War is hell. No, really, it is.
December 20, 2005 11:25 AM   Subscribe

World War II video footage. Graphic, violent images that are both horrifying and mesmerising. [via Digg]
posted by Elpoca (56 comments total)
I'm not sure which is more disturbing, the video footage or the horrible music.
posted by afx114 at 11:37 AM on December 20, 2005

Thanks for your interest in Google Video.
Currently, the playback feature of Google Video isn't available in your country.
We hope to make this feature available more widely in the future, and we really appreciate your patience.

*bangs head on keyboard*

When are they finally going to fix this?

Since everybody started to link to Google Video a while back, I could reuse my old dial-up modem.
posted by uncle harold at 11:39 AM on December 20, 2005

posted by mert at 11:44 AM on December 20, 2005

It's the perfect music for scenes of carnage. Perhaps that's why I hate metal and scenes of carnage.
posted by wsg at 11:49 AM on December 20, 2005

posted by matteo at 11:50 AM on December 20, 2005

Is there a voiceover hidden behind that music? Or am I hearing voice(over)s?
posted by pracowity at 11:52 AM on December 20, 2005

I heard it too, unless that's just for artistic effect by the, ahem, musician. I would've liked to have heard that, but i just turned the volume down.
posted by wumpus at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2005

War is sexy. War is fun.

On a related note, I can't be the only one who's noticed a surge in military-style video games. Get the kids killing early, it'll make 'em better soldiers later on!

Terror Terror 9/11, Terror Terror 9/11, Terror Terror Freedom Terror, al-Qaeda 9/11 Terror Freedom War, Freedom Freedom, 9/11 9/11.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2005

Also, is that Sam Kinison singing?
posted by pracowity at 11:55 AM on December 20, 2005

Call me desensitized but I just didn't get much shock or awe from this. Admittedly I closed the video at about 6 minutes in but I was bored with the countless air-sea battle video. Don't get me wrong either, I'm not saying that the War wasn't sick and violent or that War should be glorified. I just wasn't too thrilled with the video.

I guess if I want a real intense story about World War II, I can always visit my Grandfather. He tells me stories about the War that make me feel sorry for all the other people who can't go ask their Grandfathers about it.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 11:56 AM on December 20, 2005

Didja see the strafing runs about ten minutes into it? I thought I was looking at a plane shooting up a column of troops from up high, until at the last second I realized it was shooting up a single horse-drawn wagon from only tens of feet high. And there were several of those scenes. Wild.
posted by ewagoner at 11:58 AM on December 20, 2005

History channel
posted by sfts2 at 12:06 PM on December 20, 2005

Anyone know where to get that soundtrack? I still have to buy gifts for people I hate.
posted by Pecinpah at 12:14 PM on December 20, 2005

Best viewed with the volume turned down.

All throughout, I couldn't help thinking about some asshole VJ playing this at the worst rave ever.
posted by redteam at 12:15 PM on December 20, 2005

Call me a war pr0n addict but I've often wondered what happened to some of the more, shall we say, gruesome footage shot during WWII, whether it got forever shelved. This montage contains some of it - and the more hair-raising clips I'd seen a few years ago when Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg did a TV program around the anniversary of D-Day which featured the most graphic footage I'd seen anywhere, let alone on television.

I'd be interested if there were a compilation of the more "realistic" battle footage, if anyone knows of one.
posted by kgasmart at 12:21 PM on December 20, 2005

I was horribly disturbed by the solider on fire and in shock, walking and then falling down dead. I had to stop it.

I'm heading back to the cute baby pictures thread.
posted by Hanover Phist at 12:25 PM on December 20, 2005

The dumbest soundrack ever.
posted by 2sheets at 12:32 PM on December 20, 2005

Bloody awful, and I could have done without the grindcore soundtrack.
posted by OmieWise at 12:44 PM on December 20, 2005

At the complete polar extreme, when I was in the Air Force during the Gulf War I remember the squadron had a tape floating around that compiled gun camera footage of all their surgical bomb drops, set to mellowy Phil Collins' But Seriously and No Jacket Required. That was an equally chilling objectification of war.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2005

posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:00 PM on December 20, 2005

Ah, good times. I can see exactly why my grandparents look back upon that era with such wistful nostalgia.

*puts on a Glen Miller album*
posted by sourwookie at 1:01 PM on December 20, 2005

It's certainly no ThatsFuckedUp.com. Maybe that's why this war is whitewashed in a lot of people's minds - most of the footage is of planes or boats getting shot down, no people.

