One think that happens during a war is the need to redistribute the economy and society to conserve on the home-front and join the effort on the field of battle. The U.S. has a lot of experience at war (over 20 times in our history), but none galvanized the American people like World War 2.
Quoting the Library of Congress in their exhibit on the American homefront in the 1940s:
"War production propelled the United States out of a depression and into a boom economy. In 1944, American farms produced 324 million more bushels of wheat and 477 million more bushels of corn than in 1939.
By the end of the second World War, the U.S., with about 5 percent of the world's population, was producing half of the world's manufactured goods. But the economic shortages of the Great Depression were replaced during the war by government-enforced shortages of those goods. Consumers were issued ration cards to limit their purchases of groceries and gasoline. Factories that had made everything from automobiles to waffle irons were now producing war materiel exclusively."
The production of patriotic war movies, the employment of women and ethnic groups in positions once reserved for white men, the rise of Rosie the Riviter, the push to buy War Bonds, Victory Gardens.....Ask your grandparents for their stories of this critical time in our history.
CHECK OUT THESE WAR-TIME MOVIES!!!
Here are just a few movies about patriotism, war and America from the 1940s that you might want to check out from our Walter Smart Learning Center media collections:
Victory of Faith (Der Sieg des Glaubens) (1933)
historically the first documentary effort of one of the world's foremost documentarians, Leni Riefenstaht, the film set the standard for Nazi propaganda films, Adolf Hitler, views of Nuremberg rally sites, Stormtroopers in their early uniforms...a look at Hitler's Germany as he wished it to be seen.
Why We Fight World War II - The Complete Series (1943)
During the war, to build support and patriotism, famed movie director Frank Capra and the US Armed Forces collaborated on some U.S. propaganda type films as well. They may not be factually true given today's knowledge, but they reflect the feelings of hope and victory of the times.
World War II the Propaganda Battle (1988)
Bill Moyers and PBS take a look at the war of words, hearts & minds that was also fought during the WW2 years." This Bill Moyers program contains an interview with Fritz Hippler, chief filmmaker for the Nazi Party. Hippler unrepentantly claims to have spoken to the "soul of the masses" through films like The Eternal Jew, which asserted a righteous justification for genocide. Moyers also discusses America's response, which put a renowned filmmaker to work for the Allied cause--director Frank Capra, noted for his gentle, humane films about ordinary folk standing up to oppression."
AIMÉE & JAGUAR (1999)
"In 1943, while the Allies are bombing Berlin and the Gestapo is purging the capital of Jews, a dangerous love affair blossoms between two women... the true story of this extraordinary relationship. The film was nominated for a 1999 Golden Globe Award and was Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar."
'Here's looking at you, kid.' Considered one of the best films of all time, this story of love lost and found again; duty and war is worth a watch.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Covers events from the American and Japanese perspectives leading up to and including the Japanese aerial attack on the U.S. Naval base in pearl harbor on December 7, 1941.
Kens Burns tells the story of ordinary people in four quintessentially American towns - Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota - and examines the ways in which the Second World War touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America.
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Brits had their own homefront stories and Mrs. Miniver which won 7 Oscars for its story of a middle-class British housewife whose strength holds her family together as World War II literally hits their home.
AND...THAT AIN'T All! We have so much more...but we'd really rather hear about some of your favorite films of the '40s! What movie brings the war home for you?