Made in 1944, this twenty-minute short film was shown in theaters between features. It consists almost entirely of combat footage showing the strike against the Marianas Islands in mid-Pacific -- Rota, Tinian, Guam, and Saipan.
It's typical for its time. The Japanese are "Nips" and "Japs." Our landings at Tarawa are described as "tough and expensive." (It was a bloodbath.) There are numerous Japanese bodies but no dead Americans. The mass suicides are mentioned but framed as expressions of defiance not terror, and of course no photos of women an children going off the cliff.
The narration is in the present tense. "Our front line advances. The Japs bring another of our planes down." Due credit is given to all branches of the armed forces, with the emphasis necessarily on the U. S. Marine Corps. Even the Coast Guard is mentioned, twice.
We hear a lot about Saipan. It was a bloody and costly struggle. But for most of us the other islands are relatively unknown. Except perhaps for Tinian because the airfield on Tinian was used as a base for B-29s striking Japan, and because it was the island from which the Enola Gay took off to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Tinian was quite an Americanized place by the end of the war, with roads laid out like the streets of New York city -- Broadway, Fifth Avenue, West End Avenue, and so on.
A good deal of the footage has been absorbed into other documentaries and even into feature films like "Flying Leathernecks" but some of it is fresh.
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