Important piece of ww2 history
Frank Capra was, believe it or not, one of the best directors of things related to war. There were other directors sent overseas to document what was going on in regards to the allied war effort during world war 2, but Capra is probably the most well known because of his excellent "Why We Fight" series, which includes several documentaries about different topics pertaining to the war. These include such things as Japan's brutal invasion of China in the 30s, Hitler's insatiable appetite for conquest in europe (which leads to all of western europe being swallowed by the reich), and the German invasion of Russia in 1941. This film is not part of that series though. It was a joint production between British and American producers which means it depicts both country's troops in a fight to the death against Hitler's feared Afrika Korps, led by the brilliant and legendary strategist Erwin Rommel. As you would probably expect, the film doesn't really have any story. It's world war 2 and that's all you can really say about it, but it only focuses on the north african theater of the war. This was an important area for the allies to be fighting in, although the american troops sent there at the time mostly didn't know why. After Mussolini's disastrous invasion of Greece, Hitler is forced to rescue his bumbling ally, which delays the nazi invasion of the USSR by several crucial weeks. Not that this really matters in the grand scheme of things, since the soviets would move all their industry beyond the Ural mountains where the Germans couldn't reach anyway. The purpose of this film is to show why allied soldiers, British, American, Free French, South African, Australian, etc. Were fighting in Tunisia to begin with, and it does this well. It covers pretty much every major event that happened there during the war and how this eventually brought about the end of german presence in north africa, but it also shows some german victories too. At Kasserine Pass, the first real engagement between US and german forces in north africa, Rommel manages to push american forces back over 50 miles through the mountains in one of the most one-sided battles of the war. Their experience lacking, the badly led american soldiers faltered and melted away. Eventually though, the allies begin to gain the upper hand, and Hitler is unable to hold onto his southern flank any longer. Rommel's army, short of fuel, is forced further and further into the corner of Tunisia closest to Italy, and the allies batter the exhausted force until it is broken into smaller pieces and surrenders. This sets the stage for the allied invasion of Italy, the underbelly of europe that would allow the allies to get much closer to Hitler's reich. The germans had lost their presence and advantage in north africa, and from here, it would only be about a year until d-day when western europe itself was invaded. This documentary is important viewing for anyone that likes to read or watch things on ww2, since it will give you a better understanding of why the germans failed in north africa and see how the myth of their invincible armies was shattered.
- May 18, 2021
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