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Film Censorship in Germany: Continuity and Change through Five Political Systems

  • Martin Loiperdinger
Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)

Abstract

As the German Reich incited two world wars that resulted in its defeats, all through the twentieth century, German history proceeded in turmoil, which did not end with the Anschluss of East Germany to the Federal Republic in 1990 when the Cold War saw losers and winners.1 All the five systems of political rule in Germany were confronted with alternatives and felt a strong need to protect their principles against “the enemy” inside and outside the country. In Germany, as in many countries, film exhibition was subject to precensorship from the beginning of cinematography. Though there was no universally applicable film legislation in Wilhelmine Germany, many films were cut or completely banned in the decade before the First World War. While theater and press censorship were abolished in Germany following the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918, the new Weimar democracy introduced uniform film censorship in 1920 through the Reichslichtspielgesetz (Reich Motion Picture Act). The guidelines of that law were significant for film censorship up to the early 1970s: a pronounced continuity extends from imperial Germany, across the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, and on into the Federal Republic. The situation in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was fundamentally different, as the state itself had a monopoly over film production.

Keywords

Federal Republic Motion Picture German Democratic Republic Weimar Republic Interior Minister 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. This chapter is a revised and updated version of Loiperdinger, M. (2002) State Legislation, Censorship, and Funding, pp. 148–157 in Bergfelder, T., Carter, E. et al. (eds) The German Cinema Book. London: BFI Publishing.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Daniel Biltereyst and Roel Vande Winkel 2013

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  • Martin Loiperdinger

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