World War II

11 Mar 1938 -- 02 Sep 1945

Sparked and fueled by dreams of unlimited power and world domination, World War II was the deadliest and costliest conflict in the history of the world. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo became symbols of evil incarnate, their names forever associated with death and destruction. From Hitler's invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia in March 1938 to the signing of the Japanese surrender in September 1945, the war claimed more than 70 million lives and changed the face of the world forever.


Declaration of War Against Japan

08 Dec 1941

On 8 December 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other US territories in the Pacific, war was declared against Japan by joint resolution of the United States Congress.

War Declared By Congress

08 Dec 1941

Front page coverage by the Harrisburg Telegraph on 8 Dec 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Europe After Invasion of Austria  (13 Mar 1938)

This is a CBS news program covering events in Europe in response to the German invasion of Austria.

Chamberlain Returns From Munich  (30 Sep 1938)

This is a portion of the speech Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave upon his arrival from the Munich Conference.

We Shall Fight on the Beaches  (04 Jun 1940)

In this speech, Churchill had to describe a great military disaster, and warn of a possible invasion attempt by Nazi Germany, without casting doubt on eventual victory. It concludes with the famous quote, "We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

French Surrender to Germany  (17 Jun 1940)

Radio coverage of the signing of the armistice between France and Germany.

Churchill -- Their Finest Hour  (18 Jun 1940)

An excerpt from the famous speech by Prime Minister Winston Churchill just before the Battle of Britain, in which he statement "if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour."

Attack on Pearl Harbor  (07 Dec 1941)

Flash bulletin announcing the Japanese attack on Hawaii.

Roosevelt Addresses Congress  (08 Dec 1941)

President Franklin D Roosevelt's famous 'date that will live in infamy' speech to Congress, asking for a declaration of war against Japan.

D Day  (06 Jun 1944)

This first of two news reports covering the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

D Day News  (06 Jun 1944)

An installment of Crisco's News program continuing coverage of the D Day invasion.

Hitler Dead  (01 May 1945)

MBS radio report announcing that Hitler is dead.

VE Day Special Victory Program  (07 May 1945)

This special broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service was to celebrate victory in Europe.

Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima  (06 Aug 1945)

President Truman's announcement that an atomic bomb had been dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.


America's Call to Arms  (1941)

Created at the outset of WWII, this Castle Film newsreel shows America as the Arsenal of Democracy, producing men and materials for the war effort. Basic training and testing of military equipment is shown, along with the construction of tanks, ships, guns, planes and other war material.

Prelude to War  (1942)

Prelude to War was the first film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, commissioned by the Office of War Information (OWI) and George C. Marshall. It was made to convince American troops of the necessity of combating the Axis Powers during World War II. The film was based on the idea that those in the service would be more willing and able fighters if they knew the background and reason for their participation in the war. It was later released to the general American public as a rallying cry for support of the war.

It's Everybody's War  (1942)

This is a government film, narrated by Henry Fonda, that was produced to help mobilize and motivate Americans to participate in the war effort.

Pearl Harbor  (1942)

This short film, produced by the US Government without narration, includes intense and touching scenes of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

News Parade Pearl Harbor  (1942)

Newsreel coverage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the fire that gutted the SS Normandie while it was being converted to a troopship in 1942.

Ducktators  (1942)

The Ducktators is a Looney Tunes black and white cartoon that was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions and was released in 1942 by Warner Brothers. Directed by Norman McCabe, the cartoon satirizes various events of World War II.

The Nazis Strike  (1943)

The Nazis Strike was the second film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series. It introduces Germany as a nation whose aggressive ambitions began in 1863 with Otto von Bismarck and with the Nazis as their latest incarnation.

Divide and Conquer  (1943)

Divide and Conquer (1943) is the third film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, dealing with the Nazi conquest of Western Europe in 1940. The film begins immediately after the fall of Poland. Of the two major Western Allies of 1940, the United Kingdom is first to be mentioned. The role of the Royal Navy in blockading Germany is highlighted, in that it means that Germany must overcome British resistance in order to clear the way for its world conquest.

The Battle of Britain  (1943)

The Battle of Britain was the fourth of Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of seven propaganda films, which made the case for fighting and winning the Second World War. It was released in 1943 and concentrated on the German bombardment of the United Kingdom in anticipation of Operation Sea Lion, the planned Nazi invasion of Great Britain.

Women on the Warpath  (1943)

Ford Motor Company tribute to the women workers who heard the call and volunteered with the military or industry to contribute to the allied war effort, especially in the Detroit area.

Since Pearl Harbor  (1943)

Since Pearl Harbor is a 1943 short documentary film commissioned by the United States Government during World War II. It is a report to the American People regarding the wartime activities of the American Red Cross since the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Last Will and Testament of Tom Smith  (1943)

Tom Smith, an American pilot, is shot down and captured by the Japanese. While imprisoned and awaiting execution, he recalls his life at home in the USA.

Food and Magic  (1943)

A sideshow barker uses magic and visual aids to alert the public that proper food management is both a resource and a weapon that could be to America's advantage if conserved properly in winning the then current World War.

No Exceptions  (1943)

Short subject intended to promote unified action and sacrifice by Americans on the home front during the war.

Our Enemy The Japanese  (1943)

Our Enemy The Japanese was a 1943 short film produced by the US Navy and Office of War Information to provide background knowledge about the wartime foe.

Daffy -- The Commando  (1943)

Commando Daffy Duck goes behind enemy lines and causes havoc for a Nazi German officer and his troops.

The Battle of China  (1944)

The Battle of China (1944) was the sixth film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series. It follows an introduction to Chinese culture and history with the modern history of China and the founding of the Republic of China by Sun Yat-sen, leading on to the Japanese invasion. The invasion of China is explained in terms of the four-step plan for Japanese conquest, mentioned in the Tanaka Memorial.

Battle of Russia  (1944)

Documentary revealing the nature and process of the fight between the Soviet Union and Germany in the Second World War. Part 5 of the Why We Fight series.

A Journey  (1944)

A Journey presents the cooperative efforts of the home front to solve war time problems in four cities across the United States. Scenes include citizens working to create temporary housing and schools in war production cities like Mobile, Alabama and volunteers from Cache Valley, Utah unloading train cars transporting military supplies.

A Challenge to Democracy  (1944)

Government-produced film attempting to defend the massive internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II.

Surrender in the Pacific  (1945)

A documentary detailing the events following the Japanese surrender in 1945.

War Comes to America  (1945)

Part VII of the Why We Fight series of wartime documentaries. This entry attempts to describe the factors leading up to America's entry into the Second World War.

The March of Time: The French Campaign  (1945)

The episode follows the French campaign in 1944 from the beaches in Normandy to the liberation of Paris.

VJ Day  (1945)

Newsreel coverage of the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II on 14 August 1945.

Know Your Enemy -- Japan  (1945)

A comprehensive look at the war in the Pacific during World War II. Shot as a propaganda film by acclaimed Hollywood director Frank Capra