Reference Information Paper 70
A Finding Aid to Audiovisual Records in the National
Archives of the United States Relating to World War II
Table of Contents
Part IV: Other Records and Donated Historical Materials
[For more information about the motion pictures and sound recordings described here, contact the Special Media Archives Services Division, Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Unit, National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. Telephone: 301-837-0526 Email: email@example.com]
[For more information about the records identified here as 'still pictures', contact the Special Media Archives Services Division, Still Picture Unit, National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. Telephone: 301-837-0555 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]Contents
- Records Of or Relating to Other Governments
- Donated Historical Materials
Records Of or Relating to Other Governments
RG 242 National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized
OG.1 Still Pictures. The approximately 350,000 photographs in this collection provide a pictorial history of the Nazi Party, its rise to power, and all aspects of the war from the Nazi point of view. Included are several series of photographs taken by Heinrich Hoffmann, official photographer to the party, that document Nazi activities from 1919 to the fall of the Third Reich. Other series include one created by the German Propaganda Ministry that consists of the publication Greater Germany in World History; a series with illustrations, published during the war by the Spanish-language magazine Revista Alemana; three series relating to Gen. Erwin Rommel's campaigns; and another of Waffen-SS units in action in Poland, France, the U.S.S.R., and the Balkans, 1943-44. Also in the records are filmstrips highlighting news events relating to German history, used to indoctrinate Hitler Youth members. The personal albums of Joachim von Ribbentrop contain images relating to his career, family, and social life, 1934-42. Eva Braun's albums contain photographs showing her personal and social life, and her life with Adolf Hitler. Also included in the collection are photographs of Axis leaders and German military operations and personnel, 1930-45. (All Series)
OG.2 Motion Pictures. German. Among the holdings are approximately 400 subjects, including titled documentaries and information films as well as unedited or slightly edited record films of aviation experiments. Probably best known among the captured German films is the full-length version of "Triumph of the Will," which has been the object of repeated, and often intensive, study by students from many disciplines. Directed by Leni Riefenstahl for the National Socialist German Workers' Party, this film remains a monumental record of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, spectacularly staged by the Nazis with the future success of this film in mind. Brilliantly edited, it captures some of the intangibles of Nazism: its idealism, its mystique, and the personal charisma of Hitler. Although the event itself may have been staged, "Triumph of the Will" is a revealing document about the nature of the Nazi regime. The "Jew Suss," the most notorious of the anti-Semitic feature films sponsored by the Nazis, was shown throughout Europe during the war and was, in some cases, required viewing for occupation police and SS forces. The film was later introduced in evidence at the war crimes trial of its director, Veit Harlan, who was acquitted. The feature-length documentaries "Campaign in Poland" (in English) and "Baptism of Fire" explain Polish aggression against Germany and show the German invasion of Poland in 1939, emphasizing the devastating power of the Luftwaffe and Hitler's personal decision-making role. Both films were used not only to report to the German people but also to intimidate potential enemies. "Victory in the West" similarly shows the march across the Low Countries, the invasion of France, the British defeat at Dunkirk, and the capture of Paris, including Hitler's famous visit to that city. The private black and white and color 16mm footage of Eva Braun is at least 4 hours long. These silent films show Eva Braun and relatives at recreation and at various family affairs. Considerable footage shows Hitler relaxed and informal, with high dignitaries of state often present. Much of the footage was shot at summer resorts. Also included are many shorter documentaries and propaganda films on German culture and history and on such subjects as the campaign in Russia, submarine warfare, General Rommel and the Afrika Corps, an expedition to Greenland, and boundary changes.
OG.3 The scientific record films mainly show aircraft experiments and tests of such aircraft as the Berlin B-9; aircraft-launched, rocket-powered torpedoes; Heinkels; Junkers; and V-1 and V-2 rockets, including rocket research at Peenemunde.
OG.4 Additional records contain approximately 250 German newsreels, generally dating from the 1940s. Among the series identified are "Actualite Allemande," "Ausland Wochenshau" (in Portuguese), "Die Deutsche Wochenshau," and "UFA." These newsreels are generally in several parts and combine human interest and cultural subjects with reports on the fighting. Also included are some special issues, one dealing with the evacuation of Dunkirk and another with living conditions under Communist rule in Russia. Two films of German origin are "Submarines Westward," a feature film about a German submarine crew during World War II, and "The UTO," a technical training film released by the Naval High Command, illustrating with animated diagrams and actuality footage the use and fueling of the UTO submarine.
