Educational Films: A Historical Review of Media Innovation in Schools

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
Eckhardt Fuchs Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research

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Anne Bruch Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research

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Michael Annegarn-Gläß Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research

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If you are bored to tears in the cinema, you are most likely watching an educational film.1

Instructional media serve multiple functions in a school setting. They can disseminate knowledge and skills while also informing and stimulating discussion. They not only convey information and support learning but also foster communication between teachers and pupils and between classmates and groups. However, despite the significant role of teaching media other than textbooks in the classroom, educational and media historians have largely ignored them. This is all the more remarkable because the current media revolution has made the media themselves particularly topical. “Contact with and access to media,” states Jelko Peters “presents a significant and fundamental problem of our time, which is closely linked with values such as freedom of communication and individual freedoms, pluralism, access to education as well as involvement in culture and participation in politics.”2

Educational Films—History and Terminology

In today’s discussions the term “new media” is clearly understood to refer to all electronic, digital, and interactive media. The media revolution that began in the 1990s has not only presented schools with many new challenges but also influenced the manner in which people educate and are educated. This has consequently become the subject of public, didactic, pedagogical, and academic debates concerning the significance and effect of new media on the process of education. Empirical studies of this topic are scarce, and even examinations of the extent to which traditional media materials such as textbooks have ceded influence to new media have not yet provided scientifically representative findings. There is, however, consensus regarding a general definition of “new media”—namely, “all processes and materials (media) which, with the help of new or updated technology, enable novel and unfamiliar methods of acquiring or processing information or of saving, transferring or recalling information.”3 Such a definition draws attention to the fact that “new media” are not a modern phenomenon, but one with a historical dimension. A glance at the history of educational media reveals that new technological discoveries and innovations have inevitably resulted in the introduction of teaching and learning aids that were at first controversial but quickly became established both nationally and internationally. One such medium is the educational film, the use of which has spread around the world since the start of the twentieth century in diverse learning and teaching contexts, but particularly in schools.

A brief examination of the history of the term “educational film” reveals constantly changing applications, which, when summarized, can be arranged into two main explicative threads. From an academic perspective, educational films were seen on the one hand as a means of disseminating academic and scientific content within schools and universities. The focus in this case was as detailed and objective a reproduction of the phenomena of the physical world as possible. Cinema reformers, on the other hand, were of the opinion that a pedagogic approach must predominate if the films were to contribute to the education and “morality” of young people. Educational films were, above all, documentary films or cultural films in this context. Central to the educationalists’ point of view was that educational films should not only be factually correct, but also serve a pedagogical purpose—that is, their design, production and analysis must incorporate pedagogical expertise.4 Most frequently found in German contemporary sources is the term Kulturfilm (“cultural film”), which became synonymous with all nonfiction films until the 1950s. Principally instructional and moralizing in tone, the nonfictional Kulturfilm, shown before the feature film in the cinema, was a staple in imperial Germany.5

The concept of Kulturfilm quickly spread throughout Europe. Many directors, filmmakers, and educators became proficient at producing films suitable for international audiences. This cross-border cooperation and interest was soon reflected on an institutional level. The International Educational Cinematographic Institute (IECI), based in Rome and founded by the League of Nations, became the central transnational institution charged with studying and evaluating educational films and promoting their use. Another institution that focused on this question was the European Educational Film Congress, which first convened in 1927. At its third meeting, held in Vienna in 1931, the congress undertook for the first time to categorize the various film genres. Those present agreed to use the term “educational film” as a general definition for films that were primarily produced for use in schools and the classroom, or which appeared in national educational film libraries and received appropriate official sanction.

