Why did this film anger US President Dwight Eisenhower?

Tonight, the C8 channel is broadcasting The Battle of the Bulge, classic war film by Ken Annakin. Inspired by a real episode of the Second World War, the feature film provoked the anger of Dwight Eisenhower, general and president of the United States.

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Realized by Ken Annakinwith Henry Fonda and Robert Shaw in the main roles, The Battle of the Bulge looks back at a significant episode at the end of the Second World War. In December 1944, the Allies stood ready to invade Germany. But Lieutenant-Colonel Kiley (Henry Fonda) is convinced that the Wehrmacht is preparing a counter-offensive in the Belgian Ardennes region. On the side of the Germans, Colonel Hessler (Robert Shaw) receives the order to invade the city of Antwerp.

Freedoms with History

The producers of The Battle of the ArdennesThey never claimed to be historians. Although inspired by true facts (and rather recent, since the film was released 20 years after the fact), their feature film is a Hollywood spectacle. Written, constructed and filmed to entertain. Thereby, Robert Shaw (the unforgettable Quint in Jaws), who interprets the German Hessler, has nothing Germanic about it. He was born in England. However, Dwight D. Eisenhower, former supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe and former president of the United States did not hide his aversion for the film. In a press conference, he angrily taunted the “obvious historical inaccuracies”.

Two films for one battle

But Eisenhower’s grievances against The Battle of the Bulge produced by Warner, with Henry Fonda are perhaps to be sought elsewhere than in the liberties taken with the facts. Because he would have actually worked on another project inspired by the same battleā€¦ and produced by Columbia. Title in English 16th of December: The Battle of the Bulge (December 16: Battle of the Bulge), the feature film, written by Eisenhower’s son, was to be directed by Michael Anderson. When Columbia Pictures learned of the competing project, it was decided that Warner’s film would distance itself from Columbia’s by not using any names of the actual protagonists in Anderson’s film. And therefore not the name ofEisenhower. Like this, the public could not confuse the two feature films. Unfortunately, Michael Anderson’s film was ultimately scrapped and never saw the light of day.

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