OG.5 Italian. The captured Italian films consist almost entirely of newsreels, most of them from Giornale di Guerra. The approximately 200 issues, which average five parts and 10 minutes' running time each, report on Italian war campaigns, often using footage acquired from Germany or Japan and generally including reports on cultural subjects and sports events as well as Fascist reforms. A few longer documentary-type reports are also included: "First Blow Against the British Empire" is about the Italian campaigns in France and Somaliland; "The Battle of the Ionian Sea" describes fighting against the British in the Mediterranean area.
OG.6 Japanese. Included in the collection of seized or captured enemy records are approximately 100 Japanese films. The earliest, dated 1933, is among the records of the Tokyo war crimes trials. A short film, "The Final Battle for Nanking," includes footage of the Panay incident. Also included are many short films on the war in China; footage on preparations for the attack on Pearl Harbor; longer reports, such as the film "The Battle of Hawaii and Malay Sea," and films on the campaigns in Bataan and Corregidor; newsreels made for exhibit in Japan; as well as several issues of New Philippine News (in English), designed for the people of the occupied Philippines. Two feature-length films also relate to the Philippines: "Victory Song of the Orient" is about the Japanese invasion and occupation of the Philippines; and "Dawn of Freedom" (in English, Japanese, and Tagalog) is about the mistreatment of Filipinos by the United States Government.
OG.7 Sound Recordings. Holdings include 1,550 recordings collected by the war crimes investigators but not used in evidence at the trials, and many that were captured by Allied forces during and after the war, including speeches by top Nazi officials Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann G?ring, and Albert Speer, 1939-44. Also included is the personal collection of Benito Mussolini: propaganda material recorded by the Fascists; speeches by Mussolini, Count Galeazzo Ciano, and other Axis leaders; and speeches by dignitaries such as Pope Pius XI.
OG.8 Motion Pictures. During the war, the Allied Governments exchanged films that were valuable sources of information about the war and promoted understanding and appreciation of war sacrifices and efforts by peoples of the Allied Nations. Although the British and Russian films described below are filed among the records of various agencies, they have been grouped together here for descriptive purposes.
OG.9 British. Distributed among the records of several U.S. Government agencies are 22 British films relating to the war, most of them produced by the Ministry of Information. The records of the Office of Civilian Defense (Record Group 171) contain six British films relating to German air attacks on British cities and factories, showing both widespread destruction and the operation of British civilian units. Among the records of the Office of War Information (Record Group 208) are seven documentaries relating to these attacks. Although "V-1: The Robot Bomb" shows methods for reducing the efficacy of the rocket bomb, these films are not so much concerned with specific methods as with the persistence and moral courage of civilians responding to war in their own cities, and at their homes, schools, and jobs. Probably the best known among these films is "Listen to Britain," directed by Humphrey Jennings. Also in Record Group 208 is a series of British newsreels entitled War Pictorial News. The 48 issues in the series, each about 10 minutes long, concentrate mainly on British campaigns, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and report from time to time on Allied activities, such as British lend-lease to Russia, the invasion of Sicily, and the capture of Rome, with considerable footage of principal wartime leaders. The records of the Signal Corps (Record Group 111) contain a few British training films on camouflage and antipersonnel obstacles, and two well-known documentaries given wide distribution during the war: "Desert Victory" and "Target for Tonight." Made by the British Army and the Royal Air Force and using captured enemy film, "Desert Victory" records the campaign in North Africa against the forces of General Rommel, culminating in the battle of El Alamein. "Target for Tonight" is a dramatization or reenactment of the planning and execution of a bombing raid on Freihausen, Germany. In sharp contrast to German documentaries from this period, "Target for Tonight" is known not only for its wealth of detail of actual operations but also for its rendering of the feelings of the men who participated in these raids.
OG.10 Russian. Films of Russian origin are among the records of the Office of War Information (OWI) (Record Group 208) and the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (Record Group 111). "Moscow Strikes Back," released in the United States with English narration, lauds the Russian citizenry and highlights their participation in the war, showing tactics of winter fighting against the Germans, German contempt for Russian culture, and Germany's officially sanctioned brutality. Lengthy documentaries, include "The Red Army"; "Russian Tanks," which shows a dramatized battle between German and Russian forces; and "13th of June," which shows a typical day in Russia during World War II. Also included are instructional films on anti-gas measures, military medicine, and civilian defense, and short subjects on May Day festivals. Both the OWI and Signal Corps records contain large series of Russian newsreels, showing all aspects of the war along the Eastern front. Included as well are a few Russian war dramas.
