Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Award Winning Mrs. Miniver

Author Jan Struther
Born in England, Jan Struther was a writer for Punch magazine. When her work came to the attention of The Times editor Peter Fleming in 1937, he asked her to write a series of columns for the paper that revolved around an “ordinary sort of woman who leads an ordinary life – sort of like yourself.” Initially, the columns were light, domestic scenes, but as war approached, the tone of the pieces changed. The columns were published in book form in 1939.

Wildly successful in the U.S., the book was made into a movie and released in 1942, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. Reports indicate that President Roosevelt rushed it to the theaters in the hope of swaying the last of those intent on maintaining U.S. neutrality. He and Churchill both have credited the film in hastening America’s involvement in the war.

In 1943, the part entertainment, part propaganda Mrs. Miniver won six Academy Awards. The movie’s director, Alsace-Lorraine native, William Wyler, said later, “I was concerned about Americans being isolationists.” He went on further to say his attitude was “Let’s make propaganda pictures, but make them good.”

German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels agreed when he said that Mrs. Miniver’s “refined powerful propagandist tendency has up to now only been dreamed of. There is not a single angry word spoken against Germany; nevertheless the anti-German tendency is perfectly accomplished.”
So powerful was the film that a portion of the following scene from the movie in which the vicar delivers a sermon in a bombed out church was translated into several languages and airdropped into German-occupied territory.

“There’s scarcely a household that hasn’t been struck to the heart. And why? Surely you must have asked yourselves this question…I shall tell you why. Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is the war of the people, of all the people. And it must be fought not only on the battlefield but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home and in the heart of every man, woman and child who loves freedom. Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead, they will inspire us with unbreakable determination to free ourselves, and those who come after us, from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the People’s War. It is our war. We are the fighters. Fight it then. Fight it with all that is in us. And may God defend the right.”

What is your favorite WWII era film?


Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, blogger, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for her local public library. Active in her church Linda serves as treasurer, usher, and choir member. Linda has written numerous historical romances and mysteries. To find out more about Linda and her books visit www.LindaShentonMatchett.com. Sign up for her newsletter for links to free ebooks, book reviews, historical tidbits, and more.


  1. A great post about Mrs. Miniver with historical tidbits. I cannot think of a favorite WWII era film this morning. : )

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. I loved the movie Mrs. Miniver and enjoyed reading these history facts. I remember watching The Bridge on the River Kwai with my Daddy.
    Blessings Linda!

  3. I must confess...I don't know what we are talking about ...