Soldiers with start on their caps march across the screen. They move in
columns and detachments.
"You will meet your war friends here", says the announcer. "Perhaps a mother will see the son over whom she wept, and a widow will see her husband again."
There are no actors in this film and no film-makers' tricks. But it contains the living truth of the Great Patriotic War, recorded by cameramen from many countries, particularly the Soviet war cameramen. 236 people took part in shooting the film and 40 of them were killed at the front. It is impossible to make a detailed review of the contents of the film so immense is the volume of documentary and news-reel material included in it. We can simply outline its main events.
Fascism emerging in Germany. Hitler's advent to power. The senile President Hinderburg giving his blessing to his mad successor. Parades, march-pasts, and the glossy photo-graphs of Hitler's henchmen. Occupation of a number of European countries.
... Summer 1941. The nazis had massed their divisions on the borders of the USSR. The Fuehrer's Supreme Command discuss the "Barbarossa" Plan. We see the arrows aimed at the USSR on the top-secret maps. A close-up of documents - codet messages of Richard Sorge and other Soviet intelligence officers. The persistent warning: the invasion will start at the beginning of the second half of June. And then we see someone's notes from which it becomes clear that Sorge's warnings have gone unheeded.
The first day of the war. The German soldiers waiting wide awake for the attack. The signal comes. Tanks crawl over Russian soil and the infantry trudge behind. Bombs rain from the skies onto cities and villages.
And the screen goes on with its tale. The viewer is a witness to the blockade of Leningrad, and the heroism of its courageous defenders.
The Battle of the Volga! The beginning of the change in fortunes in World War ll, the battle which created the firm foundation for complete victory over the nazi hordes. Shots of historic episodes: the meeting between the soldiers of the two fronts which had encircled the enemy. Then we see General Shumilov interrogating Field-marshal Paulus.
But the enemy is still on Soviet soil. Villages burn. The nazis are deporting Soviet people to Germany. There is a heart-rending episode in the film; a SS-man pushes a 3-year-old boy away from his mother who is to be taken away to Germany. The tiny tot is crying and tries to get back to his mother, but a nazi soldier hurls him away.
The film also shows the actions of the Allied troops. We see the battles in the Pacific and in Africa, and the Allied landing in Normandy.
The film shows the heroic struggle of the Resistance fighters in France, Czechoslovakia,Poland, Greece, Rumania and Yogoslavia. Then comes the fall of Berlin - the citadel of fascism - and the capitulation of Germany. Keitel signs, on behaft of the German command, the unconditional surrender of Germany.
The Soviet people, like all the other nations liberated from nazi barbarism, celebrates the great victory. The Victory Parade in Moscow's Red Square. Fascist banners are thrown down by the Mausoleum.
The joy of soldiers meeting their families, and yesterday's soldiers tilling the fields - these scenes show us the Soviet people starting to rehabilitate their national economy which had been destroyed during the fascist invasion.