The Battle of Russia


The Battle of Russia

Infobox Film
name = Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia


caption =
director = Frank Capra; Anatole Litvak
producer = Office of War Information
writer = Julius Epstein; Philip Epstein
narrator = Walter Huston
starring =
music =
cinematography = Robert Flaherty
editing = William Hornbeck
distributor = War Activities Committee of the Motion Pictures Industry
released = 11 November1943
runtime = 83 min
country = flagicon|United States United States
language = English
budget =
preceded_by = The Battle of Britain
followed_by = The Battle of China
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0036629

"The Battle of Russia" was the fifth film of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" propaganda film series. It is the longest film of the series, beginning with an overview of previous failed attempts to conquer Russia: by the Teutonic Knights in 1212 (footage from Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky is used here), by Charles XII of Sweden in 1704, by Napoleon I in 1812 and by Germany in World War I.

The vast natural resources of the Soviet Union are then described, showing why the land is such a hot prize for conquerors. To give a positive impression of the Soviet Union to the American audience, the country's ethnic diversity is covered in detail. Later on, elements of Russian culture familiar to Americans, including the musical compositions of Tchaikovsky and Leo Tolstoy's book War and Peace are also mentioned. Communism is never mentioned at any point in the film. The start of the film also includes a quote from U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who commended the Russian people's defense of their nation as one of the most courageous feats in military history.

The film then covers the Nazi conquests in the Balkans, described as a preliminary to close off possible Allied counter-invasion routes, before the war against Russia was launched on June 22, 1941. The narration describes the German "keil und kessel" tactics for offensive warfare, and the Soviet "defense in depth" used to counter this. The scorched earth Soviet tactics, the room-to-room urban warfare in Soviet cities, and the guerilla warfare behind enemy lines are also used to underline the Soviet resolve for victory against the Nazis.

One powerful scene shows Russians swearing their oath:

:"For the burned cities and villages"
:"For the deaths of our children and our mothers"
:"For the torture and humiliation of our people"
:"I swear revenge upon the enemy"
:"I swear that I would rather die in battle with the enemy"
:"Than surrender myself my people and my country to the Fascist invaders"
:"Blood for Blood!"
:"Death for Death!"

The Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Stalingrad conclude the film.

External links

*
* [http://www.archive.org/details/BattleOfRussiaI "The Battle of Russia" part 1 download] on the Internet Archive
* [http://www.archive.org/details/BattleOfRussiaII "The Battle of Russia" part 2 download] on the Internet Archive


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