tv Reel America CSPAN September 24, 2016 10:00pm-11:07pm EDT
fight," a series of films created during world war ii, created by director frank capra. the films were intended to explain to the troops the reasons behind the war effort, but work eventually shown -- but were eventually shown to the american public as well. includes details of events that led to america's involvement in world war ii. it takes a critical look at isolationists and america's early reluctance to join were accurate -- to join the war effort and culminates in the attack on pearl harbor.
>> ♪ [gunfire] [plane engines] narrator: in the jungles of new guinea, on the barren shores of the on the barren shores of the aleutians, in the tropic heat of the pacific islands, in the subzero cold of the skies over germany, in burma and iceland, the philippines and iran, france, in china and italy, americans fighting. fighting over an area extending 7/8 of the way around the world.
men from the green hills of new england, the sun-baked plains of the middle west, the cotton fields of the south, the close-packed streets of manhattan, chicago, the teeming factories of detroit, los angeles, the endless stretching distances of the southwest, men from the hills and from the plains, from the villages and from the cities, bookkeepers, soda jerks, mechanics, college students, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief. now veteran fighting men. yet two years ago many had never fired a gun or seen the ocean or been off the ground. americans, fighting for their country while half a world away from it.
fighting for their country, and for more than their country. fighting for an idea, the idea bigger than the country. without the idea, the country might have remained only a wilderness. without the country, the idea might have remained only a dream. >> ♪ 1607,or: over this ocean, jamestown. 1620, plymouth rock. here was america -- the sea, the sky, the virgin continent. we came in search of freedom, facing unknown dangers rather than bend the knee or bow to tyranny. out of the native oak and pine we built a house, a church, a watchtower.
we cleared a field, and there grew up a colony of free citizens. we carved new states out of the green wilderness -- virginia, massachusetts, rhode island, carolina. then came the first test in the defense of that liberty, 1775, lexington. our leaders spoke our deepest needs. "colonists are by the law of nature free-born, as indeed all men are!" "it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government." "these are the times that try men's souls." "but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" in the midst of battle, it happened. the idea grew, the idea took form. something new was expressed by men, a new and revolutionary doctrine, the greatest creative
force in human relations -- all men are created equal, all men are entitled to the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. that's the goal we set for ourselves. defeat meant hanging. victory meant a world in which americans rule themselves. 1777, valley forge. we fought and froze, suffered and died, for what? for the future freedom of all americans. a few of us doubted and despaired. most of us prayed and endured all. 1781, yorktown. now we were a free independent nation. the new idea had won its first test. now to pass it on to future americans. the constitution, the sacred
charter of "we the people," the blood and sweat of "we the people," the life and liberty and happiness of "we the people." the people were to rule. not some of the people, not the best people or the worst, not the rich people or the poor, but "we the people," all the people. in this brotherhood america was born, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. we began as 13 states along the atlantic seaboard. we pushed across the alleghenies, the ohio river, the mississippi, the last far range of the distant rockies. we carried freedom with us. no aristocratic classes here, no kings, no nobles or princes, no state church, no courts, no
parasites, no divine right of man to rule man. here humanity was making a clean fresh start from scratch. behind us we left new states, chips off the old blocks welded together by freedom. chorus: ♪ my country, 'tis of thee sweet land of liberty of thee i sing land where my fathers died land of the pilgrims' pride from every mountainside let freedom ring! ♪ narrator: until finally we were one nation, a land of hope and opportunity that had arisen out of a skeptical world. a light was shining, freedom's light. from every country and every clime, men saw that light and turned their faces toward it. give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, i lift my lamp beside the golden door! as strangers to one another we came and built a country, and the country built us into americans. the sweat of the men of old nations was poured out to build a new. the sweat of our first settlers -- the english, the scotch, the dutch, building the workshop of new england, of the italian in the sulfur mines of louisiana, of the frenchmen and the swiss in the vineyards of california and new york state, of the dane, the norwegian, the swede, seeding the good earth to make the midwest bloom with grain, of the pole and the welshman, of the negro harvesting cotton in
