Cast & Crew
Captured German films show German paratroopers as they rescue Benito Mussolini from an Italian prison on 12 September 1943. Mussolini, accompanied by his son Vittorio, is flown to Germany, where he confers with Adolf Hitler. The film then reviews the military and industrial strengths of the Axis powers: Footage captured from Japanese Navy cameramen depicts the Japanese push through Manchuria into China and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Using maps and diagrams, the filmmakers show the extent of Japan's empire in the Far East, an area rich in resources and food and strong in manpower. Although the Japanese suffer severe losses during their conquest of the area, they still have a large air force, which they use to consolidate their strong strategic position. The Allied war against Germany is more effective than their effort against Japan, but the well-equipped and trained German army remains powerful. The Axis powers loot subjugated countries for war workers, food and supplies. Footage from German films shows the country's industrial strength, including new submarines, locomotives and high-quality weapons. Slave labor is used to build defenses against the coming Allied invasion. The film now discusses production and distribution of the equipment and supplies necessary to maintain the Allied war effort: For every man sent overseas, seven-and-a-half ship tons of supplies and equipment are needed initially. Over 700,000 different items are required in enormous quantities. Before the attack on Sicily, for example, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower orders waterproofing for tanks, more communications equipment, mine detectors and new engineering items for building roads and bridges. Damaged and destroyed equipment must be replaced. The Army must also have strategic reserves for emergencies, and distribution must be constant even under fire. The United States delivers lend-lease supplies to China, England and Russia. In the Pacific, military supplies are unloaded on the beach and supply dumps are moved in. Big offensives cannot be sustained by air alone. To transport 100,000 tons of cargo every month from San Francisco to Australia by sea takes forty-four ships with crews of 3,200 men using 165,000 barrels of fuel. By contrast, to convey the same supplies by air would require 10,022 transports with 120 men each. The planes use nine million barrels of fuel, which must be supplied en route by about 85 tankers. The U.S. needs millions of tons of bombs to carry out its mission to destroy the enemy's industries and defenses. Next, the filmmakers outline some of the problems that face combat forces in different areas and that affect strategy: In the Aleutians, terrain and bad weather limit missions. In New Guinea, the jungle hinders all but air transport. Air fields must be laid before strategic missions can be deployed. The bases nearest to Japan are in China, but China does not have the industry to supply the forces, so those must come from the U.S. Although Vladivostock is close to Japan, use of the Russian base would engage Russia in a two-front war, easing the pressure on the Nazis. During amphibious assault landings, the men are covered from the air. While the men dig in, engineers prepare the way for heavy equipment. Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson appears and states, "My job is to get out the stuff. This report tells us what we have to do and why." During the invasion of Sicily, an Axis outpost, Allied casualties reach 31,000. Japanese photographs of American prisoners of war on Corregidor are shown. The film concludes by showing Anthony Eden and V. M. Molotov at the Moscow Conference and repeats their pledge to exterminate the Axis aggressors.
The film opens with the following written quotation: "The mission of the United States Army is to destroy the enemy by offensive action. G. C. Marshall, Chief of Staff." The narrator then states: "You are partners in the Army's mission. For the first time, the War Department is making an official report on the military situation to the war workers of America. This is not a propaganda film or pep talk but an official report."