Educational films could not have evolved as they did without the emergence of appropriate recording and playback equipment. Technological advances at the end of the nineteenth century made it possible to distribute these films quickly following the construction of public cinemas. These were surrounded from the very beginning by a very public and frequently controversial debate concerning “smut and trash.” The effect that this commercial “mass culture” could have upon children and young people was also drawn into the debate, which subsequently examined potential educational and pedagogical consequences.6 Similar discussions were taking place around the world in France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, the Soviet Union, the USA, and countries from Latin America, such as Mexico and Argentina. This discourse did not simply encompass the questions of state control and censorship or, as in Italy, the role of the Catholic Church, for it also extended to considerations regarding the manner and capacity in which the new media of film could be incorporated into schools, universities, and other education establishments.7 Attempts to broaden the application of cinematographic productions from general entertainment programming to use in public education and in schools, and to use the new medium to present complex material in an accessible and entertaining format, soon won support among teaching organizations.8

In Germany, for example, the Cinematographic Reform Association (Kinematographische Reformvereinigung) was formed early in 1907. The group advocated the introduction of films to classrooms and viewed itself as an intermediary between officials, teachers, and film producers. The association’s journal, Schule und Technik (“Schools and Technology”), was the first specialized journal to focus on educational films.9 Although the view that cinematography was a suitable medium with which to improve education and schooling became widely accepted before the outbreak of the First World War, educational films were not in reality shown in schools until the 1920s. State and private facilities were founded, concurrent with the development of film as a new teaching material in schools, and strove to provide as large a distribution platform for educational films as possible. In 1919, the first rental center for educational films was founded in Berlin by the Prussian Minister of Culture at the Central Institute for Education and Teaching (Zentralinstitut für Erziehung und Unterricht), and in 1922 the Reich Office for Film (Reichsfilmstelle) issued an official certification for German educational films. Similar organizations were founded in Italy and France, such as the LUCE–Educational Film Union (L’Unione Cinematografica Educativa), established in Rome in 1924, and the regional Offices of Cinematographic Education (Offices du cinéma éducateur), inaugurated in the same year in France, which were amalgamated into a national federation in France in 1929.10 In both countries state media centers were also established.11 A comprehensive debate accompanied these developments in these countries’ respective official publications and in pedagogical and film journals, many of which had only recently been founded and whose authors did not simply review films, but also provided information and guidance concerning their application in the classroom.

The rapid diffusion of films meant that governments were soon confronted with issues of supervision and control. This applied not only to cinema, but also to an entirely new entertainment culture within the modern communication societies.12 Film distribution can be placed within the context of this public debate: it was affected by the competing interests of the film censor on one hand and those with educational purposes in mind on the other hand. The initial official state drive to use the new medium of cinema to educate and instruct the cinema-going public (predominantly women and young people) quickly disintegrated in the face of public preferences and the commercialization of films. During this period in Germany, for example, the regulation of screenings, which had initially been left in the hands of the local police and administration and was thereby subject to local capriciousness, was soon placed under centralized administration across the entire German Empire.13 The extent to which educational films were appropriated for political means is illustrated by the article written by Verena Niethammer for this issue of The Journal for Educational Media, Memory and Society. The educational films produced by the Reich Institute for Film and Image in Science and Education (Reichsanstalt für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht) during the National Socialist dictatorship alternated between innovation and indoctrination.

Control and censure represented only one side of a public debate in which educators became involved but were by no means the only concerned party.14 A second level of discussion affected pedagogues more directly—namely, the use of films in schools. Germany’s national authorities ascribed particular significance to educational films and quickly established financial and administrative requirements regarding their use. The decisive administrative measure came in 1919, when an advisory body charged with inspecting educational films was created at the Central Institute for Education and Teaching as a result of an edict issued by the Prussian Ministry for Science, Education and Culture. This authority was responsible for coordinating the individual state cinematography associations, organizing national approval for cinematography, advising educators, and evaluating educational films.15

Similar committees and institutions were also established in other countries. These national developments were soon replicated on an international level. The potency of the medium, particularly of educational films and Kulturfilme, was apparent by the early 1920s. The League of Nations demonstrated notable interest in the new educational medium of film and attempted to provide services to assist the industry. Its child protection committee had, since its inception, broached the issue of the effect of cinema on children and young people. The committee subsequently passed a series of resolutions at its second session in 1926, among which were calls for governments to establish supervisory and censorship authorities to deal with films that could endanger minors. In order to promote international cooperation, they also pressed for the international exchange of educational films and for the introduction of specific hygiene and safety regulations in cinemas.16 As a result of these measures a permanent international commission was established for educational film in 1927, consisting of representatives from numerous international organizations.17

