A film on the history of U.S. soldiers. Various American landscape wide views, some with roads, some with natural features. Plains, deserts, mountains in the United States. A mountainous area in the western United States. A snowcapped mountain in the background. Three elderly United States Civil War veteran soldiers, both Union and Confederate, walking together in a American military cemetery. United States Army soldiers wearing helmets and marching at an Army base or encampment. U.S. soldiers marching on Constitution Avenue in Washington DC during a parade. They hold rifles and a soldier holds the U.S. flag. U.S. Army cavalry unit riding on horses in formation. Elevated view of an American city square with snow capped mountains rising in the background. Other American cities in the west with city center areas, pedestrians, and 1930s and 1940s automobiles on the roads. Cars parked at a large industrial factory with a water tower rising up. Aerial view of an urban, western United States city with a bridge over water in background. Aerial views of various American cities. United States Army infantry soldiers march along a road and then cavalry are seen galloping by on horses. A railroad train approaching the camera and then passing by at high speed, with views of the locomotive, cars, wheels, and railroad tracks. View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Point of view shot from front of moving railroad train in Colorado on the edge of gorge near the Rocky Mountains. A river steamboat or paddle steamer with a bridge in the background. Men harvesting sugar cane in Cuba. Lock gates on the Panama Canal opening, as seen from a ship waiting to enter. A World War I memorial sculpture honoring American soldiers.
A United States Navy fleet review in the early 1930s. Men and the crew at deck of USS Pennsylvania. Guests of Admiral Leigh (Commander in Chief) on bridge, watch formation. Views of USS Raleigh, USS Detroit and ships in formation in sea. USS Augusta and some sailboats in fleet. Other ships of fleet in formation, small launch underway. Battleships in single column, led by USS California.
Hard times in the Great Depression led to formation of The Bonus Army. American veterans of World War 1 march on streets of Washington DC, carrying a large poster demanding immediate cash redemption their "bonus" service certificates awarded by Congress in 1924 (but not lawfully payable until 1945). Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, ordered by President Hoover, to clear the Bonus Army encampments, is seen standing in a street surrounded by several U.S. Army troops. People watch from sidewalks as a contingent of U.S. Army cavalry rides down the street. U.S. Army M-1917 tanks roll down Pennsylvania Avenue in July 1932. Bonus marchers and others watch from Lafayette Park in background. Scene shifts to the 1932 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago Stadium, Chicago, where delegates cheer after nominating Franklin D. Roosevelt as their Presidential candidate. Roosevelt seen waving from the podium. Migrant farm workers seen at temporary, dilapidated dwellings in close quarters, and sitting at a campfire, some with sad and desperate faces. Migrant farm workers' cars on the road, piled high with family belongings during westward migration. Migrants riding atop an open railroad freight car. Two men share a copy of the "Epic News" newspaper (published by supporters of Upton Sinclair and the End Poverty Movement in Los Angeles and central California). Narrator describes programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Construction workers ignite demolition charges during construction of Boulder Dam (aka Hoover Dam and officially so-named in 1947). Glimpse of President Roosevelt at the site in an open car, for its dedication on September 30, 1935. Construction workers engaged in building the dam. Another shot of President Roosevelt in his open car. Towers being erected to carry electric power from the dam's hydroelectric generators. President Franklin D. Roosevelt smiling broadly at the formal dedication ceremony, September 30, 1935. Controlled discharges of water through the dam. Views of the Boulder Dam hydroelectric generating station. Oil well rigs or oil derricks at work during construction at night. People at work in fabric mills or textile mills, and in a print shop
The last portion of Emma Lazarus’sonnet,"The New Colossus," is shown as engraved on a tablet inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Illustrations of immigrants arriving and felling trees to build dwellings in America. Reenactments of early English, Scottish, and Dutch settlers building houses and working at crafts in New England. Italian sulphur mine workers in Louisiana. Immigrants, from France and Switzerland, planting vineyards in California and New York State. Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes, sowing seed and cultivating crops in the Midwest. Polish and Welsh immigrants in American coal mines. African Americans harvesting cotton in the South, including a woman with her baby riding on her long collecting bag. A Spaniard on horseback in the Southwest. Mexicans working in Texas oil fields and on ranches of New Mexico. Greek and Portuguese fishermen with huge catches of fish. A German technician working with fine instruments. Hungarian and Russian immigrants working in steel mills. Irish, Slavs, and Chinese, building railroads. Closeup of lumberjack's axes and saws cutting trees. A forge and a blacksmith shoeing a horse with horseshoes. A woman at work with a spinning wheel. Railroad ties and rails being placed. An antique railroad workman's locomotive and car. Men installing telegraph wire on rough poles. An antique steam locomotive pulling a freight train. Cowboys on horseback rounding up steers. Herds of cattle,sheep, and pigs, bound to market. Farmers tilling soil with horse-drawn cultivators, preparing tobacco leaves for drying, and loading cotton bales. Machines spinning thread in a textile mill or factory. Fabric weaving machines at work. An early steam boat underway in a river. Early model automobile driving on dirt road. Wright Flyer airplane in flight with several persons on board. Early tractors and harvester machinery working on a farm. Glimpses of American industrial plants and transportation in rapid succession (some of it showing building of Hoover Dam and building of the Chrysler Building in New York City). Oil well drilling and a "gusher" oil well spouting oil upward. Steel mills, locomotive trains, and then a scientist in a laboratory working with beakers and a solution. Dynamite charges blasting away sides of mountains and gorges, and scenes of dam construction and dams opening to allow water gushing. Large electrical control levers being thrown to run electricity, and scenes of electric transmission towers and facilities. Natural gas storage areas. Golden Gate bridge under construction and high rise skyscraper buildings being constructed, including the Chrysler Building circa 1930 while still under construction in New York City. Aerial view of New York City. Camera panning over the gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery.
Subcommittee of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) holds hearing in Los Angeles, California, United States. Johannes (Hanns) Eisler, musician, composer and film maker, is being questioned. He is questioned about his associations with the Communist Party and the Soviet Union. The witness spells his full name for the Committee, and states that he was born July 5, 1898, in Leipsig, Germany. He states his occupation, as composer and that he studied in Vienna and was a student of Arnold Schonberg. In response to questions, he recalls visiting the Soviet Union several times in the early 1930s, for film making and musical publishing. He denies ever receiving any monies from the Soviet Government.
Documentary depicts the end of the 1920s good times in the U.S., leading into the Great Depression. Mildred Unger, age 10, performs a wing walker charleston dance while out on the wing of a JN-4 "Jenny" airplane in flight over Los Angeles in 1926.Four girls dancing on the top of a building higher than those around it, in Boston, Massachusetts. Amusement park patrons riding a roller coaster. People out driving through a park in their automobiles. Patrons enjoying themselves at the Steeplechase amusement park in Coney Island, New York. A crane piling old cars in a heap at a junk yard. But following the Wall Street crash of 1929, conditions change in America. Group of people receiving food assistance in a city. A man, woman, and baby, in a tent (probably migrant workers). The famous 1936 photo, "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, of migrant worker, Florence Owens Thompson, with two of her children in California. Men receiving food from a city soup kitchen. Dejected unemployed men.