History Rediscovered: The Battle of Russia
The fifth and longest film in Frank Capra's acclaimed "Why We Fight" WWII propaganda series, "Battle of Russia" portrays the bitter fighting on the Eastern Front 1941-1943. It also attempts to justify the new alliance among the democratic Allies and Soviet Russia. Here, the Nazi invasion of Russia is framed in historical terms, with references to previous failed invasions by the Teutonic Knights in 1242, Charles of Sweden in 1704, and Napoleon in 1812. The tenacity and determination of the Russian people is emphasized, along with the nation's vast natural and human resources. (Communism, interestingly enough, is never mentioned.) While the film can be described as blatantly pro-Soviet, many aspects of it are accurate. Even today, few people grasp the scale of the sacrifice of human lives on the Eastern Front. Over 20 million Soviets were killed during the war, including over 8 million members of the armed forces. By comparison, American casualties were less than half a million.
Starring Walter Huston, Anthony Veiller, Ion Antonescu
Director Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak