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Big News of 1941 (newsreel)

This Universal Studios newsreel reviews the "big events of 1941," ending with the U.S. entry into World War II.

Citation (Chicago Style): 

Universal Newsreel. "Big News of 1941-The Editors of Universal Newsreel present dramatic highlights of an epochal year, 1941/12/24". December 24, 1941.

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Video Transcript

Narrator (00:24)
Assembled Congress hears the president and his promise to all people fighting aggression.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (00:29)
We shall send you in ever-increasing numbers. Ships, planes, tanks, guns. That is our purpose and our pledge.
Narrator (00:44)
And the president's words meant action as billions of dollars worth of goods start to flow to embattled England and other allied countries. America became the arsenal of democracy. Suppliers from the United States pouring into Britain to help crash the madman of Europe. We're in the war now! But all through 1941, we were in there on the side of democracy.
(01:10) Unprecedented in the annals of the United States was the inauguration of Mr. Roosevelt to his third term. He took office to face the most critical period of our nation's history.
(01:30) During the year up to the day we entered the war, sabotage and strikes were rife in the country. Some acts were proven deliberate, some were not, but thousands upon thousands of man hours were lost. Under international law the United States seized Axis ships in our port. This was to prevent the sabotage of these vessels.
(01:57) It took the war to unite our people, to unite capital and labor. Strikes flared again and again throughout the nation accompanied by violence and bloodshed. But now scenes such as these are a thing of the past for this nation will make a supreme effort to back our armed forces with the weapons they need. This is everybody's war. We're all in this war for victory.
(02:30) Mystery of the year is the reason back of Rudolph Hess' flight from Germany to Scotland. Did he feel the Axis couldn't win? Did he come with peace messages? All this won't be known until the war is over.
(02:52) The British checkmated Hitler in Syria when they moved in before the Nazis could take over, thus cutting off a potential source of oil for the German panzer divisions. Iran too is the same story. The British with this coup control almost all of the Middle East oil supply. This is the oil that Hitler badly needed but lost. And with Russia in the way, he can't win the Caucasian oil fields.
(03:28) America acts to protect the vital North Atlantic sea lanes. American guns and troops in Iceland to ward off Nazi attacks and to guard the strategic shipping lanes over which lend-lease supplies are pouring to our Allies. Uncle Sam takes the initiative.
(03:51) An American naval casualty in the battle of the Atlantic. The destroyer Kearney, on convoy duty off Iceland was hit by a Nazi torpedo. Its rugged construction saved the new-type ship but American sailors lost their lives.
(04:16) When Hitler's ward smashed into Russia in June many prophesied the quick defeat of the Russian armies. But not the Russians. Their heroic defense and their savage counter blows at the end of the year provides new hope for ultimate victory over the Axis powers. Germans retreating in Russia. Good news in 1941.
(04:45) British Imperial forces swept through Libya once but were forced back after smashing Italian armies there. Then came the heroic defense of Tolbruk against overwhelming odds. Empire forces held out for nine months at Tolbruk, waiting the time, not far distant, when Britain's second offensive begins. Equipped with American-made tanks and planes, British troops are waging a campaign of annihilation to wipe out the Axis armies. Victory here will bolster the entire Allied position in the Middle East and may thwart any Axis thrust across Spain and down the coast of Africa. Time is of essence in Africa.
(05:38) The greatest double cross in history. Jap envoys talk peace in Washington. Jap planes, without warning, bring war to America. Our great Pacific outpost in the Hawaiian islands is ruthlessly bombed as Japan's perfidious declaration of war. Death and destruction unleashed on a nation at peace. On that faithful Sunday morning, when this country was extending a friendly hand of conciliation and peace. The treacherous attacks from death to almost 3000 American soldiers, sailors, and civilians. Our loss in war ships and planes was high, but overnight, this nation was united in an all-out determination to avenge the hideous assault on American lives and property. Our battle cry is "Remember Pearl Harbor." The president's signature speeds our total defense, energies, and resources to all-out victories. The evil mastermind of oppression is forced into the open. The world's number-one arsonist and killer declares the war on the United States and his stooges applaud. The vociferous junior partner in crime follows suit, now practically the entire world is joined in a horrible war.
(07:01) The president bought the first defense bond and set an early example for us all. Let's get behind our army, our navy, and our president.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (07:12)
Fellow Americans, I ask you to demonstrate, to demonstrate again your faith in America by joining me and investing in the new defense savings bonds and stamps. And I know that you will help.
Narrator (07:36)
The conquering lion of Judah became that in fact as Haile Selassie, with the help of the British, regained his throne in Ethiopia. Thus died the empire hopes of Hitler's stooge, Il Duce.
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