WASHINGTON (Routers) Outraged over the insult to their Fuehrer by a film recently released by RKO, German troops reportedly engaged in violent attacks on Americans attempting to consolidate a beach head in the area of Salerno, Italy, today. The attack was seemingly sudden and spontaneous, waged against the 36th and 45th Divisions near the villages of Altavilla and Battipaglia.
The casualties are severe. The 1st and 3d Battalions, 142nd, and the 3d Battalion, 143rd, have been thrown back from Altavilla. Company K, 143rd, has been cut off. The 1st Battalion, 142nd, has lost all except some sixty of its men. The 2nd Battalion, 143rd, has been smashed in the Sele-Calore corridor and the 1st Battalion, 157th, has been hit hard as well. The American line has been dented, even pierced, and only the artillery is preventing a complete break-through. Worst of all, there are almost no reserves available to mend the line.
Titled Der Fuehrer’s Face, the short film that caused the uprising mocks not only Adolf Hitler, but also his aides Goering and Goebbels, and the Nazi belief system itself, and is clearly intended to do so. Featuring an insulting Donald Duck, it seems like crude propaganda, depicting Germans as cruel and stupid. It also makes fun of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It also includes a racist depiction of General Tojo, the Japanese military leader. It features a silly and insulting song released last year by the so-called “comic” musician Spike Jones that mocks the Nazi Party.
Despite warnings by some that the film might inflame tensions with the peaceful German people, it had been shown in many theaters in the U.S. during the summer, but the State Department believes that the Germans had only recently become aware of it. There seemed little other explanation for the sudden outbreak of violence in the newly captured section of Italy. In hopes of tamping down the sudden and unexpected bloodshed, the State Department issued a press release:
The U.S. State Department condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the feelings of Germans, Nazis and other fascists — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all beliefs. Respect for others’ beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the feelings of others.