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WAR DOCUMENTARIES VIDEO TAPES
Suggested for scholarly and educational use.
Berlin Blockade and Airlift
(1968), English dialogue, b/w, 20 min. - On August 25, 1940, the Royal Air Force made its first raid, beginning a five-year siege that would end only after 80,000 civilians had been killed. This footage, suppressed until now as too harrowing to show, brings to searing light the devastating tragedy and miracle of Berlin.
Ein Tag im Juli: Berlin 1945CH
Germany, 1972, Color, 50 minutes, German commentary - US Air Force cameramen captured these Berlin scenes on color film in July of 1945. They include conversations with Berliners, Truman being greeted by Gromyko (who was then serving as an expert on Germany) while Truman was enroute to the Potsdam Conference, refugees, views of places that were famous before the War, wood auctions in the Tiergarten, and rubble being cleared by Truemmerfrauen.
*No Longer Available*
The Baltic Tragedy
Germany/USA/USSR, 1940-1946, B&W, Total running Time: 148 minutes, sound with English Subtitles. - Hitler's war on Russia is graphically portrayed in 11 original German wartime newsreels. The northern sector of the Germans' eastern front, where ferocious battles were fought in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, is featured. Four additional international documentaries--including one produced by the Soviets in 1944--present a well-rounded picture of the tragic plight of the Baltic peoples during World War II. Here is the story of the "captive nations"--whose lands became a killing ground for one of history's most brutal wars.
Special care has been taken by International Historic Films to assemble this monumental documentary, which tells the story of what is left for a people after its land has been ravaged by war. Situated between the powerful antagonists Germany and the Soviet Union, the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia bore witness to some of the most ferocious land battles of the Second World War.
Every film and film sequence included in this unique compilation is the result of years of painstaking research by International Historic Films. The American, German, Latvian, and Soviet films which compose the program have all been selected both for their historical contributions to the theme of The Baltic Tragedy and for the exceptionally high visual quality of the original negatives from which most of these sequences were reproduced. The segments are chronologically arranged, and introduced with brief explanatory titles.
I. My Latvia
A documentary featurette of the illegal Soviet military occupation of the three then-autonomous Baltic states in 1940. This unusual film, which illuminates communist methods of internal subversion and conquest, includes rare scenes of Stalin and other Soviet leaders attending closed Kremlin meetings, and examines the criminal background of the Latvian nationals who "invited" the Soviets into that country and subsequently assumed high communist government posts. A grim, gripping film, produced by the Latvian filmmaker Albert Jekste.
II. German Newsreel of June 22nd, 1941*
The first scenes ever shown to the world of "Operation Barbarossa", the German invasion of Soviet Russia which began on June 22nd, 1941. Practically all of the footage in this excerpt was shot on the first day of the campaign, and shows German infantrymen seizing river crossings and dueling with Soviet machinegun nests and snipers in a Lithuanian border town.
III. German Newsreel of June-July 1941
The following week, the German wartime newsreel opened with flashback scenes of the 1939 Russo-Finnish war. The newsreel also features a long combat sequence of the battle for Lithuania and the capture of her capital city, Kaunas, as well as the advance on other strategic towns by the Germans.
IV. German Newsreel of July 1941
The barbarism of Soviet rule is the subject of this controversial German newsreel, which includes gruesome scenes of Baltic civilians who were tortured and murdered in large numbers by the retreating Red Army. Jewish members of the Soviet secret police who were captured and filmed by the Germans are shown as the authors of these crimes in a classic example of anti-Jewish propaganda from the Third Reich. The military sequences are highlighted by the crushing defeat which was inflicted on the Soviet forces by the Germans near Minsk.
V. German Newsreel of July-August 1941
The six-week-long battle for Estonia, which the German 18th Army invaded on July 7th, is the subject of this newsreel, which includes the Germans' triumphant entry into Tallinn as well as the violent land and air battles which ensued when the German forces attempted to prevent the trapped Red Army units from escaping the coastal region by sea.
VI. German Newsreel of October 1941
This newsreel offers a close look at the faces of the men who operate a communist torture chamber, in this instance a group of Soviet prison guards who surrendered to the German troops on the island of Saaremaa. The German newsreel commentator reads quotations from a speech by President Roosevelt praising the Soviet system of justice, as scenes of the mutilated bodies of the victims of the Russian guards are shown in the prison yard.
VII. German Newsreel in Portuguese of November 1941
This rare newsreel segment is an example of a German wartime newsreel made for foreign distribution. Narrated in Portuguese, the film shows air battles along the northern sector of the Eastern Front, as well as the German attacks against Narva and Novgorod.
VIII. German Newsreel in Estonian Language
From an Estonian-language newsreel made by the Germans, this segment shows a mass meeting in Riga of Baltic civilians volunteering to work for the German war effort.
IX. German Newsreel of February 1944
Estonian members of the Waffen SS are shown in action both offensively and defensively in the bloody see-saw fighting for the Narva sector, which became one of the longest and most famous battles of the German-Soviet war.
X. Soviet Newsreel of July 1944
This rare segment from an original Soviet wartime newsreel shows the preliminary artillery bombardment and Soviet attack on Vilnius, Lithuania, as well as the Red Army's first contact with the city's civilian population.
XI. German Newsreel of August 1944
A graphic picture of the German army in retreat is presented in this newsreel, which shows the Wehrmacht's evacuation of the city of Kaunas, the action of various rear-guard units, the unloading of a supply train, and a subsequent violent counter-attack against Soviet forces advancing into Latvia.
XII. German Newsreel of October 1944
Filmed on the Baltic Sea, this German newsreel dramatizes the plight of thousands of Estonian civilians as they are evacuated to Germany on a German naval convoy. A sequence showing a parade of Latvian members of the German Air Force is also included.
XIII. German Newsreel of January 1945
In one of the last German wartime newsreels, a glimpse of the ferocious defensive battle for the Courland peninsula in Latvia is shown. Germany's Army Group Courland, which repulsed six Soviet offensives and held out to the end of the war, was the German army's only undefeated army group of the Second World War.
XIV. The subject of this English-narrated newsreel excerpt, filmed in post-war Sweden, is the forcible repatriation (Operation Keelhaul) to the Soviet Union - and to certain death - of 167 Baltic men who had escaped by sea to Sweden in May 1945 after wartime military service with Germany's Army Group Courland. A grim example of what was beginning to take place in Eastern Europe while Westerners were settling into a long period of peace and prosperity.
XV. The Homeless
This 1949 American film, narrated by Henry Fonda, examines life in a West German camp for displaced Baltic citizens, who because of the communist regime now gripping their own nations, could not return home. Carefully avoiding criticism of the Soviet Union, the film is an apologetic token, rather than a tribute to the suffering of these thousands.
Ultimately released from their confinement, many of the homeless seen in this feature eventually found a new home in the United States. Therefore this film, together with the entire Baltic Tragedy program, presents yet another chapter of the roots of the peoples who fled from sorrow and enslavement, from wretchedness and war, toward uncertainty and hope, who today are part of the nation that is America.
*No Longer Available*
Germany, circa 1966, Color/b&w, 13 minutes. The Berlin Wall--its construction, the reaction of the people who live near it and dramatic escapes over it by East German civilians and soldiers--is the subject of this excellent short documentary. Artistic montage editing techniques of authentic footage complemented by a music score without commentary add to the dynamic pace of this film.
Battle for Britain DO 3
1944, English dialogue, 60 min. - Produced and directed by Frank Capra. Britain's gallant stand against the encroaching Nazi horde.
Battle of Kharkov IH 277
One of the most devastating confrontations of World Ward 2 is captured in this original German newsreel. In May 1942, when three Soviet armies collided with Field Marshal von Bock's German force preparing its own eastward offensive at Kharkov, Russia, the ensuing battle cost the Red Army nearly a quarter-million men in less than two weeks.
In addition to film of the massed attacks of Soviet armor and infantry, this classic newsreel includes spectacular footage of German aerial bombardments and the meeting between Marshal Mannerheim and Adolf Hitler in Finland. Germany, 1942, b&w, 27 minutes, English subtitles.
Battle of Russia DO 4
English lang., b&w, ca. 83 min. - With the entire European continent under Nazi domination, Hitler looks northward to the vast, untapped resources of Russia. For the first time, the German War machine grinds to a frozen halt as the bitter Russian winters and Russian resolve hand Hitler his first stunning defeat at Stalingrad. Many historians believe The Battle of Stalingrad to be one of the pivotal battles of the war as Hitler's forces beckoned at the gates of Moscow and Leningrad. The Battle of Russia presents a little know, seldom seen sympathetic side to our Russian allies of W.W.II. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, this film is a classic which drew International praise.
The Battle of Stalingrad IH
The Soviet view of the classic battle that changed the course of the war in favor of the Allies. Rare captured German footage was used that is not found in any other documentary produced by the Allies. USSR, 1960, b&w, 90 minutes with English commentary.
Berlin 1945 PA 647
60 min. b&w - A film about the final Russian conflict, the fight to take Berlin. From Russian archival material you can now witness probably the bloodiest battle of World War II. Over 40 Byelorussian and 1st Ukrainian army cameramen contributed footage to this remarkable documentary.
Berlin: A Lesson in Survival
This West German promotional film highlighting the economic and cultural vitality of West Berlin reviews the history of the city up to its unique present political situation. Though the film honestly addresses the problems of West Berlin (uneven age distribution, land shortage and an energy bottleneck), it stresses the city's commitment to present and future economic growth. Germany, 1976, Color, 25 minutes, English Commentary.
