America: The Story of Us (2010) s01e10 Episode Script

WWII

America: The Story of Us Episode 10: WWII World War II strikes America.
The country fights back like never before.
America becomes the most powerful war machine The world has ever seen.
By entering the war, The United States transforms itself into a superpower in only 4 years.
We are pioneersand trailblazers.
We fight for freedom.
We transform our dreams into the truth, Our struggles will become a nation.
America prepares for battle.
The 1930s meant poverty.
No future.
But with war comes purpose and determination.
American industry goes into overdrive.
It will go to war with economic and military powers of the axis: Germany, Italy and Japan.
Now every weapon, ration, medical supply is mass-produced On a scale never seen before in human history.
Sometimes it takes a terrific challenge and a horrible threat to the Republic To discover how good you can be.
But the road to greatness begins with treachery.
December 7, 1941, 200 miles north of Hawaii.
A pack of cutting-edge killing machines are on a mission: To destroy the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese Zero was a better fighter Than anything of Americans had produced at that time.
The Japanese Zero.
It can fly 2,000 miles without refueling - Perfect for a surprise attack.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, It was one of the most stunning moments in American history.
Now 183 Japanese bombers and fighters Are heading straight for Hawaii.
Another 170 follow right behind Japan has built an empire across Korea, Manchuria and Hong Kong.
It wants the whole Pacific Ocean.
But the US fleet in Pearl Harbor stands in its way.
Opana Mobile Radar Station.
30 miles north of Pearl Harbor.
Two blips are showing something out to sea.
Radar is still experimental technology in 1941.
Its importance is about to be realized.
If I could reach out and touch you from a greater distance, I had a tactical strategic advantage.
Radar will evolve into a system essential to the modern world.
Tracking 10 million flights around America And 5 billion passengers around the world every year.
Definitely incoming.
So far, America has kept out of the Second World War.
We had almost our whole fleet in one little harbor.
One little area we are sitting ducks.
But then again, we trusted the Japanese.
At the same time, we were having peace talks with them.
They even gave us a peace medal.
America is about to receive the biggest wake-up call it's ever known.
Operator.
Private Joseph McDonald of the 580th Aircraft Warning Division.
Yeah, this is Opana.
‚ht looks like there are a large number of planes Coming in from the north, three points east.
I think everyone's gone off shift.
Hold on.
It's early Sunday morning.
Japan is over 4,000 miles from Hawaii.
Pearl Harbor is not expected to be attacked.
The surprise attack flaunts the specialty Of American rifle men in the War of Independence.
The tactic that made America free is now being used against it.
We still got planes coming in.
It looks an awful big flight.
Okay.
Lieutenant Kermit Tyler.
He knows there is a flight of American B-17s due in today.
He assumes that's what's on the screen.
Look, don't worry about it.
What do you think it is, sir? Nothing.
Though radar is invented and used by the British as early as 1935, This SCR-270 mobile radar system was developed by the US army, But the radar is still considered a gadget by the military.
There are only five radar trucks to cover the whole Hawaiian Islands, And they're only manned 3 hours a day.
20 miles.
Radar is another weak point: It can't see through Hawaii's mountains.
The low-flying Japanese squadron vanishes from the screen.
Shift over, there's nothing more the men can do.
McDonald t up his report.
Hey, Bob, take a look at this, will you? Today, America pays the price for neglecting radar.
When did this come in? At 7:50 a.
m.
, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Fire! Most of the marines and sailors were still in their rack.
They were still sleeping.
We had no idea that this was gonna happen.
But we all know that it did.
The Japanese have prepared this attack for a year.
They have rehearsed bombing a model of Pearl Harbor in Japan Until they reach an 80% hit rare.
All 8 battleships are put out of action.
1,178 Americans are wounded.
2,403 are killed.
Private McDonald's report was finally read, But by then, it was too late.
"A day that will live in infamy.
" We were completely unprepared for that, emotionally, And it turned the country on a dime, overnight.
Antiwar people were down, Signing up to join the Navy, the Army, or the Marines, whatever was required.
27 hours after the attack, America declares war on Japan.
Three days later, the US is at war with Germany.
It unleashed America And I think it gave us an energy that carried us through the rest of the war.
Once provoked, that massive tiger of engineering was awakened.
We has factories that were sitting underutilized In Detroit and around the country because of the Great Depression.
