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Hitler’s Silly Dance, 1940

On June 21, 1940, Hitler accepted the surrender of the French government at a ceremony in Compiegne, France. He melodramatically insisted on receiving France's surrender in the same railroad car in which Germany had signed the 1918 armistice that had ended World War One.

After Hitler accepted France's surrender, he stepped backwards slightly, as if in shock. But this isn't what audiences in the Allied countries saw who watched the movie-reel of the ceremony. Instead they saw Hitler dance a bizarre little jig after signing the documents, as if he were childishly celebrating his victory by jumping up and down. The scene was played over and over in movie theaters.


Following the war, it was revealed that John Grierson, director of the Canadian information and propaganda departments, had manufactured the clip after noticing that Hitler raised his leg rather high up while stepping backwards. He realized that this moment could be looped repeatedly to create the appearance that Hitler was jumping with joy.

The film clip served the purpose of provoking popular outrage against Hitler.

Links and References
  • Jaubert, Alain. (1986). Making People Disappear: An Amazing Chronicle of Photographic Deception. Pergamon-Brassey's. page 176.
MoviesOutrage HoaxesPoliticalHoaxes of the 1940s


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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.