Casablanca is a classic World War II movie set in December and in the year of 1941 in Casablanca, Morocco, which was the location for people seeking to find an exit port to depart to the United States in order to escape the terrible conditions of the war in Europe as well as the Nazi concentration camps. This movie was set before the involvement of the United States in World War II and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The movie depicted the urban society with people belonging to the different ranges from low, middle and upper classes. There were also government officials such as Major Strasser, Captain Louis and the Czech nationalist Victor Laszlo. The characters are fictional, but they symbolize the different factors of World War II and their role during this time period. This film was produced in the year of 1942, which was the period when United States was awakened by the attack on their Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese air force and navy. This film demonstrates the conditions in Europe and the importance of the letters of transit, which allowed people to travel freely in Europe and the hope it gave to their survival and their dream of reaching America. Also the film projects Gestapo, which was the official secret police of Nazi-Germany that arrested Victor Laszlow and took him to the concentration camps, where he had to endure through an agonizing experience, which was foreseen through the scarring on his face. Also the idea of the concentration camps was expressed by Victor Laszlo, who was prominently against Nazi Germany. Also the movie depicted the control and influence of Germany in the Vichy French government. The main message that this film portrayed was the idea of neutrality. This film expressed that during times of war, it was difficult for a country to stay out, because eventually there were events and circumstances that provoked and drove them into the conflict as well. As hard as it was for Rick, who was an American, to stay neutral out of the European political conflict, he was eventually influenced and driven into the fight against Nazi-Germany with his friendship with the French police Captain Louis by the end of the movie. This film portrayed the shift of one man from neutrality into the European political conflict and his support for the pro-Free French and being anti-Vichy. Rich portrayed the United States, which was neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the American government to the edge of only declaring war and joining the sides of the allies in order to protect and bring justice to humanity.
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During the time of war, all of the characters in the film had different backgrounds and nationalities. All of these factors influenced the different motives and feelings that these characters had to endure during World War II. Nazi officials were very strict and arrested those who were suspected of espionage or treason against their form of government and rule. Rick Blaine was portrayed as an isolated character from the European conflict, but due to him having the letters of transit and killing the Nazi Major Strasser, he eventually became involved into the fight and gave motivation to others to fight along the side of the Allies in order to defeat Hitler. Before Rick Blaine came to Casablanca and became the owner of the café, he was active in the political world in Spain and Ethiopia, where he supported many groups of people against the fascist rulers in those two countries. Even though he expressed that he shared no feelings of the terrible conditions of the war in Europe, he was still internally not satisfied with the current type of political system. Since he always had a strong disapproval of a dictatorial government, he also disapproved of the conditions and the nature of the Nazi Germany and their way of ruling other countries such as France and Czechoslovakia.
Rick evolved after being heartbroken by the departure of Ilsa, who went to live forever with her husband, Victor, who everyone thought died, but who was very lucky to have survived. Rick lost that happiness that used to show when he was with her. Even though they met again, but only to struggle and to fight their way through Europe in order to escape from the Nazi’s claws, who were constantly on their tail and it was the reason that Rick and Ilsa had to leave Paris in order to prevent getting into any further trouble or being arrested by the German forces after the Germans seized and captured Paris in a glimpse and developed the new form of regime called the Vichy.
Victor Laszlow was a Czech nationalist, who was a journalist and wanted to express to the world about the deeds of Nazi Germany and how they broke the rules set by the League of Nations. He was frustrated as a citizen after Germany took over Czechoslovakia. He is a man of pure heart, who was willing to sacrifice his life in order to ensure that Ilsa arrived in the United States safely. After Victor Laszlow was arrested by the Gestapo, he had to endure through the difficulties of the concentration camps and made it out alive in order to ensure that no other man or women like him had to struggle through the pain of such cruel aggressors. Due to his experience, he became a strong and a brave man, who denied the fear of death and was not weakened by the intimidation of the Nazis. He only symbolized the devastation and fall of Germany. Mainly, he portrayed the heroic characteristics in a person, but most importantly he represented significantly as a resistance leader, who was willing do anything in his power to destroy and defeat the Nazis from the fate of this world. He was an important factor and became a very valuable piece as he took the side of the Allies in his battle against justice and peace.