We were ready to go on a building spree.
The sleeping giant awakens.
America transforms into an arsenal of democracy.
The nation sets to work.
Before the war, there were 3 million unemployed.
Now, America's huge potential is being realized.
There was no country that had a deeper economic base And an enormous pool of not just labor, But of scientists and engineers and technologists.
An American icon is born.
The general-purpose vehicle, Known as the GP, or the 'jeep'.
tough, fast and low to the ground.
Its 37 inches high, has a flat hood and a folding windscreen.
Its low profile makes it difficult to line up in an enemy's sights.
It's small, but can carry up to seven men.
Even the front bumper is a seat.
An M1 carbine gun goes just below the windscreen.
There's a shovel and an ax to dig yourself out of trouble.
There are jerricans(sŒRŽ–tƒWƒFƒŠƒJƒ"AƒWƒFƒŠ[ŠÊF"R—¿‚È‚Ç‚ð"ü‚ê‚邽‚ß‚Ì19ƒŠƒbƒgƒ‹ŠÊ) of gas to get you home.
If the jeep flips over, you just lift it out.
Its weighs in at a lean 2,315 pounds, Light enough to be put in gliders And dropped behind enemy lines.
What the jeep symbolized in World War II was not cutting-edge technology, Although it was a four-wheel-drive, so it was very capable, But what the jeep really showed was the power of American manufacturing.
Designed by Bantam and produced by Willys-Overland and Ford 3 jeeps are produced every 4 minutes, by the end of the war.
During the course of the war, we deployed over 600,000 jeeps.
To fly around this open vehicle at top speed Was just something every American boy wanted to grow up to do.
To this day, I mean, part of the boom in SUVs that we saw was that notion that You want a vehicle that can go anywhere, that can do anything.
That's a very American spirit and it really started with the Jeep.
Jeeps, tanks and every other weapon of war Will be produced in record numbers.
But America's best-kept secret weapon of World War II Has yet to be revealed.
America sets to work.
overwhelm the enemy through mass production.
88,000 tanks.
7333 ships.
20 million rifles and small arms And 40 billion bullets produced in 4 years.
43 million men are registered for combat serve, But America needs more human manpower.
The answer is the best-kept secret weapon of the World War II.
It was actually the women back in this nation That were the ones working in the factories, That were putting the tanks together, Building the ships, building the airplanes.
You know, so they are actually the ones that logically, won the war for us.
Women like Peggy Blakey, a migrant farm worker.
Now she works in a munitions factory, Like 2 million other women.
The Depression is suddenly over.
The Factory used to make fireworks.
Now it's pumping out 20-mili meter tracer shells.
Tracer shells leave a trail of burning chemicals containing magnesium.
See where it's going and you can hit your target.
The pressure to produce quickly is real.
So is the danger.
Just combing your hair could kill you.
Static electricity and gunpowder equal explosion.
But the risk is worth it.
Peggy makes real money.
$32 a week.
"To us, it was just an absolute miracle.
"Before, that, we made nothing.
"Now we'd have money to buy shoes and dress "And pay rent and get some food on the table.
" And pay taxes.
Tax returns jump from less than 4 million in 1939 To 42 million in 1945.
World War II will cost 300 billion dollars Twice as much as the federal government had spent since George Washington.
Women's salaries set off a wartime consumer boom.
11,000 supermarkets are built.
Purchases go up 12%.
The precedent of what women accomplished during World War II Did linger in the memory of the society at large, And I think was one of those things that energized The feminist movement a decade or two later.
In World War II, when women entered the workforce, Once they got a taste of that kind of fulfillment that work can give you, There was no going back.
But Peggy's job is undeniably dangerous.
"I was most worried about the detonators.
" Detonators are put into the tip of the shell last.
They explode on impact.
They set off the gun powder in the shell.
Detonators are extremely unstable.
The factory is a giant bomb.
It's loaded with tons of explosives.
It only takes a spark to set it off.
"This terrible thunder storm came.
" Would all staff report to the cafeteria immediately, please? "We were in a hurry to go and somebody knocked detonators on the floor.
"We were in the pitch dark.
"Someone was screaming, don't move, anybody!" "I just froze right where I was.
"I was afraid to step.
"I was so scared, I crawled on my hand and knees.
"We were in slow motion "Because if we'd stepped on one" Making weapons can be as dangerous as using them.
