Friday, 17 October 2008

Iconography from 'It Happened Here' (1965)

Note: This posting has been heavily modified since it was orignally put up.  My views on the movie 'It Happened Here' can now be found in my e-book, 'Other Paths II: Further Alternate Outcomes of the Second World War' (2012).  It is available for purchase on Amazon:  

The images on this page could not be featured in this book, so I have altered this posting to simply discussing them rather than the movie more widely.

This began as the tail end of the previous posting, but I felt it warranted something more substantial. It began when I was looking around for 1930s logos for a novel I am currently writing and I came across a propaganda poster. The poster which comes from the propaganda posters section of was a genuine poster trying to encourage British prisoners of war held in Germany in the Second World War to join the German forces, especially particular SS units. The SS had national units for states across Europe and so hoped to have a British one too. The numbers who participated were very small, and most of the British who were recruited were used for propaganda rather than combat duties.

Second World War Nazi Recruitment Poster for British Troops

Though this is a genuine poster, it could easily be an illustration for a counter-factual, if for example, Britain had been defeated the way France had been and Germany had held British prisoners in Germany the way they did with the French. With such a victory in the West, Germany would have turned against the USSR and needed British troops in the way it used Italian, Romanian and even Finnish and Spanish forces on that front. This then led me to another counter-factual images. These come from the Penguin Devil blog:

Scene from 'It Happened Here' (1965) showing SS Recruitment Posters

 Here the British soliders are shown as being part of the 'Black Prince' SS unit.

Uniforms from 'It Happened Here' (1965)

German Soldiers on the Steps of the British Museum in 'It Happened Here'

'How it Happened' by Kevin Brownlow

This book is about the making of the movie.  The iconic image of the Nazis marching through Westminster was also the kind used on some editions of Len Deighton's 'SS-GB' (1979) a novel which envisaged a similar scenario. I used to have an edition with that cover, but no longer own it and can see no image of it on the internet.

Shot of Nazi Parade in London from 'It Happened Here'
Picture of Genuine German Parade in the Channel Islands

This cover of the following edition of Brownlow's book is interesting as it is in colour whereas the movie was shot in black and white. Looking at it, it may be coloured or it may have been shot in colour on set. See also:

Scenes of Nazi Force Routing Out and Killing Partisans from 'It Happened Here'

British Union of Fascists (BUF) Funeral Shown in 'It Happened Here'

Female Members of the BUF from 'It Happened Here'
Dr. Richard Fletcher in 'It Happened Here' played by Sebastian Shaw

Scene from 'It Happened Here' Showing Dr. Fletcher and Officers from the Gestapo and Luftwaffe [?]

German Soldier and British Police Officer in London in 'It Happened Here'
Genuine Photograph of British Police Officer and German Officer on the Channel Islands
This is BristleKRS blog. It features input from the 'what if?' author Eugene Byrne too.

1 comment:

Rooksmoor said...

Movie Mail are currently selling the DVD of 'It Happened Here' for only £9. See: