Cast & Crew
With the help of soldiers who were part of the allied forces--and one German soldier--and using official war footage taken from government records, Samuel Cummins discusses the battles of World War I. Beginning with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Germany declares war. After the Germans invade Belgium, the Belgians do everything possible to stop the invaders. In the meantime, France orders her army to mobilize. Great Britain declares war on Germany on 4 August 1914 and calls on her colonies for additional support. The dikes of the Yser River are opened, drowning hundreds of German soldiers. At the battle of Verdun, there are terrible losses on both sides. The Russians make a brave stand but do not have adequate materiel to fend off the advancing Austrians. On 11 March 1917, the Russian Revolution begins. Turkey allies with Germany, and the British, under the command of General Allenby, are rushed to the Middle East. The Italians battle the Austrians in the Alps. At the battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, the English lose more men than in any previous battle. Cummins speaks of the soldiers' heroic acts and laments the fact that the men and their sacrifices are now forgotten. Germany too, lost many men in battle, Cummins notes. Flying ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen is killed and is given a hero's burial by the British even though he was their enemy. When the United States enters the war, the tide turns against the Germans. In 1918, the Americans are victorious at the battle of Château Thierry. The Armistice is declared in 1919, and the unknown soldier is symbolically buried at Arlington cemetery. The soldiers remember their warm reception after the war, but now, they add, they cannot find jobs. In 1932, the Bonus Army, a group of World War I veterans, marches on Washington, D.C. to demand payment of promised postwar bonuses. The men are run out of town by Army forces acting on orders from President Herbert Hoover. The men express their faith that the new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, will bring the country back to prosperity.
The synopsis is based on a dialogue continuity from NYSA. According to records in the NYSA, the film was re-issued in 1951 under the title Forgotten Men and the Fall of Berlin. The film is dedicated to the "immortal war heroes of every nation who fear not forgetfulness if through their sacrifices war May be banished from the earth." Several former soldiers participate in the film and are identified by their last names only. They were apparently not professional actors. Samuel Cummins produced a sequel to this film in 1934 called The Death Parade.