In addition to the League’s Commission for Educational Films, a European Chamber of Films in Education (independent of the League of Nations) was founded in 1927 at a conference of educators and film producers held in Basel. Representatives from nineteen nations met at this conference, the first International Educational Film Conference, which was devoted to education and teaching. Questions concerning the technology, training, methodology and psychology of educational films were discussed in numerous work groups. The establishment of the European Chamber was an indication that all participants were mindful that the problem of educational films “could only be solved by a pan-European approach.” Europe appeared, to the author of the report, “to be flooded by a homogenous educational wave.”18 This organization created a Permanent Committee for Action with Regard to Education and the School under the leadership of Luciano de Feo, who later became the director of the International Educational Cinematographic Institute, which was established at a subsequent conference in Rome in May 1928. The chamber, however, lost much of its relevance later that year following the opening of the International Educational Cinematographic Institute in Rome, although the two organizations agreed to a partnership in 1931 at the third educational film congress in Vienna.19

Despite the fact that the Rome Institute had assumed many of its core functions since the former’s inception in 1928, the Commission for Educational Films was not dissolved as it acted as an intermediary between the different associations, whereas the Institute principally worked with governments. The commission retained an active role as the International Committee of Instructional and Educational Cinematography (Commission Internationale du Cinématographe d’enseignement et d’éducation) and later, after 1930, as the International Committee of Teaching and Social Education by Means of Cinematography and Wireless (Commission Internationale d’enseignement et d’éducation sociale par le cinématographe et la radiodiffusion). This was responsible for an agreement made in 1930 with a number of international organizations (International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation, Child Protection Committee, Comité d’entente des grandes associations internationales), which led to the adoption of guidelines concerning the use of cinema as an educational tool.20

In Rome, the International Educational Cinematographic Institute produced a monthly International Review of Educational Cinematography in five languages and became the leading authority in the field of educational films in the 1930s. It conducted numerous studies about the role of cinema in different areas such as hygiene, academia, education, sociology, psychology, and culture. It also examined the legal provisions in different countries—in particular intellectual property rights, state control, youth protection, and export regulations. In addition, it amassed a comprehensive collection of films and attempted, albeit without success, to compile an encyclopedia of cinema. The organization’s biggest success was undoubtedly drafting an international convention on the elimination of customs barriers for educational films. The agreement, discussed at the 1926 International Cinema Congress in Paris, was signed in October 1933 in Geneva by thirty-eight countries and went into effect in 1935. With the groundwork laid in 1931 at the third International Educational Film Conference in Vienna, a consensus was reached on what constituted an educational film.21 When Italy withdrew from the League of Nations in December 1937, the International Educational Cinematographic Institute in Rome discontinued its work; its responsibilities and duties were assumed by the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation in Paris.22

Therefore, the military and ideological mobilization prior to the Second World War meant that educational films were widely implemented for instructional purposes both in schools and elsewhere. In postwar Germany, educational films were scrutinized, together with all other educational materials, for National Socialist content. The Reich Institute for Films in Science and Education (Reichsanstalt für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht), which superseded the Reich Office for Educational Film (Reichsstelle für den Unterrichtsfilm), was itself dissolved shortly after the end of the war, when the Institute for Scientific and Educational Films (Institut für Film in Wissenschaft und Unterricht) was founded.23 This organization continues to produce educational films for the whole of Germany today.

The use of educational films continued after 1945. They played a central role in re-education and democratization programs run by the Allies in the western occupation zones.24 Such programs frequently had a dual objective. On the one hand pupils or the general public were to be taught about fundamental democratic structures, for example by the German film Frischer Wind in alten Gassen (“A Fresh Breeze through Old Streets”, 1951), and learn about the advantages of a free and liberal economic system. On the other hand, instructional and educational films (not only those imported from the USA) carried a barely disguised anticommunist political message (for example, the two British films The Shoemaker and the Hatter, 1950, and Without Fear, 1951; and the German Film Lasst uns auch leben “Let Us Live,” 1952/53]).25 It was not only West Germany that used films in information and educational campaigns. Other European countries frequently used them to great effect too, in particular when they strove to reach as broad an audience as possible, as did UNESCO when pursuing its literacy projects in Italy.26 Despite the large numbers of educational films produced in the 1950s and 1960s, they did not replace textbooks as the most important learning material.27 This point is demonstrated in this issue by Sophia Gerber’s article, which analyzes the implementation of motion pictures—as opposed to films produced specifically for educational purposes—in the teaching of the subject “The Federal Republic of Germany after 1945.”