In the first 16 and a half months of the war, 12,000 military men died, But 64,000 American workers die through accidents.
Another 6 million are injured.
Tonight Peggy is one of the lucky ones.
First, they survive the Depression, Now they risk their lives every day for their country at war.
That was our finest generation in terms of People who would sacrifice and give something of themselves.
300,000 aircraft come out of US factories during the war.
America will put them to use with a bold new tactic: High-altitude precision bombing by day, While the British bomb at night.
August 17, 1942.
These are the men who will see if it can be done.
If they survive, the way war is fought will change forever.
Paul Tibbets from Quincy, Illinois, One of America's best pilot of the B-17 bomber, the 'Flying Fortress'.
"My father thought I was crazy not to be a doctor.
"He said, 'If you wanna go kill yourself, go ahead.
" The planes are cramped, unheated and unpressurized.
Crews suffer claustrophobia, altitude sickness and frostbite.
Of the 111 men of this mission, 31 will be dead or missing by the end of the war.
These men depend on each other.
You know, if you ask anybody that's never been in combat They will tell you, yeah, sure, you fought for your country, You fought for your way of life, You know, but in all reality, you're fighting for your buddy that's right next to you.
The B-17 bomber is just as tough as its crew.
It's got 4 engines, not 2.
It's got 4,000 pounds of bombs And it can go at least 2,000 miles.
It bristles like a porcupine.
Eight 50-caliber machine guns fight off enemy air attacks.
The B-17 bomber, It may not have been the greatest aircraft that was ever created, But it was tough, it was durable, and it found a way to keep going, Which is pretty much like an American soldier.
You know, tough, durable, and found a way to keep going.
The planes climb.
Oxygen keeps you alive above 10,000 feet.
No oxygen, you could black out in 3 minutes and die in 20.
The target is Rouen, The German's biggest railway marshalling yard in Northern France.
Trains supply the German Economic and military empire across Europe.
Tibbets' mission is to wipe the yard from the map.
August 17, 1942.
Before today, the Allies had only bombed under the cover of night.
But targets are hard to see.
To increase the chances of direct hit, American bombs by day.
The aim is accuracy.
The Norden bomb sight is the way to get it.
It's an early computer.
It's top secret.
The crew will destroy it rather than have it fall into enemy hands.
Dial in air speed, wind direction and altitude.
One minute to target.
The machine calculates where to fly and when to drop the bombs.
By destroying Germans' economic and industrial base, America will weaken the Nazis' military might.
Today's target is key.
The railway yards at Rouen keep the German war machine alive.
45 seconds to target.
US air crews Pay a high price in casualties to achieve their goal.
In 1943 alone, 2/3 of the crews never came home.
The weather is perfect for the bombing run.
Visibility - virtually infinite.
But at 23,000 feet, the B-17s leave vapor trails, Arrows in the sky pointing right to the planes.
Okay, It's on.
German antiaircraft fire explodes under the B-17s.
Tibbets keeps his nerves and the plane steady.
The computerized bomb sight zeroes in on the target.
Target in sight, target in sight.
The success of mission all rests on this moment.
Bombs away! Success.
36,900 pounds of bombs hit the rail yard.
50% of the bombs falls in the target area.
In 1942, that is precision bombing A big improvement over night time attacks.
This technology will ultimately lead to today's GPS-guided smart bombs.
But now the direct-hit rate is up to 95%.
Tibbets knows his mission is a success.
"We caught the Germans by surprise.
"They hadn't expected a daytime attack.
" But then the shrapnel rips the air.
The Germans open up their big guns.
88-milimeter antiaircraft shells explode around the plane.
Tibbets goes in to a steep climb, swinging away from the flack.
They have proved daylight bombing is possible.
"A feeling elation took hold of us as we winged back across the channel.
"We had braved the enemy in his own skies, and we're alive to tell about it.
" All sides bomb industrial targets in cities in World War II.
Targeting trade in industry Means bombing in or near population centers, A grim fact of World War II that sees ordinary families Killed in numbers undreamt of in earlier conflicts.
Paul Tibbets will be famous for another bombing run, but it's 3 years away.
He will drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
For every B-17 shot down, American workers produce two more.
Overwhelm the enemy.
Overwhelm them with machines and manpower.
By 1943, 10 million Americans have been drafted.
