City at War: Chicago

Episode 1 of 1

Narrated by television journalist, producer and news anchor Bill Kurtis, A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO chronicles what happened in America's major cities during World War II. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) called on the country to become "an arsenal of Democracy" to defeat Axis powers Germany, Japan, and Italy, cities like Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and others transformed themselves into major producers of war material. Almost overnight, America's industrial might was unleashed on its enemies, with each city making unique contributions. The documentary also tells the story of the most significant events that occurred in Chicago during the war, and explores the mutually beneficial relationship between FDR and Chicago mayor Ed Kelly. With Roosevelt's help the original "Big City Boss" strengthened his political machine by moving thousands of African Americans from the party of Abraham Lincoln to the Democratic voter rolls. African Americans and the city's many other communities, worked together like never before to insure the Allied victory. Kelly also attracted huge government investment in more than 1,400 companies that re-tooled to support the war effort. For the first time, with men away fighting the war, tens of thousands of women found employment in factories making everything from bullets and bombs, to ships, tanks and planes. Perhaps the most important event of the entire war took place when the University of Chicago made its contribution to the top secret Manhattan Project. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi and his team achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. This critical step enabled the creation of atomic bombs dropped on Japan to end the war. Using interviews, rare film footage (including Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley's tryouts for the All American Girls Baseball League), vintage propaganda movies, period posters and stills, A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO brings to life a vital chapter in American history.

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