That music is the soundtrack I hear in my head all day.
posted by fungible at 1:14 PM on December 20, 2005

Or maybe they should've gone with "Yakety Sax"?
posted by fungible at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2005

I watched the first few minutes then quit before I saw something that I would regret later. This is like something Neal Stephenson would have watched while writing Cryptonomicon.
posted by craniac at 1:16 PM on December 20, 2005

Well, somebody is a Dead Kennedys fan...
posted by ImJustRick at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2005

Call me a war pr0n addict but I've often wondered what happened to some of the more, shall we say, gruesome footage shot during WWII, whether it got forever shelved.

There was thousands of hours of footage shot like that... It was destroyed or lost since it wasn't really needed back then. the american military had no interest in archiving that stuff.

How about all that footage shot during the Normandy invasion, that cameraman survived only to lose the rolls of film in the water... only like 3 very blurry shots survive.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 1:31 PM on December 20, 2005

The gory footage is kept to a minimum (by my count -- the very brief flamethrower/machinegun bit at the beginning, more flamethrower towards the end, and inexplicably the famous Vietnam execution footage).

Most of it is just air combat footage, of varying degrees of awesomeness. (The strafing bits were great.)
posted by neckro23 at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2005

This may be slightly off topic, but where does Google Video get these videos? Presumably it gets them from websites, but it doesn't link to the original video clip. Sometimes I'd like to be able to grab that and copy it offline. Not this one, yuck, but others.
posted by RylandDotNet at 2:05 PM on December 20, 2005

Dougie Zero are you referring to Robert Capa? If so, he didn't drop his film in the water, rather a tech at the processing lab accidently destroyed most of the film.

"In his haste, the technician dried the film too quickly. The excess heat melted the emulsion on all but 10 of the frames. Those that remained were blurred, surreal shots, which succinctly conveyed the chaos and confusion of the day."
posted by soiled cowboy at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2005

"This video is currently not available. Try again later." Ah well. Band of Brothers will have to do for now.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:32 PM on December 20, 2005

This is a great video, thanks for posting it.

The history of the Second World War is usually presented in such broad brushstrokes that it's hard to imagine the individual sacrifice, however cliched that sounds. Seeing some of the minutiae of these battles brings home how... massive it was. Thankfully, due to the technology today future generations will never be shielded from the minutiae of Iraq.
posted by fire&wings at 2:43 PM on December 20, 2005

When I was a child, I remember seeing this at a used book sale: Ernst Friedrich's "War against War!"
posted by me & my monkey at 2:47 PM on December 20, 2005

Quite a lot of colour footage in the beginning. I thought colour was a rarity at the time? Maybe some clips are from Korea?

Images of war are always sickening and they should be always shown to as wide audience as possible. Only faced with the real consequences of any "military action" can an enlightened democratic people make enlightened decisions.

It just worries me that some people might jerk off with this material.
posted by hoskala at 3:58 PM on December 20, 2005

And I really do hate the soundtrack. And the editing. Longer clips would provide some context, this is just war porn.

Did these cameras also record sound or is it just the images?
posted by hoskala at 4:05 PM on December 20, 2005

A relevant assortment of film clips scored by the most irrelevant of all...noise.
posted by rougy at 4:43 PM on December 20, 2005

eriko: 'the strafing bits were great'

Either that comment's loaded with an overwhelming dose of sarcasm - so great, it can't quite register - or you just enjoyed a whole load of people being completely shot to bits.

If the latter, do you ration your empathy for special occasions or is it always completely lacking?
posted by pots at 4:47 PM on December 20, 2005

There is a certain horrid beauty to the strafing sequences, whether you choose to deny it or not. Yes, it means that people were horribly killed as a result, but it has an immediacy that all the movie special effects I've seen singularly fail to convey.
posted by alumshubby at 5:12 PM on December 20, 2005

Hoskala, you might be interested in the documentary Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color, which aired on PBS in the last year or two.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:45 PM on December 20, 2005


I'm much more interested in the navy narrator's words of wisdom which I assume were aimed at the navy audience.

I find it hard to listen to some brat screaming about war whose greatest personal challenge was probably choosing what kind of sock to stick in his leather pants to make it look like he has a pair.
posted by Busithoth at 6:13 PM on December 20, 2005

Mmm. Weee pow kabammie. People dying, shit gets blown up, dakka dakka dakka death metal. Grandad gave his life so that fat, lazy, cornfed cunts might witness digitized representations of his pain and destruction and muse upon them whilst supproting the troops. Kewl!

