Cast & Crew
William Post Jr.
Using newsreel footage from around the world and film shot by the Armed Forces, this documentary reviews events from the signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1918 to the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations: After the end of World War I, jobless Italian soldiers march on Rome and force King Victor Emmanuel to make Benito Mussolini the Premier of the country. Meanwhile, people in the United States are concerned with the rise of organized crime during Prohibition and the stock market crash in 1929, which sets off a world-wide economic depression. By 1932, the number of unemployed workers in the United States tops twelve million. In Germany, desperate times lead to the rise of dictator Adolf Hitler. Under his leadership, Germany re-arms. When Mussolini invades Ethiopia, Haile Selassi fruitlessly begs the League of Nations for help. Later, Hitler acquires Czechoslovakia with the tacit approval of the Allies. The Soviet government then signs a non-aggression pact with Hitler, who invades Poland in 1939. Later, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France fall to the Fascists. American men are drafted, and the United States plans to send 50,000 planes to Britain. The Nazis bomb Britain, and German U-boats patrol the seas. Italy invades Greece, but is fought off by the Greek people until Hitler intervenes on Italy's side. Hitler ignores his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and invades, but is defeated by the vast country and its heroic people. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and the United States declares war on Japan. Many battles ensue, including the Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal in the Pacific, and El Alamein in North Africa. In 1942, the Nazis main push in Russia is at Stalingrad in the south. Germany loses 330,000 men during that battle. After Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Casablanca, the United States invades Sicily. The Italians surrender, but the Germans continue to fight. In Italy, the Allies march from Anzio to Cassino and finally to Rome. Germany intensifies its attack on Britain, but by 1944, Germany is being bombed daily by the American and British Air Forces. The Allies invade at Normandy and many lives are lost. Eventually, Paris is liberated. Now the war in the Pacific intensifies. The Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Tarawa, Eniwetok and Guam are taken by U.S. soldiers, and General Douglas MacArthur returns triumphantly to the Philippines. President Truman, Josef Stalin and Prime Minister Attlee meet at Potsdam, Germany. They ask the Japanese government to surrender, and when it does not, the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, during which six million people were killed in concentration camps, the United Nations is organized. The narrator concludes that the democracies should learn from these wars that they must be prepared to fight for freedom or they will lose by default.
William Post Jr.
James [a.] Gleason
The above summary and credits were taken from a dialogue continuity filed with the copyright records and from contemporary reviews. The film begins with the following written acknowledgment: "For these historic films we are indebted to newsreel cameramen the world over; the Armed Services of the United States; Archives of other combatant nations," and the following quotation, "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction. Matthew VII 13."