OG.11 In addition, 25 compilation documentaries and feature films, produced between 1940 and 1951 by Lenfilm and Mosfilm, show Russian culture, history, and music during World War II. Among the feature films are "Red Tanks," "Battle for Siberia," and "Spring Song." Documentaries include "Marshal Stalin's Report"; "On Future Defense," a documentary on Russian army maneuvers; and "Leningrad Music Hall." Also included are 42 English-language issues of "Soviet Newsreel of the Day," 1946-47, featuring newsreels and short subjects reporting Russian lifestyles and economic recovery in the immediate postwar period. Produced by the Soviet Central Studio of Documentary Films, presented by the Television News Service of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and narrated by NBC Moscow correspondent Robert Magidoff, these films reflect a cooperative effort between broadcasting networks in Russia and the United States.
DM.1 Still Pictures. Approximately 2,000 photographs are to be found among the several collections of donated materials. Shown are the German advance through Poland, 1939, and the 1941 invasion of the U.S.S.R.; the construction and launchings of American merchant ships, 1939-45; campaigns in Alsace and southern Germany, 1945; the U.S.S. Westpoint with returning troops on board; and U.S. and foreign government officials, military officers, diplomats, statesmen, and delegates to the U.N. Conference on International Organization, 1945. Also included are photographs of U.S. combat engineers; U.S., Russian, and German troops; war-damaged towns and casualties; the activities of the Counterintelligence Corps in Japan; and color photographs documenting activities on board the U.S.S. Callaway. (M, MC, LA, SFF, PSC, GT, GR, HC, CIC, SH)
DM.2 Motion Pictures. Over the years, NARA has accepted from private sources films that are pertinent to U.S. history. Film subjects among donated materials range from scientific record films to a few feature films produced by Hollywood studios, many of which relate to the war. The Paramount News series (two issues per week) in NARA custody begins August 29, 1940, and runs through the war period. Each release runs approximately 10 minutes and covers six or seven subjects. The issue of December 9, 1941, for example, shows Roosevelt delivering his war message to Congress and meetings of heads of state and war mobilization. Also covered are domestic events, such as political campaigns and conventions, famous personalities, sports, and human interest stories; war bond promotions; housing problems; and rationing. Seven wartime Red Cross newsreels show various Red Cross medical services during the war, some even in battle areas. These newsreels served not only as reports but also as promotional films for Red Cross efforts. The Jack Lieb Collection includes extensive color footage of operations in Europe, with an emphasis on war correspondents.
DM.3 The March of Time films in the donated materials are not exactly newsreels; they instead approximate screen journalism reports, focusing on a subject to give a particular point of view. The March of Time monthly issues in NARA custody begin in 1939 with "The Battle Fleets of England" and continue with "Newsfronts of War-1940"; "Canada at War"; "U.S. Navy-1940," which shows how the Navy was being strengthened; "Dutch East Indies," on the military strength of the Indies, their resources, and Japanese interests; "Gateways to Panama," which explains precautions being taken to guard the canal and shows possible German objectives in nearby countries; "Britain's RAF-The Royal Air Force"; "Arms and the Men-USA," on the growth of U.S. military forces; "Uncle Sam the Nonbelligerent"; "Britain and U.S. Public Opinion"; "Crisis in the North Atlantic"; "China Fights Back"; "Peace by Adolf Hitler," which records the history of Nazi aggression and Hitler's broken promises; and many other films relating to the war. Most of these subjects run approximately 20 minutes. The March of Time feature-length film "The Ramparts We Watch," whose use of German footage anticipated the Why We Fight series, combines actual newsreel footage with staged or reenacted events to dramatize the effects of international events on a small American town.
DM.4 Other war-related footage can be found in the March of Time stock film library, 1935-51, and the Universal Newsreel library, 1929-67. For the war period, both of these commercial newsreel companies provided documentation of domestic and overseas efforts in support of the war, ranging from munition production to the purchase of war bonds, and from meetings of diplomats to international conferences of heads of state. Most of the edited newsreels, covering a large portion of the war period, were destroyed by a fire in 1978, and many of the Universal Newsreels are silent because Universal destroyed the separate soundtracks from the film. The edited newsreels each contain five to seven different stories and range from seven to ten minutes in length; film in the stock film library also covers a variety of subject matter and varies in length. Card catalogs, cameramen's dope sheets, subject index cards and subject files, script files, and synopses to Universal Newsreel edited releases provide descriptions of stories, subject access, and notations as to whether the film is silent or has sound.
