Socio-economic groups

Papers should be between 500-700 words (two to three double-spaced pages), typed in twelve-point font, and edited for spelling and grammatical errors. They should paraphrase or directly quote the film whenever appropriate, though you do not need to include formal citations.

REMEMBER: THESE FILMS ARE PROPAGANDA; DO NOT TAKE THEM AT FACE VALUE OR ASSUME THAT THEY ARE HISTORICALLY ACCURATE!

Questions:

  • In this episode, the narrator lists some of the various ethnic and socio-economic groups that comprise the American citizenry. What is Capra’s aim here? Why was it important to promote an image of racial tolerance in particular?
  • How does Capra exaggerate the threat posed to the United States by the Axis powers? Is he correct in his assertion that America went to war out of self-defense?
  • What is the use of public opinion polls meant to indicate about American attitudes toward the war? How does this relate to the previous question?
  • How does the film treat the issue of conscription into the United States military? What kinds of cinematic techniques are employed to enhance this portrayal? Why would such a depiction be necessary in the first place?
  • To what extent is Capra’s narrative of the run-up to Pearl Harbor an accurate one? Were the allegations leveled in Japan’s December 7th memorandum total falsehoods, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull insisted? Why or why not?