In this installment of the "Why We Fight" propaganda series, we learn about the country of China and its people. With a brief history of the country, we also learn of why the Japanese wanted to conquer it and felt confident about succeeding. Finally, the history of the war in that theatre is illustrated and shows the stiff determination of the Chinese who use all their resources to oppose Japanese aggression to the end.
Running Time: 65 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: Passed
The sixth installment in the "Why We Fight" series explores China's history, and Japan's four step plan to bring China and the U.S. under Imperial domination. The first step was the largely unopposed invasion and conquest of Manchuria in 1931, to be followed by the conquest of China proper for manpower. With an initial attack on Shanghai in 1932 largely ineffective, Japan waited another year before taking over another Chinese province, while attempting to stretch it's reach further westward as the Chinese retreated. China's strategy was to trade space for time in an effort to build their military supplies. However Japan hadn't counted on the fierce opposition of Chinese guerrilla bands who continuously harassed the enemy.
Bogged down by an inability to complete the second phase of their strategy, Japan embarked on the third and fourth parts of their plan. By the time this film was produced, Japan was in the midst of that struggle, with mentions of campaigns in the Pacific and the attack on Pearl Harbor setting the stage for the seventh and final chapter of this documentary series. I found that to be rather interesting, as the series now more closely resembled a work in progress as opposed to the history of the conflict already presented in the first five chapters. Interesting too because brand new American fighting men seeing these films for the first time might still have harbored doubts about the war's outcome, even if their country was now firmly behind the war effort.
As in all the prior chapters, the atrocities of the Axis enemy, this time Japan, were well documented and horrifyingly portrayed. The fall of Nanking for example, resulted in the deaths of forty thousand victims, most of them non-combatant men, women and children on whom the Japanese took out their rage and hostility. Unlike watching a war movie, the unimaginable terror that humans are capable of inflicting on each other is on display here in all it's unflinching reality. IMDB.com
This is a well-edited account of a time in US history when the Chinese were our military allies.The "maps and diagrams" by the War Dept.,along with some tight editing,make this essential viewing for all students of history. Todd Honig, Hollywood, CA
CAST & CREW:
Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
National Film Registry
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