Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war.
Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 16, 2012 -
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 22, 2011 -
802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 13, 2011 -
The Imperial Palaces of Tsarskoye Selo
(nowadays Pushkin), near St. Petersburg, contained many invaluable cultural treasures that were plundered or destroyed during the Second World War. Most famous among them was the fabled Amber Room
, whose disappearance has soured diplomatic relations between Germany and Russia ever since (the Germans can't find it back
). Some claim that another, much more secret room of the Catherine Palace
was also plundered. However, in this case, the Russian authorities deny that it ever existed. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic
on Jan 17, 2010 -
Autumn 1944, and London was under attack from space. Hitler's 'vengeance' rocket, the V-2, was the world's first ballistic missile, and the first man-made object to make a sub-orbital spaceflight. Over 1400 were launched at Britain, with more than 500 striking London. Each hit
caused devastation. The 13 tonne rocket impacted at over 3000 miles per hour. There was no warning; the missile descended faster than the speed of sound and survivors would only hear the approach and sonic booms after the blast. via Londonist.
posted by swift
on Jan 13, 2009 -
In 1945-46, some of the (very few) Polish Jews who had survived the Final Solution returned -- sick, poor, wounded -- to Poland. In Elie Wiesel's words, "they had thought all too naively that antisemitism, discredited 6 million times over, had died at Auschwitz with its victims. They were wrong
." In 2001 Princeton professor Jan
published the story of the 1941 destruction of the Jewish community
at Jedwabne, Poland
, and proved how Jews were rounded up, clubbed, drowned, gutted or burned to death not by German forces as previously believed but by mobs of their own non-Jewish neighbors
. Now professor Gross tells the story of the Kielce pogrom
in his new book, "Fear
". Of course, the Kielce butchery took place in 1946 -- more than a year after
the end of WWII and defeat of Nazism. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jun 25, 2006 -
He has cavorted naked with Charlotte Rampling [this is VERY NSFW]
and covered himself in caviar for Marc Jacobs
, but Jürgen Teller
thinks "fashion is a wank".
Teller's first solo show in Paris is entitled "Nurnberg"
, it consists of a sequence of images (annoying Flash site, sorry)
taken at the infamous Zeppelintribune
parade ground, site of Nazi propaganda rallies
, which was designed by Hitler's favourite builder, Albert Speer. Over several months, Teller (.pdf)
has photographed the monument, the podium and the steep, ruthless steps, all of which have been left to decay. Or not. "It wasn't really maintained, but if there was a broken step, or a smashed wall, it would be mysteriously replaced with a new one." Teller's photographs show the delicate weeds, flowers and lichen [NSFW]
that have grown up around the stone blocks. "In Germany, there is a saying about letting the grass grow over things, meaning that events will eventually be forgotten".
posted by matteo
on Mar 22, 2006 -
"The German invasion of Britain took place in July 1940, after the British retreat from Dunkirk".
We see, documentary-style, members of the Wehrmacht trooping past Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral, lounging in the parks, having their jackboots shined by old cockneys, and appreciatively visiting the shrine of that good German, Prince Albert
, in Kensington Gardens. Kevin Brownlow
and Andrew Mollo
's film "It Happened Here
", with its cast of hundreds (.pdf)
, imagines what a Nazi occupation might have been like — complete with underground resistance, civilian massacres, civil strife, torch-lit rallies, Jewish ghettos, and organized euthanasia. Shot on weekends, eight years in production, made for about $20,000 with nonactors and borrowed equipment and Stanley Kubrick's help, "It Happened Here" was originally envisioned by Brownlow
as a sort of Hammer horror flick about a Nazi Britain
. Thanks in part to Mollo's fanatical concern with historical accuracy
, however, it became something else
. The most remarkable thing about this account of everyday fascism is that it has no period footage. Brownlow's 1968 book
about the film's production, "How It Happened Here
", has recently been republished
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 12, 2006 -
The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 12, 2005 -
"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear."
He is one
's great novelists
, but you don't expect Philip Roth
to be barreling up the best-seller list with a book that hasn't even been published yet
. And yet "The Plot Against America
" is in the top 3 at amazon.com
It spins a what-if scenario
in which the isolationist and anti-Semitic hero Charles Lindbergh
runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats F.D.R.
"Keep America Out of the Jewish War", reads a button worn by Lindbergh supporters rallying at Madison Square Garden. And so he does: he signs nonaggression pacts
with Germany and Japan that will keep America at peace while the rest of the world burns. The Lindbergh administration hatches a nice plan to prod assimilation of the Jews. Innocuously called Just Folks, it's a relocation program for urban Jews, administered by an Office of American Absorption fronted by an obliging and pompous rabbi of radio celebrity. The teenage Roth character is shipped off to a Kentucky tobacco farm, to finally live among Christians.
is about American Fascism
, but while Roth is no fan of President Bush ("a man unfit to run a hardware store let alone a nation like this one"), he points out that he conceived this book (LATimes registration: sparklebottom/sparklebottom)
in December 2000, and that it would be "a mistake" to read it "as a roman à clef to the present moment in America." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 28, 2004 -