the hot southern sun, of the spaniard, the first to roam the great southwest, of the mexican in the oil fields of texas and on the ranches of new mexico, of the greek and the portuguese, harvesting the crop the oceans yield, of the german with his technical skill, of the hungarian and the russian, of the irishman, the slav, and the chinese working side by side -- the sweat of americans. and a great nation was built. >> ♪
narrator: yes, the sweat of the men of all nations built america -- and the blood. for the blood of americans has been freely shed. five times in our history have we withstood the challenge to the idea that made our nation -- the idea of equality for all men, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. the idea that made us the people we are. let's take a look at ourselves before we went into this war. narrator 2: well, first of all we're a working people. on the land, at the work bench, at a desk. and we're an inventive people. the lightning rod, cotton gin, the telegraph, the blessed anesthesia of ether, the rotary printing press, the telephone, electric welding, the
incandescent lamp, submarine, steam turbine, the motor-driven airplane, the x-ray tube, the gyroscope compass, the sewing machine, television -- all these and countless more bear witness to our inventiveness. and this inventiveness and enterprise, plus our hard-won democratic ideal of the greatest good for the greatest number, created for the average man the highest standard of living in the world. 32.5 million registered automobiles, 2/3 of all the automobiles there are in the entire world. we demand the highest standards in sanitation, purity of food, medical care. our hospitals are models for the world to copy. we want the best for the average man, woman, or child -- particularly child.
we have reduced the hazard of being born. from then on we protect, foster, and generally spoil the majority of our children. but it doesn't seem to hurt them much. they go to school, all kinds of schools -- to kindergartens, public schools, private schools, trade schools, high schools -- to 25,000 high schools -- and to college. 20% of alllast war, the men in the armed forces had been to high school or college, in this war, 63%. we're a great two weeks vacation people. we hunt, and we fish. up north, down south, back east, out west -- when the season opens, we hunt and fish. we're a sports-loving people.
refreshment -- 2: the dining room, the bedroom, the bathroom, in our cars, in our hands, and up our sleeves. radio announcer: does your cigarette taste different lately? narrator 2: music -- we couldn't be without it. >> ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ narrator 2: the press? yes, it's the biggest, but most important it's the freest on earth.
over 12,000 newspapers of all shades of opinion, books on every conceivable subject, and more than 6,000 different magazines, not counting the comics. churches? we have every denomination on earth. 60 million of us regularly attend, and no one dares tell us which one to go to. we elect our own neighbors to govern us. we believe in individual enterprise and opportunity for men and women alike. we make mistakes. we see the results. we correct the mistakes. we skyrocket into false prosperities and then plummet down into false needless depressions. but in spite of everything, we never lose our faith in the future. we believe in the future. we build for the future. narrator: yes, we build for the
future, and the future always catches up with us. before we're done building, we've developed something new and have to start rebuilding. that's roughly the kind of people we are -- boastful, easy-going, sentimental. but underneath, passionately dedicated to the ideal our forefathers passed on to us -- the liberty and dignity of man. we've made great material progress, but spiritually we're still in the frontier days. yet deep down within us there's a great yearning for peace and goodwill toward men. somehow we feel that if men turn their minds toward the fields of peace as they have toward the fields of transportation, communication, or aviation, wars would soon be as old-fashioned as the horse and buggy days. we hate war. we know that in war it's the common man who does the paying, the suffering, the dying. we bend over backwards to avoid it.
but let our freedoms be endangered, and we'll pay and suffer and fight to the last man. that is the america, that is the way of living for which we fight today. why? is that fight necessary? did we want war? ♪ narrator: in 1917, before most of you fighting men were born, our fathers fought the first world war to make the world safe for democracy, for the common man. they fought a good fight and won it. there was to be no more war in their time or their children's time. faithful to our treaty obligations, we destroyed much of our naval tonnage. our army went on a reducing guide until it became little more than a skeleton.
for us, war was to be outlawed. for us, europe was far away. and as for asia, well, that was really out of this world, where everything looked like it was torn from the national geographic. yet in this remote spot in asia in 1931, while most of you were playing ball in the sandlots, this war started. without warning, japan invaded manchuria. ♪ narrator: once again, men who were peaceful became the slaves of men who were violent. in washington, d.c., our secretary of state made a most vigorous protest, "the american government does not intend to recognize any situation, treaty, or agreement which may be brought about by means of aggression."