People love slaughter, pain and destruction. This will never change. I hate humanity. That will never change, also.
posted by Decani at 6:35 PM on December 20, 2005

<droog>It just doesn't work unless it's set to Beethoven.</droog>
posted by Ritchie at 7:35 PM on December 20, 2005

Why do punks think this kind of stuff is profound?
posted by lodurr at 7:48 PM on December 20, 2005

Is 10:53 through 11:04 aerial footage from the Civil WarWar of Northern Aggression or what?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:53 PM on December 20, 2005

Which countries doesn't Google Video work in? I'm pleased to report that it works fine in little ol' out of the way peaceful New Zealand.

I'm also pleased I have easy access to a volume knob.

That video was all grotesque. There was no beauty in the straffing or anything else.

I wonder if anyone shows America's president daily photos and tapes of kids getting blown to shit in Iraq? I guess not, surely he'd have called off the war by now. Unless he just gets a monstrous erection. I sure am glad none of our soldiers are in Iraq anymore.

Does any army still use flamethrowers? Can you imagine being responsible for causing someone's death in that way? Obviously any death is terrible, but death by burning?

I enjoy playing violent computer games, but I know the difference between real and make believe.
posted by The Monkey at 8:00 PM on December 20, 2005

video footage was good... but whoever made the idiot background music deserves a slap upside the head.
posted by Doorstop at 8:14 PM on December 20, 2005

"This program contains raw, unedited scenes of war."

War doesn't cut thrice a second. That counts as editing.
posted by Evstar at 8:29 PM on December 20, 2005

when i was a kid in the sixties ... and there was a lull between the kiddie shows and the tigers game ... sometimes they'd play footage like this on tv

i've seen a good portion of this here and there from my childhood tv watching

weird huh?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:48 PM on December 20, 2005

Was this put out by the White House? The song seems to be making the point that when you fight a war, it's a war for survival and that it's pretty damn messy some times.
posted by notmtwain at 8:57 PM on December 20, 2005

Many of the scenes of Japanese aircraft attacking U.S. carriers in the Pacific were filmed aboard the USS Yorktown. "Willie", a Yorktown crewman, describes a "Jill" torpedo plane that appears about 1:27 into the video:
I had the opportunity to watch the one remaining plane of a torpedo attack flying through a hail of flak. I have seen footage of this plane many times in films and documentaries.

A single engine plane with the torpedo carried externally, flying through a stream of tracers. I had remembered being told, perhaps in boot camp, if you knew a torpedo was about to hit your ship to flex your knees to absorb the shock. I don’t know how important that was but I was still new enough at the game not to question.

I estimated it was too late to stop him now and a torpedo hit was inevitable. I moved to the port side of the gun mount, flexed my knees waiting for the hit. The next thing I saw was this plane, still carrying the torpedo, flying over the flight deck just forward of the island structure almost eye level with me. He had a small fire behind the canopy.

The pilot was slumped over and the man in the back was looking us over, the last sight he would ever see before he died seconds later. If I had known him I could have recognized him. There was much speculation on why the torpedo wasn’t released, the pilot had to be alive to pull the plane up over our flight deck.

Another example of Yorktown luck? It had to be, he had us cold. Did our God trump his god? After all he went through was it just a mechanical malfunction that denied him a seat of honor among all the dead samurai? I have often thought had he been a kamikaze; our ship may have survived a torpedo exploding at hangar deck level, but many, perhaps hundreds of our crew would have died.
Much of this Pacific footage appeared in the classic television series Victory At Sea, which first aired on NBC over 50 years ago.

BTW, portable flame throwers are no longer part of the U.S. arsenal, but technology marches onward.

War doesn't get any better with age.
posted by cenoxo at 9:02 PM on December 20, 2005


i already saw Tora! Tora! Tora!
posted by quonsar at 9:48 PM on December 20, 2005

I thought the "Nazis testing LSD during WWII" video, under the "More Videos" tab on this link, was somehow more captivating than all the shooting and bombing WWII footage.

direct link here.
posted by hannah09 at 10:58 PM on December 20, 2005

I've seen the alleged LSD testing footage before and I thought it was Allied troops. Did Nazi soldiers wear berets (in uniform:)?
posted by Onanist at 2:34 AM on December 21, 2005

Which countries doesn't Google Video work in?

Germany, for one.
posted by moonbiter at 2:57 AM on December 21, 2005


music + video = awful
posted by twistedonion at 4:41 AM on December 21, 2005

I've seen the alleged LSD testing footage before and I thought it was Allied troops. Did Nazi soldiers wear berets (in uniform:)?

Classic bit of footage - British troops though, not Nazi.
posted by twistedonion at 4:43 AM on December 21, 2005

Jesus Christ. Historically important video footage, sure, but when it's edited to feel like an extreme sports video... I am disgusted.
posted by cheerleaders_to_your_funeral at 7:38 AM on December 21, 2005

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