Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Army film showing Japanese troops, Nazi conquests, the bombing of Warsaw, and neutrality

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.119.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1113 | Film ID: 932

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Army film showing Japanese troops, Nazi conquests, the bombing of Warsaw, and neutrality


    Orientation Film no. 7, Reel 4. International events cause the US to enter into World War II. A newspaper man calls out, "Nazi Spy Gang Captured!" on a bustling street. People sit in a movie theater and the screen reads, "Confessions of a Nazi Spy." They watch a dramatization of Hitler saying the Constitution should be destroyed. German American children march in a parade carrying Nazi and American flags and others play instruments. In Madison Square Garden, people recite the Pledge of Allegiance while giving the Nazi Salute. A man is held back by guards. Hitler and Mussolini are seen on the cover of Newsweek as the narrator explains how Nazis were spending millions to buy war supplies. Montage of industrial shots. Men drive by in tanks and planes fly in formation. A Japanese boy is on the cover of Life magazine carrying a rifle, a hand flips through Japanese currency, men work in a munitions plant and a ship pulls away from the harbor.

    05:12:16 Soldiers march. The narrator says that supposedly poor nations were spending huge sums on armaments and when asked why, they replied that "they had declared war on us long before the shooting started." Mussolini is quoted saying, "We have actually been at war since the day when we lifted the flag of our revolution against the democratic world!" and the Coliseum is in the BG. Mussolini salutes with a statue of Julius Caesar behind him. VO "The Germans are a noble and unique race to whom the earth was given by the grace of God." Text indicates that the quote is taken from "Mein Kampf" on page 827. A large gong is hit and text quotes Lord Hotta, "The world must come to look up to our emperor as the great ruler of all nations." The emperor rides on a horse followed by other officials and Japanese people bow. Crowds cheer and wave flags from the three different nations. Images of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.

    05:13:12 The narrator states that they wish to destroy "personal freedom, equality of man, freedom of speech and freedom of religion." Views of the Statue of Liberty with text stating "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal," a man standing at a podium, a church, and the Lincoln Memorial. Men from the American Institute of Public Opinion (AIPO) interview different people. The poll determines that in December 1938, 85% of American citizens answered "Yes" when asked, "Should the United States increase the strength of its Army, Navy and Air Force?" A title reads, "Military Affairs Committee House of Representatives" and Representative Andrew J. May of Kentucky talks of national defense. Secretary of the Navy, Charles Edison, asks the Naval Affairs Committee for an increase of 25% in naval tonnage. An illustration shows the U.S. military budget growing from 1.5 billion in 1939 to 81 billion in 1943.

    05:14:29 A map shows how on March 14, 1939, Germany took over the rest of Czechoslovakia and broke the treaty made at Munich. CU of Hitler smiling. Text reads, "April 7, 1939" and various shots of a church as people attend Good Friday services. A man sells newspapers with the headline, "Italy Attacks Albania." Ships fire guns, troops march, people walk with their bikes and a caravan of cars carry soldiers. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sits at his desk and signs messages to Hitler and Mussolini asking them to respect the independence of 33 countries. Hitler stands before the Reichstag and reads off the names of the 33 countries, mocking the letter. People in the audience begin to laugh and applaud, then stand and salute. Text reads "September 1, 1939" and is followed by a newspaper declaring that Poland has been invaded. Troops walk across a platform over a body of water. Cannons fire and planes fly overhead. Text reads "Warsaw" and people stand around a shop window reading a sign that says, "Wojna War." An alarms sounds and civilians run through the streets as bombs drop from planes. Germans soldiers set shops on fire, horses leading a carriage gallop, a baby cries. Dead bodies are lined up on the street and people look on.

    05:16:45 In the US, men stand around a radio in a general store. VO talks of how the European war is now a certainty. Title card reads, "September 3, 1939." Chamberlain sits at a desk and a sign says "Imminent Peril of War Premier." People line up in the street, a guard stands on duty, and women shovel dirt. Various shots of people, including a crying baby, putting on gas masks. British soldiers march; smiling and giving "thumbs up" sign. A man and women lie in bed and listen to a man the radio say that fire has been opened on Germany and that World War II has begun. Soldiers travel along the Maginot line and various guns fire. An AIPO poll taken in September 1939 asks, "What country do you consider responsible for causing this war?" 82% say Germany. People stand and look over a newspaper.

