Few battles in the dismal history of war illustrate futility and madness like The Battle of the Somme. The British began their attack on July 1, 1916, and by the end of that day about 21,000 soldiers were dead or missing. The battle continued for four months. This 1916 documentary, The Battle of the Somme, shows preparations for battle, the bombardment that preceded the infantry’s attempted advance and other events from the first days of the battle. It’s an extraordinary document, and images collected in this film – the dead, leafless trees, the pockmarked landscape, the men going “over the top” from their trenches – are the basic images we have of World War I.
The Battle of the Somme has been restored by The Imperial War Museums in the UK
Preceded by: The Sinking of the Lusitania (U.S.A., 1918, 12 minutes), Winsor McCay’s animated newsreel about the dreadful event that led America into the war.
Both films accompanied by Billy Overton and David Weaver