tv Reel America On the Firing Line with the Germans - 1915 CSPAN November 10, 2018 11:00am-1:01pm EST
of the movie because he realized that that's what people wanted to see. >> watch the entire discussion on sergeant york, the man and the movie, tonight at 7:00 eastern here on american history tv. only on c-span 3. . >> in the spring of 1915, almost a year into world war i, american journalist will bert durboro and the cinematographer guy reis left to travel with the germany on the frontlines of east prussia and poland and shot 25 feet the film received positive reviews. and screened widely in the united states.
despite the fact that it presented a favorable view of the germans. up next, learn about how the once lost film was rediscovered and restored by the library of congress. film withh the entire commentary by two scholars who helped to reassemble a movie that had become a jigsaw puzzle of fragments area this program is about two hours. my name is cooper graham. at the moment i am retired but i used to work at the library of congress and while i was here, among the fascinating things i've found buried in the vaults, and there is a lot of stuff buried in the vulture, is a film "-- and there is a lot
of stuff buried in the vaults, is the film "on the firing line with the germans are co- he and i think it reflects very well what was going on with the united states, where the united states was looking with suspicion that this war in europe and wondering how much it wanted to get involved and how much it could stay out and whether circumstances would allow it to do so. jim: i am a scholar retired from a computer system's career. i wanted to research my family history. i was looking into a journalist who was a workhorse for the german news stories and world war i. researching him, i came across his byline and saw there had
been a film in 1915 and that he had praised the photographer for getting real war pictures. and wilbert toubro did not start journalism until until 1909 and was finally at the chicago examiner in chicago. and eventually was an independent contractor. and shortly was the best reporter to be sent on assignments like the mexican troubles. in the background research, i wanted to see a film
to see what they were witnessing on the east front and it was hard to research because he changed careers a lot. after about 10 years, he was still -- i was still working on the research and i was going to write an article and so i was organizing notes when low and behold i learned this, i read this fabulous article and was glad to her somebody else was interested in and i contacted him. with total ignorance to the fact that this was a lost film. nobody knew what the contact was. through contact with cooper, he gave me the magic key and the library of congress, buried in paper from the original copyright filing was a few small images from the original frames which allowed us to document the real content and in bringing in a co-author, he brought in a lot of missed
pieces of film who working with the library of congress encouraged them to re-create. >> i am george. it has been my jump for the past 30-some years to take care of the film collection of the library of congress. what that means is these are the films made from the beginning of cinema on nitrate film stock. the reason it is different is because nitrate tends to deteriorate and more importantly it is highly flammable. so it is important for us to maintain not only the film but the atmosphere it is stored in to give them long life and keep them from blowing up. >> i am a preservation specialist in the moving show image section. my duty is ensuring the physical integrity of the collection. handling and
storage. i concentrate on the safety side. maintaining the circulating film loan program and as assignments on special projects whether it is assisting in reconstruction of research or roger x. >> is so ""on the firing line with the germans. " where does that come from? why do we still have it? >> it is just one of this fascinating things. a film from long ago. from the son of one of the original backers of the film had founded in his father's wine cellar. in it was 40 and-some reels of film. it had been sitting on a shelf and several attempts had been made to put it together but there was no paperwork. so it just kind of
sat there. the nitrate vaults in ohio were at wright-patterson air force base and i thought, what are all of these reels? what is this? i am so glad that finally we were able to put it all back together because it is one of those things that should not have survived. you know, there is no reason for it to survive. lynanne: a behind seller is not a good place to store a film, particularly a nitrate film. ask how do we get to the point from it sitting in storage to now where it is available for the public to view? tracks i think people in the library had always wanted to see this film put back together. i note the burke has always been very interested in it. for
myself, from a viewpoint of it being a film in news to be put back together i never thought i would be able to see it put back together. but when the script, as it was, was put together by james cooper and resented to is, that is when the time came plus the time had come when we were able to do high enough levels of scanning of these film reels that they could be edited together digitally rather than having to try to make the film copies and try to edit it that way because there was such a huge falling of material, -- a huge volume of material, the cost would have been astronomical. a doing it digitally, it was easier for us to put things in their face or say, here is a better version we
will use this. so without digital technology i do not think this project would have happened. >> i guess it was two years altogether. lynanne: yes. that does not count all of the pre-work. >> it takes a lot of time and effort. what is the value for the american public? why is it worth it? >> one of my sort of guiding principles and actually the first face i thought was on the wall of the air force museum and gain, ohio, and it is a saying "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. " so i thought it was important for us to make it available for people to see so we learn from it. whether or not we do learn from it is not my problem but i want to make sure i do my part for people to have the ability to see this other part of history that is not in the books, you know. whether it be this film or a film about a
laundry or dairy, or newsreels. newsreels were some memorable, so many of them are lost but there were a lot of interesting stories besides the major one. just to see what we did, how we talked, how we walked, all these major things that we do not forget. because our society is so disposable. we were at the point now where it seems like people are disposable. that is bad. i want to make sure all of that, as much as we can carry, is still there. lynanne': i think particularly the refugee references reinforce this idea of history repeating itself. we are looking at different scenes of the refugees. and going home at night and watching
the news and reading the paper with the refugees, different refugees from different parts of the world best nonetheless, human affection and political actions that cause the regular populace to endure and figure out and deal with this repeating itself. almost 100 years to the day, we were looking at the same scenes we were seeing in the news every night. that was really shocking. >> at you will see in the first film segment, he rarely missed an opportunity for self promotion. it only came about because of his initiative. many asked him to go abroad and there he is in
the spotlight. there is a certain kind of hard-charging tension about him. this is the cameraman. he always looked a little be wilderness but game. there he is with a cigar. both of the guys had a cigar habit. but he looked affable. >> this really documented in his trip to europe. durburough's trick to europe. >> how did they come about. >> he was commissioned to moonlight as
long as he paid for extra cost and he met some chicago businessman and convince them to fund it and then went around purchasing cameras and equipment and here he is going abroad. >> this is about the time the lusitania was sunk, so submarines were very much on everybody's mind. >> and the only ones that ran were between new york and holland. >> here is the famous stats bearcat. this is the lamborghini of its time. a wonderful car. one just sold in california i think for 595 -- $595,000. >> and that was
durbrurough's personality. >> it was a hot car. and i think he realized the film and the car would help him get access to the individuals he wanted to film and interview. he was very good at projecting his personae and had a definite flamboyance to him. >> so, was world war i a really big news item in newspapers at the time in the united states? >> it was. obviously, the official position of wilson was neutrality. we had a tendency to stay out of foreign affairs, at least european affairs which seemed to always be mixed up.
