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Overy, Why the Allies Won Ch. 9, “Evil Things, Excellent Things: The Moral Contest,” pages 282-313

Parker, Second World War Ch. 11, “Morale,” pages 173-176

Required Viewing

See the Assignment before viewing this film.
Frank Capra, Why We Fight: Prelude to War (1942) https://archive.org/details/PreludeToWar


View Frank Capra’s Why We Fight: Prelude to War. Before viewing, though, type up a list of images, ideas, themes, and events that you think would have served the purpose of an American propaganda film during World War II. Remember, good propaganda is supposed to generate a deeply visceral, emotional response. What common body of images, associations, myths, and beliefs would have been useful for such a film as the one Capra was asked to put together (this is the first and most well-known of a series) to explain the war, and U.S. involvement in it, to the American people? Capra made use of a wide variety of devices including faux documentary-type effects and a professional score that served the purpose of giving Americans something concrete for which they could fight. What devices did he use in particular? What was the message he conveyed? What specific things was the U.S. fighting for in World War II, according to this film? Be sure to cite specific scenes or sequences from the film and analyze their meaning while also comparing these to the list of stock propaganda tools that you prepared before watching the film.

Essay should be 5-6 pages.