The aim of On All Fronts: World War II and the NFB is to present a collection that documents and highlights Canadians’ contribution to the war effort, as well as to illustrate the individual and collective experiences of the men and women who risked their lives for peace, freedom and security. The content will serve to build up a broad and human picture of Canada’s efforts and contribution during the WWII years, both on the battlefield and at home. The site also aims to help teachers present the issues in a dynamic and easy-to-understand way, respecting the goals of their academic programs. The site consists of an English and a French part.
Films, excerpts, archival artefacts plus much more!
The site features 136 films from the NFB collection (67 in English, 3 without words and 66 in French in the French part of the site). Of those, 44 films (20 in English, 3 without words and 21 in French) include described video for the vision-impaired; 27 films (18 in English, 9 in French) are available with closed captioning for the hearing-impaired viewers. Users will also find 114 film excerpts (57 in English, 57 in French). The site is complemented by more than 60 items from the NFB archives and from partners (audio material, stock shots, photos, etc.), as well as several interview clips.
These 136 films are only a fraction of NFB titles on World War II. However, they are a representative sample of the NFB’s output during and after the Second World War. They include propaganda films as well as more critical or personal works, painting a fascinating picture of the many facets of the War and how Canadians participated in it.
Some people may be surprised at the omission of well-known works from our list. In some cases we were unable to obtain online broadcast rights for all the films we wished to include; and since the project is supported by the Canadian Memory Fund, we had to leave aside some newer works to give pride of place to those of high heritage value.
How the site is organized
On All Fronts: World War II and the NFB is divided into 7 sections: an introduction, 3 main thematic sections, as well as the See Everything, Hear Everything and For teachers sections.
The brief introduction, WWII: An Overview in Moving Pictures, features films that give an overview of the war.
The three main sections/themes are Many Voices, Many Stories; The Home Front; and Critical Perspectives. Each one is further divided into several sub-themes. Each sub-theme features a filmed interview with a specialist or a written text by this specialist. Some of the sections will have a Vox Populi element where ordinary Canadians will be able to voice their opinions on the various aspects of World War II. These sub-themes also include excerpts from the NFB films as well as other artefacts (photos, posters, sound excerpts, stock shots and drawings) and access to the complete films.
The See Everything, Hear Everything gives users quick access to all of the Web site’s films, archival artefacts and other audiovisual and textual contents.
The For teachers section contains 8 lesson plans: 1 lesson will discuss issues around wartime propaganda and refer to NFB film excerpts; the 7 other lesson plans refer to specific films on the Web site.
The Glossary section presents a list of words to help the users familiarize themselves with the main terms used on the site. This resource is also available through the tool bar on top of the page.
On the homepage of the site a promotional space was created so users can access downloadable content and other NFB sites that probe war-related issues.
Finally, through a few sections in the site users are able to access complementary resources such as references, Web links, a list of related NFB films on war-related issues.
Our major focus is on the complete films, but we also include film excerpts as an easy introduction to each section. The excerpts allow teachers, students and other users to quickly pinpoint specific content – the issues raised in each theme, specialist viewpoints, or thoughts on World War II.
Clearly, we cannot claim to cover every aspect related to World War II, describe every issue, raise every question. On All Fronts: World War II and the NFB does, however, provide an excellent introduction to the subject for anyone interested in war-related issues and the various aspects of Canada’s participation in this conflict.
We encourage users to visit two other sites our team has built with support from the Canadian Memory Fund, which also deal with war-related issues:
For films on Canada’s role in the First World WarImages of a Forgotten War »»
For more NFB films dealing with the Second World WarDocumentary Lens »»