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Just The Facts: World War II - 4-Volume VHS Set Review by Lisa Barthuly and Family

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Just The Facts: World War II is a wonderful 4-volume set of VHS videos that explores the events that changed the world, and reshaped life in America. These are very nice, high quality VHS video productions, and each video comes with its own study guide. These give a program overview, give learning objectives, pose questions, cover vocabulary, and give Internet resources for further study and information.

Why Pearl Harbor? looks into the events that preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It examines the date - why it was "tactically" important to the Japanese, and the decisions the United States made following the bombing. The policies made by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Admiral Yamamoto that led to the world changing event are also examined. Some of the footage used in the production of these videos is amazing!

Home Front USA takes a look at the effects of the events of December 7, 1941 had on the home front. This video takes a look at life on the home front, and how American changed during this critical time in our history. The attack on Pearl Harbor united Americans. Everyone helped out - victory gardens, scrap drives, rationing, women working, and people joining the military. Also examined are Japanese internment camps where, in a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment, the United States interned over 100,000 Japanese-American citizens - unprecedented in American history! This video also looks at other aspects of American life at this time in history: bond drives, "Rosie the Riveter," civilian defense, domestic propaganda - the word "sacrifice" suddenly had new meaning to Americans. Life in America was undergoing huge changes.

Minority Units examines the minority units involved in World War II. This video shows us the roles minority units had in WWII, and features the Tuskegee Airman, the 92nd Infantry, the Red Ball Express, the 442nd Combat Division (Nisei Unit), the 100th Battalion (Pineapple Unit), the Navajo Code Talkers, and the African-American Women Postal Unit. I especially enjoyed the special features on American Indian Ira Hayes, who raised the flag at Iwo-Jima, and Dorie Miller, the African American naval hero of Pearl Harbor. Military campaigns such as D-Day, the Italian Campaign, Iwo-Jima, and the air war in Europe and North Africa are examined as well. These Americans served their country proudly and left a legacy of patriotism and valor.

The Atomic Bomb - The End or the Beginning? examines the United States decision to drop the atomic bomb. This video discusses the development of the atomic bomb (code named Manhattan Project), the role of the B-29 Super Fortress, and the politics involved. Also examined are the USS Indianapolis tragedy, the flight of the Enola Gay, and Bocks Car. I found the "behind the scenes" politics of war very interesting! Truman's decision to drop the bomb, the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, and the beginning of the Cold War are examined. This video asks if dropping the bomb the only way, or if there was a better alternative.

I thought this video collection was wonderful, interesting, and made the history come alive for those of us who weren't there. Over the years, I have heard my grandparents occasionally talk about this time in our history. My grandpa was in combat in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge. I never heard him discuss what he actually went through, even though it was obvious it must have been horrendous, as he came home without his legs. I never heard that man complain, or wane in his support of his country. These videos gave me a reminder of some of what my grandfather went through - and all those who fought for our country! I got a glimpse of how generations who came before us lived and went through this time in our history (ultimately, why we today, have our FREEDOMS!). I think this series is a must see - a part of American History that must not be forgotten.

-- Product Review by: Lisa Barthuly and Family, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine