Amanda Kennedy- Sahara Reflections
The movie "Sahara" works the American propaganda well. The movie is centered around the American troops as they travel the desert and how they react to the people they encounter. They show how the ideal American soldier should behave and react to situations. The first encounter is with their french and british allies. The American soldiers stay true to their mission, being obedient to their orders while the allies are somewhat hesitant, but in the end pull through and decide to come along. The next encounter is with the black soldier with the italian prisioner. They automatically take in the allied soldier as one of their own, and need some convincing to take on the prisioner. The Americans are shown to use more logic and reasoning when it comes to rationing out food and protecting the water supply, so they see the addition of the Italian enemy as a threat to their own survival. Though despite the war and differences among the countries, the American leader gives the order to let the Italian in the group because he shows compassion for the individual. The Americans also strongly believe in what they are doing. They believe that it is their duty to do everything they can in order to stop the Nazis, even if that means dying to get the slight edge over them. The American leader later remarks that the "dignity of freedom" is why the few allies there were able to fight off the hundreds of Germans.
In showing the nature of the enemy, the impression given by the enemy Italian is someone who is pathetic and desperate in the beginning. Later he is shown as a prisoner to his country in this war in that he doesn't believe in what he was fighting for and he can not be ruled by cruel thoughts the way the German is and eventually dies standing up to the German. This view of the Italian enemy is very different than the one given by the German enemy. He comes off a cocky and heartless. He also is very cunning in a deceitful way and is shown as someone not to trust in any sense. The Germans will quite literally shoot you in the back.
The goal of the movie besides pro-American propaganda was to inspire black people to join the Army and to try and convince them that they would be essential to the war. This was shown by the black soldier having the skill to capture an enemy as a prisoner and then being accepted right away into the ally tank. He was also given a key leadership role of finding the water wells and even when the first one was dry they trusted him to lead them on to the next well, which was nearly dry. They also stood up for him when the Nazi soldier showed disgust towards the "inferior race" searching him. The black soldier was also shown as doing a heroic deed in personally killing the Nazi when he escaped and giving the thumbs up in his death, making him seem proud to die for the cause and to confirm to his allies that the Nazi was indeed dead and that the mission could continue. Despite all these positive images, there was still some underlining racism present. The black solider was shown to do the dirty work for the rest of the crew such as getting the water from the well, sending up cans filled with water for the white soldiers while only taking the drops remaining on his hands in-between water transfers. Though they tried to downplay this a bit by having one of the white soldiers come down to offer to collect the water after a while, offer the black solider a cigarette, and then chit chat, but that was somewhat counterproductive since then it the white solider was poking fun at the other's culture and the fact they he is allowed multiple wives. Overall i found that the portrayal of the black soldier was in a positive light, but in doing that reality was overlooked, since that's not the role black soldiers really played.