During World War I, certain production companies were commissioned by the army and the monarchy to make the best use of cinema for propaganda purposes. The shooting of films, however, was not always simple and straightforward.
The propaganda films made during World War I were primarily intended to convey to the nation and the world the image of a strong, victorious Austria that would do anything for the wellbeing of its citizens. Yet there are certain documentaries that, almost unintentionally, conveyed a very different message to the audience.
In the documentaries made during World War I, it was the camera and editing that decided what was to be shown to the viewer, which images from the front could best convey the idea of war and impress the audience, while at the same time conveying the image of a victorious Austria.
Alongside documentaries that showed us coronations of sovereigns or cities destroyed by bombing, numerous feature films were also produced during World War I to tell us about the war experienced away from the front.
During World War I, numerous documentaries and fictional feature films with a propagandistic character were made, and each of them is distinguished by a different approach and a marked personality.
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the election of Charles I of Austria to the throne was a completely unexpected event for the Austrian people. What was to be done, then, to make the people begin to trust him and start considering him as a kind of reference point at such a difficult time? Here, then, cinema came into play.
If in Austria, the first production companies were founded relatively late compared to the rest of the world, only a few years after the seventh art had also spread nationally, people had to deal with a highly dramatic and unexpected event: the outbreak of World War I.