Hollywood director Frank Capra directed many classic films including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life. However, he thought his best work was the Why We Fight series of films that he directed for the Army during World War II. Sicilian born Capra was the son of Italian immigrants and was an American patriot to his fingertips. He served in the Army during World War I as a Second Lieutenant. Immediately after Peal Harbor he enlisted in the Army. He was put to work making films explaining to American GIs why the US had to fight and win World War II. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall explained to Capra the importance of this task:
Now, Capra, I want to nail down with you a plan to make a series of documented, factual-information films – the first in our history – that will explain to our boys in the Army why we are fighting, and the principles for which we are fighting … You have an opportunity to contribute enormously to your country and the cause of freedom. Are you aware of that, sir?
The films he produced are widely considered to be masterpieces today.
Perhaps the best of the Why We Fight series of seven films was the last one made in 1945: War Comes to America. It describes the process by which a reluctant and isolationist America was into the War by repeated Axis aggression, culminating in the attack on Pearl Harbor.