and, there was concern about trying to get involved by several different groups of citizenry. >> what are we saying here? >> this is ambassador gerard. he turned out to be very pro- british. president wilson did not very much like him. he did a very good job of getting americans out of their once we started the war. >> the ambassadors were only to give input. eyes, ears, and to implement whatever was put into play. >> franz max was interesting here. max was the first leader of the republic which a lot of people
never forgave him for, but i think he was a good fellow . >> why would durburough and the newspaper cover the war from the germans and viewpoint. >> in the midwest, there was a lot of pro-german sentiment. i will not say everybody was but there were a lot of germans and scandinavians, especially the germans, happen to be on the pro-german side. there was a large irish voice in some of the big cities like milwaukee and so the feeling in the midwest was very different than on the east coast, which tended to have the most pro-ally sentiment. i think one of the reasons was the germans could get the german side of their story told because
they did not feel the new york times and so on was doing most for them. and german propaganda was not very good get, either. >> by the time, seven months into the war, there were a large number of casualties. show less soldiers, if you to use, what not, you will see some of that in the film here. >> i think it is henrietta set up the home of the blind in did hospital work. she became very famous. she was married to a very famous architect. she was originally italian and italy had just entered the war on the allied side. she did work for the german wounded. and after the war, it was turned over to the german government and i think it is still in existence. here is alexander hamilton and miss jane adams. there she is on the right. three
extremely powerful women. it is funny, as jim said, that shot you just saw is probably the most famous shot that has come out of this. >> so jane addams? who was she? >> jane addams ran h for europeans to get integrated into ourull hous society. e she did a lot of effort in the piece movement. her reputation was so important she was invited to be the cochair of the peas conference the women organize. >> this is visiting day of the hospital? >> is is very interesting. it
would've showed the dark side becoming more and more evident in this perio thed summer. of 1915. this is not frivolous footage. >> interestingly, cigarettes became much more prominent in the trenches, obviously. i guess because they could not drink in the trenches so smoking became more popular. but i guess pre-made cigarettes really grew in popularity among the army. >> why do you think they decided to film these things? how did that
happen? >> i do not know. you can see this kind of frivolous guy going for the main chance but some of the footage -- you have to think that he was very much aware of the tragic side of all of this. >> show less text he wanted to capture the civilian perspective and show it just as he could see in the film lens. >> there is an interesting shot. in a way, it is a godsend that harborough could not make it to the front and was stuck-unstuck in berlin. he has sort of a nice portrait of the city that is beginning to suffer. you would not have gotten that if he had sort of wandered off to some
battlefield. >> in show less the getting, and the correspondence, initially, they should've gotten permission. they go on their own. they connect out there. >> this is rather famous. this is shot at the workshop of a professor who became very famous for working with prostatic devices for soldiers. you see it in the scientific american and three or four newspapers in the united states. the same guy, the same workshop. evidently, he was very famous. you will see a bit of the emphasis on the horse opportunities in the film. he was quite a horseman. >>
did he go into this project with a plan about what would happen with this film when he got back? >> no, i do not think so. i think he just wanted to record his trip and get enough footage so it would be able to be shown in theaters around the united states as a profit-maker essentially. >> but also i thought to drum up sympathy for germany, which was already unsuccessful largely in its propaganda. >> but i do not think the syndicate had that as the motive. was just that obviously there was a large population or market for the german situation. >> that is true. of course. i'm i mean, they were not pro- german. you can argue about wilson but
they were businessmen. they wanted to make money. and huebener wanted to make his name. i should mention that. he is in 25% of the film have. the second-most seen by government is the pluschke. the germans liked to take correspondence from cameramen. it was a safe trip. the germans like to do it because they had a lot of control over what the correspondence i ended not see and nobody was likely to get hurt and it showed the germans the chance to show they were treating prisoners well. giving them enough to eat. like these shots, there may be a bit of parity but these guys do seem happy. apparently they are happy
enough to be in the trenches. >> putting the best foot forward. to be fair, as a neutral he did watch over for the allied prisoner war camps and he did get credit for improving the conditions which were pretty bad later on. >> do you know of these camps were close to berlin? >> one camp was very close to berlin. it was put there, it was a major training field. >> as i say, i do not know. i don't know if the prisoners were trying to make the germans happy
but it looks to me that they seem not to be unhappy to be warm and dry. >> you will see later, with like warsaw here, film is a new commodity. it is like being featured in films, a novel experience so i think that was the thing that stimulated everybody if they wanted to get in front of the camera. >> and maybe it was a way to say, somebody from your family might see the footage and say, oh he is all right. especially on the russian side. they recruited prisoners to help repair the roads and farms who worked without the tools, the ones with the shovels and stuff would fix the roads. >> these look like british. >>
you sort of get the impression there are many journalists going around with them? was this almost like a media tour in some cases or -- >> yeah, well, these trips to prison camps they would maybe take 10 people. it would be a group trip. they controlled them pretty well. you'll see in a bit, waiting to go to the front. they
are in uniform. initially they did not have uniforms, they did not have good control. they arrested many journalists who started to walk around and got caught and were almost shot as spies so they decided they would give them official uniform said they could be recognized and escorted from berlin by an officer. >> what are we seeing here? >> the band is leading the soldiers from berlin out from the train station to go to the front. >> that is the hotel avalon, one of the most famous hotels about a block away. actually, they are going to go by the hotel. right in front of the hotel marquee. these guys are headed east or west, i cannot tell you which. anyway, -- >> they are coming from the garden area said they were headed east. >> at this time in the war, the german army looks
rather happy. what was the situation. >> they were not thrilled in the again, one of the reasons for this film was there was a huge drive in the summer of 1915 starting in may, as a matter fact these guys maybe headed towards the battle front which was designed to check the russian army out of poland. there was a ring of austrian and german troops and then a northern ring which was headed toward warsaw. so, the two germans i think were very happy with the situation as they and vision then in the summer and one of the reasons they might've been invited to do this was because they wanted witnesses and they wanted it film. evidently, this footage is
extremely privileged. i mean, you did not just go up and start shooting the royal family at 20 paces. so whether he shut this about it from somebody else, i did not know. >> i am pretty sure he did this. he did get to the castle. they said it up so he would be able to film this >> this was a review for the kaiser. the hussars were his favorite unit. indeed, bernardi as a first lieutenant led the hustlers -- hussars. >> who are we seeing here? >> the wife of the kaiser. the daughter of victoria luisa.
