Why We Fight

Frank Capra

Frank Capra cuts Army film as a Signal Corps Reserve major during World War II.

Frank Capra was a famous director that entered the army as a major in 1941 to help with the war effort. While in his service he noticed that in the 14 hours of policy discussion and information solders were required to endure, most of the recruits did not understand or retain any or most of the information due to the lack of education in their past. He decided to try and convey this information through film rather than the previous lecture method that was used. He knew he needed to showcase a large level of diversity in order to appeal to all the troops that would be watching these films so it would spawn the maximum amount of patriotism possible. Though Capra had never made a documentary before, he wanted to make sure that the American soldiers knew as much about this war, specifically why the United States was involved and who and what we were fighting for and against.



Title Screen from "Prelude to War" of the Why We Fight series.

A still image featuring the title page from "Prelude to War" of the Why We Fight series made by Frank Capra.

Still Image From "The Battle of China"

An animation depicting the fragmented state of China in comparison to the unified state of Japan from the The Battle of China, the sixth film in the Why We Fight series.

On this journey to make these films, he began studying German propaganda, got a complete backing by Hollywood and companies such as Disney, and even got top film writers, who typically compete with one another, to work together and help him. This was the birth of the Why We Fight series that would be played to all troops joining the war effort. There were seven total films, and all were 50 minutes a piece, each focusing on a certain facet of the war.

This is a short clip from film The Nazi Strike that is one of seven films that make up the Why We Fight series created by Frank Capra. In this clip, you can see how the Nazis were often compared to the Huns in their need for conquest and cruel behavior.

The first film, Prelude to War examines the difference between democratic and fascist states as well as the Japanese and Italian conquests.

The second film, The Nazis Strike, goes on to cover Hitler’s various conquests and paints the rising Nazi regime as the start of World War II.

A short clip from the seventh film of the Why We Fight series by Frank Capra called "War Comes to America" In which they talk about how World War II has impacted the states and why we entered.


The seventh and final film shows how these enemy powers changed the American view away from isolationism and to the war and how they will stop at nothing to conquer the world. This series remains one of the most graphic visual histories of the United States. 

The first four films depict and go over how the war began in the first place and the last three show what is happening to our allies in the war, such as Russia and China. An estimated 45 million Americans would see these films, and the films shows that America isn’t against a race of people, but fascism as a whole.

Why We Fight