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Easter During WWII Featured ‘Hitler Eggs’ With Moustaches

March 30, 2018 in History

By Allison McNearney

By Easter 1941, news coverage in the United States was beginning to reflect the ominous beat of war drawing closer to the country. The traditional Easter celebrations—the 5th Avenue Easter parade in New York City, visits to the blossoming cherry trees in D.C., and coverage of the Easter observations and style of the president and first lady—may have proceeded as usual, but echoes of the terror facing the world could be seen in things as minor as Easter egg decorations that year. Even in a neutral U.S., nobody would give up the chance to smash a hard-boiled Hitler!

Paramount News, the media organization responsible for this 1941 Easter report, would eventually be called on to join the national war effort. They lent their talents to the Office of War Information, which was formed in the summer of 1942 and was responsible for all international and domestic propaganda during World War II. But until then, they continued releasing their own coverage of world events, whether those in the government liked it or not.

Paramount Takes on the News Biz

In 1927, Paramount Pictures jumped into the world of journalism by creating a news division. For the three decades that it existed, Paramount News would produce biweekly newsreel dispatches like this account of Easter in 1941 that were often shown in cinemas before the regularly scheduled entertainment began.

While Paramount would come to collaborate with the government to produce domestic war propaganda and dispatches from the frontlines, not every politician was thrilled with their news coverage in the lead-up to war. In 1940, Senator Burton Wheeler from Montana accused the movie industry of campaigning for war.

According to a January 15, 1941, New York Times piece, the editor of Paramount News wrote a letter to Wheeler disputing the accusations, writing, “I stand on our record. Paramount News has consistently presented and will continue to present both sides of all controversial topics vital to the interests of the American people. May I remind you of our treatment of the Supreme Court controversy of two years ago, in which you were featured in our screen reporting? This is but one example, characteristic of our policy.”

A Basketful of Easter Traditions 

Even with war on the horizon, expert Easter egg decorators were channeling cheekiness when it came to their craft, as seen in the Hitler and United States Navy eggs featured in this news report. …read more


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