DM.5 The donated material also includes several feature films produced by Hollywood studios. The controversial film "Mission to Moscow," produced by Warner Bros., dramatizes the diplomatic mission of Amb. Joseph E. Davies to Russia just prior to U.S. entry into the war. Many other feature films came under the scrutiny of a subcommittee of the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee in its investigation of alleged dissemination of war propaganda. The films, released between 1939 and 1941, were anti-Nazi propaganda. Some of them were directed by such capable directors as Carol Reed, Fritz Lang, and Alfred Hitchcock. Warner Bros. has deposited prints of "Confessions of a Nazi Spy," "Underground," and "A Dispatch From Reuters"; Twentieth Century Fox has contributed "Night Train," "The Man I Married," and "Manhunt"; Columbia Pictures, "They Dare Not Love"; and Walter Wanger Productions, "Foreign Correspondent." Also included is a postwar documentary entitled "Parallels: the President and the Dictator," juxtaposing the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt with the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
DM.6 The 26 episodes of The World at War, a compilation documentary television series produced by Thames Television and narrated by Laurence Olivier, are among the donated materials. The series examines major aspects of the Second World War through the use of archival film footage and oral history interviews. Originally presented on British television, the series was subsequently syndicated for television in the United States, September 1973 to June 1974. The series focuses on such topics as Adolf Hitler's rise to power, German expansion and war policies under the Nazis, the invasion and defense of Russia, the genocide of the Jews, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
DM.7 Several films in the donated materials relate to German activity during World War II. Regarding the origin of one, the "Ebensee Film," it is unclear whether it was filmed (ca. June 1945) by the Signal Corps or through personal effort by an Army physician, apparently for medical reasons, to show conditions at a branch camp of the Mauthausen concentration camp complex. German experimentation with rocket technology is shown in "Hitler's Secret Weapon: The V-2 Rocket at Peenemunde, [1924-1945]." Made in 1971 and originally broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System's NOVA series, it includes interviews with scientists such as Dr. Werner Von Braun.
DM.8 Films made in the 1970's, using archival film and sound recordings, reflect an interest in the life of Adolf Hitler and developments in Germany. An example is "Storm of Fire: World War II and the Destruction of Dresden." Made in 1978 by Dr. Richard C. Raack of the History Department at California State University, Hayward, the film focuses on the historical events leading up to the destruction of Dresden, Germany, on February 13 and 14, 1945. The film "Swastika," written and directed by Phillipe Mora in 1973, uses color footage from the Eva Braun film in the custody of the National Archives. Of feature length (90 minutes), the film is a compilation documentary on Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, and Fascism during the years 1933-39. The film, "Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945," made in 1976, was created and written by Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., an associate professor of history with a specialization in modern European and German history. Produced and narrated by Al Moffet, this film is a television documentary that utilizes archival film, sound recordings, and original art from Federal Government sources.
DM.9 A National Broadcasting Company television documentary, "Decision to Drop the Bomb" (1965), chronicles the development of the atomic bomb. During the production of the documentary, an expert on Japanese-American relations from the School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Prof. Robert C. Bartow, served as historical consultant to NBC News. He requested and received the original camera footage interview outtakes and, with the permission of NBC, donated the footage to the National Archives. "Decision to Drop the Bomb" contains interviews with many who took part in the discussions of whether or not to drop the bomb and probes, from the perspective of 20 years after the event, the justification for dropping the bomb, reviewing and scrutinizing the political, scientific, and moral considerations and impact. The documentary reviews the period from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death to the detonation of the bomb over Hiroshima. The unedited "Film Interviews on the Development of the Atomic Bomb" provides interviews with scientists and military and political leaders involved in the development of the atomic bomb and the decision to bomb the Japanese cities.
DM.10 Sound Recordings. Among the donated materials in the National Archives are approximately 900 sound recordings relating to World War II. A number of these are of speeches by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman; others are of speeches by, interviews with, and panel discussions involving such prominent persons as Cordell Hull, Sumner Welles, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, King George VI of Great Britain, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, a number of Senators and Representatives, well-known entertainers, and combat airmen of the war. Also included are recordings of radio broadcasts and special events covering such subjects as the President's September 21, 1939, message asking Congress to repeal the embargo provision of the Neutrality Act of 1935; the first 36 hours of the Allied invasion of Europe, June 6 and 7, 1944; V-J Day; the signings of the German and Japanese surrender documents; highlights of the Nuremberg trials; and accounts of the Nuremberg executions. Recordings from 1941 of British refugee children in the United States broadcasting Christmas greetings to their parents in England, and Edward R. Murrow's "I Can Hear It Now" series are included as well. An album entitled "History in Sound of World War II," produced by Prof. Jose Sourillan of the Society for the Study of Public Relations in France, contains rare material, including an address by George Bernard Shaw on the subject of war broadcast over shortwave radio on February 11, 1937; an address on air power given by Charles A. Lindbergh on August 8, 1930; speeches by Josef Stalin on December 11, 1937, July 3, 1941, May 9, 1945, and September 2, 1945; Adolf Hitler's April 28, 1939, answer to President Roosevelt's message of April 14 appealing to the Axis Powers to respect the sovereignty of European countries; and two speeches in English by Leon Trotsky, one broadcast from Mexico in January 1937 and the other sent to the New York meeting of the founding of the Fourth International, October 28, 1938.