    05:18:24 FDR stands before Congress and requests a reconsideration of the embargo against selling ammunition. Senators Gerald P. Nye and Elbert D. Thomas voice opposing views. People talk with each other about amending the neutrality act and another poll is taken. In October 1939, 57% of the people said yes when asked, "Should we change the neutrality act so we can sell war supplies?" Text reads, "Arms Embargo Repealed, Arms for Sale but Come and Get Them." A map of the US demonstrates the cash and carry of arms.

    05:19:43 A large boat crosses the ocean, followed by a map of China. Japanese soldiers fire artillery, explosions in the distance and troops walk through the street. People run carrying small sacks. Soldiers shoot young boys. A woman cries and dead Chinese children and babies lay in the street. A poll taken in September 1937 asks, "In the present fight between Japan and China are your sympathies with either side?" 43% said China, 2% Japan and 55% were undecided. In June 1939, the number increased to 74% of the population being sympathetic towards China.
    Event:  1938-1939
    Production:  1942
    United States
    Berlin, Germany
    Warsaw, Poland
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
    Director: Anatole Litvak
    Producer: United States. Army. Signal Corps.
    Producer: Frank R. Capra
    Writer: Anthony Veiller
    Writer: Dmitri Tiomkin
    Frank Capra was an Italian American film director, producer, and writer born in Italy and raised in Los Angeles from the age of five. Capra became one of America's most influential directors during the 1930s, winning three Academy Awards for Best Director from six nominations, along with three other Oscar wins from nine nominations in other categories. Among his leading films were "It Happened One Night" (1934), "You Can't Take It with You" (1938), and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939).

    Capra served in the US Army during World War I and became naturalized shortly thereafter. He reenlisted after Pearl Harbor and was offered a commission as a Major at the age of 44. Chief of Staff George Marshall bypassed the US Army Signal Corps and assigned Major Capra the job of producing seven propaganda films (the Why We Fight series) that would be seen less as propaganda pieces and more as the inspiring films that Capra had made.

    After World War II, Capra's career declined as his later films, such as "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), performed poorly when they were first released. Outside of directing, Capra was active in the film industry, engaging in various political and social issues. He served as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, worked alongside the Writers Guild of America, and was head of the Directors Guild of America.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    05:10:24:00 to 05:20:41:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 932 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Public Domain
    Conditions on Use
    To the best of the Museum's knowledge, this material is in the public domain. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this material.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased this from the National Archives and Records Administration in September 1994.
    Distributed by the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry.

    The well-known Why We Fight series, produced by the War Department under the general supervision of Lt. Col. Frank Capra, include: "Prelude to War," "The Nazis Strike," "Divide and Conquer," "Battle of Britain," "Battle of Russia," "Battle of China," and "War Comes to America" and together represent one of the most comprehensive efforts to teach history through film. Designed for new recruits, these films were eventually shown to civilian warworkers and the general public. Capra's staff used the compilation method in these films. Footage was selected from the resources of the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the Army Pictorial Center, and the newsreel libraries in New York City. Films from Allied Governments and those captured from the Axis were also used in the productions. These films were arranged and rearranged to explain official U.S. policy on the causes of the war and toward the Allied and Axis powers. "Prelude to War" reviews events leading to the war and contrasts American democracy with fascism. "The Nazis Strike" and "Divide and Conquer" detail German expansion toward the east and west. "Battle of Britain" concentrates on the fight against the attacking Luftwaffe and the resilience and courage of British civilians. "Battle of Russia," running almost two hours, quickly reviews centuries of Russian history, emphasizing the theme that the Russian people would ultimately defeat and drive out all foreign invaders. This film shows in grim detail the bitter conditions of fighting on the Eastern front. "Battle of China," quickly withdrawn from circulation after its release, is the least historically accurate of the series. Its footage, obtained from many documentaries on China, shows the magnitude of the struggle between China and Japan and builds sympathy for the Chinese people. "War Comes to America" is the summation of the work done by Colonel Capra's film staff; it is a fast-paced, rhythmical film on the values of American culture and U.S. composition, achievements, failures, and ideals. Although the Why We Fight films generally employ footage of historical events, they are more important for the study of ideas, attitudes, and interpretations than for the facts they present.
    Copied From
    35mm; b/w
    Film Source
    United States. National Archives and Records Administration. Motion Picture Reference
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 1527
    Source Archive Number: 111 OF 7 R-4
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:51:47
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us