The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is an American four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War. Named in allusion to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for the high-altitude strategic bombing and excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing and dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and became the only aircraft that has ever used nuclear weapons in combat.
This US Government film of the B-29 Superfortress is inappropriate in today’s context. Still, it is a historical film and should be viewed understanding the time and audience it was directed at.
B-29 Superfortress Propoganda Film
This 1945 film was commissioned by the U.S. War Department and released as War Film 30, a series of propaganda newsreels made during the war.
As the name implies, the film concerns the production of the B-29 Superfortress bomber and its use in the aerial bombing of Japan in World War II. Opening amid scenes of volcanic eruptions, the narrator briefly describes the Japanese and their warlike nature, mentioning such concepts as bushido, Hakko ichiu, and Shinto, and states the belief that everything comes from the sky. Then, the Americans build a devastating new weapon that will travel vast distances and drop giant payloads of bombs on the Japanese mainland: the B-29.
B-29 Superfortress Manufacturing
The manufacturing of B-29 Superfortresses in huge factories is then chronicled. Americans from every walk of life, black, white, male, and female, work together to assemble the giant airplanes, each larger than the Mayflower. The creation of the bomber is the product of all of their work and the work of the miners and lumberjacks who supplied the raw material, the people who bought war bonds, and the servicemen who died so that the workers could have the time to build it. Soon the Twentieth Air Force is created, and the planes are flown to China, where the Americans’ allies are happy to build airfields to help defeat the common enemy. The film ends with a B-29 taking off and the narrator saying, “Next stop – Japan!”
You can read the film transcript here.
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