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Army film continues with Willkie, Hull, and the attack on Pearl Harbor

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.119.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1116 | Film ID: 932

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    Army film continues with Willkie, Hull, and the attack on Pearl Harbor


    Orientation Film no. 7, Reel 7. International events cause the US to enter into World War II. They fire at a US submarine and it explodes. Newspaper headlines read, "U.S. Ship Torpedoed," "S.S. Lehigh Sunk," "U-Boat Attacked!" and others. An American flag floats in the water. Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War, gives a speech saying, "If today, our Navy should make secure the seas for the delivery of our munitions to Great Britain, it will render as great a service to our country and to the preservation of American freedom as it has ever rendered in all its glorious history." Wendell Wilkie speaks to a lively audience and shouts, "We want those cargoes protected!"

    05:41:40 Text states, "Neutrality Act repealed we deliver arms to those fighting aggression" and ammunition is loaded onto merchant ships. A map of Southeast Asia shows Japan's control spread to Indochina. Civilians stand by as Japanese soldiers exit a ship and march through the city. A map shows that Russia and the US are the only threats to Japan. Russia is not a problem because Nazis are invading Moscow, but the US "had to be removed, the Japanese way." A knife stabs a map of the US. A plane flies low over the water, a Japanese flag waves from a mast and several ships are seen.

    05:42:58 "November 14, 1941" Saburo Kurusu disembarks an airplane in San Francisco and gives a speech. VO "The Japanese were a peace loving people. Their whole policy was devoted to the establishment of permanent peace in Asia..." On November 17, 1941, Kurusu and Ambassador Nomura visit the White House with Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Japanese soldiers fire artillery and run through streets with rifles.

    05:43:57 "November 26, 1941." The Secretary of State makes a proposal for peace agreements between Japan and China and sends it to Tokyo. Kurusu and Nomura leave the White House. More Japanese ships and planes. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor takes place. Japanese pilots prepare for take-off, get in planes and take off. Planes fly over the Pacific Ocean.

    05:44:51 A clock shows 1 PM. Hull waits at the State Department for Japanese emissaries who are expected for a meeting to answer the peace proposals. At 1:05, Japanese planes continue approaching Hawaii and at 1:10, the emissaries call to postpone their meeting until 1:45. The clock shows 1:20. Planes come into view of people at Pearl Harbor as they play ball and man stations. Aerial shots of the island are seen. Pilots drop bombs and ships, buildings and planes explode. Planes fly low to the ground, fire machine guns and a man is shot.

    05:46:35 The clock strikes 2 PM as Japanese envoys arrive at the State Department, "smiling and correct." At 2:20, smoke fills Pearl Harbor's skies and US soldiers fire at Japanese planes. A few are shot down. A memorandum is presented to Mr. Hull and he addresses American citizens. He speaks of the accusations laid out by the Japanese against the US and declares, "I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehood than distortions, on a scale so huge, that I never imagined that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them."

    05:48:30 Plumes of smoke rise from ships, the massive destruction of Pearl Harbor is shown and the wounded lie on gurneys. VO of President Roosevelt declaring a state of war. An American flag waves in the wind and fades into a shot of the Statue of Liberty. "'...victory of the democracies can only be complete with the utter defeat of the war machines of Germany and Japan.' G.C. Marshall Chief of Staff," is superimposed on the image. Title card reads, "End of Part One Information Film #7."
    Event:  1941
    Production:  1942
    Washington, DC, United States
    Pearl Harbor, Oahu, HI, 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
    05:40:37:00 to 05:49:56:00
    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: 1530
    Source Archive Number: 111 OF 7 R-7
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:51:56
    This page:

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