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Army film showing Nazi aggression, refugees, FDR & Hull

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.119.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1114 | Film ID: 932

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    Army film showing Nazi aggression, refugees, FDR & Hull


    Orientation Film no. 7, Reel 5. International events cause the US to enter into World War II. Cranes move scraps of metal in a junkyard and protestors carry picket signs saying "Embargo Japan." A sign over a doorway reads, "Mr. Acheson Assistant Secretary of State." Dean Acheson sits at a desk and summarizes the conflicts involved with exporting goods to Japan.

    05:22:15 "April 9, 1940." Hitler looks over a map with other Nazi officials. A graphic shows the Nazi party taking over Western Europe. "May 10, 1940" is superimposed on a CU of soldiers marching in boots. People sit in their homes and listen to the radio. Refugees flee on bikes and wagons. German planes fly overhead and fire at the people below. Men sit around a car and lean in to hear the news on the radio. More people are gathered around radios as VO tells of Nazi victory and English retreat to Dunkirk. A plane drops bombs into the water where people swim to a ship. A man sits in a barber shop and reads a paper with the headline, "Italy Enters War." FDR gives a speech saying, "The hand that held the dagger has struck it in the back of its neighbor."

    05:23:28 "June 22nd 1940." Men operate the radio at a station and a family listens in their living room. Hitler, Goering and Admiral Doenitz walk past soldiers standing at attention and Hitler salutes. General Huntzinger leads French officials down an avenue. Hitler and other German officials rise as the French enter a train cabin. A Nazi flag is lowered over a statue. A father changes the radio channel from the news to music and "The Last Time I Saw Paris" is playing. A Nazi flag is raised up a pole, a soldier laughs and street cafes are bare. German soldiers march through the Arc de Triomphe and more pass by on horses. A man wipes away tears. Hitler salutes from a train bearing the swastika. A car rolls through Paris's barren streets, passing landmarks. Hitler stands with officials and looks at the Eiffel Tower. Overview shot of Nazis parading through Paris.

    05:25:27 A map of France is stamped with a swastika. German soldiers raise a cannon and it fires. Another map shows how countries captured by the Nazis had possessions outside of Europe and very close to the US. The narrator shares how over one million Germans lived in Brazil and operated as though they were in Germany. Children attend German schools with German teachers and textbooks. Nazi newspapers are printed and a man climbs into a plane at a club. "Also in Brazil, there were 260,000 Japanese taking orders from Japan."

    05:26:28 A map illustrates how the Nazis occupying Ecuador are within reach of bombing the Panama Canal. German airlines are established in Ecuador and the planes are all built with bomb racks. Text reads, "Argentina." A sign announces German athletic clubs similar to the Hitler Youth movement. A boy throws a discus and storefronts show "A fifth column ready to take over." "Havana Conference For the Defense of the Americas July 22, 1940" is superimposed on a scene of the beach. Men gather in a courtroom and Secretary of State Cordell Hull gives a speech asking for hemispheric solidarity. A map of the Western Hemisphere has a fence drawn around it and a sign saying "Keep Out" is posted on the Panama Canal.

    05:27:32 FDR stands before Congress and asks for funds to prepare the Army and Navy. Men sit behind rows of desks looking over papers, aircrafts are constructed and a naval ship is built. US troops march in formation. A map shows the Army, Navy and Air Force totaling 330,000 men. Soldiers train with pipes for guns, bags of flour for bombs and trucks with "tank" painted on the side. Real machine guns, field artillery and tanks are shown and the narrator describes America's short supply. Troops march through streets and onto a train. A man kisses a woman goodbye.

    05:29:10 Congress passes the Selective Service Act and President Roosevelt draws the serial number of draftee 158. A man pulls of his work hat and apron, another pulls a bottle off a shop shelf and another man looks up from his desk and smiles. The President announces more numbers and men are shown leaving their work or families. A sign is put in a laundry shop window reading, "Closing Up Drafted." Boys receive physicals and are sworn in. Men march down the street and one person carries a sign saying, "Goodbye Philly Hello Ft. Meade." More men march through a camp wearing uniforms and carrying rifles.

    05:30:35 German airplanes lift off and a map illustrates them attacking Britain. Edward R. Murrow reports from London as an air raid takes place. Guns fire, a plane is blown up in the sky, and a sign states, "public air raid shelter 300 persons." People in the shelter look up in fear. Firefighters put out smoking buildings. Shot of "Main St." sign. A man stops in front of a shop window and reads news of the war in Britain. A swastika is superimposed over British ships. Rows of US destroyers from World War I sit in the harbor. Men in Navy uniforms march past. 50 ships are revitalized and sent to Great Britain.
    Event:  1939-1940
    Production:  1942
    United States
    Paris, France
    London, England
    Havana, Cuba
    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: Night Music Records
    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
    05:20:54:00 to 05:31:48:00
    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: 1528
    Source Archive Number: 111 OF 7 R-5
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:51:54
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