SummarySince 1935, the National Archives has been responsible for the acquisition, preservation, and public dissemination of the permanent records of the United States government. A series of seven government films, produced to advance the war effort, have been culled from the millions of pieces making up the National Archives' popular holdings and assembled to produce Why We Fight, a cinematic recounting of the ideologies and the aftermath of the Axis aggression that resulted in World War Two.
ContentsVol. 1: Prelude to war: Explores international incidents and politics that led to the start of World War II (Walter Huston, narrator) (1942) (54 min.)
Nazis Strike: Film chronicling the rise of German aggression, 1934-1940. Includes footage of Hitler exhorting the citizenry, Nazi rallies (including one at New York City's Madison Square Garden), British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at the Munich Conference, and the siege of Poland (1943) (41 min.). Vol. 2. Divide and conquer: The German military offensive of 1939-1940, with segments on the invasions of Denmark, Norway, and Belgium and the surrender of the French and the Dutch (1943) (58 min.). Vol. 3. Battle of Britain: Britain defends against German air strikes during the last five months of 1940; Hitler's plans for invading England after gaining air superiority are explained. Includes footage of the Christmas Eve bombing of London (1943) (55 min.). Vol. 4. Battle of Russia: Documentary on Russia's involvement in World War II from 1941-1943, including footage of the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Stalingrad; provides historical background on previous invasions of Russia (1242, 1704, 1812, 1914) and discusses Russian industry, natural resources, and peoples (1943) (100 min.). Vol. 5. Battle of China: Documentary of Japan's invasion of China; prefaced by an examination of the centuries-old friction between the two nations (1944) (67 min.). Vol. 6. War comes to America: Highlights international events leading to U.S. involvement in World War II. Includes footage of Edward R. Murrow reporting during a London air raid, President Roosevelt urging Congress to amend U.S. neutrality laws, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1942) (66 min.).