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  Home > -Quick Reference DVD Guide >

Why We Fight - The Rise of the Axis Powers
Scenes from Why We Fight
Still photos taken from the films

Why We Fight
The Rise of the Axis Powers
and the Outbreak of World War 2
Three Films - 2 Hours 30 minutes
As seen by millions of American Service Men & Women!
Regular Price $14.95
Sale Price: $8.95
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Description Our DVD Specs
Why We Fight Parts 1, 2 and 3
The Rise of the Axis Powers and the outbreak of World War 2

"Why We Fight," is an Academy Award winning seven part film series, shown to millions of American servicemen & women to educate them about the causes and early history of World War 2. The films were produced & directed by four-time Academy Award winner Frank Capra, who enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. This classic series uses a hard-hitting combination of “you are there” dramatic documentary film supplemented with easy to grasp charts, graphics and lively animation to engage the audience.

Part 1 Prelude to War (52:00, B&W, 1942) shows the conditions that led to rise of the Axis Powers: Germany, Italy and Japan and their aggressive expansion into China and Ethiopia in the 1930s with little opposition from the Western democracies, who vainly hoped for "no more wars." But, economic chaos and the rise of ultra nationalist political parties prove fertile ground for demagogic dictatorships with expansionist goals. Walter Huston is the narrator.

Part 2 The Nazis Strike (44:00, B&W, 1942) Hitler ignores the Versailles Treaty, rearms, re-occupies the Rhineland and annexes Austria in 1938, all the while spreading false propaganda, encouraging fascist parties in other countries to weaken his targets. When he threatens Czechoslovakia, Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain and Eugene Déladier of France sign the infamous "Peace in Our Time" treaty with him in Munich in September 1938, handing over the Sudetenland in Western Czechoslovakia to appease him. Sensing weakness, Hitler seizes the rest of Czechoslovakia soon after. In response, Britain and France guarantee the independence of Poland to stop further advances. Hitler invades Poland, launching the first "Blitzkrieg" in modern warfare, combining tanks, motorized infantry and tactical air power. Britain and France declare war and the RAF attacks the Kiel Canal. The invasion of Poland and the siege of Warsaw are described in detail with documentary footage supplement by maps and animation.

Part 3. Divide and Conquer (57:00, B&W, 1942) After occupying Poland, Hitler says he has no further plans of conquest, guaranteeing the neutrality of the Scandinavian countries and Holland and Belgium. Six month later he occupies Denmark and moves swiftly to invade Norway, a strategic asset on Britain's flank, aided by local 5th columnists. The British land troops to oppose the Germans, but the Luftwaffe air superiority force them to withdraw. After a period of inaction on the border with France known as the "Sitzkrieg," Hitler orders his generals to attack, ignoring the neutrality of Holland and Belgium. The invasion of France is shown in great detail using dramatic footage and animation to illustrate Blitzkrieg tactics, explained by a top U.S. Army intelligence officer. The Germans outflank the Maginot defensive line, breaking through in the Ardennes forest and driving swiftly to the English Channel in an attempt to trap the British Expeditionary Force and Belgium & French armies in the low countries & Northern France. The B.E.F. escapes to Britain from Dunkirk, but after a brief consolidation, German forces move South, breaking through defensive lines. Mussolini's Italian forces attack in the South West. On 16 June 1940, General Pétain asks for an armistice and surrenders at Sedan to Hitler. Almost two million French prisoners of war are taken to Germany as hostages to work in forced labor camps. Northern France is occupied and the entire country subjected to ruinous taxation.

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