“Why We Fight: Divide and Conquer” was released in 1943 and is the third documentary film directed by Frank Capra for the seven episode “Why We Fight” film series. This episode was narrated primarily by Walter Huston. The film was commissioned by the Office of War Information. It was produced by Warner Brothers and the War Activities Committee of the Motion Pictures Industry. This and all of the films are in the public domain. The films were used as part of servicemen’s orientation before they were deployed overseas as inspiration and are American propaganda.
In 1939, after the invasion of Poland, France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. In 1940, Hitler began his attacks on Denmark on the way to Norway, followed by marches across Holland and Belgium. Once these objectives were met and these countries were beaten down, Germany set its sights on conquering France and then Britain. Hitler’s strategy is explored in the film and is explained by an unknown intelligence officer.
This episode describes the Nazi’s non-aggression pact with many of the countries in Western Europe, specifically Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. It then describes Germany’s systematic invasion of these countries thereby breaking each and every pact. Some of Hitler’s atrocities against these countries are also highlighted. Germany’s intention was to enslave the inhabitants and make them serve Germany’s war machine.
Included in the film are references to the battle of Dunkirk and the evacuation of British and French soldiers that had been trapped. Other battles are also touched on. Also, during this period Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
For some strange reason, a comparison is made between Hitler and the American gangster, John Dillinger.