The Jimmy Stewart You Never Knew: World War II Squadron Commander

In March 1941, Jimmy Stewart, America’s boy next door and recent Academy Award winner, left fame and fortune behind and joined the United States Army Air Corps to fulfill his family mission and serve his country. He rose from private to colonel and participated in 20 often-brutal World War II combat missions over Germany and France. In mere months, the war took away his boyish looks as he faced near-death experiences and the loss of men under his command. The war finally won, he returned home with millions of other veterans to face an uncertain future, suffering what we now know as PTSD. For the next half century, Stewart refused to discuss his combat experiences and took the story of his service to the grave.

RELATED: Why War Veteran and Quadruple Amputee Travis Mills Is Thankful and ‘Tough as They Come’

In Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, author Robert Matzen presents the first in-depth look at Stewart’s life as a Squadron Commander in the skies over Germany, and, his return to Hollywood the changed man who embarked on production of America’s most beloved holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life. Matzen sifted through thousands of Air Force combat reports and the Stewart personnel files; interviewed surviving aviators who flew with Stewart; visited the James Stewart Papers at Brigham Young University; flew in the cockpits of the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator; and walked the earth of air bases in England used by Stewart in his combat missions from 1943-45. What emerges is the story of a Jimmy Stewart you never knew, a story more fantastic than any he brought to the screen.

Matzen joined Glenn on radio Thursday to talk about Mission and the life of one of America's most beloved and iconic cinema stars.

Read below or listen to the full segment for answers to these questions:

• Did Matzen reveal any skeletons that ruined Glenn's view of Stewart?

• Which relatives of Stewart's fought in the Civil War?

• Were the snowy scenes in It's a Wonderful Life shot in the Mojave Desert?

• How did the war change Stewart as a man?

• How many missions did Stewart fly and which one cracked his plane in half?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Hello, and welcome -- welcome to the program. I was reading an article about Jimmy Stewart. This new book out that's called Mission. And I learned some stuff about Jimmy Stewart that I really wasn't aware of and especially what was happening with him when he came back to film --

PAT: Glenn, don't you know me?

GLENN: Yeah. Okay.

PAT: Don't you know me, Glenn?

GLENN: So when he was filming that, he and Frank Capra were going through PTSD, which nobody talked about back then.

PAT: Uh-uh.

GLENN: And Jimmy Stewart was quite an amazing guy. Robert Matzen is the author of Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe. And we wanted to get him on.

Robert, welcome to the program. How are you?

ROBERT: I'm great. Thanks for having me on.

GLENN: You bet.

So tell me what we don't know about Jimmy Stewart.

ROBERT: Well, in the context of It's a Wonderful Life, he had just come back from the most horrific combat experiences over the skies of Europe that you could imagine.

GLENN: Now, he was not -- he was not -- you know, as a celebrity, he could have gone and done anything over in World War II. But he didn't. He really signed up and was like, "No, I really want to fight."

ROBERT: Yeah. He -- the war department and Hollywood both wanted to keep him stateside, of course, because nothing good could come of a Hollywood star being shot down over Germany.

PAT: That's for sure.

ROBERT: So he had to buck those headwinds to get overseas, and he managed to do it. It took him two years.

PAT: And so what -- what exactly was his job when he was over there? What did he do? You said in the skies over Europe. He wasn't a pilot, was he?

ROBERT: He was a pilot. He was a bomber pilot.

PAT: He was a pilot. Wow.

ROBERT: He had been a private pilot in his Hollywood years. That was the first thing he did when he earned a Hollywood paycheck, was learn to fly, and then he bought his own plane. And so he was ready. He wanted to serve. And he wanted to serve as an Army pilot, and that's exactly what he did.

And at first, he was training other pilots stateside that was eating him alive. He wanted to go fight. And finally he did get a combat assignment as a squadron commander in a heavy bomb group that went over to England in 1943.

PAT: This guy was almost too good to be true, wasn't he? An American patriot. American hero. A tremendous actor. Married to the same woman virtually his whole life. Right? No major scandals that we know of. Am I --

GLENN: And if we do, we don't necessarily want to know about them.

PAT: Right.

GLENN: I mean, this is a book -- I want to read it over the Christmas holiday. Because I love Jimmy Stewart. Is this -- are you going to wreck him for me?

ROBERT: No, I'm not going to wreck him for you. I went into this project neutral on the guy. I mean, not a fan, per se. Everybody loves It's a Wonderful Life. Well, almost everybody.

But I grew to admire him tremendously, through learning about the 20 combat missions that he went through and what he was like when he came back. You know, refusing to talk about what it was like over there.

GLENN: So when he was on the set -- because Frank Capra -- what was Frank Capra doing the war?

ROBERT: And Frank Capra was making patriotic films. Films to let Americans know what was going on overseas. Who the enemy was. What our boys were doing over there.

So his experience wasn't like Jim's. But Frank was away for four years from Hollywood, and Jim was away for five. I mean, Jim slammed the door on Hollywood and left it behind.

And so he's coming back as, really, a middle-aged man. There's a photo in the book that's a before shot in 1942 of this fresh-faced Jimmy Stewart. Just got his wings. Second lieutenant.

Two years later, he looks like a haggard old man. By then, it looks like 14 combat missions in three months. So when -- by the time they reached the set of its a wonderful life, they were both feeling, "This is make or break for me." If I don't make this work, my career is over. They were both thinking that.

And so the set was extremely tense. It was nothing like you would think it would be.

GLENN: So it was shot in California. The snowy scene is happening in California in the middle of June. Right?

ROBERT: In the Mojave Desert. At 90 degrees. That's right.

GLENN: In the desert.

PAT: Jeez. Wow.

