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Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Under Fire (1941) | BFI National Archive

Despite the Blitz, it's 'business as usual' as England prepares for Christmas in this propaganda film intended for US audiences. It's a Christmas of holly and barbed wire, guns and tinsel, yet the British, we are told, are determined to make it as cheerful as possible.

"England is fighting for her life", asserts the American narrator, but it is admiration rather than pity that the film seeks to evoke. The filmmakers achieve this with emotions bigger than most 10-minute films could contain, as we watch plucky Londoners creating a subterranean Christmas on Underground platforms and the choristers of King's College sing their hearts out. While no doubt intended to encourage US support in the War, 'Christmas Under Fire' ultimately offers a portrait of a nation "unbeaten, unconquered and unafraid". (Poppy Simpson)

All titles on the BFI Films channel are preserved in the vast collections of the BFI National Archive. To find out more about the Archive visit

Friday, December 4, 2009

"A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"

Sixty-eight years ago this week, the First Air Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked American military installations and our fleet at Pearl Harbor. The attack killed more than 2,400 Americans and brought America’s entry into World War II.

The next day President Roosevelt addressed a Joint Session of Congress and gave his “Day of Infamy” address. It remains a striking and memorable response to an act of brutal aggression:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

* * *

As terrible as this moment in history was, it is important to remember that even more Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001. Then, like now, most Americans wanted no part in war. But there was a consensus that the evil foisted upon Americans required a firm and resolute response. That generation rolled back the evil and created a better world in the process. May each generation respond to the troubles and evil of its own day with the same determination to “gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Seventieth Anniversary of the Invasion of Poland and the Start of World War II

September 1, 1939, began as a peaceful Sunday that left the world shocked and changed forever, when German troops blitzkrieged their way through the Polish countryside. This 1943 War Department film contains footage of artillery and infantry attacks which resulted in the siege and capture of Warsaw on September 27, 1939. Much of the footage was shot by German troops and was later captured by Allied Forces. Over six million Poles were eventually murdered.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Russia Accuses Poland of Starting Second World War

The following suggests that the Russian Defense Ministry studied history under the same professors as President Obama, as evidenced by his speech at Cairo University.

Russia has accused Poland of provoking the outbreak of the Second World War by refusing to accede to the "very modest" demands of Nazi Germany.

From The Telegraph
By Adrian Blomfield

The Russian defence ministry posted a potentially inflammatory essay on its website which claimed Poland resisted Germany's ultimatums in 1939 only because it "wanted to obtain the status of a great power".

The lengthy diatribe, which is unlikely to be welcomed in Warsaw, also lashed out at Britain and France for giving the Poles "delusions of grandeur" by promising to intercede if the Nazis invaded.

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