The official World War II US Government film statement defining the various enemies of the Allies and why they must be fought.

Directors:

(uncredited), (uncredited)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Documentary revealing the nature and process of the fight between the Soviet Union and Germany in the Second World War.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Stars: Anthony Veiller, Ion Antonescu, Nikolay Cherkasov
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The official World War II US government account of Great Britain's stand against the Nazi war machine after the Dunkirk evacuation.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anthony Veiller
Stars: Douglas Bader, Arno Breker, Winston Churchill
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Part VII of the "Why We Fight" series of wartime documentaries. This entry attempts to describe the factors leading up to America's entry into the Second World War.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Stars: Dean Acheson, General Bergeret, A.A. Berle
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The World War II US Government account of the European theatre of the war from after the English and French entry to the fall of France.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Stars: General Bergeret, Karl Brandt, Winston Churchill
Documentary | Short | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Documentary focusing on the contributions to the American war effort of African-American soldiers.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Gertrude Elise Ayer, Richard Barthe, Erich Borchmeyer
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The Official World War II US Government account of Chinese defense against Japanese aggression.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Stars: Claire Chennault, Kai-Shek Chiang, Madame Chiang
Short | Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, Logan Ramsey
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Documentary made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Directors: Frank Capra, Hugh Stewart, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Leo Genn, Burgess Meredith, Bernard Miles
San Pietro (1945)
Documentary | Short | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This documentary movie is about the battle of San Pietro, a small village in Italy. Over 1,100 US soldiers were killed while trying to take this location, that blocked the way for the ... See full summary »

Director: John Huston
Stars: Mark W. Clark, John Huston
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The final entry in a trilogy of films produced for the U.S. government by John Huston. This documentary film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained debilitating emotional trauma and ... See full summary »

Director: John Huston
Stars: Walter Huston
Primary (1960)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Cinema verite feature that follows presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin primary

Director: Robert Drew
Stars: Robert Drew, Hubert H. Humphrey, Joseph Julian
Action | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

"Docudrama" about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 and its results, the recovering of the ships, the improving of defense in Hawaii and the US efforts to beat back the Japanese reinforcements.

Directors: John Ford, Gregg Toland
Stars: Walter Huston, Harry Davenport, Dana Andrews
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Victor Bulwer-Lytton ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Lord Lytton)
Kai-Shek Chiang ...
Himself (archive footage) (as General Chaing Kai-Shek)
Walter Darré ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Darré)
Otto Dietrich ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Dietrich)
Hans Frank ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Frank)
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Doctor Goebbels)
Hermann Göring ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Goring)
Rudolf Hess ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Hess)
...
Himself (archive footage) (as Hitler)
Saburo Kurusu ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Kurusu)
Robert Ley ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Ley)
Yosuke Matsuoka ...
Himself (archive footage)
Frank McCoy ...
Himself (archive footage)
Benito Mussolini ...
Himself (archive footage)
Henry Pu-yi ...
Himself (archive footage)
Edit

Storyline

This famous propaganda piece, used as a U.S. Army training film in WWII before theatrical release, asks 'why we fight.' The answer compares the 'free' and 'slave' worlds. Included: development of dictatorships in Italy, Germany and Japan, while anti-militarism and isolationism rise in the USA; a look at enemy propaganda; and the first acts of aggression. Walter Huston narrates a combination of archival footage, maps, and other graphics. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your boy wants you to see it!


Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

27 May 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why We Fight, 1  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This documentary is considered a Second World War wartime propaganda documentary film of the United States. See more »

Connections

Followed by Divide and Conquer (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(ca 1758) (uncredited)
Anonymous folk song
Played in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Very good to get an idea of perceptions at that time
7 May 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The series "Why we fight" was US government propaganda to explain to American soldiers, and later the public, why the US was involved in WWII. It is very interesting to watch, and a good way to learn what Americans thought (or were supposed to think) at the time - but on its own this series does not provide an accurate account of the war.

Obviously, this was made before political correctness existed, and you can tell: there is talk of 'Japs', the Holocaust is largely ignored. Also, the movie is necessarily ambivalent about the Russian role, who were allies at the time. For example, the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact (especially the annex about the division of Eastern Europe) goes virtually unmentioned, and the Red Army's reasons for showing up in Eastern Poland are nebulous.

On the other hand, the movies are quite detailed about the people involved, the various Nazi leaders and so on - who would have been household names at the time, but would probably be left out of present day WWII documentaries. Also interesting is that one of the reasons, apparently, why Nazism must be fought was their union busting - surely a reflection of the post-Depression Roosevelt era.

All in all, well worth watching. I rate this highly both because it is essential viewing as an historical document, and because it is very well done propaganda (Frank Capra, animations by Disney)! Note that the US government has placed these movies in the public space, which means that perfectly legal, digital versions can be found on the internet.


10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Capra's Christianity and a curious omission inner_recesses
Discuss Prelude to War (1942) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page