Several old cans of film dug up from a field in Sussex have revealed a sensational wartime secret involving a lost pornographic propaganda film. “For decades now, it has been thought that every copy of Spanked by the Swastika had been destroyed on the orders of Churchill himself,” Film historian Lionel Bumstadler excitedly told The Sleaze. “The unearthing of a near complete print is hugely exciting – this is a vital piece of wartime cinematic history!” The discovery was made during the shooting of a TV documentary, part of series where former pop singers dig up World War Two relics, in which Rick Astley was searching for a Royal Navy battleship which had reputedly been buried in the field, some forty miles inland. “We were pretty surprised to find those film cans – not to mention relieved,” reveals producer Tim Jimmons. “Up to then we’d been drawing a blank with our metal detector – no sign of anything, let alone a battleship. It was looking like we were going to have a very short episode, then we hit pay dirt with that smutty old film!” While Spanked by the Swastika might, to the untrained eye, look like pornography, it is, as Bumstadler explains, actually a British propaganda film. “It was made by the Ministry of Information to warn people of the horrors of a German invasion of Britain,” he says. “It showed how British women would be enslaved by their new Nazi masters and forced, literally, into bondage.”

Unfortunately, the film had the opposite effect to that anticipated by the government. “Rather than being repelled by the movie’s displays of the Nazis’ ‘unnatural sexual depravities’, many British audiences actually found it a turn on,” Bumstadler says. “You have to remember that this was wartime, when access to pornography was severely restricted. Indeed, by the time the film was released in 1942, UK porn production had been ceased for two years.” Not only were smut starved Britons desperate for pornography by this time, but Spanked by the Swastika was offering them something new and exotic – Nazi bondage. “Let’s face it, the sort of porn on offer pre war in the UK was pretty tame stuff – naughty postcards with homely looking women showing a bit of breast, (but no nipple),” the film historian muses. “Even in the films, it was all missionary position with the lights off. So you can imagine the shock audiences experienced when confronted by sequences of attractive women having their bare arses spanked by SS officers in full uniform.” According to official statistics, following the film’s release, instances of British couples experimenting with bondage increased by a staggering sixty per cent. “I remember my mum telling me of how, after seeing that film, dad took to tying her up and having sex in the wardrobe,” recalls seventy two year old Harold Swinks, one of the amateur archaeologists involved in the TV show. “She reckoned it was the same all down their street: women being tied to clothes airers, suspended from light fittings or bent across ironing boards while their talked dirty in German accents – all with the lights on. Of course, they didn’t have stuff like whips and riding crops, so they had to improvise – apparently my old man used all sorts of stuff to spank my mother with: shoe horns, wooden spoons, ladels, even the coal shovel.”

Swinks believes that Spanked by the Swastika sparked a sexual revolution in wartime Britain. “Most ordinary people had no idea that such things went on the bedroom,” he ruminates. “Even if they did have some inkling of it, most working class people assumed that sort of thing was just for the ruling classes. If you were poor, sex was just for reproduction, only those with money were allowed to enjoy it! But suddenly, a whole new world of spankings, uniform fetishes, whips and leather was opened up to the masses by this film!” Not surprisingly, the British establishment were deeply disturbed by this development, with Churchill, in particular, outraged that what had previously been a privilege of the ruling classes was now being made available to the unwashed masses. “The Labour party was split over the issue, with the likes of Clement Attlee and Stafford Cripps fearing that the spread of bondage represented some kind of corruption of true working class values, while Ernie Bevan was all for it, reportedly even buying his own riding crop,” says Swinks. “In the end, Churchill got his way, arguing that all the sexual activity the film was encouraging was sapping the war effort, and it was ordered that every existing print of the film should be destroyed.”

According to Bumstadler, however, Spanked by the Swastika wasn’t banned solely because of fears that it was promoting the democratisation of sexual experimentation, contending that the film was exerting a far more sinister influence on audiences. “There ere fears that it might actually be glamourising the Nazis, rather than demonising them as depraved sexual deviants,” he opines. “There was some evidence that young men watching the film saw these sexually dominant, neatly uniformed and jack booted fascists as role models for the bedroom. While British men in films always seemed sexually incompetent, afraid of women, even, the Nazis in Spanked by the Swastika were portrayed as strong and confident, easily subjugated women and bending them to their sexual will. It’s no wonder the government decided to suppress the film.” World War Two veteran Harry Frames recalled how the film had inspired him in his approach to women. “I remember thinking how bloody good those SS blokes looked in their black uniforms with all those leather straps and belts,” says the ninety seven year old. “I really began to question why we were fighting them – if that was the sort of stuff they got up to, we should be joining them. I even tried to make my own SS uniform from some black out curtains – but all that happened was that the house got targeted during an air raid and bombed to buggery.”

Having finally seen the complete film, Bumstadler admits the he was surprised by its slickness and high production values. “This was no poorly lit, badly shot stag film,” he enthuses. “The full resources of the British film industry were clearly brought to bear on this production. The cast even includes some familiar faces – James Mason as a suave but cruel SS officer and Thora Hird as a maid charged with cleaning the whips, for instance. Noel Coward was rumoured to have contributed to the script. It’s really quite sophisticated, in a smutty sort of way.” But despite the film’s sophistication, it remained lost for decades. “We still have no idea who buried this print in that field,” says Bumstadler. “Perhaps it was a secret bondage fan, or a Nazi sympathiser, hoping that a German invasion would bring the film back into favour. Who knows?” Even without the ban, Bumstadler doubts that Spanked by the Swastika would have retained its popularity for long. “With the US entering the war, Britain found itself flooded by American smut magazines,” he says. “They were far more adventurous than any domestic material, not to mention available in far greater quantities. Not only that, but British women found actual American GIs with their access to nylons, cigarettes and chocolate far more attractive than fictional bondage Nazis.”