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Why We Fight [2 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

The Battle of China
Battle of China was number six in the Why We Fight series, a group of government-sponsored documentaries aimed at explaining World War II to the American home front. The film describes the rape of China at the hands of the Japanese warlords. Once China is enslaved, Japan uses the captured land and its facilities to overwhelm the rest of Asia. Included are scenes of wartime atrocities--some filmed by the Japanese as proof of their invincibility. Frank Capra directed Battle of China, as he did all seven of the Why We Fight films. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Prelude to War
Prelude to War was the first entry in the US War Department's Why We Fight series, a group of seven morale-boosing documentaries supervised by Lt. Col. Frank Capra. As brilliantly assembled as any of Capra's "populist" Hollywood films, Prelude demonstrates how the diplomatic and political blunders made in the wake of WW1 led inexorably to WW2. Especially culpable are those complacent citizens of the USA who were led to believe that the problems of the rest of the world had no bearing on their lives. While America sleeps, Japan and Germany slowly and methodically build their armies and launch their plans for global conquest. Throughout the film, the lies of fascisim and totalitarinism are contrasted with the ideals of Democracy. Unlike most other War Department efforts, the 53-minute Why We Fight was shown to both civilian and military audiences. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Battle of Russia
The 60-minute documentary was the fifth of the Army Special Service's "Why We Fight" series. Assembled under the supervision of Lt. Colonel Frank Capra, the film is a sublimely assembled collection of authentic newsreel footage from both the U.S. Signal Corps and various Soviet sources. Narrated by Anthony Veiller, Battle for Russia is designed to clarify the history of America's Russian allies to military and civilian audiences alike, and to emphasize the importance of Russo-American cooperation in defeating the Nazi juggernaut. The film's highlight is the siege of Stalingrad, alternately terrifying and awe-inspiring. The musical score was by Russian expatriate Dmitri Tiomkin, who'd previously collaborated with Capra on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Nazis Strike
The Nazi Strike was the second of Col. Frank Capra's government-ordained "Why We Fight" series. This hard-hitting documentary artfully assembles existing stock footage to trace the rise of Adolf Hitler and his thirst for world conquest. Virtually wresting the German government from more moderate politicos, Hitler installs a dictatorship. Having subjugated the Jewish citizens in his own country, Der Fuhrer moves onto the Rhineland and Austria, and demands the annexation of Czechoslovakia. Despite his assurances of "peace in our time," Hitler marches into Poland. World War II is the undesirable but inevitable end result. Like all the "Why We Fight" films, The Nazi Strike was designed to clarify the meaning and importance of the war effort to the average GI. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Divide and Conquer
Divide and Conquer was the third of Col. Frank Capra's government-ordained Why We Fight series. Using newsreel footage and animated maps, Capra delineates Hitler's strategy in overtaking Europe. We watch as the Nazis occupy Denmark and Norway, push back the British Army, and force France into a humiliating surrender. The film ends on a hopeful note, observing that while Hitler has all of Europe in his thrall, both Britain and the United States are still in the game. Designed primarily to enlighten military audiences, Divide and Conquer was also released to civilian theaters, and in recent years has become a mainstay of such cable services as A&E and the History Channel. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain was the fourth of the US government's Why We Fight documentaries. The film uses newsreel footage and a few re-created scenes to illustrate the courage of the British people under the bombardment of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Much is made of the fact that Britain stood alone in 1940 when it was besieged by bombs, and that the little island was virtually the only Nazi target that refused to capitulate. The film concludes with scenes of the Royal Air Force preparing to pay Hitler back. Like the rest of the Why We Fight series, Battle of Britain was directed (or rather, assembled) by Frank Capra. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

War Comes to America
This informative presentation tells of our American heritage and the events that force us to fight for survival. ~ Julie Clark, Rovi

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