While World War II raged across the globe, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Office Of War Information, Bureau Of Motion Pictures, produced numerous short subjects such as these to patriotically inspire and motivate America to buy War Bonds, out-produce enemy workers and generally be prepared to sacrifice and pay the price that freedom would require.
One of these films is BEHIND NAZI GUNS, a U.S. Navy industrial incentive film narrated by the great journalist and writer William L. Shirer. The film was primarily shown to the workers of America's war plants. With captured enemy footage, the might and military achievements of German industry and the fanatic devotion of Nazi workers are vividly depicted. The film vividly shows the "duel" between German and American war workers. The German war worker is shown hypnotized, listening to propaganda broadcasts on the radio. High tech German laboratories are shown, as well as industrial zones, factories, and munitions plants. The film includes wonderful and rare footage of Berlin at the 3:39 mark, prior to the heavy bombings and battles that would nearly flatten the city. The pre-war poverty is shown at the 4:00 mark, but the good times of the Weimar Republic are also shown at the 4:20 mark, as well as the fall of the Republic due to the appearance of the Brown shirt fascists at the 4:50 mark. The Nazi era is seen emerging as a war machine at the 7:30 mark, with the invasion of Poland and the Blitzkrieg, as well as U-boat attacks in the Atlantic (9;40 mark). At the 13:40 mark, slave labor is shown and prisoner labor as well. The ruined French Army's war munitions are shown being mobilized by the Germans for use against the Allies. At 14:30, Fortress Europe is shown with its huge guns and bunkers. At 16:40, a celebrated German ace is shown along with Hermann Goering, visiting a German war plant. Air raids are shown at the 17:20 mark with German workers scrambling to shelters, and German fighter aircraft scrambling to shoot down Allied bombers. The German retreat from Russia and the blast and destroy work is seen at the 18:30 mark, with railroads and factories demolished in their wake. German civilians are seen at the end of the film, still be exhorted by their leadership to produce more, and push harder, to win the war.
William Lawrence Shirer (February 23, 1904 – December 28, 1993) was an American journalist and war correspondent. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany that has been read by many and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years. Originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the International News Service, Shirer was the first reporter hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a CBS radio team of journalists known as "Murrow's Boys." He became known for his broadcasts from Berlin, from the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II (1940). With Murrow, he organized the first broadcast world news roundup, a format still followed by news broadcasts.
Shirer wrote more than a dozen books beside The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, including Berlin Diary (published in 1941); The Collapse of the Third Republic (1969), which drew on his experience living and working in France from 1925 to 1933; and a three-volume autobiography, Twentieth Century Journey (1976 to 1990). His brother was an analyst for the Securities and Exchange Commission and his niece, Jean Ingold, was an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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