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Army film documenting Axis powers, Lindbergh, Willkie, and FDR speaking to Congress

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.119.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1115 | Film ID: 932

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    Army film documenting Axis powers, Lindbergh, Willkie, and FDR speaking to Congress


    Orientation Film no. 7, Reel 6. International events cause the US to enter into World War II. Winston Churchill signs a document for more ships. A map shows US bases along the Caribbean to protect the Panama Canal. In Berlin, Hitler shakes hands with Japanese diplomats. A sign reads, "Mr. Berle Assistant Secretary of State" and he speaks of the pact of Berlin and the alliance of the Axis powers. Text states, "Pact of Berlin Sept. 27, 1940," people cheer on the street and flags wave. Hitler salutes and shakes hands with officials. Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany, Galleazzo Ciano of Italy, and Saburo Kurusu of Japan all sign the pact. "Tokyo" is superimposed on a shot of champagne being poured in celebration. People cheer and wave flags. In Rome, a man stands on a balcony and looks down on a cheering crowd. A city square in Berlin is packed with people, the Axis powers' flags hang side by side and a Japanese official tips his hat.

    05:34:02 Planes fly at night. In London, people sleep in subway tunnels, guns fire and buildings burn. Charles A. Lindbergh stands at a podium and says that England is losing the war. Wendell Willkie says, "England will not only survive, England will win!" People clean up London's streets. They pick up a mannequin and small British flags and sweep. An AIPO poll taken on January 1941 asks, "Should we keep out of war or aid Britain... even at the risk of war?" 68% say to risk war. Tanks roll and soldiers march. A diagram shows how in 1936, 1 in 20 people supported war, but by 1941 it grew to 14 out of 20. FDR speaks in front of Congress on Lend-Lease Act. A map illustrates supplies being sent out. War materials, including ships, planes and tanks, are shown. "Lend- Lease Act passed House 317 to 71 Senate 60 to 31" is superimposed on a shot of the Capitol building. Text states, "Lend Lease arms for those fighting aggression, but come and get them."

    05:36:17 "April 6 1941" A map demonstrates Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. "June 22 1941" A map shows Germany's invasion of Soviet Russia. German soldiers sit in a motor boat, ride in tanks and fire artillery. Civilians dig large ditches. Map shows expansion of the Lend-Lease Act. Ships are unloaded, men move boxes, trucks carry supplies and countless crates are stacked high. A truck has "Hammer and Sickle 'Em" painted on its side. Aerial shot of thousands of trucks lined up bumper to bumper. Boys move tires, pull a crate and unload other supplies. Men protest. Hitler speaks at podium. VO and text say, "Two worlds are in conflict... two philosophies of life... one of these two worlds must break asunder."

    05:37:50 Panning shot of the Statue of Liberty. A drawing of the western hemisphere is shown with a Nazi flag on the right and Japanese flag on the left. Maps of Britain, Russia, and China are stamped with a swastika. A map illustrates how the German conquest of Europe and Africa would leave one quarter of the world's 2 billion people under Hitler's rule. If Russia were conquered, another 200 million people would be added. Japanese conquest of the Orient would leave 1000 million under their rule. The map shows how North and South America would be left with only 3/10 of the world's raw materials and have one industrial region where they would have three. The western hemisphere would make up one eighth of the world's population and if we mobilized 30 million men for combat, the Axis would mobilize 200 million. VO "These are the reasons that led us, the American people, to change the Neutrality Act."

    05:39:49 The US Capitol Building. A map of North America has a sign reading, "No Arms For Sale" with "No" crossed out. Crates, trains, trucks and boats carry supplies to England, Russia, and China in order "to make ourselves the arsenals of democracy." A map shows the construction and strategic importance of US bases in Greenland and Iceland.
    Event:  1941
    Production:  1942
    Washington, DC, United States
    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
    05:32:00:00 to 05:40:24:00
    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: 1529
    Source Archive Number: 111 OF 7 R-6
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:51:54
    This page:

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