Monday, November 11, 2013

"Why We Fight" - Frank Capra (1942)

During the first months of the Second World War Hollywood Director Frank Capra; who had just released the film "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart: was serving in the Armed Forces when he received an unusual order. He was to be tasked with making films, which would explain to the American Public, just why we were at war and how we got there.

These were propaganda films, plain and simple. But the one difference between our films and those of our enemies was this; our films were made in reaction to the atrocities being committed in Europe and the Pacific. They were, in that respect, educational films. The Nazi's had been using film to vilify specific ethnic groups such as the Gypsies and the Jews, in order to facilitate political policies engineered for the destruction of those groups.

Some of our films, particularly the cartoons of the era, did depict the Japanese as savages. Although this was "painting with a broad brush", so to speak, again it was in response to an action undertaken by that group to begin with, and not a vilification for political or territorial gain, other than to redress the wrongful action of that group. The proof of this is in the treatment of our enemies after the war had ended.

While the other group was using propaganda in order to subjugate the entire world, we were using it as a motivation to stop that effort. Some may not see a big difference, but I do.

Today is Veteran's Day, a holiday which was originally called "Armistice Day" and created to honor those who fell in the First World War, which was billed as the "war to end all wars." All it really accomplished was to set the stage for the Second World War, which set the stage for Korea, Vietnam and the list goes on and on.

Take a little time today to talk with a Veteran about their service. Most are only too happy to share their experiences. Even if you; or even they; have not always been in agreement with what we have fought for, the men and women who have served, have all served with the best of intentions on your behalf. And, that may be the most noble service of all.

For the story of my Grandfather William Shone Williams and his time in the trenches during World War One, use this link;

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