the broadcast.
Shirer records his message going to CBS to be broadcast at a later time. But somehow Bill's recording actually goes out live over the radio.
Goebbels is furious because Hitler was furious at having been scooped "by accident" by William L. Shirer. Putzi's replacement gets the blame, but the replacement says that Bill Shirer is to blame for the broadcast going out over the radio.
Goebbels decides to leak some made-up information to Shirer to see if he broadcasts the news to the USA.
Bill goes in to see Putzi's replacement Kellenbach and asks if they are going to throw him out? No, but the Fuhrer was quite upset at Bill's little stunt. The replacement says that Shirer can come with them for a tour of northern France at the port of Calais. There the Germans are making their preparations for an attack on Britain. Bill asks what's the catch in this offer? No catch. He and 15 other journalists will be making the inspection of the preparations.
Bill is going to go to Geneva for a visit with his family. He gets on a train and in the compartment is Jeff Higgins. The two men talk about Bill having scooped the Fuhrer.
Jeff tells Bill what to look for when he goes to Calais. This will be one huge operation so Bill should be expecting to see at least 10 or 12 troop divisions, 50 transport ships, a thousand sea-going barges, 500 tugs, 8,000 trucks and 2,000 tanks.
Tess tells her husband that she is afraid that if Bill continues on this same course, she may lose him. Or perhaps Tess will leave Bill. She says she's not the kind of woman who can just stay in the house all day taking care of a child. Bill says he agrees. They will go home as soon as he can find a replacement. He must, however, go see Calais.
Tess says the Germans are following Bill so closely that they are going to catch him doing something wrong. Bill is not worried. Tess says if everything goes right they will be back in American before Christmas.
The Battle of Britain starts. The Germans lie and say they have complete air dominance in the skies above Britain.
Bill goes to Calais with Bade. At lunch time Bill sneaks out and goes down by the harbor. He speaks with a French fisherman who watches the comings and goings in the harbor. Bill finds out that the landing craft can only carry 20 men each. That's a lot less than he had thought. Bill gets closer to the harbor to where he can take a good look. He concludes that there is not enough activity to say that the Germans are planning an attack on the English coast.
Bade comes to Bill's room to tell him he can make a broadcast now. Bill tells him that he is not going to like what he (Bill) is going to report. Why? Because the Germans are not going to invade Britain, at least not now. It's all a bluff.
Bill gets together with Bade and Kellenbach and tells them he sees right through their plans. They hoped Bill would report an invasion coming. The Germans figured that the Allies would believe the report because Bill has such a great reputation for being honest and accurate.
After Bill leaves, Bade tells Kellenbach that the cannot get rid of Bill until they check with Goebbels. And they can't really check with Goebbels because he would want to know how Bill found out that the Germans were not preparing an invasion of England from Calais.
Bill talks with Helga. He tells her that she is not an artist. Rather she is a propagandist and she is so because she really doesn't try to find the truth. He also says that Helga is as corrupt as her masters. Helga becomes furious at Bill.
Goebbels balls out Bade and Kellenbach. He can't believe how they botched the Calais trick. So now he wants Bill's apartment thoroughly search. He wants all his reports they can find.
The search accomplished, Goebbels says he wants to dispose of Bill. He will talk to Hitler about the matter.
Higgins calls Bill and tells him he has to get out of Berlin fast, fast, fast! Bill calls Tess to give her the coded message that they are going home. Tess jumps for joy. Bill packs notebooks and papers into two big containers. The taxi driver takes them down and puts them in his vehicle. The Gestapo man watching the apartment questions the taxi driver about the luggage. Bill watches what happens. He then leaves a different way from the building. The Gestapo arrive at the building and search for Bill.
Bill has grabbed a taxi and asks the driver now to wait five minutes for him. He goes into Gestapo headquarters, finds his luggage and tells the clerk there that he wants the two containers sealed so there will be no problems with his luggage when he is at the airport. The clerk looks through the luggage. Bill says the notebooks are radio scripts and every one of them has been stamped and approved by the state.
Tess and her child get on the train.
The clerk seals Bill's luggage.
At the airport another clerk wants the big containers opened, but Bill tells him that they sealed the containers at Gestapo headquarters. So the man calls Gestapo headquarters. The agents there say that it's okay. Let Bill Shirer through.
Bill takes off on the plane. The Gestapo just do miss him. He is reunited with Tess and their girl. Now the family takes a ship back to New York.
He is so glad to have those nightmare years behind him. "We could tell our story now to a world finally too afraid not to listen."
June 20, 1941. Bill publishes his book Berlin Diary. It became the nation's number one best seller.
Putzi became an adviser to President Roosevelt on Nazi affairs. He died in Munich in 1975.
Goebbels, his wife and six children all commit suicide after Hitler's suicide.
Eileen Inga Shirer Dean lives in Massachusetts. She is completing her second novel.
Tess became a painter and an archeologist and lives on the east coast of the United States.
William L. Shirer lives in Massachusetts and is working on his 16th book. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which is widely recognized as the most authoritative book on Nazi Germany.
Long, but interesting story. It's an important story to be told. The thing that most interested me was how psychologically the Allies just did not want to hear terrible news about Germany. They were in denial because they wanted to be in denial. This attitude prevailed both in the USA and Britain. No one was in the mood to hear the bad news and so the savvy journalists did not get their "over-wrought" and "exaggerated" articles published warning about the dangers of this fellow Hitler. It appears that the Allies did not want to fight Germany and only did so when they had no other option but war. So "appeasement" started much earlier than the infamous statement by Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, on September 30, 1938 about "peace for our time".
The story would have been even more interesting if it happened before 1933 when Hitler came to power in Germany. Once a madman gets into power, it's all over except for the killing and the war. How did the German liberals see Hitler and how did they miss the dangers inherent in this madman? I suppose they were in denial too.
There was a lot of good acting in the film. Sam Waterston was very good as William Shirer.
No wonder the Allies weren't prepared for war. The truth about Nazi Germany was denied and covered-up because the people didn't want to hear depressing news. This problem of denial is a bigger factor in history that it has been given credit for. Once it's too late, then the truth can come out.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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