The Battle of Russia

Screening on Film
Recently Restored
Directed by Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak.
US, 1943, 35mm, black & white, 83 min.
Print source: UCLA

[The] Why We Fight films … were to revolutionize not only documentary filmmaking throughout the world, but also the horse-and-buggy method of indoctrinating and informing troops with the truth. [....]

By an order from Winston Churchill all were shown to the British public in theaters. The Russians showed Battle of Russia throughout all their theaters. And in the chaotic months of occupation after the war, American Embassies played the Why We Fight series in enemy countries [...].

Thus, the Why We Fight series became our official, definitive answer to: What was government policy during the dire decade 1931-41? For whenever State, the White House, or Congress was unable, or unwilling, to tell us what our government’s policy had been (and this happened often) I followed General Marshall’s advice: ‘In those cases make your own best estimate, and see if they don’t agree with you later.’ [....]

Thus, it can be truly said that the Why We Fight films not only stated, but in many instances, actually created and nailed down American and world pre-war policy. No, I won’t say it. Yes, I will say it. I was the first ‘Voice of America.’— FC

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