Beachhead to Berlin (1945)

Approved   |    |  Documentary, Short, War

Beachhead to Berlin (1945) Poster

From the Department of the Navy.This historical recording from the National Archives may contain variations in audio and video quality based on the limitations of the original source material.


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24 June 2019 | Better_Sith_Than_Sorry
| Typical Wartime Fare
"Beachhead to Berlin" is a short (20 minute) documentary detailing the U.S. Coast Guard's role in Operation Overlord.

It begins with D-Day already over, and then told in flashback as a framing device, via a chaplain writing a letter back home about the experience. And while the footage from D-Day is good (and for a bonus the whole film is in color), it takes a long time in getting there. A full half of the film is spent discussing the Coast Guard's preparations for D-Day, the practiced landings along England's coast, the seemingly endless waiting, etc. Finally at about the 10-minute mark the invasion is on and we get to see actual footage from the event, as taken by the Coast Guard.

Despite the potentially misleading title this film has nothing to do with Berlin. It was filmed in 1944 and is solely about the Coast Guard's role in the D-Day invasion. It's a hopeful title, suggesting that D-Day was the day the Allies established a 'beachhead' that will eventually lead to the end of the war. But at the time this was released, they were nowhere near Berlin. The title is purely for uplifting propaganda purposes, as is the ending. The conclusion of the film shows us that the aforementioned chaplain writing the letter is no milquetoast, as the camera zooms in on a purple heart medal on his desk before the screen fades to black. A little too corny and completely unnecessary, but that's wartime film-making for you.

6/10. Times watched: 1. Would I watch again (Y/N)?: Only the invasion scenes.


Plot Summary


Documentary | Short | War


Release Date:

6 January 1945



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Normandy, France

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