This Special Issue

The articles in this special issue can be grouped into five main themes within a larger temporal and internationally comparative context. The first theme explores educational films as means of disseminating educational material within the constraints on content and form under which they operated. Michael Annegarn-Gläß examines this issue by referring to the German educational film World History as Colonial History (Die Weltgeschichte als Kolonialgeschichte, 1926).28 This film used visual effects to present its audience with a revisionist political view of the German colonies. A subtle, narrative causal chain is constructed, advocating the reclamation of the colonies lost in 1919. The former German colonies are depicted in the film as indispensable to Germany because of the essential and highly sought after raw materials they were able to supply. With the aid of animated maps, comparative diagrams, and visual topoi that show advances already made and represent future expectations, the film demonstrates a precocious repertoire of narrative possibilities that was already well developed in educational films by the 1920s. Furthermore, the article examines the film’s reclamation in 2001, in itself a historically significant event. A twenty-minute abridged version of the film, which was originally over an hour long, was included in a multimedia educational package on the subject of colonialism that was issued by the Institute for Academic and Educational Films (FWU). This reproduction of World History as Colonial History condenses the film, leaving little more than its revisionist arguments without the remaining materials to provide further historical context.

The second theme addressed by this publication is the sociopolitical dimension of educational films as a mass medium. The power over and access to media provided (and still provide) considerable potential to shape and influence a socially relevant discourse.29 Verena Niethammer demonstrates this in her contribution, which illustrates the friction and potential overlap between innovation and indoctrination during the National Socialist era. By examining a series of educational films produced after 1933 in Germany, she reveals that the innovative educational medium of film was widely implemented by official bodies—in this case the Reich Office for Educational Films (Reichstelle für den Unterrichtsfilm), which later became the Reich Institute for Films in Science and Education. Although the titles of such films as The Stag Beetle (Der Hirschkäfer, 1936) and the slightly earlier FranconiaLand of Basket Weaving (FrankenlandKorbflechterland, 1933) give no indication that they contain National Socialist ideology, detailed analysis reveals that the narrative threads of these educational films introduce ideas of social Darwinism and carry military connotations. Niethammer also argues that the design conventions that were developed during this period set a style for educational films that endured until long after the Second World War. The fact that a selection of these films continued to be used without apparent impediment in schools and universities after 1945 appears to support this view.30

The third theme addressed in this issue is international cooperation in the field of educational films. Maria Rosa Gudiño Cejudo explores the educational program “Literacy for the Americas.” This campaign against inadequate reading and writing skills was initiated by the United States Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) and Walt Disney in Mexico at the beginning of the 1940s. Since film had been used as an educational tool for a long time in Mexico, the Literacy for the Americas initiative was initially embraced by Mexican authorities but soon received criticism for its imperialist approach from the leading Mexican educationalist Eulalia Guzmán. In addition to the question of whether 1945 really marked a watershed for educational films, Anne Bruch discusses how democracy was taught in official information films produced by the Italian state. She addresses in particular the press and information department of the President’s Office of the Council of Ministers (Centro di Documentazione—Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri) which was established by the Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi in 1952. The aim of this institution was to make Italians aware of the new policies of the Italian postwar government and to reinforce their feelings of national identity as well as to strengthen their identification with the new state organizations and democratic processes. The 1952 film Better than Yesterday (Meglio di ieri) introduces us to a fourth aspect of the history of educational films: the stakeholders, or the participants in the official negotiated processes that gave rise to them. Client or sponsor, producers, director, screenplay writers, and censor’s office all developed the narratives and translated them to public information and educational films. The films by the Italian Documentation Centre communicate an image of an aspiring modern republic that had left its (fascist) past behind and could offer its citizens economic and social security. In return the Italians were called upon to become educated, responsible, and politically mature citizens. The pronounced paternalistic style of political education in these films and the fact that they did not attempt to critically address social problems is a characteristic of the majority of such films produced in the 1950s and early 1960s. The style of educational films only changed as a result of the period of political upheaval that unfolded in 1968 and the introduction of new technical equipment such as portable cameras and more compact sound recording devices. Particularly those films used for history, geography, and civic education (educazione civica) then adopted a more critical position with regard to state institutions and social processes and started to reflect increasingly controversial points of view. These political changes were also manifest in various feature films that were frequently used in history lessons. Sophia Gerber’s article focuses on full-length feature films in this category that dealt with the Red Army Faction (RAF). She demonstrates that the historic content can be condensed to correspond with the film’s specific interpretation of the subject. Gerber compares an analysis of individual films and their possible interpretations with current curricula. It appears that despite its significance in Germany’s postwar history, this subject remains a niche area of study.

