This film is part of Free

Crisis in the Atlantic

Praise for the unsung heroes of the Battle of the Atlantic: the merchant seamen who faced the deadly threat of U-boats and Stuka bombers to bring vital supplies to Great Britain.

1941 18 mins


Acclaimed by critics on both sides of the Atlantic, this issue of March of Time offers unequivocal support to President Roosevelt, whose promise to help the Royal Navy’s convoys across the Atlantic, despite America’s nominal neutrality, marked another decisive step away from isolationism. The lone voice of dissent in this issue is ‘appeaser’ and ‘ex-hero’ Charles Lindbergh, whose speech calling for the US to stay out of the war is scathingly dismissed by the commentary.

From merchant ships at the ports of Canada’s Eastern Seaboard to Stuka dive bombers off the French coast, the footage in this issue conveys the gravity of the crisis in the Atlantic in a rapidly edited montage of images, maps, reconstructions and speeches. The middle section of the film explains the strategic importance of Greenland and offers a glimpse into the friendly relations between Greenlanders and the US Coastguard with footage of a dance and film show. In April 1941 Greenland had become a de facto protectorate of the USA: a dramatised sequence showing Nazi fifth-columnists taking over a radio station shows the threat posed by German power in the Atlantic and the need for American involvement.