Views of industrial development projects and activities during Soviet Russia's first 5-year plan under Joseph Stalin. Mining activities, with ore being moved on conveyer belts and open rail cars. view upwards toward piping and towers in a petroleum refining plant. Steel plant and open hearth furnace. Turbine deck in a hydroelectric power plant. Electric transmission lines. Farmer irrigating crops with machinery. Workers shoveling grain out of open bed trucks. Apartment houses under construction. A machinist turning metal on a lathe. Factory workers in a room with pictures of Lenin and Stalin on the wall. Freight trains underway (ostensibly to Siberia). Officials visiting a machine shop, during the 2nd Five Year Plan, in 1935. They present worker's medals to Stakhanovites (superior workers). Views of Stakhanovites conversing and comparing medals at a presentation occasion. View of criminal (political) proceedings conducted in the Great Purge (Yezhovshchina) during 1937-38. Photograph of N.I. Yezhov (called Stalin's executioner, by the narrator). Picture of Stalin walking with Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lev Kamenev, and Gregory Zinoviev, Ca. 1925. The latter two images are circled as narrator says they were quickly disposed of after Stalin seized power. View of trials in which persons are accused of plotting with Leon Trotsky, in 1936, at the Hotel Bristol, in Copenhagen (according to narrator, who notes that the hotel was no longer in operation in 1936). More trial scenes. Image of N.I. Yezhov is shown, again, as narrator states that he was purged in 1938, along with other officials.
The Great Purge in Russia. On March 14, 1923 : A newspaper headline reads 'Lenin Suffers a stroke, Condition is Serious; Announcement Causes a Sensation in Moscow'. On January 21, 1924 : Another newspaper headline reads 'Lenin is Dead'. Bolshevik leader Lenin laid in a coffin. Senior Soviet officials carrying the body of Lenin in a funeral procession through the snow. People watch the funeral procession. Joseph Stalin with an officer. Stalin comes into power after Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky is forced into an exile. Views of workers pursuing 5-year plan goals: At a railroad train siding building rail infrastructure, with shovels; in logging operations in the snow; in a steel plant. View of coal being transported on conveyer. View of mining operations, with steam shovels filling rail cars. Views of chemical and petroleum facilities. View of hydroelectric power plant turbines and electrical distribution towers and wires. Workers in agriculture, with a truck in a field. Construction workers at large building site. Young machinist working on a lathe in a factory or manufacturing plant. Tailors working in a shop with pictures of Lenin and Stalin on the wall. Steam locomotive pushing train cars including boxcars up a mountain side in Siberia. Soviet "executioner" Nikolai Yezhov and other officers inside a building and footage from the Moscow Trials or sometimes called Moscow Show Trials from 1936 - 1938. Stalin with Bolshevik revolutionaries Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev who were disposed off during the Great Purge. Scenes of Moscow Trial proceedings, with participants wearing earphones. Picture of Nikolai Yezhov.
Film opens showing Adolf Hitler ascending stairs to the Bergfhof, accompanied by Marshal Hermann Goering, and followed by other high ranking Nazi officers. Inside, General staff officers begin briefing Hitler about plans for German expansion Eastward. Finger points to Austria on map. Next, on March 12, 1938, Border Guards are seen dismantling barriers at the border as German troops march into Austria. German aircraft fly overhead. Hitler stands in his open touring car as it drives into Vienna, where local people line the sidewalk, and welcome him with the Nazi salute. Maps depict the fall of Austria and illustrate the anticipated conquest of Czechoslovakia. Brief overlay image of Bismark as narrator quotes him about Bohemia being key to control of Europe. German troops advancing up steep mountainous terrain. German soldiers on horseback and wagons passing road sign pointing to cities of Karlovy Vary and Cheb, in the west Bohemia region of Czechoslovakia. Czech troops marching in formation with shouldered arms. View of Czech Avia B-534 warplanes at an airfield. Interior of a Czech Skoda works munitions factory. President of Czechoslovakia, Edvard Beneš, signing papers at his desk. French lancers marching in formation, on parade. (Narrator comments on French military alliances with Czechoslovakia and Great Britain.) View of warships in British fleet. Hitler outdoors, surrounded by German military officers, looking over large maps. Animated map highlights the "Sudetenlands" bordering Germany, including districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and parts of Silesia inside Czechoslovakia, where use of German language was common. Street scene from that area showing some youths in uniforms, marching. Hitler giving speech about bringing the German people together again. The uniformed youth marching at a camp. Sign erected on stone wall at the camp reads: "Die Faune ist mehr als der..."(the flag is more than ...) Youth in Naval garb march on a street with a Nazi flags. Spectators give Nazi salutes. Young men in Khaki uniforms march with Nazi symbols. Scenes shift to similar parades in Norway, Sweden,China,and the United States. Back in Czechoslovakia, Hitler reaches down from his podium to shake hands with parading youth. Images of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, Senator Robert Wagner, Wendell Wilkie, Henry J. Kaiser, and American military members, superimposed on American flags. Sudentenland Nazi supporters marching. Konrad Ernst Eduard Henlein, Sudeten German politician, with a Nazi officer. More views of Sudeten Nazi supporters. Nazis in an office showing blackjacks. Hospitalized Czechs who suffered at hands of Nazi supporters in street fights. Hitler speaking before the Bundestag. Closeup of Joseph Goebbels.Foreign minister Maxine Lichtenhof speaking to League of Nations meeting announcing Russia's readiness to back action against Germany. Czech borders being closed. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain arriving by plane in Munich. Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Hermann Goering with Chamberlain, at the meeting to sign the Munich Agreement. View of protests by people in the streets of Czechoslovakia. French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier and Chamberlain, both being praised by countrymen upon their respective returns from Munich. (Chamberlain seen arriving just before giving famous "peace for our time" speech.)
