The Battle of China
|Why We Fight: The Battle of China|
|Directed by||Frank Capra; Anatole Litvak|
|Produced by||Office of War Information|
|Written by||Julius Epstein; Philip Epstein|
|Narrated by||Anthony Veiller|
|Editing by||William Hornbeck|
|Distributed by||War Activities Committee of the Motion Pictures Industry|
|Running time||65 min|
The Battle of China (1944) was the sixth film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series. It follows an introduction to Chinese culture and history with the modern history of China and the founding of the Republic of China by Sun Yat-sen, leading on to the Japanese invasion. The invasion of China is explained in terms of the four-step plan for Japanese conquest, mentioned in the Tanaka Memorial.
- "Here was their mad dream. Phase One - the occupation of Manchuria for raw materials. Phase Two - the absorption of China for manpower. Phase Three - a triumphant sweep to the south to seize the riches of the Indies. Phase Four - the eastward move to crush the United States."
Special attention is paid to Japanese atrocities such as the bombing of Shanghai, including an attack on civilians shown in "Bloody Saturday", the famous image of a burned Chinese baby crying in a bombed-out railroad station. As well it includes graphic film footage of the Nanking Massacre atrocities. The film mentions a Nanking massacre death toll of 40,000 – far lower than modern estimates; the true death toll was unknown at the time.
The mass westward migration associated with the moving of the Chinese capital to Chongqing, and the construction of the Burma Road are also covered, and the film concludes with overview of the Chinese victory at the Battle of Changsha.
The Chinese communists are never explicitly mentioned, but are implicitly acknowledged with a discussion of Chinese guerrilla warfare behind the Japanese lines. However, the Communist marching song (later national anthem of the People's Republic of China) March of the Volunteers is used as a general leitmotif during the film. Likewise, American support in the form of the Flying Tigers, construction of the Ledo Road, and the Hump airlift are mentioned near the end of the film but in a manner not to overshadow the Chinese war effort.
The introductory maps shown in the film show China as including Outer Mongolia and Tannu Tuva, as they were, at this time, claimed by the Republic of China. These areas are not claimed by present-day People's Republic of China.
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