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Director: John Davies

Producer: John Davies, Brian Kallies

Executive Producer: John Davies, Brian Kallies

Writer: John Davies

Cast: Bill Kurtis

Genres: Documentary, Factual

Demographics: 15+, 18+, Teen


1 x 55’

This compelling documentary focusses on Chicago’s war effort during World War II — as well as how the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Chicago mayor Ed Kelly helped win the war.

After American went to war against the Axis Powers, Roosevelt called on the nation to become “an arsenal of democracy.” A big part of that included producing the military armaments to defeat Germany, Italy and Japan. The documentary showcases how the Chicago area was turned into an important production center — mobilizing the entire populace into the effort.“A City at War: Chicago” is narrated by Bill Kurtis and utilizes a combination of personal reminiscences, de-classified and vintage propaganda films, and period posters and images. Highlights include FDR’s 1937 “Quarantine Speech,” delivered in Chicago and warning of the coming conflict. It also includes footage of the first self-sustaining chain reaction, made possible by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi and his University of Chicago team which led to the development of the atom bomb.

Winner 2018 Chicago International Television Festival Gold Plaque Award for best nonfiction program.