Made from 1942 to 1945, the seven films range from 40 to 76 minutes
Intro and Background
to the series
to War (1942) (51:35) - examines the difference between democratic
and fascist states, and covers the Japanese conquest of Manchuria and the
Italian conquest of Ethiopia.
Pt. I at Archive.org (Java script required)
I describes World War II as a battle between the "slave world" of fascism
and the "free world" of American liberty. In the "slave world," the entire
populations of Germany, Italy and Japan have been hoodwinked by madmen,
opportunists who capitalized on their people's desperation and weakness
to rise to power. These demagogues promised revenge for past losses, and
in the process convinced their people to give up their rights and accept
In the "free world," the principles of equality, freedom, and liberty
characterize the greatest leaders, embodied in the works and words of Washington,
Jefferson, and Lincoln. This freedom is a threat to the fascist dictators
of the Axis powers, who claim that democracy is weak and must be eradicated.
The film claims that the ultimate goal of the Axis powers is to enslave
the nations of the "free world," a desire made manifest in the Japanese
invasion of Manchuria and Mussolini's destruction of Ethiopia.
2. The Nazis Strike
(1943) (40:20) - covers Nazi geopolitics and the conquest of Austria, Czechoslovakia
Pt. II at Archive.org
II summarizes Adolph Hitler's plan for world conquest and Germany's full
scale preparation in pursuit of this end. While the Nazis plead poverty
and pacifism, they spend incredible amounts of money to prepare a war machine
of unparalleled strength and destructive capability. While Hitler assures
the other leaders of the world he has no interest in promoting National
Socialism, he begins "softening up" future target nations by sponsoring
local Nazi organizations in other countries.
The film explains that the key to Germany's world conquest is the occupation
of central Russia, a heartland rich in natural resources. Hitler begins
his march in this direction by annexing Austria and part of Czechoslovakia.
With these new territories, he now possesses a massive front against Poland,
which he invades and conquers within three weeks.
After the invasion of Poland, Britain and France declare war on Germany,
which then signs a non-aggression pact with the Soviets so Hitler can re-focus
his energy against his enemies to the west.
3. Divide and Conquer
(1943) (56:00) - about the campaign in Benelux and the Fall of France.
Pt. III at Archive.org
III begins with Britain and France's declaration of war on Germany
after Hitler's invasion of Poland. The film covers the Nazi capture of
Denmark and Norway, steps necessary to mount a future attack on Britain,
then describes in detail Hitler's strategy as he conquers Luxembourg, Belgium
and the Netherlands.
Special attention is paid to Nazi atrocities. Dead and injured children
are shown en masse and the film explains how the bombing of Rotterdam leads
to "thirty thousand men, women and children killed in ninety minutes."
The narrator tells how the Luftwaffe bombs small villages so that refugees
clog the highways, and how it uses precision machine gun fire to herd the
survivors toward the allied armies, who find their progress severely constrained
as a result. An American military officer details the Nazi plan for an
invasion of France, which Hitler conquers in just over a month.
The Germans bludgeon the French armies into surrender, then "enslave"
much of the local population to service the German military regime.
4. The Battle of Britain
(1943) (51:30) - depicts Britain's victory against the Luftwaffe.
Pt. IV at Archive.org
IV begins after Hitler's conquest of Western Europe. Once firmly in control
of the parts of France and Norway closest to Great Britain, the Nazis commence
their massive air assault on the British isles.
Outnumbered six to one, the fighters of the Royal Air Force defend their
skies against the Luftwaffe for close to four months. Capra embellishes
the British successes, for example the film claims the RAF fought 200 dogfights
in the first thirty minutes of the battle alone, and that by the end of
the first month they had destroyed 900 German planes. (In truth, the number
is closer to 260).
However, the success of the British defenses forced the Germans to change
strategies, switching to more frightening night raids that terrorized London.
But the British resolve won the day, in grand fashion.
The film claims total German losses of more than 2,700. The real number
is closer to 1,600. The number of downed British planes equaled approximately
half that of Germany.
5. The Battle of Russia
(1943) (76:07) part 1, part 2 - shows a history of Russian defense and
Russia's battle against Germany.
Pt. V - 1 at Archive.org
V follows the beginning of the end for Adolph Hitler. Part One shows how
the Nazi regime, frustrated by the tenacity of British resistance, sets
its sights on the Soviet Union instead.
As it follows the Nazi march into Russian territory, the film provides
a brief summary of the attempts of foreign powers to invade Russia over
the past seven hundred years. It explains why the country is such a hot
prize and why no army in history ever succeeded in conquering it.
Hitler is portrayed as a fool, his hubris blinding him to the evidence
of history. The film illustrates how the Red Army's method of fighting
-- a scorched-earth strategy and a reliance on guerilla and urban warfare
-- was bound to defeat the Nazis as it had defeated every invader before
them. Capra's favorable portrait of the Russians is notable.
Released two years before the start of the Cold War, the film portrays
the Soviets as a diverse and freedom-loving people, in many ways similar
to their then-allies, the people of the United States.
Pt. V - 2 at Archive.org
Chapter V - Part Two, the German army falls victim to the Soviet scorched-earth
The Russian forces flee from the start, retreating deep into their homeland,
drawing the Nazis farther and farther away from the German border. As the
Red Army falls back, it destroys infrastructure and natural resources,
making it difficult for the Nazi army to live off the land.
Once the famed Russian winter sets in, Germany is doomed. The film focuses
on the stalwart defense of Leningrad. After the Nazis surround the Soviet
metropolis in an attempt to starve out its residents, the Russians outsmart
them by constructing a fully operational railroad across a frozen lake
to get supplies to the beleaguered citizens. The Battle of Russia ends
up as a disaster for the Germans, who lose more than 800,000 men.
6. The Battle of China
(1944) (62:16) - shows Japanese aggression such as the Nanking Massacre
and Chinese efforts such as the construction of the Burma Road and the
Battle of Changsha
Pt. VI at Archive.org
VI explains why the Empire of Japan possessed such a strong interest in
ruling the disparate lands of China. In an attempt to break the will of
the Chinese people in one massive assault, Japan invades Nanking and massacres
forty thousand civilians.
The attack results in an opposite effect, galvanizing the Chinese resistance
and unifying the separate lands into a single Chinese identity.
While the Japanese take control of all Chinese ports, hoping to cut
off all resources from its victim, China's allies effectuate an engineering
miracle. They construct the seven hundred mile long Burma Road over the
mountains of Myanmar, and set up a constant caravan of trucks to ship food
and materiel to the Chinese armies, keeping them alive.
Frustrated by their inability to conquer China, the Japanese turn their
attention to the islands of the Pacific, and the United States.
7. War Comes to America
(1945) (64:20) - shows how the pattern of Axis aggression turned
the American people against isolationism.
Pt. VII at Archive.org
this final installment the subject focuses on the United States of America.
We learn of its good qualities and the things worth fighting for.
With that established, we learn of the history of the United States'
population shifting opinion towards siding with the Allies against the
Axis until the attack on Pearl Harbour which brought America into full
scale involvement in the war.
Shorter clips of the above are available at YouTube.com . . . for example:
Battle of China
I | II