5-153 To Colonel Frank Capra, June 5, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 5, 1945

Subject: World War II

To Colonel Frank Capra

June 5, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

My dear Capra,

There has just this moment come to my attention your application for release from active duty since you have about completed the special task which we assigned to you. When the matter comes to me in more formal fashion, I will express myself more formally, but in the meantime I wish you to know how much I value and how much I appreciate the work that you have done for the Army.

Your “Why We Fight” series had a tremendous influence on morale and understanding and I think “Prelude to War” and “The Nazis Strike” will stand as motion picture classics of that character. “Know Your Ally—Britain” has played a very definite part in facilitating cooperation between the British and American armies and is a remarkably well done film in my opinion. “Two Down and One to Go”1 has had a splendid reception by the Army and apparently by the American public, judging from the reports I have received. I am particularly appreciative of the rapidity with which you turned out “On to Tokyo” and the excellence of the production. It should be very helpful.

Altogether you have done a grand job and I want you to know that I am very grateful.2

Faithfully yours,


Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.


1. General Marshall narrated the motion picture Two Down and One to Go, which had been produced by mid-September 1944. Addressing the demobilization process and transfer of troops to the Pacific, the film was distributed to each theater command in sealed containers with instructions that they not be opened and viewed until the cessation of hostilities in Europe was officially announced. (Colonel Edward L. Munson, Jr., Informal Memorandum for Colonel Frank McCarthy, September 15, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) For Marshall’s special interest in the film, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-362 [4: 424-25], #4-534 [4: 614-15], #4-592 [4: 675].

2. Capra had received the Legion of Merit on April 21, 1943, for his wartime film work to that point. Frank McCarthy initiated work on the award of a Distinguished Service Medal that would cover Capra’s entire war service. Marshall approved the award and it was presented on June 14. (McCarthy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, June 5, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 212-213.

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