but we, the people, hadn't much time to think about manchuria. we were wrestling with the worst depression in our history. some of us were out of jobs. some of us stood in bread lines. some of us suffered homemade aggression. some of us were choked with dust. some of us had no place to go. two years later, in 1933, while most of you were graduating from high school, we read that a funny little man called hitler had come into power in germany. ♪ narrator: we heard that a thing called the nazi party had taken over. ♪
narrator: "today we rule germany, tomorrow the world." what kind of talk was that? it must be only hot air. in 1935, about the time you had your first date, we read that strutting mussolini had attacked far-off ethiopia. a disease seemed to be spreading, so congress assembled to insulate us against the growing friction of war. senator hiram johnson: we want no war, we'll have no war, saving defense of our own people or our own honor. narrator: toward this end, our chosen representatives passed the neutrality act.
no nation at war could buy manufactured arms or munitions from the united states. in 1936, when you were running around in jalopies, we were disturbed by news from spain. in our newsreels, we saw german and italian air forces and armies fighting in spain and wondered what they were doing there. for the first time, we saw great cities squashed flat, civilians bombed and killed.
in november, 1936, the american institute of public opinion, known as the gallup poll, asked a representative cross-section of american people, "if another war develops in europe, should america take part again?" no, 95%. we, the people, had spoken. 19 out of 20 of us said "include us out." to further insulate ourselves, we added a cash and carry amendment to the neutrality act. not only wouldn't we sell munitions, but we wouldn't sell anything at all, not even a spool of thread, unless warring powers sent their own ships and paid cash on the line. in 1937, the press services received a flash from asia.
yes, the japs were turning asia into a slaughterhouse, but for us asia was still far away. in september, 1937, the gallup poll asked us, "in the present fight between japan and china, are your sympathies with either side?" we answered -- with china, 43%, with japan, 2%, undecided, 55%. we hadn't made up our minds about china. our neutrality act barred sales of armaments only to nations at war. the japanese had not declared war, so we went right on selling scrap iron and aviation gasoline to japan. in march, 1938, hitler had not
declared war either, but his goose-stepping army suddenly smashed in and occupied all the soil of austria. six months later, hitler and his stooge met the anxious democracies at munich. hitler promised peace in our time, if britain and france would give him that part of czechoslovakia known as the sudetenland. britain and france gave him that part of czechoslovakia, hoping to avert war. now we had his word, peace in our time. at home we began to hear strange headlines. newspaper man: extra! extra! fbi captures german agent. read all about it! nazi spy gang captured. narrator: we sat in our theaters, unbelieving, as motion pictures exposed nazi espionage in america. nazi speaker: as germans we know
that if america is to be free, we must destroy the chain that ties the whole misery of american politics together, and that chain is the united states constitution! nazi sympathizers: sieg heil! narrator: could these things really be? yes, these subversive acts were happening in real life every day. german-american bunds organized for the purpose of destroying us marched under our very noses. nazi speaker 2: i pledge undivided allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
narrator: in our press, we read the news from abroad that nazis were spending millions, arming germany to the teeth. we read that the tokyo diet was appropriating tremendous sums, converting japan into one vast munitions plant. we watched these supposedly poor, have-not nations spend huge sums for armament and we wondered why. arrogantly, they told us why -- they had declared war on us long before the shooting started. >> we have actually been at war since the day when we lifted the flag of our revolution against the democratic world. >> the germans are a noble and unique race to whom the earth
was given by the grace of god. >> the world must come to look up to our emperor as the great ruler of all nations. narrator -- man,tor: equality of freedom of speech, freedom of thegion, organized to smash very principles which made us who we are. 1938 when ther gallup poll asked us, should the united states increase the
strength of its army, navy, and air force, we answered yes 85%. it was time to look to our defense. gentleman, this is the united states of -- house of representative meetings -- idering >> the navy is asking for an increase of 25% in authorized naval tonnage for the grave international situation. narrator: congress, perforating the voice of the people, for abraded the largest sum ever in history falls they did not dream that a few years later it would look like peanuts. hitlerh 14, 1939, adolf proved the pledge he made at munich. he took over all the rest of
czechoslovakia. there would be no more peace in our time. 2, 1939, as we here in -- ica observe good friday, paper,a paper, extra italy attacks albania! conquering voices of violence were being sent loose in the world. in a last desperate effort to avert a world war, messages were sent to hitler's and mussolini asking their promise to respect their promise of 33 countries. two adolf hitler, this message was a huge joke as he repeated the names.
