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his Academy Award-winning British documentary follows the titanic conflict between the opposing forces of German General Erwin Rommel and British General Bernard Montgomery, from the defeat of the British at El Alamein to their ultimate quid pro quo victory at Tripoli. Four Allied cameramen were killed and thirteen others were wounded or captured during the filming of this documentary that also included captured German newsreel footage.
9. Divide and Conquer
Utilizing visceral newsreel footage and maps, the documentary chronicles Hitler's stunning sweep across Europe. We watch as the Nazis overcome Denmark and Norway, repel the British Army, and force France into a humiliating surrender. We discover how ground-breaking Nazi military tactics and the duplicity of traitors lead to the fall of the majority of Central Europe. (Directed by Frank Capra & Anatole Litvak)
10. Great Battle of the Volga, The
This documentary depicts the Russian forces heroic battle to stop the invading German army from taking Leningrad. The Nazi battle plan, codenamed "Operation Barbarrosa", was to take the vital city in their efforts to conquer all of Russia. The documentary shows the resolve of the Russian troops as they battle against the well-organized and outfitted German forces, the rally of the Russians against impossible odds and the horrific results of this battle.
11. Marines at Tarawa-Return to Guam
The documentary covers two of the Marine Corps' most savage battles. Tarawa was characteristic of the vicious island fighting that was the hallmark of the war in the Pacific. Fought within an area the size of the Pentagon, three days of fighting claimed almost 10,000 lives. The second part of the documentary portrays the return of the Marine Corps to their recaptured base on the island of Guam.
12. Nazis Strike, The
This tough-minded documentary masterfully assembles newsreel footage to trace the ascent of Adolf Hitler and his ravening hunger for global domination. After forcefully wresting the German government from more moderate politicians, Hitler installs himself as dictator. Having suppressed the Jewish people in Germany, Der Fuhrer invades the Rhineland and Austria, and subsequently calls for the annexation of Czechoslovakia. In spite of assuring the world of "peace in our time," he marches on Poland, leading to the conflict that became World War II.
13. Payoff in the Pacific
This fascinating documentary gives a firsthand view of the critical battles of World War II fought near Japanese territory, around the Central Pacific islands, especially New Guinea and Guadalcanal. It chronicles most of the major battles fought in that large ocean; from the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor to the ultimate surrender of Japan.
14. Prelude to War
Prelude to War, the Oscar-winning documentary, shows the viewer how diplomatic and political snafus made in the wake of World War I planted the seeds of World War II. Blame is pointed squarely at the American populace, who had come to believe that the problems of the rest of the world would never affect them. While America slumbered, Japan and Germany inexorably built their armies and launched their plans for world domination.
15. To The Shores of Iwo JimaThis Academy Award-nominated documentary graphically depicts the American assault on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima and the massive battle that raged on that key island in the Allied advance on Japan. The five marines and one sailor who raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi are shown.
1. Appointment in Tokyo
This World War II documentary covers the American war effort in the Pacific from the fall of Bataan and the Philippines to the surrender of Japan on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. Covering events through the use of Army Signal Corps film footage as well as captured Japanese newsreels, the documentary presents the war with an up close feel and a realistic, though opinionated, approach.
2. Attack in the Pacific
After a fascinating introduction to the diverse Pacific islands and their inhabitants, the documentary segues to the rise of Japanese military might from its home base all the way to Australia, including the critical turning point attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. We see, at first hand, the methods used by the Allies, particularly the U.S., to ready counterattacks against Japan, including a harrowing island by island advance that generated a devastating body count.
3. Attack! The Battle for New Britain
This gripping documentary chronicles the relentless and bloody 1943 Allied assault on the entrenched Japanese forces on Arawe Beach and Cape Gloucester, New Britain. Beginning with unsparing training footage of the Allies preparing for the assault, you are then presented with the three-prong Allied attack to retake the island of New Britain. Despite the heavy losses, the Allies were victorious in this pivotal battle of the South Pacific theatre in World War II.
4. Battle of Britain, The
Narrated by double amputee RAF fighter pilot Douglas Bader, The Battle of Britain records the courage and resolve of the British people in the face of the constant bombings by Hitler's Luftwaffe. In 1940, Britain was virtually the only European nation not to have fallen to the German war machine. At the conclusion of the film Britain's pilots are readying an air assault that will finally lead to payback for Hitler's oppression. (Directed by Frank Capra)
5. Battle of China, The
In this fascinating documentary we learn about the nation of China, its populace and the countries resolve to stop the invading forces of the Japanese during World War II. Starting with a short historical background to the country, we discover the reasons behind the Japanese desire for its conquest, and why they were confident of success. Ultimately, the events of the war in that region are chronicled, showing the Japanese forces taking control of portions of China to aid them in conquering all of Asia as well as the iron resistance of the Chinese people, who use all their ingenuity to fight Japanese aggression to the end. (Directed by Frank Capra & Anatole Litvak)
6. Battle of Russia, The
In this Oscar-nominated documentary, we discover Russia's valiant resistance to the invasion throughout its history. The Russian people's strength of character was the key to their determination in prevailing against unstoppable German forces during some of the bloodiest battles of the World War II. The film is a wonderful compilation of authentic newsreel footage from both the U.S. Signal Corps and various Soviet sources. (Directed by Frank Capra & Anatole Litvak)
7. Battle of San Pietro, The
According to Time magazine, San Pietro is in every respect as good a war film as any that has been made; in some respects it is the best. A record of one of the tense and bloody battles for the Liri Valley in Italy in late 1943, it is a story told chiefly in terms of the experiences of one infantry regiment -- the 143rd of the 36th Division. San Pietro's record of combat, its eye for terrain and for weather, its recognition of war as a science both wonderful and tragically inexact, is at least equal to any seen in films so far.