Japanese officials meeting in strategy session. Japanese infantry on mission to cut Chinese supply lines during 2nd Sino-Japanese war. Black smoke rises as they move along a river bank. Chinese prisoner-workers are forced to rebuild railroads destroyed by the Chinese people during their great Westward trek. Japanese soldier closely guards workers. A Japanese army armored train underway on the rebuilt railroad, as Japanese soldiers cheer. Animated map shows China's supply lines by sea, to Tsingtao, Hangchow, and Amoy, cut off by Japanese naval blockade. Japanese Navy launch with officers and crew moving near commercial ships as they take over Chinese river ports. War materiel and other supplies destined for China, including trucks, sit idle, unable to be transported to their destinations. Large oil tanks and drums of gasoline are shown, as well as gun barrels and a flightline filled with parked Curtiss P-36 Hawk aircraft. The Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Asakaze (DD-3) and another, next to it, in a Chinese river port. A Japanese freighter with anchored weighed, secured by long lines to a wharf. Small boats flying Japanese Naval ensigns are next to it. View of map showing china, Burma, Indo-China, and Chungking, with Japanese blockading fleet stationed in the South China Sea. It traces path of narrow gauge rail line from Indo-china to Kumming,China, where it connected to an overland road to Chungking. Next it traced the old Camel Caravan route, across China, from Russia. Narrator notes these were to small to be useful and too close to Japanese-occupied territory. Next, the map traces a railroad that from the port of Rangoon to Lashio, Burma. It is separated from the road to Chungking, by mountains and gorges. Views of the actual mountainous terrain. Animal pack trains moving through the area. Construction engineers in a large drafting room designing a road to transit the area. View of modern road-building caterpillar tractor equipment of the type needed to accomplish this. View of Chinese laborers using manpower instead. They push large rollers and employ pickaxes and other hand-held tools to carve away and dig road beds. Masses of Chinese laborers at work, carving a road along the edge of a mountain. Two-men teams using manual tampers to pound down the roadbed. Children are employed along with adults. A woman with a baby on her back, pounding large rocks into gravel, surrounded by other children doing the same. View from above of the "Burma Road," the product of their labors, winding its way through the mountains and gorges. Many scenes of trucks moving along portions of the Burma Road. P-40 airplanes flying past white cumulus clouds, overhead. Animated map shows continued expansion of Japanese occupied areas to encompass two thirds of the rail lines in China with goal of controlling the remainder, starting at Chengchow, in Summer, 1938. View of Chengchow region, on banks of the Yellow River. Map illustrates flow pattern of the Yellow River. View from past of the Yellow River's Spring floods toward the Sea, with Chinese people throwing rocks onto dikes that keep the river flowing in a more Northerly direction than its former course. Illustration shows how with Japanese encrouching on Chengchow, the Chinese decided to destroy those dikes and allow the river to flood over its former more Southerly course. Japanese soldiers being inundated by the flooding river. Japanese infantry and tanks regrouping on their occupied side of the new (old) path of the Yellow River. Local Chinese residents of Chengchow, wade with belongings as they leave their flooded homes.
Series 'Why We Fight' episode "Prelude to War" depicts the battles during World War II. United States soldiers parade on street lead by a band. Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.December 7, 1941. The London Blitz with buildings destroyed and burning. The Eiffel Tower in Paris with Nazi flag flying atop it. German troops marching into Paris, through the Arch of Triumph. Japanese warplanes bombing shanghai, China, in 1937. Chinese residents running for shelter. Glimpse of German "Schwerer Gustav" 80 cmrailway gun firing during German offensive against Soviet Union in 1941. German forces entering Czechoslovakia in 1938. German mounted troops entering France in 1940. Heavy guns firing. German ships en route to Norway 1940. German Ju-52 aircraft flying low over trees. Montage showing rapid succession of war scenes, including heavy guns firing, smoke rising, explosions, an aircraft shot down and crashing straight down, German armor on the move, German Ju-52 aircraft dropping paratroopers into Holland and one flying over Athens, Greece, with Mount Lykabettus in the background. More of the same with Narrator mentioning Belgium, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Russia (where citizens are seen digging anti-tank trenches and fortifications). Cavalry charging across a field. A German tank rolling forward. A German Dornier Do-17 bomber taking off, and bombs falling.
Events prior to World War II. Russian soldiers march at a parade to show their military strength to Fascists before World War II. Aircraft in flight and paratroopers jump from the planes.