she was the only daughter of the kaiser. i think he had five sons and victoria luisa. and some of the sons were appointed the head of armies. some were relieved later after they did not do too well. >> somewhere sort of nominal heads. the elder son wilhelm, he was actually in charge of the army at verdun this is where all of the correspondence or most of them stayed waiting to get permission to go to the front. >> that is some kind of hat, fedora hat. >> there wearing the uniform. >>
you mention in your essay about him speaking german. >> is here. this part of the trip is actually -- they got cents to east prussia. one of the correspondence is a guy from new york. he spoke fluent in german. he loved war. he wanted to fight everybody and that people who did not fight wars that she was kind of a controversial leader. >> notice the train in the background. george will meant created a very handful of
friends. those were still they had from the copyright paper that made it look really natural. >> i'm going to mention this, because what these guys are wearing, my wife did not know what a friend of ours did not know -- these spiked helmets. i should explain in the early part of the war, these germans were distributed those helmets. it was only in 1916 that they got the helmets that they think of as the typical german helmets. the same time the british got their tin hats and the french got their helmets. fred -- head wounds were so bad. >> it is amazing how much the calvary where the shock troops
wherever infantry would attack. you often said the cover into break them apart and then set them back. >> still lances. you will see something else. this is the war that started with horses and ended up in tanks and airplanes. in credible. >> is is one of the larger cities in east prussia. it was not damaged much by the russians during the occupation. they were still pretty rough. what happened with some of the smaller powers where the russians did do some damage, the russians want there long. you will see there is this slow tracking shot and you can get a look at the background and see how much wreckage there was. >> just imagine trying to supply a massive army with these wagons. they have an infinite number of
them. >> this is east prussia. the russians invaded there in august very >> it was a part of germany. it was quite for east of most of germany. it is now part of poland since world war ii. the russians were pretty rough here. maybe no worse than the germans were in belgium. i'm not going to get into who is worse. this is another city that really took it. somebody said there was only one family left in the whole city after the russians got through with it. it was kind of their raining nobility and to care or supposed to take care of
the area. after their own castles burned by the russians. >> you can see some of the destruction. >> may be compared with the russian army did in 1945, this is no big deal. or what the germans did in smolensk. these were incredibly powerful images, for the germans especially. it is one of the reasons they made fun hindenburg their savior of world war i. they made him almost a religious figure for better or for worse. >> the battle of tandberg, hindenburg pushed the russians out of east prussia? >> the germans set up this tour for the correspondence to take a look and see first how bad the destruction has been.
second, it shows how the russians were rebuilding and how it had not cap them down. >> look at the pile of rubble. the mentality of the central european cities that were over the various areas of war. one side germany or the other, squeezed between two big powers. it changes the whole concept of their nationality and how they have to live. >> there does seem to be some wanton destruction. this is kind of interesting that the correspondence were sort of on the road. they got a chance to see the great man himself, von hindenburg, the savior of tandberg. a couple of the
correspondence who were pro-german suggested von hindenburg looked like a mixture of foxy grandpa and father christmas. i don't get that impression. he looks like he has his mind another things. the guy on the left is functionally from. this was germany's idea of how to win. this is the head of the 20th our marine corps which was stationed in outshine. he was very much involved in the big battles in poland. here the correspondence are taken to the area of the lakes and the battle of town park where they took place. it is almost like visiting gettysburg. this is only a year after the battles. evidently there are people who are going and touring and let us see what happened. i think the
guy right behind dobro is his official watchmen, guardian. you can see a bit of the missouri lake area. you can see the barbed wire emplacement is everywhere. whether the russians put them up in the first place with the germans, i don't know, but they look formidable. here they have correspondents cars. you can see them on the back of the lake. they did not make it on this trip. they were bundled up in six cars and toward the battlefield. look at the barbed wire. can you imagine trying to cut through that stuff under machine-gun fire? i am glad i
have not been born yet, i will tell you that. >> would this have been german barbed wire? >> i don't know. whatever barbed wire they could find. >> show there the correspondence again. these people are touring the area. where von hindenburg saved germany. i think that is the way the germans really did look at it. >> that is the front there. >> or try to figure out what is where. >> this is the story, you can see on the inter-title. i could never quite verify but there was a report in the paper
that the germans saw the russians coming across a lake and it was very thick ice so the russians that they were sneaking up on positions. the germans fired artillery at the lake and something like 10,000 germans -- i mean russians did go into the lake and die. either way, there are a lot of debt russians in that lake. you can get a feeling of how beautiful this area is. even shot 100 years ago in ortho chromatic film. it is a great holiday place for germans and polish. very lovely. on april 1 mall they were on the
boat, they started rationing fuel. no private vehicles were allowed. he had to get special permission. incredibly, he got it from the authorities. >> this was another town that was destroyed by the russian army. >> it is hard to tell who has destroyed it. >> probably this part was the russians again, it got pretty wet. there is a shot here, this is clearly taken from a car. driving down the main widen. >> is good film for the time. >> would american audiences have seen other world war i films
when this was shown later? >> i don't know. american film, i don't know. i doubt it. >> there was a tie in with hearst. pathway films was french. there was a company that did distribute quite a bit of various reels. i don't think it was seen much more broadly. this guy on the left is kind of a rakish character. he fought in the spanish-american war. he is a
soldier of fortune kind of guy. also in the boers war. his grandfather was very prominent. working for frederick the gate in prussia. again, these families of nobility that they seem to run into fairly often out there. >> there's also the issue of facemasks. we till you see. >> again you get the feeling of space. you get this feeling of whether it is true or not of them kind of wandering around and seeing who they bump into. it all seems kind of spread out, kind of random. poland is a big
place. >> that is him there shaking hands again. 25% of the film he shows up. >> and sometimes you have to look hard. i can come and say there he is again. oftentimes he is sort of invisible he is there. other times it is obvious. if he has a camera in his hand, that is probably bureau. >> is about here that the film stops shooting the correspondence in east prussia and starts to zero in on the german armies headed into poland. financing is right, it was a big
railroad center, a jumping off point for the troops heading east. >> usually has the still camera in his hand. >> at the same time he was taking still photos and writing articles as well? >> he was taking still photos while he was filming for his own war film syndicate. >> the cameraman is usually read -- reece. >> everything was handcranked. about 19 to 21 frames per second. it had to take a steady hand. this was done pretty well. >> you mean the cranking up the camera would dictate the speed of the film? >> yeah. there was no electricity out there, or electronically timed stuff. it was all regular study if a bomb goes off next to, i guess they cut that scene out.
