“War Comes To America”
Part 7 of “Why We Fight,” June 1945
This is seventh and final installment of the famous “Why We Fight” series of World War II propaganda films issued by the U.S. War Department and directed by Frank Capra.
This 64-minute film, released in June 1945, was used for military training and was intended to explain why the United States was at war.
It is included on the Abbot web site so that anyone not familiar with the war years can get an idea of the cause that the ship’s crew was fighting for. Some of the crew members were veterans of the Pearl Harbor raid, and the ship’s wartime home port was Pearl Harbor.
Most of the film is genuine footage of historial events, but some of the action scenes — especially some of the aircraft shown during the Pearl Harbor raid — were shot later or reproduced in Hollywood. The animated maps were drawn by the Disney studios.
In his book “The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography,” Capra said that the film “Dealt with who, what, where, why, and how we came to be the U.S.A. — the oldest major democratic republic still living under its original constitution. But the heart of the film dealt with the depth and variety of emotions with which Americans reacted to the traumatic events in Europe and Asia. How our convictions slowly changed from total non-involvement to total commitment as we realized that loss of freedom anywhere increased the danger to our own freedom. This last film of the series was, and still is, one of the most graphic visual histories of the United States ever made.”
Of course this film should not be taken as a definitive chronology of the years leading to World War II, but it accurately reflects the mood of the nation during the war.