The treatment of historical themes in school lessons, using a combination of media such as textbooks, educational films, and the now frequently used open educational resources, is the fifth topic addressed in this issue. This topic concerns questions of how new media are viewed from a historical and educational standpoint, and how historical educational films can be made accessible for teachers and suitable for lessons. An examination of new media (with reference to the example of educational films) makes it possible not only to study specific communication constraints and the cinematographic translation of the objective as demanded by the respective client, but also opportunities for information propagation and storage.

Assessment of the Research Field

This special issue seeks to provide a thumbnail sketch of research and to present initial findings using different comparative approaches. These allow us to make the following suppositions. First, the introduction of new forms of media to the classroom—whether they consist of charts and diagrams, textbooks, films, or various media accessed through computers—has not only changed the process of teaching and learning, but also directly affected schools themselves as state institutions. The implementation of these media is regulated by the state in order to enforce its educational monopoly within the classroom and to control the nature of knowledge. At the same time, the implementation of these media provokes intense debate among educators, who dispute the extent to which the new media improve the quality of teaching and learning or even harm children.

Second, technical developments and new media have proliferated across the world and become more or less globally established with astonishing speed. The international processes of standardization, from which a multilateral organizational structure emerged, began in the interwar period and continue to this day. In spite of international harmonization and juridification, however, schools were slow to implement their effects. For example, subjects proposed by the League of Nations, including peace education, were not included in school lessons.

Third, new media do not replace old media, but rather complement them as they are integrated into existing teaching and learning structures. The introduction of educational films has not constituted an educational revolution any more than any other form of new teaching material that has come before.

Fourth, the historical analysis of educational media ultimately offers insights into actual teaching practices in the classroom and into the methods and processes used in schools to teach and learn. A comprehensive historical investigation of the interaction between progressive education, new educational technology and new media presents, in no small part due to the complications associated with the source material, a research desideratum that would be both desirable and beneficial when searching for increased “relevance and materiality” in the field of educational history.

In sum, this special edition presents a case for more detailed study of the history of educational films within the fields of historical educational research and historical film research, for educational films are one aspect of the sustained “media revolution” that is now affecting schools and education.



“Wo man im Kino nur noch gähnen kann, das sieht man dann als Lehrfilm an.” See Eugen Schwarz, “Die Entwicklung des Begriffes ‘Unterrichtsfilm’,” in Zur Geschichte des audiovisuellen Medienwesens in Deutschland: Gesammelte Beiträge, ed. Gerhard Konrad Hildebrand (Trier: Spee-Verlag, 1976), 87–93, 90.


Jelko Peters, “Mediengeschichte und historisches Lernen,” Geschichte für Heute: Zeitschrift für historisch-politische Bildung 2 (2015): 5.


Cf. Dietrich Ratzke, Handbuch der neuen Medien: Information und Kommunikation, Fernsehen und Hörfunk, Presse und Audiovision heute und morgen (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1982).


