Indiana Daily Student

World War II films added to digital archive online


Films sharing the stories of American soldiers and other facets of life during World War II are now a part of a digital archive exhibition.

Titles now available online include “The Children See It Through,” a 1941 film that focuses on the life of British children during the war, and “Voyage to Recovery,” a 1945 U.S. Navy film that identifies wounded Americans and chronicles their return to health and home.

The IU Libraries Moving Image Archive has digitized 116 World War II propaganda films that spans from 1940 to 1945.

IU libraries launched the digital exhibition in honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, according to an IU Newsroom press release.  

The films are now available as part of the archive’s “WWII Propaganda Films and IU: Audiovisual Production, Circulation and Education” permanent online exhibition.

The online collection offers free access to the public and may be browsed by film title and subject.

According to the press release, the exhibition focuses on IU’s use of mass media to educate and inform American audiences during WWII.

“These films offer a unique window into American history and demonstrate the important role that film archives play in preserving and providing access to our shared cultural heritage,” archive head Rachael Stoeltje said in the release.

Many titles in the exhibit are available online for the first time.

There is also a wide selection of government-sponsored films and newsreels from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Additionally, the exhibit features instructional films intended for limited audiences.
These include a film for engineering students on how to build a B-26 medium bomber.  

The content of these films includes the purchase of war bonds and the war efforts made by students of historically African American colleges.

The original movies were distributed by IU during and after the war years as part of the IU Bureau of Audio-Visual Aids.

According to the press release, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Orson Welles and Bing Crosby are among the credited performers and creators of the films.

The collection is one of the largest in the world.

By providing free access to these films, IU Libraries Moving Image Archive aims to promote a deeper understanding of the ways in which governments and filmmakers presented the aspects of wartime life through the use of moving image recordings, according to the press release.

Anu Kumar

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