it is hard. >> he was a good cameraman. i think he did some useful framing. >> it should be a delousing station. there are a few grammatical errors. >> describe what is happening here. >> they are going into get fumigated. apparently the foregoing home or whatever or moving around after a period of time, they visit
stations like this and spend a little time. i guess there was a special chemical. >> the soldiers said the lice grew like crazy. >> later on you're going to see even more impressive, what was required to supply the calvary horses. and the wagons horses. >> remember, this part of the land was like a pyramid. a lot of the land had been just devastated. you had to provide it as the army traveled. the infantry used to use mostly
should love her back then. >> these uniforms the germans are wearing our blue instead of the usual field grade. some of the units still had not been issued field grade. the grind in the white floppy cap disappearing is someone who is kind of interesting. he is a correspondent with them and is the brother of the famous theologian. he is with them for the rest of the trip. he wrote quite a few dispatches. somewhat controversial. some people thought he might be a spy. he certainly was pro-german. after united states got into it, he then worked very arduously for the americans and was involved in making some great pro-american propaganda films. an interesting person. these guys a pretty squared away i
think. >> in this part of the film they're working their way towards the front. tell us where they are going >>. most of it is behind the front. >> than there was the first big offensive movement towards warsaw. >> was poland and independent country at this time? >> it was pretty much occupied by the russians. >> matter of fact, they did control it. they are not particularly happy under russian rule. there were
some polis regions that were set up to help the germans get the russians out. there is the man of the strange floppy hat. here are these guys digging in a bit. again, this may be shot during training. again, you get the feeling everything would have stopped dead without horses. it was a horse war. >>
you had mentioned a spiked helmet. how long had the germans been wearing that? why did they give it up? is it something it went back a long time? >> the british were wearing a cloth cap at the beginning of the war and the germans were wearing these pickle helmets. they are not metal. they're kind of leather and copper engraving, some of them. they did not give you any kind of protection if you got it will it in your head. all three of the army's decided about the same time that they needed some kind of metal helmet to protect headlands. the germans came up with the there helmet. the french, was also
worn by the italian. the british had much the same thing the americans were when they got into it. >> they are presenting this as combat, but this was a training exercise. the camera is up to hide. >> there are some shots later. machine-gun practice. >> they spliced them in in the last part of the assault. it is obvious they are not actually in combat. that scene was not taken in combat. >> is that something that would have been found upon at this time as far as journalism is concerned? >> i don't know. people were lucky to get any film in those days. it was germans showing the type
of how they approach the combat and infantry support and what's not. i do think he is trying to make a narrative story that is interesting. i think if you look at it from that perspective, i think it is ok. unless you documented and say this is how they train and were used in combat. probably not the best. >> the sensors took an awful lot of the stuff. you kind of had to this red cross for instance, there are photographs of this same shot that appear in berlin newspapers in june, which is three months
before they headed east. >> these were used to sniff out the people from the battlefield after the assault was over. they could get triage and red cross to them quickly. they were not individual soldiers. >> it is hard to imagine that many horses. >> there is some scary to diptych about how many horses died in world war i. it is millions. maybe 500,000, i don't know. >> this is also probably pretty
fake. this is him at his hammy us. he can't stand to have all of these guys in some kind of fake warfare without him being in it. in a minute he will pop up to the right here. >> they will re-splice it and he will be there. >> there he is. >> same spot. >> it is hard to get a really good shot of the shell or rocket firing. when you do get a good
one, it tends to get reused. this shows how primitive things were with the aero planes and aircraft. as well as the aircraft. pretty primitive. they really evolved quickly. notice the hobnailed boots. this is probably training film. >> again, they say any shot with a camera -- where the camera is looking down at the soldiers is probably fake because a camo would almost immediately be dead. this is kind of interesting to show you prussian training. these guys are digging shoulder trenches and you can see they can't hold their rifles while
there digging, but rather they put them on the ground, lay them across the back of their legs so they will stay clean. which is pretty clever. >> i think this looks real. >> i think this is real. >> you can see the hole in his cap at the end. >> when this film was released in the united states later, how was it received? >> it was acclaimed. the second showing was in chicago. us by the chicago daily news. the movie critic for the tribune praised the film highly. she had
panned the chicago tribune's film. she said a few hundred marching around. this one, she really gave it the blue-ribbon. >> the tribune was a rival newspaper for the daily news. >> i think that was a pretty fair assessment of her opinion. >> this filming is in june of 1915. you wrote that it opened in milwaukee in 1915. >> he came back and arrived in new york
city in september. 1915. in october 1915, the chicago daily news was announcing this film was going to be made, and it first showed in milwaukee at a scripps newspaper for a week. then a week later, it started in chicago sponsored by the daily news. later, three weeks by the syndicate and later by the local theaters on the rhone financial exposure. >> this is one place that evidently was not faked click in the back, he is kneeling with a pipe. he is loading film into his camera at least i think he is. he just got
hit. you will see some guys as soon as they get their act i don't think that was staged at all. >> you will notice, he had his head down and he had his head down, too. it has a look of authenticity. >> there is a lot of mud. there is a lot of mud. >> yes. >> just to go back to the screenings, with the film have made a profit? >> i'm pretty sure it made a
pretty good profit for the syndicate. said, the syndicate only went for two years while they were distributing the film. then it dissolved. it was widely viewed around the country. i saw it all over in the u.s. showing wasthe last march of 1917 before we declared war. broke relations in mid february, he took the train out and at that time, a german film was not a popular thing in the theaters. a few people subscribe to it earlier and continued showing it. april, i haven't found it again.