narrator: england and france had a treaty with poland. with a act now? at home, we listened in suspense. radio announcer: adolf hitler's -- gave theland nazi dictator a zero hour to take his armies on. announcement by the british prime minister. it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honorable settlement between germany in full but himmler would not have it. situation in which no people or country could find itself say. become intolerable. now, may god bless you all and may he defend the right and the
evil things we are fighting against. against them i am certain the right will prevail. radio announcer: six hours after britain declared war on not the germany, the republic has fallen. world war ii has begun. at home we were asked, what country do you consider responsible for causing this for? .ermany, 82% we americans had no doubt who started it. began to fear this war would concern us. as a result called a special session of congress to reassess the embargo against selling missiles. congress toked reassemble an extraordinary session in order that it may can changes in our
neutrality law. narrative: the men of congress wrestled with their beliefs. they debated and argued. >> the embargo is far too great a security to american peace to permit its surrender without a last-ditch fight. >> the embargo act as it now workings one-cited and to the advantage of one side. therefore, the embargo act should be modified. the people also debated and argued whether we should sell arms and munitions. to us,e question was put we had an answer. should we change the neutrality act so we can sell war supplies? yes, 57%. shortly after, our representatives changed the neutrality act. armsfted the embargo on and munitions. purchasesld sell if
would be paid and taken away for in the purchaser's own ships. fromcans still stayed away combat zones. meanwhile, on the other side, the -- webusy as began to realize of the japan the chinese, she might become so strong is to run us right out of the pacific. ] aby crying narrator: you will remember two in september 1937 when we rest in the present by between japan and china, are your sympathies with either decided.y 40% were most were undecided. in june 1939 when we rest the same question, 74% said we were with china.
now, our minds were made up. when we loaded onto japanese ships, citizens protested. the assistant secretary of state tells us the other side of the story. the restrictions of exports of japan before to the form of embargoes of airplanes and direct musicians. -- munitions. aviation gasoline and other strategic items followed. exports work curtailed to the limit to which those responsible for our defense were willing to risk. on one side was the possibility, infect the probability, that one day these materials might be used against us. on the other side was the possibility, infect the probability, to cut them off would provoke an attack which we were not then prepared to
resist. finally, in the summer of 1941, as it became clear that japan was turning her back upon every possibility of reconciliation and digest meant and was determined upon her great gamble of conquest, all exports sees. leaders of nazi germany shifted into high gear. they overran denmark. they smashed into norway. on may 10, 1940, they blitzed into holland. radio announcer: the nazis are smashing ahead. best feet. roads are choked with slow-moving masses of refugee. dive bombers are bombing women and children. >> good evening everybody, that thet seems clear
first great phase of the war in the west has been won by germany. the army of the british has made a valiant effort in its -- forceser's mechanized are racing towards parents as forces collapse. june 1940 10th day of , the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor. is -- speaking from the forest where adolf hitler is handing his armistice terms to france. it is 3:00 p.m., adolf hitler started slowly toward the little clarity. ray, fallen, face, yet rooming with revenge.
hitler's does not appear to see the statue. now we see the french walking down the avenue. it learner in the other german leaders rise as the french entered. the general reads the preamble to the german armistice terms. this whole ceremony is over in a quarter of an hour will stop -- in a quarter of an hour. ♪ >> ♪ i heard the echo of her sweetheart in every cafe trees walked beneath the birds found songs to sing old taxicabs ame that i had dodged for years
the squeaky tires was music to my ears the last time i saw paris my heart was warm and gay they tried w that way ♪ ber her narrator: conquering armies now stood on the shores of the atlantic. >> fire! narrator: the danger was suddenly close. the nazis had possessions outside of europe, some of them in america. with the nazis demand the french
of martinique? with a move into the oil fields? would they sees the naval base for the invasion of south america? already in brazil, there were over one million germans who lived exactly as they did in germany. 1200 german schools with nazi textbooks and nazi teachers. nazi newspapers. clubs had been established. 265 in brazil, there were hundred japanese taking orders from japan. with an easy bombing range of wereanal, german pilots reserve officers. the german transport planes had bomber expelled in. in argentine, german athletic clubs similar to the hill or youth movement had been organized inclusively for germans. here was a fifth column ready to take over.