Even though Rick wanted to leave with Ilsa in order to escape from this cruel hemisphere, he learned the importance of his existence as he sacrificed his love for Ilsa and took on the side of the Allies and in support of the Free French. At the end of the film, instead of departing with Ilsa, he gave the transit of letters to Ilsa and Victor so they can continue to reveal the truth of the Germans and their corrupt, political environment and succeed in their motives, while he decided to continue his political cause against an unjust government and the corrupt people who control it. Rick was “going” to start a new beginning through a new friendship by leaving his love behind. He was going to join Louis in a political alliance through becoming freedom fighters and aiding the Allies against their continual fight against the Central Powers. Rick and Louis became connected due to their similar beliefs and decisions to leave Casablanca for Brazzaville. Also Rick and Louis friendship was the representation of American French alliance, which included French resistance groups and others who disliked the Germans.
Despite the surrender and defeat of France to Germany, the underground resistance was still very strong and unified. However many people from France tried to escape the miserable rules of the Nazis, specifically after Germany took over Paris. The survival of the resistance holds more meaning by the end of the film than the preservation of love shared by Rick and Ilsa. Even though the Vichy French government limited the political independence, the French people still wanted to arise and take back their country. The Vichy government limited the rise of a powerful French nationalism due to the fact that many French officers took the side of the superior side that held power and disregarded the difference between right and wrong. Just like Louis transformation to a resistance idealist, many alike him will follow his path in order to ensure that they get their nation back.
Even though Louis Ranaud served as the French police captain, but he failed to have the same amount of power compared to his superior Major Strasser or to any other German officer. He was portrayed as a French person, who represented the Vichy France and its influence on its French officers. Louis Ranaud was portrayed as a servant to the German empire and a person, who shared no feelings of his own and failed to understand the difference between right and wrong. Louis showed his act of loyalty only to the superior side, which was Germany in this case. Even though he expressed his loyalty for Major Strasser, but it was just an act in order to satisfy the German officers so they would not suspect him of being against their rule and this act also ensured his own survival and not being arrested or sent to the concentration camps for treason or ideas of resistance. Louis had to follow the commands of Major Strasser and in order to please him, he ended up arresting Laszlo and Ugarte and also ended up closing Rick’s bar in order to show his allegiance.
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The Vichy French government supported the Germans in their actions due to their fear of being put down by the strong German forces. Also the Vichy government had most of their power in the unoccupied French regions, mainly the Southern parts, where there were no German rule, but however in the regions of occupied France, the Vichy government could not overrule over the Germans’ laws and they could only enforce their the laws in these regions, if their laws did not contradict with the Germans’ ways.
Even though this film provided a source of entertainment through the romance and drama, it also brought out some of the nature and conditions of World War II of 1942. With the comedy it provided, this film also portrayed the nature of the concentration camps due to the physical condition of Victor Laszlo’s face and his description of his struggle when he was there. Also the film displayed the Nazi secret police called the Gestapo. It also accurately expressed the existence of the Vichy government in France and their act of loyalty to Germany. As well as during the war and in the movie, many people were looking to escape to the United States or elsewhere in order to avoid the horrible environment of the war or being arrested by the Germans and being sent to the concentration camps. Many people did travel from France to Casablanca in order to escape to America from Lisbon, but letters of transit did not exist to serve as a pass to escape from Europe. The invasion of Paris by German forces was accurate with the display of well equipped and trained German soldiers, who took over Paris with a surprise and that finalized the surrender of France to Germany. Also Germany capturing Czechoslovakia triggered the beginning of a conflict as other countries joined in order to protect the rights of small nations. With all of this expressed in the movie, the director did intend to capture and focus some of the historical period of World War II as well provide entertainment altogether. All the of addressed accuracies that exist in the movie as well as that happened during the period of the World War II are accurate with the information provided by historians and the encyclopedia of the period of World War II.
During the period of World War II, United States not only was awakened by destruction of Pearl Harbor, but also realized the extent of European countries progress in industrialization and technology. Due to the lack of power and lack of involvement by major countries in the League of Nations, it was unable to provide any stability or protection when it was most needed. As of today, the United Nations is represented by nearly all of the countries and thus it has a force and power to tackle any problems around the world.
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