>> do you know where we are now with this trend? it was in poland, a big jumping off place -- they are bringing wounded back. of -- as a distance couple hours drive from warsaw. he said he was shot at while he was filming here. tell.hard to fine said yours truly is but would it have been him or his cameraman? did fly, also.
cross forrded the taking films of the trenches that enabled him to do skits and information about the strength of the russian side. i think it was a bit of publicity for the germans. there are a couple million iron crosses -- several million, more than a couple by the german army. >> i don't see anything in the shot that looks like troop movement. >> no, but it looked like a couple lines. if you look at it closely, all the trenches had two, or maybe three lines. >> we try to find something on count kaiser. it is a very common name.
there are a lot of counts. he liked horses. >> and he liked to ride horses. >> a match made in heaven. >> i would be curious to know more about count kaiser. >> dermer also flew on the east front briefly. it was the thing to do if you had the chance. >> yes. ers.atch the pile driv i knew a west point graduate that was -- in the 1960's they were still doing it this way in the field. it is south of warsaw. a couple hours, right?
how he got down there i am not quite sure. his camera is back outside warsaw. this is the only place in the film where you see trenches. the russians had built fortified positions. there he was again. germans wanted to construct a pontoon bridge in a safe area that was a good scene to take them too. offended, thenot russians abandon it. they couldn't do it. the entry into warsaw was very peaceful. especially interesting here is you will see some shots of the
jewish in warsaw. this might seem kind of ironic, 25 years before hitler, the germans were trying to get the jews in poland on their side. hoping theywere could enlist the jewish community into the german side. here are some germans who are very, very happy and celebrating their entry into poland. >> these were the guys who don't the trenches and the mines. this was their big war. there, of course, is durborough. count kaiser pops up. there is the warsaw head. wasguy in the white cap
>> that is an engineering corps? that was basically people dug trenches, often they would dig tunnels under the enemy position and line it with solosives and blowing up they could penetrate the wall or the frontline or whatever. that lookswarsaw like an incredibly attractive town in the shots. again, there are shots coming in. you will see lancers. guys are wearing woreme in the german army them for reasons i don't understand. you have lancers here, it looks incredibly old-fashioned. the warsawow if
citizens were happy the germans were there? >> were they happy? >> were they? >> they didn't like the russians. not sure they were thrilled with the germans, either. at the very best, they were neutral. i don't think they had a hard time. .shot of ries' >> notice the smoking. a different world. >> yes, indeed. will see a couple shots, too, of one polish officer. i think there were some who were happy to fight with the germans against the russians.
also, because plenty of germans were catholic and because the polish are catholic, there is an affinity there, too. powers had to make friends quickly and change site quickly, depending on how the power was flowing. they had to survive. it was survival. >> this is being built because the russians destroyed bridges? >> yes. much, they only destroyed the bridges into warsaw. you will background, see the bridge? >> not now, that comes later. >> there it is. on the top right, you can see it is in the water. there will be a couple other
shots of it, too. >> these are refugees? >> i don't know where they are going. they are obviously crossing the river. i don't know if they are looking for shelter. later on you will see some of the peasants on the farms coming back. it is utter disaster. there is the alexander street bridge. >> i am sure the russians did blow the bridge, because there the't much of a reason for germans to blow them. bridge that was built by the germans, i guess. that thehe bridge russians demolished.
>> yes. build a smallr to bridge that to try to rebuild that. >> i should also mention, i mind,from here on, never -- at some point, durborough and bus that it's on its way to norway. i don't exactly know what that happens. for had served its point but the artillery had leapfrogged the offensive side.
the general was caused -- called by the correspondence "battle ram." it took out huge portions of hose are >> assembled the artillery to plan the assault. >> the zeppelins had bombed london by now. they were also used on this front. i don't think they would have been effective. the zeppelins, would they have been effective? it would have been spotting for artillery. >> it is a little big for
observation. but, yeah. >> you get the feeling, it looks like an attractive city. before it was pretty well destroyed in 1939. start of another real. you don't get the feel of the actual viewing in the theater, because this had nine reels and there were eight real changes from the start. -- eight reel changes from the start.
it would take a while to switch out the film reels. >> when they showed it, today have you sick accompaniment? they had small orchestras in some big cities. yes, it always had music. it had a selection that would change with the mood of the music of the screen. >> i think you also wrote that and wasgh went along present at many of the screenings. is that true? >> he lectured at many of the early screenings in chicago and milwaukee and philadelphia. he would park at the chestnut street opera house.
before and after films, he would run up and down the street firing a big, loud gun to get attention. here is one of these polish officers i was talking about. that was not in warsaw, that is for sure. it is a suburb of warsaw. it has probably been incorporated into warsaw proper. >> this was near the fort they were going to assault. don't they look happy and excited? [laughter] nothing like lancers to attack a fort. >> this is the group of polish cavalry that they were famous for. >> german cavalry?
i don't know. >> the film seems to be building to the point of the attack on this fort. is that right? how would you put the battle for the four in perspective in a larger war? it important or is it over exaggerated in this film? exaggeratedr because the climax of this film story to capture the german side of the war, and he left shortly after it. in late august, he left in september. once he got this, he came home. fair, his assignment had been pretty long.
