War Comes to America (1945)

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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.


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Credited cast:
Dean Acheson ...
Himself (archive footage)
General Bergeret ...
Himself (archive footage)
A.A. Berle ...
Himself (archive footage)
Arno Breker ...
Himself (archive footage)
Neville Chamberlain ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Galeazzo Ciano ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Galleazzo Ciano)
Édouard Daladier ...
Himself (archive footage)
Charles Edison ...
Himself (archive footage)
Francisco Franco ...
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Hermann Göring ...
Himself (archive footage)
Rudolf Hess ...
Himself (archive footage)
Heinrich Himmler ...
Himself (archive footage)
Hirohito ...
Himself (archive footage)


In this final installment of the "Why We Fight" propaganda series, the subject focuses on the United States of America. We learn of its good qualities and the things worth fighting for. With that established, we learn of the history of the United States' population shifting opinion towards siding with the Allies against the Axis until the attack on Pearl Harbour which brought America into full scale involvement in the war. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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Documentary | War

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why We Fight, 7  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This documentary is the seventh film in Frank Capra's seven-film 'Why We Fight' documentary film series. See more »


Twice there appears an animated clip showing about a dozen fully-equipped US troops in gray silhouette marching briskly left to right over a background graphic; however, a close look shows the "soldiers" actually wearing narrow-brimmed office-worker-style civilian hats rather than army helmets. See more »


[the film explains the dire consequences for the United States of an Axis victory in Eurasia]
Narrator: German conquest of Europe and Africa would bring all their raw materials, plus their entire industrial development, under one control. Of the two billion people in the world, the Nazis would rule roughly one quarter, the 500 million people of Europe and Africa, forced into slavery to labor for Germany. German conquest of Russia would add the vast raw materials and the production facilities of another of...
See more »


Features Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) See more »


Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
Music by Stephen Foster
Played during the child montage
See more »

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User Reviews

like other films in the Why We Fight series, utterly sincere, extremely well-directed
10 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In this final segment of the Why We Fight documentary series, War Comes to America, director Frank Capra puts the focus on America and how it got into World War II. It's no less well-directed than the various other films, or providing in some choice historical goodies. But what makes it stand-out, surprisingly, is how much historical value it has for today, as a document of its time and for people who may have not paid attention to every second in their school history class. At first the film tells us things that we basically already know, what America's good for, our liberties (you may see a bell from time to time saying this), and there's the token image of children practicing the Pledge of Alegiance (and pre "Under God" inclusion!)

Then we get the real meat of the run-time of this relatively short documentary, which is about America's reactions in the 1930's and up to 1940 and 1941 all the way until December 7th at Pearl Harbor. This footage is riveting stuff, even if it is meant, at the time (albeit already by 1945 near the end of things) propaganda for the US Army. It becomes a truly interesting capsule as to the statistical information of how Americans felt about getting involved with the affairs of the Europeans, which side to take or how much with the Nazis, and then how much sympathy to have for the Chinese during their assault from Japan. I'm reminded of today in news when getting all of these polls on various topics, and Capra builds up a staggering time-line. For anyone who thought that America only got involved in World War Two simply for Pearl Harbor need to see this movie.

As usual the footage from various politician speeches, of course FDR, and finally some of the footage of how we got involved in 1941 (even before Pearl Harbor America was preparing their alliance with England and other nations to give them weapons), is excellent and well edited and shot. It's emotional uprising is at just a fine pitch for its time and place, and Capra knows how to get someone, anyone, wanting defeat for the Nazis and Japanese riled up for the just cause. Whether it may leave some things out is arguable, albeit in a 70 minute running time there is only so much they can show. But for what it's worth, it's a superb conclusion to this series, bringing it back around from the Prelude to War segment to remind soldiers (or anyone else watching) Why We Fight.

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