Prelude to War & The Nazis Strike
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PRELUDE TO WAR (53 minutes) and THE NAZIS STRIKE (41minutes), both from 1943, are the first two films in Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series, a series commissioned by the United States Government to explain first to the soldiers, then to the general public, America's involvement in World War II. They aren't documentaries in the general sense of the word, and they don't pretend a detached view of America or its Axis enemies. They're propaganda of the highest order.
PRELUDE TO WAR is the most wide-ranging movie in the series. It stretches back from Moses and the Ten Commandments to `we hold these truths to be self evident' to the Lincoln Memorial to establish America as one of the `lighthouses of liberty' of the Free World. Capra contrasts this with the Slave World of Germany, Italy, and Japan, where men `threw away their human dignity,' destroyed the temples of worship, indoctrinated the youth in the habits of militarism, and forsook free thought for blind obedience to their charismatic leaders. A lot of screen time is devoted to contrasting the regimented life in the Axis states to the free life in the rest of the world. Capra deserves full credit for this strong to overpowering approach, with a nod to series' editor William Hornbeck, who in his career was nominated for a number of Oscars, winning one in 1952 for Best Film Editing for A Place in the Sun. Japan's Tanaka Plan, it's `blueprint for world domination' is looked at in some detail, and Japan's invasion of Manchuria and China in the early '30s, phase one of the Tanaka Plan, is shown. The film ends with Italy's attack on Ethiopia in 1935.
THE NAZIS STRIKE devotes much of its time to `the German's passion for conquest.' Taking a more traditional documentary approach, it details the German bloodless invasion of Austria, its invasion and conquest of Czechoslovakia, the non-aggression pact entered into with Russia, and ends with the bloody invasion and conquest of Poland in 1939.
The `Why We Fight' series won't teach you a whole lot about the causes of World War II or all the reasons the United States entered the conflict. The films' primary goal are to inspire rather than inform. They were made for immediate consumption, and as such are valuable as primary source documents. If you want insight into how the `greatest generation' explained their actions to themselves, this is a very good place to start. The GoodTime Video release I'm reviewing is just in good condition. The less than pristine source print has obviously seen a lot of use over the years, is not restored, and has a few frames missing in places. It's value priced, though, so that's more of an observation than a complaint.
Ron Law | Chino, CA United States | 03/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a german blooded american (three generations removed), I'm constanly in search for understanding. As I've visited german websites I've become increasingly irratated by the anit-american views.* I believe america is a county of good intention, not that our intentions always work out well but, we try. I would never wish another Vietnam tragedy. Is there a time to fight? Do you believe in shunning? Do you take a non-partisan view? In our current situation we should be all asking ourselves these questions. Imagine a world without diplomacy... What a crazy place that would be. But, what do you do when diplomacy fails? What do you do if there isn't a cop on the beat to intervene? This film gives an idea of what might have happened. With this in mind I applaud the English, Australians, New Zealanders and Indians for stepping up to the plate and getting involved as quickly as they did. This film is great food for thought and I question whether it shouldn't be required viewing in schools. For those in search of german pride, I highly recommend "The Rommel Papers". You will read a tragic story of a true german soldier and a very honorable man. We could have used him on our side.* The anti-american views were viewed only on a couple websites and in no way implicate that germany as a whole shares such views."
Ron Law | Chino, CA United States | 03/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've found it's hard to review such a piece without turning Amazon into my own private forum. This is a thought provoking piece. Especially knowing what we know now. I learned a couple historical facts that I never knew and gained further understanding about the atmosphere at the time of WWII. After viewing this I found myself talking about it with family and friends, opening the door for dibate on issues of involvement and non-involvement. At what point should you go to war? How far can you dibate an issue before it's too late? The thought process is almost dizzying. This film gives a possible view of what might have happened should action not have been taken. I highly recommend this as both a learning source and also as something to provoke you into thought. I also want to bring to attention that this is 2 out of ? number of films by Frank Capra. This is also sold as a set that includes all of the collection. These two films have left me hungry to see the rest of his work. I myself will probably end up buying the collection and wanted to recommend you make the same consideration."
Concise, great photos & handy reference = good buy
Russell A. Rohde MD | West Covina, California USA | 06/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""World War II - Prelude to War" Bookmart Ltd., Taj Books Ltd., 2005 ISBN 1-84509-166-3, HC, 112 pg., 9.5" x 9.5"
The text chronicles events giving rise to WWI, rise of Hitler & Nazi Germany. Contents include Introd. WWII (began 1938); Great War (WWI) began upon Serbian assissination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia on 6/28/1914; After Great War (Versailles Treaty, geo. & monetary reparations); Hitler & growth Nazi party (Great Depression & Jewish conspir.); Nazi propaganda (Nationalism, racial purity, SS troops): & tabulat. events Mar 11,1938 (Anschlos-annex. Austria) to Sep 2, 1945 (Japan signs).
DVD - 51 min. MPEG-2 in cover "Prelude to War" in B/W prod. by Special Services Div. War Depart. & AMP. It depicts rise of Hitler's Nazi-ism with "Seig Heil-Seig Heil", Hirohito's planned world takeover with "Bonsai-Bonsai" & Mussolini's Fascist grandiose "Duce! - Duce!". All 3 nations had youth organizations & Lebensraum mentality of perceived need for economic/land expansion driven by successes of Indust. Rev. & power-hungry opportunistic leaders.
The DVD is expertly done. Text lacks an obvious editor/author, is hastily assembled is grammatically flawed. Overall, highly informative: - shows 20 Nazi propaganda posters in color, 2 maps & 86 large B/W photos of Hitler & wartimes. Concise, excellent photos & good reference to have for the library. DVD a winner!"