During post World War II reconstruction years of early 1950s in Germany. German police officer stands on a square in Berlin, Germany. A man with a briefcase asks directions from him. Pedestrians pass by. Another police officer gives direction to the traffic. Traffic passes by on a busy road. German gasoline station or petrol station in background with sign "Tank" and sign "Gasolin". Cars, buses and a horse driven cart pass by.
During 1961 in build up to Berlin Crisis: Barbed wire on border seen from West Berlin side (initial Berlin Wall). Russian soldier uses binoculars to watch an approaching jeep. Jeep stops because of barrier. Sign shows 'Achtung 500m Schutzstreifen'. Men carry a box through woods fleeing or escaping into West Germany before the border was fully closed. A man with his bicycle passing over a narrow path into West Germany, as another man passes over on foot. People in a canoe approaching a west German bank of the river or lake as they flee from east Germany. A street bus approaches and parks near an intersection with street sign for "Marienfelder Allee." Men, women, and children refugees with their suitcases on a street as they gather near a refugee processing center, before heading into West Germany. A bulldog tied. A mother feeds her baby. Young refugees on streets, refugees board bus. A map show allocation of German parts to France, United States, England and Soviet Union. Traffic on road in Berlin, with view of the bombed (from World War 2) Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church or the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, in the background. Many German civilian pedestrians walking on streets in busy West Berlin. 1950's and 1960's cars and trucks on busy Berlin streets. People in outdoor cafe restaurant. Telefunken building is seen.
Civilians and the government officials work towards strengthening economy after Great Depression. Scenes from the Great Depression: Idle factories and signs "No men wanted." Homeless and unemployed men sleep on benches and holes are shown in the shoes. Unemployed workers in a soup line receiving food aid. Wooden shanties and shacks for housing of people in the Depression. A black woman seated outside a simple tent for her house. A young girl holds her baby sibling while seated on a rusty bunk bed as the infant child cries. Tired looking children during the depression. Sad looking woman seated on a bed rocks a baby. Scene change to 30 years later in mid 1960's. Aerial view of modern highway interchange with traffic on roads. Surveyors at work. Scientists work in laboratory. Doctors examine patients. Arm of person wearing a "Polio Vaccine Volunteer" armband. Children in line to receive polio vaccine. A girl gets a polio shot. Ferris wheel at a fair goes around. American citizens at a picnic enjoy foods assembled on tables. Communist troops march on street in East Germany parade and East German people wave small flags in review stand. Traffic on the main roads of a small American town, with a police officer directing traffic. Shops seen along roadside. Views of American farmers and scientists at work. Farmer on tractor and on harvester machines. Women work in a factory assembling machines. 1950s and 1960's cars in parking lot and woman shopper with cart. Women work in clerical jobs in an office. Nurses in classroom. Early computer technology; large electronic devices and many wires; lights and mechanical switches on electronic equipment. Reel to reel tape recorder or data recorder. Factory shipment floor with goods on belt. President John F Kennedy signs Manpower Development and Training Act in 1962. Golden Gate bridge from shore and from moving vehicle. Bridge construction workers handle tossed hot rivet. Boy watches dam construction workers. Boys running outside school. Boy and farmer in cornfield.
U.S. airborne troops training in hand-to-hand combat; scaling obstacles; crawling under barbed wire; and parachuting from C-130 aircraft. Paratoopers jump from aircraft and view of sky filled with parachutes and aircraft. Paratroopers landing on the frozen tundra in Alaska, and jumping from U.S. Air Force C-124 Globemaster aircraft, over the ice cap in Greenland. In February, 1956, U.S. Army paratroopers jump from Air Force C-119 aircraft during SEATO Operation "Firm Link," in Thailand. Civilians in Thailand watch the demonstrations, in which one of the paratroopers is forced to use his auxiliary chute when his main chute fails. Military General officers of Southeast Treaty Organization nations watch the demonstrations. U.S. Army airborne units practicing assault resupply techniques with NATO forces in Germany, supported by helicopters and light utility airplanes. Supplies being airdropped with parachutes to the resupply location. At Fort Bliss, Texas, a radio controlled drone plane equipped with a parachute (possibly a Radioplane OQ-14 or similar from slightly later generation), acts as a target for tank crews. When hit, the drone parachutes to earth. A different U.S. Army reconnaissance drone is launched from a catapult as a U.S. Army soldier stands nearby controlling its ascent with remote control joystick. Aerial footage shot by the drone is shown, revealing scenes on the ground useful to field commanders. The drone, with it's camera, returns to base and gently parachutes to be recovered.