One is 18-years-old Harold Baumgarten, a New Yorker from the Bronx.
He'd been offered a try out at Yankee Stadium.
"But before I could begin playing for the team, I was drafted.
"On July 10, 1943 I entered the US Army.
" What they did as 18 or 19-year-old soldiers Was far and away of greater significance That anything they ever did in the rest of their lives.
William Dabney convinces his grandmother to let him sign up at the age of 17.
I just wanted to follow my buddies.
During the Revolutionary War, 1/6 of all of George Washington's soldiers were black man.
And every time, in the course of our first 100 years That we had a conflict, and called upon all citizens, Black citizens as well, to serve, Blacks stepped forward.
Despite the struggle of war, old prejudices remain.
Platoons are segregated.
The Army played a significant role, because, in many ways The Army was the first place that blacks and whites Began have to stand together And represent the same idea even though they were in segregated barriers.
Attention! World War II changed the entire world, But it certainly transformed the American, the black American psyche in a way that Led to and made possible the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s.
William Dabney volunteers for The exciting-sounding 'Special service'.
Left, left, left, right, left.
But all the training in the world Cannot prepare him for the horror that is to come.
June 1944.
Southern England becomes a massive Army camp Of 3 million allied troops.
Over a million and a half tons of equipment Are shipped and flown from America The goal is to retake Europe from the Germans.
General Dwight D.
Eisenhower takes command Of the biggest amphibious military operation in history.
Code-named 'Operation Overlord'.
To the world, Normand landings are simply known As D-Day.
Every material of war is cratered for.
The medical corps alone stockpiles Tens of thousands of tons of medical supplies.
Bandages, morphine, surgical instruments, Bedpans, oxygen tents, and x-ray machines.
There are prosthetic limbs and even eyeballs in 5 sizes and 4 colors.
By 1944, an American combatant Could draw on 4 tons of supplies, Versus a Japanese combatant, who has just 2 pounds.
No one had ever produced so much in such a short time.
And this is what really shocked both Japanese and Germans.
Blood is so crucial The US develops a system of blood banks on an industrial scale.
In the six months leading up to D-Day, Americans donate a pint of blood every two seconds.
The blood is turned into plasma So it can be used on the battlefield.
It is bottled, put in ice and packed in cans.
But all these supplies are useless without men prepared to die.
D-Day is coming.
June 5, 1944.
American industry gives the military the means to retake Europe.
Now the nation must sacrifice its sons.
Over 5.
4 million US soldiers will invade Europe in World War II.
That's 40 times the number of US combat troops that originally invaded Iraq.
This is the night before the biggest single amphibious landing The world has ever seen.
D-Day.
Harold Baumgarten has come a long way since enlisting a year ago.
"Many of us had our head shaved" "So that our hair could not be grabbed during hand-to-hand combat.
" Many of these men have less than 12 hours to live.
"I did not expect to come back alive.
"I wrote such to my sister to get the mail before my parents "And break the news gently to them when she received the telegram.
" You know, we were brought upon good guys and bad guys.
We go back, we talk about our Westerns that way.
You know, Hitler was a clear enemy.
I think when you have a really clear enemy, You've won the hearts and minds.
There is that commitment of sacrifice.
Eve of battle rituals Include Mohawk haircuts and war paint.
Preparations are mental as well as material.
Dog tags are taped together so they don't rattle.
Stealth can mean you live or die.
One officer tells his men what they can expect.
"Look to the right of you.
"Look to the left of you.
"There's only going to be one of you left after the first week.
" William Dabney now knows what his special service mission is.
He has to drag a barrage balloon ashore under heavy fire.
It's a tactic designed to block German aircraft from strafing Allied troops.
His chances are slim, but he is determined to survive.
"I will return.
"I will come back to the USA.
"I'm not looking forward to getting shot or killed.
"I'm looking forward to going home.
" More than 70,000 American troops Are about to invade German-held France.
Over 1,000 will die on the first day: June 6, 1944.
D-Day.
Over 5,000 ships and 10,000 aircraft are involved in the first wave alone.
Five beaches will be stormed.
The most infamous is code-named eOmaha Beach'.
Think about Omaha Beach from the standpoint of young men.
The ramp is about to drop And the sights and the sounds all around Provide the context of hell.
The first troops on Omaha Beach Meet ferocious German resistance.