havana, they met with american republics. >> there must not be a shuttle of a doubt anywhere as to the determination of the american nation's not to permit the invasion of their hemisphere by the armed forces of any power or any possible combination of powers. americas would not allow any european colony in this hemisphere to be transferred to a non-american powerful we said, keep out. we meant it. >> we must increase protection for everything needed for the army and navy for national defense. i believe that this nation aould plan at this time program that will provide us with 50,000 military hands naval planes.
shores,: to protect our we optimize the production of a navy the greatest world has ever known, at least it would be when completed in 1934. in 1940, it was only a paper navy. -- 1944. 100,000 men, a navy of 120,000, 22,003 hundred 87 strong in the air corps. all told, 330,000 men. they had makeshift supplies. makeshift equipment. stovepipes for canada. bags of flour for bombs. trucks were labeled tanks. our infantry had exactly 480 machine guns. we possess 255 pieces of artillery. 10 light, 18 medium tanks. that was the army of the united
states in may, 1940, the month in which the nazis overran france. minutemen, ther national guard and 48 states and placed them in rural service. most important, congress passed a selective service act. for the first time in our history, we began mobilizing an army while still at. >> the first number is serial number 158. -- woman screams] the second number, which has just been drawn is 192.
in the air than any other time. narrator: back on main street, usa, daily we followed britain's struggle for stop for of britain die, we would be in grave peril. our first lineup defense in the atlantic, the british fleet, might go to nazi germany. people, ourour homes were in danger. britain must not fall. in our harbors, idly rocking late ancient destroyers from world war i. but this was world war ii and this gave us an idea. 50 tired, overage destroyers were revitalized. transfer to great britain police in return, -- transferred to great britain.
in return, we received a chain of basis stretching from these basis to --, they knew safety to the panel mock canal. the germans knew we were conscious of the threat they presented to our country. the assistant secretary of state told us how they got together and try to scare us off. >> from 1936 on, it became increasingly clear to the world that germany, italy, and japan were pursuing a common pattern of aggression both in europe and in the far east. on september 22, 1940, these three powers signed the so-called pact of berlin. a treaty of four-reaching alliance. by that treaty, it was provided that the three countries would
assist one another with all political, economic, and military means when one of the powers was attacked, most particularly the use of the word getacked" by a power not involved in the european war or the chinese-japanese conflict. waslast of these provisions aimed directly at the united states. narrator: tokyo celebrated. round cheers. heiled itself. three obvious the countries stood together.
we watched the skies. [bombs and ominous music] >> despite the propaganda and confusion of recent months, it is now obvious england is losing the war. >> england will not only survive, england will win! ♪ narrator: so, what we are asked, should we keep out of war or aid at the risk of war? aidittany even at -- britain, even at the risk of war, 87%. it changed our national attitude
ofm 1936, when only one out 20 americans thought we would enter the war. 21941, when 15 out of 20 americans were willing to risk war. sufficient to manufacture of additional munitions in war supplies of the any kinds to be turned over to those nations war with now in actual aggressor nations. useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for ourselves for we shall send an ever-increasing number of ships, planes, tanks, guns. our is our purpose a.m. to pledge. narrator: by an overwhelming majority, congress passed bill
number 1776. another declaration of independence. independence from tyranny, 1941-style. on april 6, 1941, the nazi juggernaut overran into yugoslavia and greece. on june 22, 1941, the success -crazy nazis took their longest step. without a declaration of war, they blitzed into russia. we were determined not to let down and he nations defending themselves against unprovoked attack. so we extended land lease to these new victims. now the land lease products of our factories were being unloaded in great britain. at the red sea ports for the british in africa. it was being hauled over the
burma road to china. piling up. in iraq, or russia. did we supply war materials to the countries defending themselves against axis aggression? was it our naturals of these were people unwilling to lose their freedom? was it our ancient antagonism to congress imposing their will on others by force? yes, partly. a principally, was because the american people have become certain that they were on the list of free nations to be conquered. german] ing narrator: and we were the leading example of that world himmler was committed to breaking asunder. what would have been our position if they had succeeded in conquering russia and china? europe andonquest of
africa would bring all of their raw materials, plus their entire industrial development under one control. of the 2 billion people in the world, the nazi's roughly one quarter. with 500 million people of europe and africa forced into slavery to labor for germany. russia wouldst of add the vast raw materials into the production facilities of another of the world's industrial areas, and the world's people, another 200 million would be added to the nazi labor. conquest of the orient would pour into their factory the almost unlimited resources of that area. earth, 1000of the million would come under their rule. slaves to their industrial machine.