Cf. Schwarz, “Die Entwicklung des Begriffes ‘Unterrichtsfilm’.”


For a discussion of the Kulturfilm concept, see Peter Zimmermann, ed., Geschichte des dokumentarischen Films in Deutschland, 3 volumes (Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam jun., 2005).


Helmut Kommer, Früher Film und späte Folgen: Zur Geschichte der Film- und Fernseherziehung (Berlin: Basis-Verlag, 1979).


Cf. Jürgen Charnitzky, Die Schulpolitik des faschistischen Regimes in Italien 1922–1943 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1994); Charnitzky, “Unterricht und Erziehung im faschistischen Italien: Von der Reform Gentile zur Carta della Scuola,” in Faschismus und Gesellschaft in Italien: Staat, Wirtschaft, Kultur, ed. Jens Petersen and Wolfgang Schieder (Cologne: SH-Verlag, 1998), 109–131.


Schwarz, “Die Entwicklung des Begriffes ‘Unterrichtsfilm’,” 87f; Cf. Ernst Schultze, Der Kinematograph als Bildungsmittel: Eine kulturpolitische Untersuchung (Halle an der Saale: Buchh. des Waisenhauses, 1911); Petra Boden and Dorit Müller, “Popularität–Wissen–Medien,” in Populäres Wissen im medialen Wandel seit 1850, ed. Petra Boden and Dorit Müller (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2009), 7–14.


Siegfried Haeger, “Zur Geschichte des Lehr- und Unterrichtsfilms,” in Zur Geschichte des audiovisuellen Medienwesens in Deutschland: Gesammelte Beiträge, ed. Gerhard Konrad Hildebrand (Trier: Spee-Verlag, 1976), 26–37, 27.


Cf. Raymond Borde and Charles Perrin, Les Offices du cinéma éducateur et la survivance du muet (1925) (Lyon: Presses universitaires de Lyon, 1992); Didier Nourrisson and Paul Jeunet, eds., Cinéma-école: aller–retour (Saint-Etienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 2001).


Cf. Béatrice De Pastre, “Une archive dédiée à la pédagogie du cinéma,” 1895. Mille huit cent quatre-vingt-quinze 41 (2003): 177–186.


For an overview of the literary publishing world, see Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte: 3rd volume: Von der “Deutschen Doppelrevolution” bis zum Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges 1849–1914 (Munich: C. H. Beck Verlag 1995), 1232f. Hubert Tönies priovides a contemporary viewpoint in “Die rechtlichen Grundlagen zur Bekämpfung von Schund und Schmutz im Schrifttum, Film, Theater und Revuen” (PhD diss., University of Hamburg, 1943).


Cf. Jan-Pieter Barbian, “Filme mit Lücken: Die Lichtspielzensur in der Weimarer Republik: Von der sozialethischen Schutzmaßnahme zum politischen Instrument,” in Der deutsche Film: Aspekte seiner Geschichte von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, ed. Uli Jung (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 1993), 51–78.


See Heinrich Benfer, Schundkampf und literarische Jugendpflege (Langensalza: Beltz, 1932); O. Götze, “Jugendpsyche und Kinematographie,” Zeitschrift für Kinderforschung 16 (1911): 416–424.


Felix Lampe, “Zehn Jahre ‘Bildstelle’,” Pädagogisches Zentralblatt 9 (1929): 199–204, 199. In addition to its pedagogical and exhibition departments a third department, more bureaucratic in nature, was created at the central institute. The institute was not just concerned with the teaching authorities but also, after 1923, with the tax authorities. However, those films recognized as educational films by the imperial film office were subject to tax relief.


Société des Nations. Commission consultative pour la protection de l’enfance et de la jeunesse. Comité de la protection de l’enfance. Rapport sur les Travaux de la quatrième Session (Mars 1928). C.185.1928.IV, 7f.


