“Why We Fight: The Nazis Strike” was released in 1943 and is the second of 7 films directed by Frank Capra in the “Why We Fight” series.  Commissioned by the War Department, all 7 films are American propaganda films done in the documentary style and designed to inspire American servicemen.  At about 41 minutes, it is the shortest film in the series.  The episode was narrated by Walter Huston.

This installment focuses on Germany and its desire for world domination.  Reference is made to Otto von Bismarck and his desire to conquer the world in 1863.  It then continues to Adolph Hitler’s belief that Germany was superior to other nations and that anyone who had any German blood was German and any land where Germans lived belonged to Germany.  Hitler stated that he was liberating them.  This way he felt justified in invading other countries.  The film describes Germany’s invasion of the Rhineland, Austria, The Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, then the rest of Czechoslovakia and Poland.

Some have noted many inaccuracies to the historic record in the film.  I’m not surprised since it is a propaganda film.  Propaganda, including American propaganda, is history in the eye of the beholder.  Historians in particular found that the portrayal of Poles as being ineffective against Germany and the Soviets as being saviors was an attempt to put the Soviets in a better light and to reinforce the alliance between America and Russia.  Nothing is mentioned concerning Russia’s atrocities committed against Poland.  Not being a historian myself, I must rely on others to set the record straight. 

In 2000 the United States Library of Congress mandated that all 7 films were "culturally significant" and selected them for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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