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


(uncredited), (uncredited)

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

1 win. 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 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 | 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 | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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

Directors: Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Stars: Walter Huston, Victor Bulwer-Lytton, Kai-Shek Chiang
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 | 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 | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A cinematic record of US military operations on the Aleutian Island of Adak to retake Japanese occupied Kiska.

Director: John Huston
Stars: John Huston, Walter Huston, Milton Ashkin
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An "actuality drama" about a real-life marriage in crisis, in which the couple attempts to identify and resolve the conflicts and resentments that have driven them to the brink of separation.

Director: Allan King
Stars: Billy Edwards, Antoinette Edwards, Bogart Edwards
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A "know-your-enemy" propaganda film similar to "Know Your Enemy: Japan" and "My Japan", films about Japan with the same objective... See full synopsis »

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Anthony Veiller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Governor George Wallace will not let two black students into an Alabama school, against the wishes of President Kennedy. Loud shouts come from both sides of the issue as JFK stands by his decisions.

Director: Robert Drew
Stars: John F. Kennedy, George Wallace, Robert F. Kennedy
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Documentary about the 25th and last bombing mission of a B17, the "Memphis Belle". The "Memphis Belle" took part in a great bombing raid on sub-pens in Wilhelmshafen, Germany. On their way ... See full summary »

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Stanley Wray, Robert Morgan, James A. Verinis


Credited cast:
Claire Chennault ...
Himself (archive footage)
Kai-Shek Chiang ...
Himself (archive footage)
Madame Chiang ...
Herself (archive footage) (as Madame Chiang Kai-shek)
Teh Chu ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Anthony Eden ...
Himself (archive footage)
William F. Halsey ...
Himself (looks up from desk) (archive footage)
Hirohito ...
Himself (archive footage)
Abraham Lincoln (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
William Mayer ...
Himself (as Col. William Mayer)
Louis Mountbatten ...
Himself (archive footage)
Henry Pu-yi ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage) (as Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Joseph W. Stilwell ...
Himself (archive footage)


In this installment of the "Why We Fight" propaganda series, we learn about the country of China and its people. With a brief history of the country, we also learn of why the Japanese wanted to conquer it and felt confident about succeeding. Finally, the history of the war in that theatre is illustrated and shows the stiff determination of the Chinese who use all their resources to oppose Japanese aggression to the end. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

6 April 2005 (Czech Republic)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of China: Assault on the Great Wall  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film is in the public domain, as a work of the United States Government, it was never eligible for copyright registration. See more »


Although the film lionizes the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-Shek, a frequent leitmotif in the film's soundtrack is "The Song of the Volunteers", a Communist marching song that would become the national anthem of the People's Republic of China after Mao Zedong won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. See more »


Narrator: But what kind of people are the Chinese? Well, in four thousand years of continuous history, China has never fought a war of aggression. They're *that* kind of people.
See more »


References The Good Earth (1937) See more »


The Army Air Corps Song
Written by Robert Crawford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An excellent history of China and its relationship with the U.S. during the early 20th Century.
16 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is not a propaganda film; it is an un-propaganda film, as in the "un-cola." If you want to see what propaganda looks like, just turn on Fox "News." "Why We Fight" is pretty straightforward about it's purpose: It is an explanation of how America and its allies got into World War II, and why we need to win it. But the Battle of China is more than that; it is a history of China, a portrait of its people, a description of its geography, as well as a detailed account of the actions of Japan, China and the Allies in the war, up to that point.

It is mostly a statement of facts,aside from the occasional remark about the war as being one of civilization vs. barbarism, or something like that, which is a fairly objective assessment of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, and the behavior of their soldiers. As with his populist movies, Capra builds up feeling through his presentation of people and events, rather than hitting you over the head with moralizing.

Most of all, the movie is factual and accurate, as far as it can be, given that the war was in progress, and we did not have access to information historians now have. We would now say that the film is too kind to Chiang Kai-Shek, who Gen. Stilwell and President Truman had little respect for; but what do you expect in the midst of the war? On the other hand, it is quite sympathetic to the guerrilla fighters, who I assume were affiliated with Mao.

I daresay that most viewers would learn quite a bit about history by watching this, whether they are Americans or Chinese. I don't think the Chinese are aware of the support they received from America, who was their ally even before Pearl Harbor. Our support for China in the 1930s may have played a role in prodding Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor.

The film is also interesting because of the historical footage showing China, its people, cities and farmers, before the war. You look at it and get a sense of its diversity of people, and that it was making a deliberate, well thought out effort toward modernization early in the 20th century. If the war and Maoist Communism hadn't intervened, China would have modernized, perhaps earlier. And in the portrait of China of earlier times, you get a sense of the character still alive in China today, of a reasonable, hard-working, progressive people.

To fully appreciate the style of this film, one must be familiar with Frank Capra's feature films, such as Meet John Doe, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life. Capra has always had a great love of the little people, the average Joe, and you see that respect in his portrayal of the Chinese people. He also has great admiration for American values, and you get the sense of the compatibility of Chinese values, not, perhaps coincidentally, because of the purpose of this film. But you see that respect for China also in a film he made 12 years before, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, so I believe it is sincere.

Why We Fight was made to be shown to the American and allied military, as well as in movie theaters back home, and in Britain.It was the idea of the great but modest General George Marshall. If I were a soldier watching this during World War II, I would come away knowing a lot more about China. I would also understand the strategy and battles to that point, and be in a better position to grasp any future orders.

The remarkable thing about World War II is how much it resists efforts to encapsulate it in one hour packages or series. There is always more to the story. In China's case, there was the role its people played in helping the downed fliers of Jimmy Doolittle's raid over Tokyo in 1942, who had to land or crash their planes in China because it was impossible to return to their aircraft carriers.

This film is still relevant today because of the limited and somewhat distorted view China and the U.S. have of each other and the history of their relationship.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Battle of China (1944) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page