Photo: Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator” (1939). Aged 50 years.
A strong opponent of racism, in 1937 Chaplin decided to make a film on the dangers of fascism.
As Chaplin pointed out in his autobiography, attempts were made to stop the film being made: “Half-way through making The Great Dictator I began receiving alarming messages from United Artists.
They had been advised by the Hays Office that I would run into censorship trouble.
Also the English office was very concerned about an anti-Hitler picture and doubted whether it could be shown in Britain. But I was determined to go ahead, for Hitler must be laughed at.”
However, by the time The Great Dictator was finished, Britain was at war with Germany and it was used as propaganda against Adolf Hitler.
During the Second World War Chaplin played an active role in the American Committee for Russian War Relief.
Others involved in this organization included Fiorello La Guardia, Vito Marcantonio, Wendell Willkie, Orson Welles, Rockwell Kent and Pearl Buck.
Chaplin was also one of the major figures in the campaign during the summer of 1942 for the opening of a second-front in Europe.
After the Second World War the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began to investigate people with left-wing views in the entertainment industry.
In September 1947 Chaplin was subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC but three times his meeting was postponed.
Unknown to Chaplin, J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI, now had a 1,900 page file on his political activities.