thehave to appreciate stress and strain physically that these correspondence endured. especially, had to lug heavy cameras, a tripod and film. they had to set it up. they couldn't just hold it in their hand and take film. it was an ordeal. regarded their defenses as a series of forts in poland. it was one of the biggest ones. you saw one shot of a bridge. forts wass of supposed to protect russian poland. it didn't work out that way. it had been built in 1850 and it
thedn't even have was stood artillery of 1870, let alone what they were going to throw at it. fair, castles in the middle ages were often positioned at critical points in the crossings of rivers and where they were natural citadels , a hill or whatever that could be easily fortified. stage, that mentality was still prevailing and often -- there is durborough on the side. >> a lot of russians knew it was a loser. ity couldn't evacuate because there was so much stuff in it. there were some guns, there was so much ammunition that they couldn't get it out in time. spirits call for
us to defend it. deep down, they very well knew they weren't able to hold it for a long. it is one of those things you can't avoid, i suppose. i am not taking away what the germans did. anys not an easy target by means and a lot of people died. also, the germans captured a russian officer who had in his pocket a complete map and the complete defenses of it. everywhere,iers anytime they got a chance for refreshments. say think it is fair to that these guys were pro-german. >> definitely. >> which is no crime. we were neutral. you could be pro-anything you
wanted to be. >> walter bennett, the guy on the right was a fairly good writer for the chicago tribune. i always thought his stuff should be published, though it shows the wrong side. some of his writing was brilliant. >> you had mentioned the difficulty for the camera people . you have a book about that subject, don't you? about the cinematographers of the great war, yes. alonemera equipment weighed about 100 pounds, at least. there were three pieces, you had to lug it around. leavemost didn't want to without some roles in your pocket or some sandwiches, because you didn't know when you would get your next meal. front, it was difficult
circumstances. again, to remind people the timing of this, when did whatstart filming and months of 1915 and how long did this all go on? filming ingh started april of 1915. he got some shots in berlin and he got there in mid april and got permission. latest filmed in probably august, early september. the film go through censors. much was rejected, he changed his tickets to a slightly leadership. he arrived back at the very end of september. -- it took left about nine days for steamships.
september in the 20's he left and he arrived at the very end of september in new york. prussiarip from east took place late in june. when he left for poland, i don't know. >> that was in august. >> these must be unique. at one point, they burned out a clutch going across a sandy spot. he had to change it to a tree and come back two or three weeks leader and fix it in the field. it was not easy to keep the car running at times. developed ahe closer relationship than he did with threes.
with ries. >> first date on the way to the fort? >> this could have been taken anywhere and spliced in here. it does look like a real wound. he was doing something and he got shot. >> you mentioned the sensors. could you describe that in a little more detail? the german sensors, i presume? >> they had 2% all their tax. most of the censorship -- they had to present all of their text. , both before and after.
the text that was cabled back to the u.s. from germany, the first things the british did was cut all the cables except the one coming from york to london. that allowed them to filter all the correspondence that was sent back to america. they changed some of it significantly, some small stuff and some large step. sections of text. >> do we know how much film he shot and how much the germans prevented him from using? feet ofught 25,000 fresh nitrate film in new york before he got on the ship. two reels going over. -- hemed and processed
had 400 feet of film to take on the way back. he didn't print all of the film but he printed most of it in berlin. --had to show his sensors censors 20000 feet. they were only going to give him 6000 feet. x when he to prince ma got back to the hotel. call andx made a phone said he would have another review and he would be there. he guaranteed he would get a better result. that is why he had to wait another week before he got on the ship. the film that the germans didn't allow him to use, with
they have just destroyed it? >> it got destroyed. i went looking for it over in berlin. , butrious different places it probably was lost to the ages. anybody thinks that there is any that might be around, let me know. get in touch with this, cooper, me, anybody. this is where he gave a shout out. later on, in chicago and milwaukee, where he was a longtime journalist and had a that is him in the background with the goggles and a hat. >> sometimes, along with the
goggles, he wore and opera cape. car, hedn't own a probably drove a little bit. he didn't own a car up to that point in his life. that is the large gun. >> that might be what is called a long mercer. i tried to find it in a german artillery book. >> i think it is a 42. >> it is not a mortar. that is a 42. you will see the mortar in a second. that is a 30.5.
>> yes, the mortars. i believe the germans actually had some 30.5's. they didn't want the word to get out, so they hid them pretty quietly. >> we know that the fort fell and that the russians were moved back, somewhat. what happened with the russian army in the next year or so after this, you know? they just kept moving back at the germans kept following them and capturing 300 a day. 100 pounds, three or four
packages back and forth between the third line trench to the second and the first. when you put the camera up, you look like you had a periscope and were a prime target. >> as i say, that put the germans in a dilemma. did they follow the russians and go all the way to moscow? the head of the german general staff said he remembered napoleon and did not think that was a very good idea. so they basically chased the russians out of poland and set up a line around the polish russian border. it stayed that way until the russian revolution. >> the later on did open a battlefront with the italian, in the alps, with the austrians. the germans sent officers, liaison officers because the the austrians did not perform as
well as they were hoping in the initial part of the war. >> is this actual combat you -- combat? >> hard to say, i believe it is. >> if you look at that hill in the back, there is an occasional shell burst. we just actually found an article, suggesting a shot coming up of, it is rather dark. it seems to be a general -- one person wrote about it. it seems to be a general shot. i guess we are not there yet, sorry.
there is the foreground leading travelers it looks like as the the troops advance in front of them. >> and he has got something in his mouth. >> there on the right is the man with his floppy hat. he wrote about that shot. so it seems to be authentic. >> i was suspicious of this shot, the weather seems so different. >> i would be suspicious. [laughter] >> yeah. well you see the machine gun is -- >> yeah. >> is there any evidence that the man encouraged reenactments for his camera?
