Why We Fight
(1942) Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor Chief of Staff of the Army George C. Marshall asked new enlistee Hollywood Director Frank Capra to create a series of films that could be shown to the troops and explain why we are fighting. Capra went on to help create seven films. You can watch each of these at www.archive.org. Here is the link for the first one.
There is excellent newsreel footage in each one. Actor Walter Houston is the narrator, and in his script he is contrasting the “slave world” with the “free world.”
Prelude to War (1942) -
- The Nazis Strike (1943)
- Divide and Conquer (1943)
- The Battle of Britain (1943)
- The Battle of Russia (1943)
- The Battle of China (1944)
- War Comes to America (1945)
I’ve watched most of these. They are good history lessons, taking into consideration that they were being filmed during the war. We didn’t know we would win! We were courting Russia. (We didn’t want her to be against us!) Of course they are all propaganda films. The “OSS” (Office of Strategic Services) is given credit in each of them, the organization charged with creating and spreading propaganda.
I learned that Capra’s inspiration was the documentary Triumph of the Will, Hitler’s masterpiece of propaganda. I will write about that next.