History Rediscovered: Prelude to War
Winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary film in 1943, Prelude to War was the first film in Frank Capra's Why We Fight series, and one of the most important films of WWII. Hailed as a propaganda masterpiece, the passage of time has done little to dissipate its power. Intended to "give factual information as to the causes, the events leading up to our entry into the war and the principles for which we are fighting", Prelude to War was originally intended to be shown only to draftees. It proved so successful that it was soon released in theaters to generate support for the war effort. The film dramatically portrays the events leading up to WWII, including Japanese aggression in Manchuria, the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, and the isolationist attitude that prevailed in the United States. A key component in the narrative is the clash between democracy and the fascist "slave world" in which human dignity -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion and personal liberty -- is endangered.
Starring Walter Huston, Kai-Shek Chiang, Walter Darré
Director Frank Capra