>> a couple times. german prisoners that were dancing, he could not get the camera set up before they got there most of it, and he asked them to do it again, and they did. so it is a recreation of what actually happened, but that is typical of the equipment of the time, and that is fair game, i think. there were some things that he asked people to do. i'm sure they spliced it in and presented it as part of the thrust, the offensive thrust into this battle. but i think he was just trying to represent as best as he could you know what actually was there. but look at this. these guys are not -- this is the target range. >> they are even wearing shakos
instead of the other hats which shows it was shot under training conditions. >> i assume that is an officer kneeling without the battle helmet on, that was probably the training officer. >> yeah. >> and the shakos were actually given to machine gun crews. which is again kind of prewar -- >> what do you think at the time, audiences would have thought all this was authentic, or would they have known? >> i think it probably knew. i think they probably took it as representing reality. i mean, let's face it, special effects in the theater had not yet been developed very well. >> it depends on how sophisticated audiences were. >> i think anybody who had been in combat, anywhere. >> the germans in the audience would have been pleased and
cheering and happy to see it. >> but again, you can say, it may not be -- it may be fake on some level, but it is a real moxie machine gun. these are drills they are performing. >> and if you wanted to film to survive, you definitely want to take a training practice run. you weren't going to get back to america yourself. i think this was at the front. >> yeah, i think anytime they have those canvas covers over their helmets, it tends to suggest this is for real.
the generally wore those in the field, maybe partially is camouflaged. >> looks like that front is pretty well mashed up there. >> yeah. >> i think a lot of times people try to clear the field to make sure they have the defensive positions. the russians had clear lines of fire. >> yeah. >> just like in world war ii, the retreated troops. >> actually this shot is -- there is a picture of that in the new york times, june 21, 1915. this was shot when he was still in berlin. >> these guys had to get as realistic. you have got to go through mud, guys. let's go.
don't hesitate. but they made use of the, what little landscape provided for positions and cover. >> yeah. >> this man was never wounded. you can see people in the back, whether it is a training exercise. i suspect this may have been good because the horsemen are hiding in the trees to be less prime targets. but they -- >> it is just hard to say. >> yeah.
>> i guess we don't really think of russian aviators and world war i. but there must have been. >> what is that? >> russian aviators in world war i. >> there were a few. they were used mostly for intelligence spotting. getting a sense of strength of the enemy. >> now this is interesting, they say they are behind a nice little hill while the russians shell this position in front of them. i'm inclined to think this is real. >> this was probably real. as i said, you will see the same shot a couple of times. >> in a minute here they will sort of go -- pan to the right here. you can just see there are random shots of falling, and pretty clearly the camera isn't quite sure where they are going to land. but something is going to land, like that for instance. >> obviously the russians were over a little to the right. so he might have been behind the hill, falling out of the frame of the camera.
>> and then it's interesting how sometimes the authentic stuff is the least exciting. [laughter] >> yeah. >> but it is for real. >> when they got that nice rocket trail or whatever, i told george -- i think george might have included it because it was so good too, a little extra. >> yell. >> according to the intertidal, that is -- intertitle, that is the way they explored it. it looks like rockets going off. >> i will have to compliment george willeman and lynanne schweighofer for the selection and getting the best quality. this has been an excellent film. remember looking through all the film and seeing all the damage? that wasn't there before.
>> yeah. >> when you first went through the film, where was it? >> it was in the nitrate vaults of culpepper in virginia. roger packard has their campus there. repurposed federal reserve, cold cash storage for rising the economy after a thermonuclear a disaster. which obviously wasn't very useful. they keep it in 40 degree nitrate refrigerated vaults, special spark resistant lights and covers and switches. it is very explosive film. and then you stand in a cement floor with no static generation usually. it is 40 degrees, and look at
the film. >> i think this stuff might be right. >> i think some too. >> right and real. actually the national archive had made a partial, they had just taken the film and shot it and made a tape. there were parts of it or missing. parts were repeated. i think that is the first place i looked at it, just to get an idea of what was there. >> luckily, some of the thing, 60 some reels of film started up in this wine cellar a son had inherited from a chicago businessman. he couldn't do anything with it but he got to the american -- to the the afi, there was no commercial value. but he realized the significance of it and offered it to the national archives. they took it.
about half of the film was so badly corrupt by that time, the nitrate -- >> here is an austrian gun crew. what they are firing is a 30 45 skoda. a formidable weapon. they used these against the gas. what he must have done was bring in some austrian teams with these incredible weapons. this isn't as big as the mortars at liege and in belgium, but it is a much easier weapon to do and still does the job. the 30.5's were a terrible and scary weapon. >> for the people who don't know what a mortar is -- >> drop a very heavy shell fairly high over the air, highly
loft, comes down and just a just demolishes it. >> and it explodes when it hits, it is not just a hard mastic goes through a wall, a large chemical bomb, if you will. it is sort of like dropping a bomb from an airplane from the vietnam war era. >> and that is pretty much true. the surrender did take place in the middle of the night, the morning, which is always unfortunate for camera men, especially in world war i, there were always attacks before dawn. all of the action seemed to take place before dark, that is the way it goes. >> if you see a film of going over the top trench, you know it is enacted. they usually pounded the trench with their artillery first, and then after several, maybe an
hour or two or three, then there was a slight pause, and they went out in the dark around 6:00 a.m., they went out over the top. everything opened up. everything opened up. >> here is 42 centimeter gun. they say there is a 42 centimeter got -- it is there. >> look in the upper right corner, and you will also see the wounded guys being carried in stretchers. >> i saw the stretchers, but i did not see the gun. >> see in the back, right behind the helmeted guy? off the screen now, it is going off the screen. that is the gun. >> i believe you.
>> here are the pallbearers, the pallbearers, the stretcher bearers bringing back the wounded. let them get clean supposedly. and then you were -- you have to give credit to the red cross, or the medic, the unarmed medics that go in there with their satchels. >> some of this was shot earlier actually in east prussia. because they came up with this ingenious system of trailers so they were behind the ambulances so they could carry the wounded. i have no reason to think these are fake shots, though. >> yeah, these would be, because they are dropping them off at the field hospital. actually the man never got wounded except for maybe mexico, he had a slight shrapnel wound
in the mexican troubles, in the knee. but he said he let -- he fainted from lack of food and sleep. also, you have to get the stuff off to the side of the road and let the army get by with the trucks, and the fumes were just incredible that he got nauseous and fainted and woke up in the field hospital. they took him to the field hospital. i think that is about -- i'm british or that happened. but he never got shot or wounded in europe. >> 85,000 russians. 700 guns. it was a huge victory. pretty well wiped out any organized defenses in russian and poland.
