The Enemy Strikes: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

Seventy years ago, on December 16, 1944, Allied Forces in Europe were taken by surprise when the Germans launched an attack in the Ardennes region, pushing into France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. The offensive came six months after D-Day and the successful invasion of Normandy, on a misty day when the skies did not permit the use of airplanes. The resulting “bulge” in the front line gave the battle the name by which it is best known. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest the United States would fight in World War II, with 19,000 American soldiers dead by the time the Allies had fought back the Germans and regained their lost ground.

This week’s featured film, The Enemy Strikes, was made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and distributed to the American public to tell the story of the battle. The film’s message is simple: the war is not over yet. Our enemy will always want to kill us and our soldiers are still paying the ultimate sacrifice. Americans are exhorted to remember that it is too soon to celebrate and that they should continue doing their part on the home front. The film ends with two title cards: “If you have a war job–stick to it!” and then “If you haven’t–get one!”

The Battle of the Bulge proved to be Germany’s last gasp. Allied victory was declared in Europe five months later.

About Audrey Amidon

Audrey works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives.
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One Response to The Enemy Strikes: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

  1. Elizabeth Forman says:

    In the Battle of the Bulge my father lost his sergeant. His sergeant was drawing fire away from his men and a shell came in and hit him. My father was acting as a messenger and had just walked away from his sergeant when it happened. I always wondered if the sergeant had received a posthumous medal for his bravery.

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