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tv   Reel America D- Day to Germany - 1944 Documentary  CSPAN  June 9, 2019 4:00pm-4:46pm EDT

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after the war, mr. lieb created a traveling program and lecture program. he restored it with 1966 narration, the final lecture a gave before he passed away. >> the one place that intrigued me was my first trip to london and the health of parliament and big ben. now these pictures, you must remember, are more than a quarter of a century old. the thing that entertained our boys stationed in england was westminster abbey. quite a few americans stationed there came to see westminster abbey. these are the photographs i took on a sunday afternoon. another thing that intrigued me was marble arch.
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marble arch, on one sunday afternoon, it was filled with people. you must remember that london was being bombed almost every night during this particular time. i was photographing these speakers that were addressing the crowds. every speaker was speaking on a different subject, but the police stood around and watched and as long as there were no strong arguments, nobody was hurt. the people in the argument -- in the audience were arguing back with the speakers, but these were typical shots of how we pass the time waiting for d-day. most of the children who lived in england, or a great many i should say, were sent out of the city, a lot of them remained behind. in spite of the war, they managed to find entertainment.
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i was rather surprised to see these children drinking out of community drinking cups chained to the fountain. i would like to make candid shots of the children so that they would not notice me, but everyone for while they did. this youngster is taking a cool drink on a beautiful sunday afternoon. we discovered that st. paul's cathedral had been hit several times but not badly damaged. one of the other attractions was buckingham palace, and the gates, which were protected by british troops, not in the bearskin hats from peacetime, but full war uniform. this is the way they paraded up and down. they were not performing for the camera but actually doing their duty. notice the barrage balloons in the background. london had barrage balloons all
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over the area. it was said that if it wasn't for the barrage balloons come with all of the equipment being brought into the country, that the islands would sink into the sea. they said the barrage balloons were holding it up. you must remember, too, that food was scarce in london at this time and was being brought in whatever way they could. being unloaded. it isn't often you get a bright day like this in the spring in london and this was an opportunity to show what the soldiers were doing while they were waiting for the invasion. this is fleet street. i discovered this irish policeman guarding the street and we saw considerable damage in area. soon, we were on the south coast of england, where we met some other correspondence who were scheduled across the channel with us. you will probably recognize some of the old-timers who covered the war at that time.
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i was given a shovel to defend myself and it proved to be a valuable instrument. here we see larry lister of cbs. jack thompson of the chicago tribune. this is a close-up of jack thompson. this is larry o'reilly of the associated press. this is becker. we were saying our farewells, because we were expecting to meet again in paris. here on the left we see bill stoneman from chicago and the daily news and several other correspondants, they were boarding a military truck to the south coast.
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we went through small british towns, and life was going on as usual. people were in the marketplace buying food as though nothing was going on. after a 150 mile ride, that's how we felt riding in a military vehicle. plymouth was badly damaged but this was found all over the area. soon we were approaching the dock area and we found american jeeps ready to be boarded to landing craft. notice the bumpers, they are designed to cut wires that the germans would put across the road that would sometimes cut off the heads of drivers. we were not allowed to wander around the area by ourselves each crossroad point was under guard by an american and a british soldier.
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if they wanted to see what you had in your federal, he had to show them. this was so that the secret of the invasion be cap as long as it could. these are two men, wes carroll of the owi wes haynes, rather, and pete carroll, who went aboard with me. pete carroll came from boston and was a photographer for the associated press. we tried to keep our mind off of what was coming, and we knew it would be a short time before we would be on board. we had our first taste of k rations, which did not taste that bad if you are hungry. we were also able to see the beautiful countryside in that area. these are the sort of shots i wanted to bring home to show my family and friends.
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pete carroll was using some of his film to make a few shots himself. soon, we were down at the docks, and there we found units of the 101st airborne division caring everything they could by hand, boarding landing craft so heavily laden that they had to be pushed off the docks by trucks, as you see. these men were being taken out to larger craft and boarded for the invasion. they did not have an opportunity to load this aboard jeeps. we were aboard a fleet of lci's, and here shown with the commander of the invasion group in the center, and the captain on the right, our captain of our ship, in command of lci number
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five. we found out he participated in several invasions in the mediterranean area and we felt confident he knew what he was doing. we stayed aboard the ship almost five days. this is the commander of the squadron. i remember lieutenant patton's name well because we were with him so long. wes haynes was trying to get ready for the trip into paris, i think he was premature. these are the units of the 101st airborne division amusing themselves. i don't have to tell you who this man is imitating. he was a notre dame football player at one time and i was told later on he was killed in action. of course, every ship had a mascot, and ours was no different. but the boys provided for their mascot's welfare with the making
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of a life preserver just like the ones they wore themselves. and then, one afternoon, lieutenant patton briefed the crew and told them we would be sailing that afternoon. they let out a cheer because this is the job they were waiting for, they wanted to get it done and go home. here we see lci number four with a commander moving into the channel. this was a tremendous sight to see, ships from one end of the horizon to the other, ships of all kinds. they tell me there were well over 1000 ships. even so, we thought this was just another exercise, as we continued on, we felt we would turn around and try another day. as we continued into the night, we knew it was the real thing. at one time we had a bit of a scare, they said there was a
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submarine in the area, and one of the de boats through some bombs into the channel. they exploded but we never saw any attack at all. here are some scenes taken close to the beach, where the ships made a right angle turn and headed for the area where we were to land. that is a de boat in the distance. of course we were on the alert for any kind of attack, even airplane attacks. fortunately, our air force did their job well, and at no time did i know of a german attack except after we had landed. two planes attempted to strafe the beach and i happen to be in the area. these are some scenes i took
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with my camera that was reduced to 16mm. this particular scene was taken by automatic camera aboard a british landing craft, and they were the first men to land. the reason it was taken by an automatic camera because they wanted to have a record of what happened should the landing fail. at least they might have a record if they could recover the film, of what happened, and how to avoid it if they had to try another tack. here are some scenes landing on utah beach, and this is the way we went ashore. this is the british beach. notice the men did not dash ashore after being aboard a landing craft for five solid days. they just walked slowly and cautiously, fearful of bombs and mines in the area. notice they had their rifles wrapped in cellophane.
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this is the way we had to go on shore, and i needed tell you that a lot of the boys did not make it. here is one of the famous scenes taken from black and white film of two men being shot down before your eyes. here is pete carroll and wes haynes carrying our own equipment. the ship is grounded on the beach. the section of the beach we were on was being attacked by enemy fire, and in the previous shot you can see a bomb land not too far from where we were, there it is again. the bulldozers were trying to clear roads to let our tanks move forward. even though it was june, the area was quite cold, as it usually is in that part of normandy. of course, the men dug their foxholes a little deeper and we had the good fortune of finding a concrete wall that helped serve as protection, but even now, we are taking some of our wounded back to the beach so they can be transferred back to
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england. when the tide went out, the ships could not come in close, or those that went aground had to wait for high tide to be refloat it if they were not hit. we stayed on the beach the first night and lived in a foxhole. soon, we showed some of the first prisoners taken in the area, late the first day, who were captured close to the beach. they were sent back to england because there was no room to keep them there. this is our first command post, where general collins on the left is talking to some of his officers. we were able to get some of the first hot food at this place, and i did not realize how hungry i was until i saw these pictures. there is larry lasseur and bob landry from time life. even though it kept me busy for eight solid days, i used up all the film i had and decided to go
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back to france to get some more and get a bath, i have not had my clothes off that entire time. my landing in england took place near bournemouth, it almost looks like the cliffs of dover that everyone is familiar with. it was a beautiful sight to see the cliffs of england and know i could get some rest. i did not realize it at that time, but the buzz bombs would start coming over. here we see some of them flying over the english coastline. these buzz bombs were a terror weapon. they did not know where they would land but the british were quick to set up machine guns and anti-aircraft fire to knock them out of the sky, and they managed to shoot down quite a few. they even sent planes into the sky to knock them out of the air. of course, sometimes they did get through, and where they fell, they caused considerable damage. but you must have missed that
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pretty good shooting. there is one coming down, it landed in the london area. wherever they landed, they caused considerable damage. my second crossing of the channel was made on an lst, this time with units of the third armored division that was sorely needed because they were bringing over more tanks and vehicles to carry us in the direction of cherbourg, because we needed it badly. it was manned by a british crew. that is a captain in the british uniform. we were in a long convoy, everyone loaded to the gills with equipment that was sorely needed. here you have an idea of what the beach looks like. these ships are waiting for the tide to recede so they can send
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equipment ashore without going through deep water. on d-day, they had to go through the deep water. at this particular moment, they are waiting for the ramps to be rebuilt after a severe storm so they could go ashore without damage. now you can see the problems they had on d-day, because when the landing craft hit the sand bars, the men started wading ashore and found deeper water ahead, and those who had their life preservers too low turned turtle and many were drowned. this is crossing the deep spot and headed toward cherbourg itself. ships were lined up as far as the eye could see, bringing supplies ashore.
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we needed cherbourg badly because we needed a port, but we discovered it was pretty badly destroyed by the germans themselves and they had destroyed the docks. it took almost two months before we can bring a ship in. they set up mines and destroyed the famous docks were the transatlantic line used to land. they not only destroyed the docks but inland bridges that crossed the rivers in the area. this is one of them destroyed by the germans. soon the french people came back into the city and gave us a warm welcome. soon we found the prisoners, and i think they took something like 16,000 or 18,000 men out of the cherbourg area, and they are
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still holding their personal belongings, marching toward the beaches because they had to be transported to england, and some eventually to the states to be held in prisoner of war camps. those we could talk to at the time said we would be pushed back into the channel in less than a week. at the headquarters, we found that they had a picture of hitler, and our boys were using it as a pin board. here is the first official ceremony held in france, general collins on the right presented the tricolor flag made out of parachute cloth to the mayor of cherbourg, who was holding the microphone. our boys of the seven corps were given clean uniforms for the occasion. soon the people who came back to
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cherbourg after the fighting stopped came to visit with us and talk to us. here we see ernie pyle again in the center and talking to the colonel of the signal corps. there is john mcglinchey. here is -- oh gosh, 45 years has done a lot to my memory. the troops begin to move in the opposite direction to attack the enemy on the same low line. we were passing through the city of cologne, and it was instantly destroyed. i was there several times since the war and it has been rebuilt beautifully. the germans try to make a stand here, and wherever they tried to make a stand, we had to knock them out, and in so doing, destroy the city. later on, i had an opportunity
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to see the construction built by slave labor. all along the beach, especially in the normandy area, as well areas, they built these triangles. many of them had mines attached to them so that if a boat touched them, they would explode. i was told after taking this walk that i should be very careful not to step where the ground is soft. this is a church in a pretty little town that the germans evacuated because the commander liked the city so much, the little town so much, he did not want to see it destroyed, and he withdrew rather than let it be destroyed. it was a little fishing village. i had the good fortune of coming back several times because the hotel was still intact and serving very excellent french food. a little further down the coast, we found these fortifications
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built by slave labor, and even these metal fences to keep us from landing in the area. these heavy fortifications that were many feet thick. these correspondents were looking at over. in some areas, the germans saw to it that they were destroyed, blowing them up so that we could not use them against them if they tried to take them back. they even destroyed their own weapons. but we noticed that the walls and fortifications were very thick and strong. the area was taken over by the navy, and there was an observation post -- this is in a town called granville, and there is the lighthouse that sort of separated normandy from brittany.
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that is the observation post the germans used, and our naval officers used. soon we brought in some of our big armament, and they were set up in a field and firing at german positions. even though the guns were firing, the french people were bringing in the crops as though nothing was happening. this surprised me. i couldn't help but want to make a picture of it. of course, these heavy guns caused terrific concussion, and it was difficult to hold a handheld camera that long. one of the first things the americans did was to build an airstrip in the st. mer eglise area. they used a strip of metal wire to keep the plans from sinking into the ground.
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they were using it as a place to take off from with 500 pound bombs under each wing. but the strip was so rough that frequently the bombs would break loose, and even though they were armed, they had to be disarmed and taken off the runway. these are p-47's they were using here. there is one carrying a bomb under each wing to attack the enemy deep behind the lines. these two planes are taking off at once, raising considerable dust but managing to get off a very short runway. here you notice a plane, noticed the buckle under the wheels. this sometimes caused the mesh wire to break and come up and hit the propeller, causing the plane to crash before it left the ground. here is an unfortunate accident, two of our planes.
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here we see some pictures made by automatic cameras that were installed in the fighter planes, because when a pilot reported he had shot down an enemy plane, he was not given credit unless the pictures proved the plane was shot down. if you look closely, you can see the pilot jump out of the plane in the shot. notice too a lot of the planes are carrying extra fuel tanks they were carrying under the wing. whenever the bullets hit that tank, the plane would explode, as you will see here. when you saw shots like this, you knew the pilot never got back.
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one of the highlights of our trip across france was mont st. michel. bob cappa here was eventually killed in indochina. but there we found the hotel, and the reason we liked it was because of the omelettes, for which it was famous. a lot of the correspondents gathered here to fight the war from this point because we were closer to the front line, if you could call it such, then we were at our main bases. there we can see the main river separating normandy from brittany. the building of top is a monastery that was still intact. it was not destroyed at all.
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here are some of our gis looking over the sites of the monastery, being shown around by a woman guide. soon we met some other correspondence we knew, and here we see charles collingwood, the gentleman on the right, with helen kirkpatrick and joe liebling, the bald chap, and wharton becker on the extreme left. this is charles collingwood and helen kirkpatrick of the chicago daily news. this is ernest hemingway.
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he was covering for "colliers" magazine and we met him at mont st. michel. here he is talking to bill walton, a fast friend of president kennedy. these are just moments we could take some time out to rest. there is helen kirkpatrick. the man in the center in this picture is bill stringer, he was killed trying to get into paris. one of the things that correspondents tried to do was get into paris before anyone else and he was hit by an 88 shell. this was a moment of relaxation and this is one of the shots i wanted to bring home to family and friends. the little island was very quaint, a very old place, but fortified in several ways. we discovered that the beaches in the area, especially when the
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tide was out, would be high and dry, and they put those sticks in the sand to keep our planes from landing. we found a little family of three brothers, and even the tall blonde one, a boy, because the grandmother was taking care of them. their parents, i was told were killed in a battle. one afternoon, i walked up behind the island, because after the sun was setting i could get interesting shots of the island from the seaside. they have an extremely high tide here, and it would leave the island high and dry. the tide would come in really fast and there's always a danger of quicksand, so i did not stand in one place too long. the receding water left unusual designs and the sand. we did not stay at mont st. michel long, but went deeper into france.
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i went into brittany for a while and discovered the boys have found a lake that we will see in a moment. but the countryside was beautiful. it was during the summer and the crops were still in the field. our boys, after washing out of the helmet for many weeks, decided to use this beautiful lake for a bath. they were permitted to do so because they were fighting in an area called saint marlowe, and you may recall that the germans held out in saint marlowe for many months, almost to the end of the war. it is the american sense of humor that help to them win the war. here are some of the correspondents that sometimes traveled together, and we found a little river that proved useful as a bath.
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there are a lot of these small rivers around france, and every moment we could spare, the correspondents, this is a group of them, ralph maas in the front, huey broderick, joe priestly. and here we see edward g robinson. he was one of the many actors and actresses that came to normandy to entertain our troops. they held a show right in this normandy barn not too far from the fighting. i found out later that the intermission had to be called when the shells came too close. all you had to do was point a camera at robinson and he acted. soon we found ourselves in rembouillet. it was the headquarters for all of the correspondents that came to paris.
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george stevens, the hollywood director there. myself and pete carroll. shortly after these pictures were taken, ernie pyle decided to head back to the states and then headed to the pacific, where he was killed. george stevens was a very well-known hollywood director, as you may recall, and he died only a few years ago. practically every correspondent turned out to try to get into the city of paris. we found, as i said earlier, that general eisenhower had given permission to the second french armored division to take the city of paris, because the important thing was to destroy the enemy and they did not consider paris as a target that
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would delay them if they tried to take the city themselves. they wanted to circumvent the city because they wanted to give the honor to the french. general leclerc was in charge and he refused to let the correspondents accompany his force to get into the city, simply because he did not want any shots made until he had the city secure. we were glad to see paris, because it was a great beauty. we were amazed at how the people turned out. these were shots taken on the first day of liberation. i did not get enough of the shots because there was too much to do. soon general degaulle came into the city and paraded down the avenue. here he is taking flowers from a french girl. he was not well known at this time.
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very few people could listen to the radio reports that told about his work in england prior to crossing the channel. soon he became very popular. it seemed as though everybody in paris turned out to see him. he was marching down the champs elysee at this point and it was a tremendous sight to see. later in the day, our troops paraded down the avenue. this is something that made us all proud. here is degaulle. and suddenly, firing opened up from forces that were left behind. they thought from some of the fascists in the city, trying to panic the people. if you stuck your head out a window, you were bound to lose it. this went on continuously for several hours. i was in the middle of this
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thing. these are shots i took of people lying flat on the ground. they would get under our car, we could not move the car. they were trying to get people to stop shooting by raising white flags. it went on continuously. although it was small arm fire, degaulle stood his ground. he wasn't taking any chances. this is the way the streets of paris looked on the day of liberation. they did catch some of these people responsible for the shooting, at least they told us that. unfortunately, they beat them to death right on the spot. it was an ugly sight to see, but it was a war of nerves. some of the buildings still contained germans at headquarter points. they were sworn at by the french. these are shots made late in the day of the american troops marching through the streets of the city on their way to the front lines. wherever we stopped, the french
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were there. to trade champagne for cigarettes and to talk to us and find out what was going on. we were able to see the city. it was not badly destroyed. there was some small arms fire. the lion lost his tail, but generally speaking, all of the bridges were intact over the city. this is the opera house. since it was my first trip to paris, i enjoyed seeing the beautiful city of paris. soon the people of paris were out parading again along the champs elysee with their newfound liberty. we found the eiffel tower, which was reported destroyed and used for arms, was still intact. soon i managed to get permission to go up into the eiffel tower and see what it looked like from up above. there was much to be done.
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even though paris looked beautiful, conditions were very poor. the railroads were practically destroyed. there was no way of bringing in food. in fact, when we were coming down the road, we saw large trucks waiting to get into the city loaded with all kinds of foodstuffs to support the city, which was in dire need not only of food but of coal. at this time, it was getting pretty cold, late in the year. there was no way of getting supplies in. these are scenes from the eiffel tower showing the seine and the buildings close to the eiffel tower. we see troops parading through the streets. we had to move on. soon, i had to leave paris.
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i found myself in the countryside beyond paris. went into belgium where i managed to get into brussels. these are some scenes of the oh toy racetrack, which we found was opened shortly after the liberation. this surprised everyone. they made them close the track after a few days. one of the things that did surprise everyone is how well-dressed the french women were. they had a way of using whatever they had to make themselves look really attractive. i understand this annoyed some of the other allied countries very much to think they could get by like that. they even opened up the art galleries along the streets.
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we didn't know whether they were permitted to do this prior to our getting there. they certainly opened up for business very shortly after we arrived. we found a painter at work in the old quarter of paris. shortly after leaving paris, i was in an area called the ardennes. the reason i took some of the shots of the countryside was because the weather was turning cold and the trees were turning their fall colors. this town was completely destroyed in the breakthrough that occurred and the attack on bastogne. i was in bastogne a few days before the breakthrough and was fortunate enough to get out of there, not knowing about the attack. i did think this was a place the enemy could hide troops, and they did. there is general collins talking to general maurice rose in charge of the fourth armored division.
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general rose was killed in cologne. it was an unfortunate happening because they thought they had the place protected but they had enemy troops in the area. he was shot. these are units of the third armored division fighting the enemy. we managed to get some shots of them as they were being entertained by german children. we had a tremendous reception all the way across france. when we got to germany, the reception was not there. all the homes in the german area had white flags in front of them. it was an indication of surrender.
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the children here were actually on their way to school. they are holding their ears because our guns are firing not far away. they were just trying to avoid the noise. we found the siegfried line, as it was called, the dragon's teeth. built by slave labor, i am told. they were not a fortification against our tanks because our bulldozers took dirt and pushed it over the top of them and rode over the top. but we found them stretched out from one end of germany to the other. somehow they felt we perhaps would get to germany and they were trying to keep us out, but they did not succeed. the war was moving rather rapidly at some points in germany. soon i found myself in the town of aachen. it was under fire when these pictures were taken. that is the reason the scenes are devoid of people. there were mortar shells over our heads all the time. the enemy was holding the center
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of the city. we were just wondering how long the battle would take. we discovered the troops were just behind that wreckage in the distance. soon we discovered these reserves were just a block or two behind the frontline. they were waiting to be called in. i was told later on the captain you saw in the picture a moment ago, somebody in the audience knew him and said he was killed in the action that took place shortly after that. after aachen, i was invited to fly home. this is something i was glad to be able to do because here we see some of the cemeteries that were built on the normandy beaches, above the beaches. these are scenes of berlin, showing the tremendous damage that occurred in the city.
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the bombings were intense and very little of berlin was left standing. it shows wars don't seem to prove very much except to destroy property and kill people. we sometimes think maybe one day we will learn how to avoid wars. perhaps we have made war so deadly we will have to avoid them in the long run to stay alive. soon i was able to photograph some of the events when general eisenhower came back to the states and was greeted in kansas city. these shots were made with a telephoto lens at quite a distance. i was able to visit the collection of some of the weapons the germans used just after the invasion. this is the v2 rocket that followed the v1s. the v1s were a terrible weapon and the v2s where the same. but that was the first time they
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used rockets. they were able to shoot them great distances. the v1s overhead were like a motorcycle engine. whenever the motor stopped, it would cause the bomb to drop. the germans had jet planes in the air before the war ended. here is one they actually used, and it showed a record of many american planes. if you notice, 42 russians were shot down by this plane before it was captured by our side. in this exhibit, we see one of the japanese kamikaze bombs. it was on exhibition. one of our pilots was trying it for size. they did not like the idea you only had a one-way ticket because they were intended to destroy the target they were after and the pilot with it.
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this plane i was told was built to bomb new york. it could fly the ocean and back. here we see some shots of what i call what the next war might look like. this is the explosion of the atomic bomb in new mexico. i always like to feel when i show these pictures it would remind people that we should remember what world war ii was like. world war iii would be much worse. i would like to repeat what one scientist actually put when he said the atomic bomb is here to stay. the question is, are we? that brings us to the end of our film. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> as we continue our commemoration of the 75th anniversary of d-day, we travel back 25 years to 1994 to watch and armed forces network report from normandy, france on events marking the 50th anniversary of d-day. this report includes several interviews with d-day veterans, now known as the american forces network, it was formed as the armed forces network during world war ii. television broadcasts began in 1954. ♪ >> the beaches of normandy are peaceful once again. the 50th anniversary

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