narrator: we in north and south america would be left with the wrong materials of 3/10 of the arts of us against the axis with the resources of 7/10. we would have one industrial region. i guess there are three industrial regions. we would have won eight of the world's population against their 7/8. if we, together with the other nations of north and south america could mobilize 30 million fully-equipped men, the axis could mobilize 200 million. thus, an axis victory in europe and asia would leave us alone and virtually surrounded, facing enemies and i'm stronger than ourselves. 10 times stronger than ourselves. this is what led up to neutralizing the neutrality act. to make ourselves the arsenal of democracy. these are the reasons why now the first american troops set
forth into the atlantic to occupy new basis in greenland and iceland with the consent of their local governments. in our hands, bases of defense and nazi hands, bases of offense. ♪ narrator: the germans opened unrestricted submarine warfare. [bombs going off] >> if today the navy should make secure the cds for the -- the seas for the delivery of our munitions to great britain, it would render as great a service to our country and to the
preservation of american freedoms as it has ever rendered in all its glorious history. >> we want those cargoes protected. [applause] congress repeated the entire neutrality act. we armed to our merchants. for the first time, they steamed into combat zones to deliver. while this was going on in the atlantic, the japs by so-called agreement with the government who defeated france and -- there were now only two threats to their plan for conquest of greater ease asia. asia.t first was their neighbor, russia, the only military power within striking distance of military japan.
the second was us. japanese expansion was too dangerous to attempt with our bases still standing in the philippines and our supply still open to midway. we were in their way. we had to be removed the japanese way. off to washington went a special ambassador. a mission of peace. but synchronized with his departure from tokyo was the departure of a jack task force -- a jack task force -- a jap task force. japanese ambassador arrived smiling his toothy smile. >> our aid to china was delaying the establishment of peace. our refusal to sell them a oil
with interfering with the establishment of these. our objection to them taking over the east indies was an interruption in the establishment of that peaceful. all they wanted was peace. mr. caruso and a japanese ambassador were received to the president in the presence of the secretary of state. if very quickly became clear that the japanese had brought a new proposals and that the japanese intended to continue their campaign to conquer china and all east asia. on november 26, our secretary of state presented the japanese basis for peaceful agreement between the two nations. the proposal was forwarded to tokyo. aps had to stall for time, but only a short time. the task force was nearing. sunday, december 7, 1941.
♪ narrator: 1 pm eastern standard time, the japanese emissaries are acted at these they department to keep a 1:00 appointment they had requested to ourent their answers proposals. 1:35 p.m., japanese planes approaching hawaii. one: 10 p.m., japanese emissaries telephone to post on their appointment to one: 40 5 two 1:45 p.m.
as you can see, it is quite a lengthy document. i read it, discovering that it of monstrousecital accusations against the united states, charging it among other scheming for the extension of the war, trying to attack germany and italy, two powers trying to establish a new order." japan'soring sacrifices. menacing existence itself and disparaging. reading the note, i said to the japanese emissaries, "i have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehood and distortion on a scale so huge i could never
♪ >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> each week, american history tv reel america brings you archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. ♪ >> 1931, japanese troops leave for the camp