Rockets launchers, mortars, and 85 machine-gun nests Tear into the Americans.
There are meant to be 32 tanks with them, But 27 sink.
The men are left with virtually no cover on the beach.
"Go" William Dabney is totally exposed.
Tethered to his barrage balloon, he's defenseless.
When it's shot down, he has his chance.
Like any other soldier on Omaha Beach, black or white, Dabney's mission is now to survive.
"There wasn't any segregation there.
" Harold Baumgarten is thrown straight into the carnage.
"There were men with guts hanging out of their wounds "And body parts lying along our path.
" Some men were simply overwhelmed by the hell they met.
Get down! By 9:00 a.
m.
almost 5,000 men are ashore.
There are more than 2,000 US on Omaha beach alone.
William Dabney survives.
He is later awarded the Legion Honor.
Operation Overlord logistical miracle, But the cost is staggering.
Nearly 126,000 Americans are killed, wounded Or missing during the Battle of Normandy.
Harold Baumgarten is hit five times.
After losing blood for over 30 hours, Baumgarten is brought back from the dead by a plasmas transfusions.
Then injections of penicillin and morphine The very supplies America has mass-produced to keep its men alive.
D-Day is key to Hitler's defeat.
Within a month, the Allies have landed more than 877,000 troops, 112,000 vehicles, And 573,000 tons of supplies.
US bombing destroy German oil reserves and transportation.
American machinery and men Powers the drive to Berlin and victory in Europe.
But men still dying fighting the Japanese.
America turns to technology once again.
A weapon to end the war.
A weapon to change the world.
The Alamogordo Desert, New Mexico.
July 16, 1945.
5:27 a.
m.
In three minutes, American technology will change the world forever.
Robert Oppenheimer.
The theoretical physicist who loved poetry as much as science.
The FBI would track his every move, Worried he's a Communist.
Yet Oppenheimer leads the biggest scientific test in history.
The top-secret Manhattan Project.
Theoretically, fission physics could enable enormous amount of explosive energy To be released from a single device: The atomic bomb.
The bomb is the most technologically advanced weapon in the world, But nobody is sure whether it will work Even many of the people who worked on the bomb itself Were skeptical that the bomb would actually work.
No one had ever done anything like this.
The use of bombing escalates on all sides in World War II, So that whole cities of civilians are being hit.
Now the US military hope a single bomb Can destroy an entire city.
Wreaking that kind of mass destruction, That was something new in the history of warfare.
The atomic bomb has put an emphatic punctuation to that decision, But the decision was way before 19, August of 1945.
If this test works, there are more atomic bombs to use on the Japanese, In hope of ending the war.
Deputy commanding General of the Manhattan Project, Thomas Farrell, Watches Oppenheimer.
Dr.
Oppenheimer grew tenser as the last seconds ticked off.
He scarcely breathed.
He stared directly ahead.
11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 The temperature generated at the center of the explosion Is 10,000 times greater than the surface of the sun The heat turns the desert sand to glass.
The explosion is more massive than even Oppenheimer expects.
"When it went off in the New Mexico dawn," "That first atomic bomb, we thought of Alfred Nobel and his hope," "His vain hope, that dynamite would put an end to wars.
" Even the scientists themselves recognized the gravity of the moment, And, of course, Oppenheimer famously said, "I become death, destroyer of the worlds" Quoting gthe Bhagavad Gita" And recognizing that man had really reached a turning point Where the power available to us was almost limitless.
When atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, An estimated 120,000 people die instantly.
Over the days, months and years that follows, Up to 80,000 more die slowly.
A day after the second bomb is dropped, The Japanese surrender.
America's technical innovation Is decisive in winning the bloodiest war in history.
Having survived the Depression and World War II, The greatest generation comes home.
They'd been through it all.
And they wanted one thing, They wanted a better life for their families than they'd had.
And that's what they dedicated themselves to.
America's distance from battle leaves infrastructure intact And its economy vibrant.
It produces twice as much oil as the rest of the world combined.
It has half the world's manufacturing capacity And 2/3 of its gold stock.
They had no real competition in the world Because Europe was devastated, Asia was devastated And America could be the colossus that it became.
World War II transforms the USA in only 4 years.
Americans make twice as much money as they did before the war.
They have 50 million babies in 15 years.
There are 20 million new jobs in 25 years.
America becomes a superpower.