German rocket pioneer, Gerhard Zucker, attempting to develop postal rockets in the 1930s. Location is Wadden Sea off Cuxhaven, on April 9, 1933, where Zucker follows Nazi Stormtroopers carrying the mail rocket across wet sands. The rocket is set up on a launch stand. Zucker and an assistant ignite the 8 side rockets and the mail rocket takes off. It noses up and loops over backwards, falling to the sand. Stormtroopers lift up the damaged device. Next, is seen a later, more modern, rocket trial ending in failure. Two German engineers display a model similar to the pulse-jet-powered "buzz bomb" (V-1) employed by the Nazis in World War 2. A brief glimpse of similar American machine on sand flat, as narrator states German acknowledgement of knowledge gleaned from Dr. Robert Goddard's work. A German V-1 flying bomb (aka Doodle Bug) being launched in 1944, during World War 2. View of British houses of Parliament, London, England; an air raid shelter sign in City of Westminster. Londoners waiting out a raid in the shelter. Scenes of fire and destruction during German bombing of London, as narrator speaks about the more advanced German V-2 ballistic missiles employed later in the war. Londoners trudging through debris amongst bombed out buildings. Change of scene to U.S. infantry and armor advancing deep into Germany. Narrator refers to them overrunning rocket bases and other vital war-making facilities, near the end of the war. Glimpse of large number of German prisoners of war. Documents of military surrender being signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, in Berlin, May 8, 1945. Closeup of Keitel. Scenes of American forces operating in Pacific theater. Aerial view of atomic bomb explosion. Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. U.S. servicemen returning home and greeting loved ones. View of Pentagon building. U.S. troops boarding a ship in San Francisco, bound for war again, this time in Korea (1950).
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini standing together in an open car during a motorcade in Munich, in 1938. Civilian spectators render Nazi salutes as they pass. Next, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, arriving for the Munich treaty conference, steps from a British Airways Lockheed Model 14 passenger plane. An honor guard of helmeted and white-gloved German soldiers stands at attention during his welcome. Adolf Hitler climbs stairs of Berghof together with Chamberlain and Hitler's interpretor, Paul Otto Schmidt, on September 15, 1938 for their conference. Crowds of Germans give Nazi salute and cheer as Hitler and Mussolini appear on a balcony. Prime Minister Chamberlain back from the conference, speaks to the crowd at Heston Aerodrome on 30 September 1938, saying, among other thing, "We regard the agreement signed last night, and the Anglo-German naval agreement as symbolic of the desires of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again." Damaged buildings and ruins of city. Mussolini giving an impassioned speech. Italian cavalry carrying out a charge in Ethiopia. Italian troops employing machine guns in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War circa 1936. Italian infantry charging across sand dunes. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie at the League of Nations podium. Nazi Swastika eagle statue. A formation of German troops, during the Anschluss (German annexation of Austria,in 1938). Hitler at a podium. People rendering Nazi salute in annexed city.
At this point, the film transitions to 1950 as North Korean troops cross the 39th parallel and start the Korean War. A nighttime artillery barrage. North Korean troops firing a Browning M1917 machine gun and rifles. The feet of American soldiers are jumping out of foxholes as U.S.M26 Pershing tanks fire their guns from tilted positions below hills. A Pershing tank crosses a bridge back into South Korea, where a sign reads:"You are now crossing the 38th parallel, Co.B 728 MP."
Scene shifts again, to President Lyndon B. Johnson delivers speech about Vietnam at a news conference on July 28, 1965, in which he states,among other things, "Three times in my lifetime...Americans have gone to far lands to fight for freedom..." as he explains U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the Vietnam War.