DM.11 The individual recordings cited above are supplemented by several donated collections of World War II-related sound recordings. The David Goldin Collection, 1932-52, contains radio programming produced, acquired, or broadcast by the CBS, NBC, Mutual, and Armed Forces radio networks, and includes broadcasts of political speeches, interviews, combat reports, actualities, special events, documentaries, political conventions, congressional hearings, entertainment to U.S. troops overseas, foreign radio stations, and public affairs. World War II combat reports are in the John Hickman Collection "Historical Recordings and Radio Broadcasts," 1931 to 1977. A recording in the George C. Moreland Collection, "General William A. Bierderlinden Discussing the Negotiated Surrender of Heidelberg in World War II," features a discussion of the surrender of Hiedelberg with a naturalized German-American citizen who, when he was a teenager, witnessed the capture of Heidelberg.
DM.12 The American Broadcasting Company Gift Collection of sound recordings includes radio news and special events broadcast, produced, or sponsored over the network's facilities and its affiliate stations from 1943 to 1967. These recordings are of speeches, scheduled news programs, news commentaries, special events, and public affairs programming during the World War II period and include ABC coverage of V-J Day.
DM.13 Recordings of "America's Town Meeting of the Air," 1935 to 1952, produced by Town Hall, Inc., and received from New York University, are in the Gift Collection. The series' format features a forum discussion of guest speakers supporting or attacking an issue, with provision for comments from the audience. Topics include foreign policy and political, economic, and social issues in which the Federal Government was directly involved. Among the topic titles related to World War II are "How Shall We Deal with Germany After the War?" "Should We Support Russia's Plans for Poland?" and "Who Should Control the Production and Use of Atomic Energy?".
DM.14 The Radio Broadcasts of Station WJSV/WTOP (1937-1957) as received through the University of Maryland include speeches and interviews with presidents, congressmen, world leaders, and statesmen; descriptions of events and political campaigns; and news, documentary, and public affairs. These programs were broadcast and recorded by WJSV/WTOP, a Columbia Broadcasting Company affiliate in Washington, DC. The broadcasts contain a variety of entertainment and public affairs presentations: shows by Garry Moore and Arthur Godfrey; speeches by Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, including Churchill's address to a joint session of Congress on May 19, 1943, and Roosevelt's speech to Congress on December 8, 1941, declaring a state of war with Japan; New York City Mayor and the Civilian Defense Director Fiorello LaGuardia's July 17, 1941, speech to the New York Press Club concerning the aluminum drive; speeches by Cordell Hull; V-E and V-J Day bulletins; and news.
DM.15 "The Milo Ryan Phonarchive Collection" contains 4850 Columbia Broadcasting Company radio broadcasts that CBS affiliate KIRO in Seattle, WA, recorded for rebroadcast at a time suitable for West Coast listening. The collection was established and developed in 1956 by Milo Ryan, a professor at the University of Seattle, who persuaded KIRO to offer to the university's school of communications an original donation of 2,500 broadcast transcription discs stored in the basement of the station's transmitter building at Vashion Island in Puget Sound. The bulk of this collection contains an almost daily run of radio newscasts from September 1, 1939, when the German Luftwaffe began bombing Warsaw and other Polish cities, to the German and Japanese surrenders on V-E and V-J Days. In addition, transcribed speeches, special events, and selected public affairs programs provide extensive coverage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the bombing of Japan, landings in North Africa, the Normandy Invasion, the April 1945 World Security Conference, the April 1945 meeting of the U.S. and Russian armies, and the death and funeral of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The collection also contains many other newscasts and features, including talks and interviews with FDR, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Gens. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton, and others.
Note: Compiled by Barbara Burger, William Cunliffe, Jonathan Heller, William T. Murphy, and Les Waffin. Published by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Revised 1992.
This web version, originally created in 1999 and periodically updated, may differ from the paper edition. Possible differences include: updated names of NARA organizational units, corrected errors of fact, and incorporation of new descriptive information. Whenever new descriptive information has been added, it has been coded to display between brackets  and in italics. In addition, the main text has been artificially split into four parts, by record group, to improve efficiency of storage, retrieval, and use.