Focus on film: Second World War

  • Video contentDig for Victory

    Dig For Victory

    An appeal to everyone during wartime to ‘Dig for victory’ by cultivating vegetables for the good of the country and their own better health. Context The tide of war was beginning to turn in 1942 in Britain’s favour. However, German ...

  • Video contentSalvage with a smile

    Salvage with a Smile

    A serious appeal in a light-hearted way to housewives to save paper, bones and metal which can ‘provide the raw material for tanks, battleships, guns…’ The film takes the form of a discussion between a professor, his housemaid, the local ...

  • Video contentLondon can take it

    London Can Take It

    This film, in which the American journalist, Quentin Reynolds pays tribute to London and its people under fire, conveys the spirit and atmosphere of the 1940 blitz on the capital. It shows a series of scenes before and after a ...

  • Video contentInterviews with crew members of the 'Enola Gay'

    Interviews with crew members of the ‘Enola Gay’

    The clip opens with an interview with Colonel Paul Tebbits, the officer in charge of the bomb group that dropped the Hiroshima Bomb. The Colonel then describes his experiences in a very calm way. The next interviewee is Commander Frederick ...

  • Video contentMore eggs from your hens

    More Eggs From Your Hens

    This public information film features talking chickens and encourages people to save scraps for more eggs. It starts with the cockerel telling the hens that their target is to “lay an egg a day” to which a hen replies “I ...

  • Video contentWords for battle

    Words for Battle

    Extracts from the works of the poetry and prose of Milton, Blake, Browning and Kipling are set to film. The famous “we shall never surrender” speech by Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address are also quoted. It powerfully associates ...

  • Video contentAll Hands

    All Hands

    The film shows two women serving at a railway station restaurant who are busy chatting. In less than half a minute they give away a huge amount of information which would have been very valuable to an enemy spy listening ...

  • Video contentClothes and the Man

    Clothes and the Man

    This short animation urges people to be on their guard. It shows a drawing of a Nazi spy and then uses a range of disguises to see how hard he would be to spot. Context When war broke out in ...

  • Video contentFood from the Empire

    Food from the Empire

    This short clip shows butter and cheese making in New Zealand. The clip opens with shots of various cheese products and then cuts to cattle grazing on the pasture followed by scenes in a factory showing workers involved in cheese ...

  • Video contentDustbin Parade

    Dustbin Parade

    A Halas and Batchelor cartoon on the need for scrap. The animation shows a wide range of waste items being converted into useful items. Old hot water bottles are turned into tyres, old scraps of clothing are turned into uniforms ...

  • Video contentWarwork News No.36

    Warwork News No.36

    In this sequence a young girl, Rita, is on her way to school. A very stern and posh lady describes how Rita’s clothes have all been made from other discarded clothes. Context During World War 2 clothing was rationed as ...

  • Video contentrationing-in-britain

    Rationing in Britain 1

    An American commentator looks at the effects of rationing. This film explains what was the weekly ration for a family in wartime Britain. Context During the First World War Britain introduced rationing at a fairly late stage. In WW2 the ...

  • Video contentBritannia is a woman 2

    Britannia is a woman 2

    In this clip the upbeat voice over tells us how ‘society women’ (women from the upper classes) are doing their bit for the war effort. They have turned a magnificent country house into a factory for making hospital supplies. Context ...

  • Video contentbritannia-is-a-woman1

    Britannia is a woman 1

    This film provides a lively voice over describing the work of women in the land army. We see women driving tractors ploughing up new fields to grow food. Context During the First World War Britain had learnt how valuable women ...

  • Video contentjane-brown-changes-her-job

    Jane Brown changes her job

    In this extract a woman who served in the Women’s Voluntary Service describes some of the work she and her friends did in an aircraft factory. Context During the First World War Britain had learnt how valuable women could be ...

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