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Iowa's WWII Stories: Movie Reels

posted on April 8, 2006 at 5:31 PM

News from the battle front was distributed to the citizens of the United States through several methods but the most common ones were newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, and short films called newsreels. These short films, usually seen before the featured theatrical release in movie theaters across the United States, were a wrap-up of news from the previous week.

Motion picture film also was used as a training device for military personnel. Quite often soldiers would be shown films on everything from proper hygiene to the latest success on the battlefield. The newsreels and training films on this Web site were created between 1941 and 1945.

Color film of the second flag raising on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima February 23, 1945
In this short silent film, the U.S. flag is raised for the second time on the island of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945.

Color film of Japanese General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signing the Instruments of Surrender. September 2, 1945
In this short silent film, Japanese General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs both copies of the Instrument of Surrender. When the ceremony was completed, one copy was given to the representatives of the Japanese Imperial Government and the other copy was sent back to the United States.

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
In this series of short films, WAACs are seen on a parade ground at a training base and on parade through a downtown business district. In the last film clip, the woman inspecting the troops is Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, commanding officer of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.

 

NEWSREELS

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
This segment shows film of the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective. This film was captured from the Japanese Imperial Government and shown to audiences in the United States sometime in 1942.

Review of the War in Europe
Produced sometime in 1946, this film is a retrospective of the war in Europe. It includes footage of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meeting in Yalta in early 1945, battlefield action in Europe, and the signing of the Instrument of Surrender onboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

Stepping Stone To Japan
This is a film used to describe what the United States Army Air Forces were doing to win the war in early 1944 in the Marshall Islands. It is not clear if it was only used for American forces as a training film or if it was shown to general audiences in theaters.

U.S. Army Air Corps Policy
This is an excerpt from a film used to describe the United States Army Air Forces policy in Europe. The film begins with descriptions of actions taken in March of 1944. The film appears to be one used for training.

U.S. Bombers Pave Way for Pacific invasion
This is a portion of a newsreel shown to general audiences describing the campaign in New Britain near New Guinea and Makin Island in the Gilbert Island chain in November of 1943.

Heavy Rains Slow Allied Advance
This is a portion of a newsreel shown to general audiences describing how the weather slowed the advance of 5th Army in June of 1944.

Tags: army films history Iowa military war