Berlin: The Doomed City DO 30
1968 English. dialogue, 65 min., b&w - On August 25, 1940, the Royal Air Force made its first raid, beginning a five-year siege that would end only after 80,000 civilians had been killed. Even then, Goebbels was confident and ordered his newsreel units to film the effect of British bombing, in the hopes of rallying the German forces. This footage, suppressed until now as too harrowing to show, brings to searing light the devastating tragedy and miracle of Berlin.
Berlin: Wie es WarCH 600
A singular documentary portrait of the pre-war capital of the Reich. This superlative film was finished before the outbreak of World War 2, but was not shown in movie houses until 1950. Germany, 1942, b&w, 87 minutes, German dialogue.
**No Longer Available**
Berlin, The Fall of Berlin IH 149
1945, b&w, 72 minutes, English commentary. Over 40 Byelorussian and 1st Ukrainian Army cameramen contributed footage of this remarkable documentary of the fall of Berlin, including captured German footage. Directed by Yuri Raizman. USSR.
Farewell Friends-BerlinPK 7003
Documentary, English language, ca. 45 min. - Impressive documentation of the celebrations in Berlin on the occasion of the Allies' final farewell. Rare historic highlights recall the 1945 airlifts at Tempelhof and Gatow, the infamous construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, etc.
Bismarck, Sink the Bismarck BB
Movie, 1960, b&w, ca. 97 min. - Heroism and hard choices are the order of the day as the English Navy desperately tries to destroy the most powerful battleship in the world - the Bismarck. In the spring of 1941, England remains the only undefeated nation in Europe and stands alone against Nazi Germany. But she can survive only as long as her vital ocean supply lines remain open. The biggest threat to shipping is Germany's floating fortress, the Bismarck, which is faster and has more fire power than anything Britain can throw against it. In port for the last three months, the dreaded Bismarck is now returning to the open sea to dominate the north Atlantic. This juggernaut of destruction must be stopped, and Churchill himself gives the order to the Royal Navy - sink the Bismarck, at any cost.
Blitzkrieg PA 648
1986, English dialogue, 80 min., b&w - Unique visual record of the most dramatic development of World War II - Blitzkrieg. From the German annihilation of Poland's defenses in 1939 to the final Russian onslaught against Berlin in 1945. All original archive material. This is the Second World War as it really happened!
Blitzkrieg, The Nazi Strike FC 702
English lang., b&w, ca 41 min. - Blitzkrieg, or "lightning war", was the method of war adopted by Hitler and his generals. Behind the iron will of their Fuehrer, German forces occupied and conquered Austria and Czechoslovakia in a matter of weeks. This film documents Germany's preparations for war and demonstrates how Hitler maneuvered politically while militarily preparing for the conquest of Europe. The eventual attack on Poland is accurately documented in this historical film which formed the basis of many later documentaries on this subject.
Bomben auf Berlin: Leben zwischen Furcht und Hoffnung
Residents of the German capital try to cope with the Battle of Berlin. They rescue their belongings, search for new shelter, and clear away rubble, until the city is finally captured by the Red Army. Goebbels did not want these pictures to be shown publicly, so they are only now available for viewing after lying in Moscow archives for almost 40 years. Germany, 1989, b&w, 90 minutes, German commentary.
Bonn/Bad Godesberg and World War 2, including the Hitler-Chamberlain meeting in 1938, American occupation in 1945, and reconstruction and governmental deliberations in the late '40s. Germany, 1972, b&w, 45 minutes, German commentary.
*No Longer Available*
The Bridge at Remagen BB 33
Movie, 1969, color, English lang., ca. 114 min. - March 1945. The war in Europe is nearly over, but the fighting is more bitter than ever as U.S. and German troops converge on The Bridge At Remagen. For the Americans, the bridge is the last link to the heart of the Third Reich. For the retreating Germans, it is the last hope. The tension, moral ambiguity and deadly firepower of an actual World War II battle is bracingly captured in The Bridge At Remagen, based on the book by Kenneth William Hechler and directed by John Guillermin. Stars George Segal and Robert Vaughn give remarkable performances as soldiers on opposite sides of the bridge.
The Bunker R 170
Movie, color, NR, ca. 87 min., English Lang. - Starring Anthony Hopkins, Susan Blakely, Cliff Gorman, Richard Jordan, Michael Lonsdale. Adolf Hitler in the last weeks in his life, struggling to maintain order as he loses control of his country, his people and finally his own mind. It is January 1945 when Adolf Hitler descends into a bunker beneath the Chancellery in Berlin. With the Russians advancing on one front and the British and Americans on another, he must rely on the few men and women loyal to the Nazi cause - his chief architect Albert Speer, Borman, Goebbels and the mistress who became Hitler's wife in the bunker, Eva Braun. In a powerful Emmy Award-winning performance, Anthony Hopkins portrays Adolf Hitler over the 105 days of his decline. With The Third Reich crumbling around him, as he rages against those of his supporters now turning against him, in the final hours before the allied troops swarm into Berlin, Germany's leader must make a choice between surrender... or suicide.
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