>> again, you can see this is a bit of a rainy day. >> and these are russian prisoners. >> russian prisoners, exempt you will see a fellow with a gun -- a german uniform. did not look too worried, although i do think -- there is the demon soldier, escorting them back. probably a couple of thousand soldiers and maybe a couple of dozen germans. they were glad to be out of the battle. >> yeah. >> this is called -- this is kind of interesting. kaiser wilhelm shows up with what is called a kaiserrevieu,
where he is going to congratulate his troops. here is the old car. all of the soldiers are lined up witnessing this. the man couldn't stand it, and he went running out and started filming. they had officers yelling at him, he said come on, please. >> he asked for permission and said, no, you can't leave the area. and so, but the officer turned and tussled with him. he said, you don't smoke at a kaiser review. >> his feats were actually, made the cover of los angeles times. >> that was the only time he drew a lot of attention himself for his activities. >> the kaiser kind of winked and waved at him as he went by. >> he saluted him.
i was the part that didn't survive. the kaiser recognized and smiled. there was speculation he may have been shot at the firing squad at dawn, but they figured that the kaiser didn't look disgusted and acknowledged him. >> yeah. must be ok. >> that he took his cap off and said, much obliged, thank you, as he went by. i don't think the kaiser understood him or heard him. this is part of the destruction. >> so as the film is coming close to the end, what was the rest of durborough's career after this? >> i will defer to you on that. >> in 1917 he was sent abroad to be behind the ally line in behind the british sector.
nothing was published, and i think it was because by that time the british hated the journalists as much as germany did. but germany needed a little bit of pr while we were so neutral or maybe to bring us to their side. nothing was published, and he came back after about six months in the middle of the year. soon was seconded to the committee for public information. while they were processing his commission, he joined as a first lieutenant in the cinema group with a couple of others. made a film, how to defend fort lewis out in the state of washington. films in the rainy washington stuff. he faked some wounded people, or
whatever, but he starts out with people sitting and enjoying their sunday, they're on a relaxed sunday, family visit. telephone calls coming in to rile the troops. and he also took some film of ships being launched and other similar types of things that would be publicity to show howard getting prepared and getting ready to fight the war, take the war to the germans. he left after 1919 after two years in the army. he then became in marketing and promotion guys for a tire company. he ended up, took the start, they sealed the air in the tires, send them on a tour in canada and northeastern u.s. quite a few thousand miles. and they certified that the tires held up. but it had been done with -- it was a recapping process that was
a more efficient, better process that was less expensive. >> i just want to say, i think durborough has the good taste somewhere here to stop showing up in his movie, and just let the images speak for themselves. including some incredible shots of refugees, which you know, i think that inner title is all too accurate. a couple of people in the red cross were asked to take a look
at the refugee situation in poland. they said what they saw in poland was infinitely worse than anything they had seen in belgium. but unfortunately the political situation had gotten so bad at the time that neither the germans nor russians nor anybody else was willing to allow any kind of international relief. but these -- >> he wrote about how bad it wasn't poland. -- yet was in poland. he had written quite a bit about the severe shortage. >> when you think about these polish refugees in world war ii, but not in world war i, so isn't this what we're seeing here? >> yes. >> the polish and the germans -- i mean the russians and the germans tend to blame each other. the russians said it was the germans' fault because they were carrying out a scorched earth policy. they were destroying crops and houses as they retreated. russians would probably say no,
that germans were taking everything like locusts as they headed east. and there's probably truth on both sides. >> yeah, the truth is probably -- >> but either way, these are the people that are going to pay the bill. these were itinerant spirit they had to pack up everything they thought they would have in the future to survive with their families. we until you see some of the scenes. there's a great shot coming up. these wagons, it's amazing they held together. >> yeah, there is one here, the wheel is about 45 degrees.
>> i think this is the one. let's see. yes, there it is. yeah. good luck, buddy. >> so these are presumably returning to their homes because the russians have been forced to leave? >> i guess, i think so. isn't that -- that is not acted i don't think. >> yeah, it is interesting to know whether they were heading east or west, and what a difference would it have made. >> they were just trying to survive. i don't think they cared two hoots for either. just leave them alone. >> do we know anything about how many civilians might have been killed in this part of the --?
>> or just died of starvation, disease. again, more people probably died of disease and starvation and accidents and whatnot then necessarily -- civilians we are talking about, not the front lines. i haven't seen any real numbers. and these were probably forced off the road to let the army coming -- the army was probably coming with a big caravan. now this obviously was positions. they say, you just stand there for a while. but this has got to be real. this is what people had coming up. >> and there is a lean-to.
there is that lean-to. that is what they had. in philadelphia, the pennsylvania state centers required them to remove these portraits at the end, fearing that anglophiles and germanophiles would start a fist fight. they also confiscated posters that were going to be posted around advertising the film. it was announced just before the
opening. they were refused, so bad to take the film out. later on it was -- the center was declared wrong. because it was only for morally objectionable material, naked ladies and that type of thing. >> he was not a part of our -- original research, but he had done yeoman service on this project ever since. he has been sending us stuff he found in the paper. >> online and on the web. >> he is a webmaster. at finding that stuff. i don't know what we would have done without him. he has done a lot of very good blog spots. so thank you, ron. sorry you are not here. >> if you are all interested in this era of world war i film, connect to his blog.
because the imperial war museum's film archivist says it is his favorite blog now. that is high compliment. >> it is indeed. which is responsible for its -- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the doughboy went into his first european combat experience with confidence. he was determined to save the world for democracy. it was an agonizing war. grounds, agains of war of barbed wire cutting across the heart. weapons brought to the battlefield a deadliness never known before.
they fought well through the holocaust. bella woods. he made his way across the 20 and bloody ground. he turned the tide of battle. the price he willingly paid one of victory and the memory generations yet to come. announcer: the centennial of world war i all weekend november 10 and 11th here in american history tv. there, over, over there.