Cf. Margarete Rothbarth, Geistige Zusammenarbeit im Rahmen des Völkerbundes (Münster: Aschendorff, 1931), 129ff. Among these organizations were the International Association for the Protection of Children, the International Federation of Secondary Teachers (Bureau international des Fédérations nationales du personnel de l’enseignement secondaire), the International Student Union, International Union of Intellectual Professionals (Confédération internationale des travailleurs intellectuels), The International Council of Women, the International Organisation of Elementary Teachers (Fédération internationale des associations d’instituteurs publics), the International Federation of Female Academics (Fédération internationale des femmes diplômées des universités), International Union of Pedagogical Associations (Fédération mondiale des associations pédagogiques), The League of Red Cross Societies, the International Office of Public Hygiene, the Catholic Union for International Studies, the International Union Against Tuberculosis, the International Save the Children Union, the Permanent Committee of International Welfare (Comité permanent des conférences internationales de Service social), the International Bureau of Education, the Comité d’Entente des grandes associations internationales, the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and the World Association for Adult Education.


Wilhelm Schremmer, “Ergebnisse der ersten Europäischen Lehrfilmkonferenz,” Die Deutsche Schule 31 (1927): 436–437.


Cf. Frederick Northedge, “International Intellectual Co-operation within the League of Nations: Its Conceptual Basis and Lessons for the Present,” (PhD diss., University of London, 1953), 398. See also Adolf Hübl, ed., Dritte Internationale Lehrfilm-Konferenz in Wien, 26. bis 31. Mai 1931, veranstaltet von der Internationalen Lehrfilm-Kammer (Basel) in Gemeinschaft mit dem Österreichischen Bildspielbund (Vienna, 1931).


Le Comité d’entente des grandes associations internationales. Dix années d’activité (Paris: Palais Royal, 1936), 48ff.


Stephan Grieger, “Hauptlinien der Entwicklung audio-visueller Mittel für die Bildungsarbeit in Deutschland,” in Zur Geschichte des audiovisuellen Medienwesens in Deutschland: Gesammelte Beiträge, ed. Gerhard Konrad Hildebrand (Trier: Spee-Verlag, 1976), 67–72, 69.


Pham-thi-Tu, La Coopération intellectuelle sous la Société des nations (Geneva: Droz, 1962), 103.


Horst Ruprecht, “Die Phasenentwicklung der Schulfilmbewegung in Deutschland” (PhD diss., Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, 1959), 209.


Heiner Ross, ed., Lernen Sie Diskutieren! Re-education durch Film. Strategien der westlichen Alliierten nach 1945 (Babelsberg: Cinegraph, 2005); Brigitte Hahn, Umerziehung durch Dokumentarfilm? Ein Instrument amerikanischer Kulturpolitik im Nachkriegsdeutschland (1945–1953) (Münster: LIT, 1997); Katharina Gerund and Heike Paul, eds., Die amerikanische Reeducation-Politik nach 1945: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf “America’s Germany” (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2015).


The two films The Shoemaker and the Hatter (1950) and Without Fear (1951) were produced in Great Britain by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), which was responsible for administering the European Recovery Program (“Marshall Plan”) in Europe. John Halas directed The Shoemaker and the Hatter, and he also animated a film version of Animal Farm, released in 1954, based on the book by George Orwell.


Zoë Druick, “Unesco, Film, and Education: Mediation Postwar Paradigms of Communication,” in Useful Cinema, ed. Charles Acland and Haidee Wasson, (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011), 81–102; Regina Longo, “Palimpsests of Power: UNESCO-‘Sponsored’ Film Production and the Construction of a ‘Global Village’, 1948–1953,” The Velvet Light Trap 75 (2015): 88–106.


Television for Schools was also introduced in the 1960s as part of a regular schedule offered by public broadcasters.


An English version of Die Weltgeschichte als Kolonialgeschichte was never produced.


An example of close collaboration between media companies and politics can be seen in the case of Silvio Berlusconi, who in recent years has bought several publishing houses that publish Italian textbooks. Cf. Paul Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony (London: Verso 2005).


Ulf Schmidt, Medical Films, Ethics and Euthanasia in Nazi Germany: The History of Medical Research and Teaching Films of the Third Reich Office of Educational Films / Reich Institute for Films in Science and Education, 1933–1945 (Husum: Matthiesen Verlag, 2002), 152.

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