Made just prior to U.S. entry into World War II, this Official Films newsreel, “News Thrills: 1941, Vol. II,” recaps some of the social, military, and political events of 1941. The newsreel begins with photographers having fun photographing people on the sandy beaches of Venice, California (00:19). The next segment covers the first test flight of the world’s largest bomber, the Douglas B-19, as it takes off from Santa Monica, California (01:34) and lands at March Air Base near Riverside, California (01:52). Then the film documents a British destroyer that stopped two German ships; the German crew set fire to their ship before it is torpedoed by the British destroyer (02:41) and sinks. The second German ship is inspected by British officials before being sunk with small deck bombs (02:55). The newsreel continues with war coverage, moving to the Russian-German front, where Soviet citizens prepare for Nazi attacks, and women mobilize for the war (03:38). In Moscow, on 12 July 1941, Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov (03:54) and British Ambassador Sir Stafford Cripps (04:03) sign an agreement between the Soviet Union and Great Britain that preceded the treaty between the two countries a year later; Joseph Stalin smiles while watching the signing of the agreement (04:00). The film then shows three Red Army Marshals charged with protecting Soviet territory: Marshal Kliment Voroshilov directs the Leningrad defense (04:16); Marshal Semyon Timoshenko defends Moscow (04:23); and Marshal Semyon Budyonny oversees defense of the Ukraine (04:29). The Red Army was not the sole source of resistance, as Russian guerilla fighters make preparations (04:32). German paratroopers fly over a Russian village, prompting the villagers who are trained in anti-parachute tactics to mobilize to attack the Nazi invaders (04:45). Meanwhile, German Messerschmitts attack Soviet airfields (05:09) and destroy ground Soviet aircraft. German infantry attack and march on Russian towns (05:50), then propaganda troops, speaking Russian, give orders to the villagers (06:12). The newsreel wraps up the Russian-German front with footage of Soviet troops sending captured Nazi soldiers, primarily airmen, off to remote prison camps (06:24). The final segment of the newsreel is the meeting between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14 August 1941 that produced the Atlantic Charter. This clip begins with the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales sailing along Atlantic to the meeting at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland (06:57), as Winston Churchill and Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Supply, walk aboard the ship (07:09). US warships await (07:33), and Churchill leaves his ship and boards the USS Augusta (08:01) to meet with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The two men greet each other, and Churchill presents Roosevelt with a letter from King George VI (08:14). Church services are conducted as part of the meeting (08:28). The meeting—and newsreel—ends with Roosevelt bidding farewell to Lord Beaverbrook and Churchill (08:55).
The Douglas XB-19 shown was the largest bomber aircraft built for the United States Army Air Forces until 1946. It was originally given the designation XBLR-2 (XBLR- denoting Experimental Bomber, Long Range). The XB-19 project was intended to test flight characteristics and design techniques for giant bombers. Despite advances in technology that made the XB-19 obsolete before it was completed, the Army Air Corps felt that the prototype would be useful for testing despite Douglas Aircraft wanting to cancel the expensive project. Its construction took so long that competition for the contracts to make the XB-35 and XB-36 occurred two months before its first flight.
The plane flew on 27 June 1941, more than three years after the construction contract was awarded. In 1943 the Wright R-3350 engines were replaced with Allison V-3420-11 V engines. After completion of testing the XB-19 was earmarked for conversion into a cargo aircraft, but modifications were not completed, and the aircraft flew for the last time on August 17, 1946. It was eventually scrapped at Tucson in June 1949.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com