ROBERT: Yeah.

GLENN: And I got the impression from what the story -- I don't even remember where I read this, but it was about your book. And I got the impression that that was -- it was just rife with problems.

ROBERT: Well, that particular scene was shot at the RKO ranch in Encino. And they had to really invent a new type of snow that could withstand the heat and could still be slushy, could still look and feel like snow. So, yeah, I mean, it was a tough shoot.

But the whole movie -- if you look at the movie, it's an extravagant picture with a tremendous number of setups. They re-created that whole main street of Bedford Falls. A lot of interior shots -- everything that was -- all the bridge sequences where Clarence jumps in the water and Jim jumps in, those were all done in the studio. And that took weeks to get it right. Capra was a perfectionist. A lot went into that movie.

GLENN: And did they have any idea -- did Jimmy Stewart have any idea of what that movie was going to be at the end of it?

ROBERT: No. He was disappointed in how it turned out. He was always a populist in the sense that if the public liked his picture, he liked his picture. If the public didn't react like he wanted, then he didn't like the picture.

And It's a Wonderful Life was made right at the end of the war. You know, a war-weary America I don't think was ready for this particular picture, and it took another ten years before it was embraced. And that was by television. And that's when Jim started to warm up to it, when everybody else did.

GLENN: How did he change -- how did the war change him overall as a man?

ROBERT: Before the war, I spent a fair amount of time talking about his romantic adventures with A-List Hollywood actresses. And he went through all of them.

GLENN: He was a player? Jimmy Stewart was a player?

ROBERT: He was a player. Big-time.

JEFFY: He told you he wasn't going to ruin him for you.

(laughter)

GLENN: Wow. I had no idea.

ROBERT: Yeah.

GLENN: Player. Okay.

ROBERT: Because here he is -- he's 6-4 and 140 pounds.

PAT: Jeez.

ROBERT: And he thought he was just this gangly guy that no one would find attractive. So he had to prove to himself that he was attractive. That was his pre-war thing.

But when he came back, he realized how superficial that was. He didn't need to prove that to himself anymore. He had also proved the other thing that he needed to prove, which was that he was brave enough to represent the Stewart family. And that's what Mission is really all about, is his family mission to serve their country. And he proved that to himself.

So he came back as a mature person who had been seasoned by all this death and devastation. And that's why he was ready to settle down. And he did it beautifully. And he also carved this career that emphasized the darker side of him that had come out of the war. This hardened, tough man came out of the war. And he started to play tough roles.

GLENN: What do you mean his family -- his family had a long history of war --

ROBERT: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: -- heroes?

ROBERT: Both of his grandfathers were in the Civil War. One of them was a hero of the second day of Gettysburg, at Little Round Top. And the other one served with Custer in the Shenandoah Valley. And so -- and that grandfather also named James M. Stewart lived into the 1930s. And Jim learned all about war from someone who saw Lee surrender to Grant at Appomattox.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: Do these kind of guys exist anymore?

ROBERT: You know, I've been asked that.

And Pat Tillman comes to mind, you know. Someone who just walked away from a very successful public career to serve. But they are few and far between. But even in Jim's time, they were few and far between.

GLENN: Because most people, they just -- they would do their rounds, and they would be seen in the uniform. They would raise money. Raise awareness. And not actually go in and fight.

Was it -- was he a believer in what he was fighting against or just a believer of what he was fighting for?

ROBERT: Boy, that's a great question.

Both. I think both. He was a tremendous believer in the cause. And it was the happiest time in his life, he said that often. He said he was never happier than doing this righteous thing for this righteous cause.

GLENN: That was -- I mean, being a pilot in World War II, it was quite surprising that he lived, honestly. I mean, how many missions did he fly?

ROBERT: He flew 20 exactly. And at one point, on one of his missions, on February 25th, 1944, an anti-aircraft shell hit the flight deck of his B-24 Liberator and blew a hole between his feet, two feet across. And his map case fell out the hole and went down to Germany. And that was one mission too many. When he landed that plane, it cracked in half.

I mean, that's just -- that was his closest brush with death. But he had more than that. And that's what people just don't know. That's the guy -- that's his backstory, when you watch It's a Wonderful Life. He had just been there. And he had just done that.

GLENN: Hmm. Robert Matzen, thank you for the time that you spent on looking at this man's life and telling us the truth about who he really was. Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe by Robert Matzen. Great gift for anybody like me who just loves Jimmy Stewart and loves a good story of history that you've never heard before. Robert Matzen. Mission is the name of the book.

Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

ROBERT: Thanks, Glenn.

GLENN: You bet. God bless.

Featured Image: Lt. Gen. Valin, Chief of Staff, French Air Force, awarding Croix De Guerre with palm to Col. James Stewart (Photo: US Air Force).

When Biden was given the keys to the Oval Office in January 2021, gas was $2.50 a gallon and the inflation rate was 1.4%. Today gas is at $3.32 a gallon and the inflation rate is at 7% ... and STILL RISING. These are just 12 months of numbers, but we’re clearly in a worrying decline. While the economy has opened up more post-COVID, it’s not just getting worse — we’re going IN REVERSE.

On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck heads to the chalkboard (and the very top of his studio ceiling) to explain what’s happening to inflation and why it’s so hard for your family to afford basic goods and groceries. It’s not “corporate greed,” as Democrats have been telling you. The Biden administration wants to continue to spend trillions of dollars to “reinvent capitalism,” but that’s in addition to the trillions that are being pumped out IN THE SHADOWS.

Glenn exposes what the Fed has been doing behind closed doors and shows us the tidal wave that’s about to hit. He’s looked at the numbers, and they're frightening. Carol Roth, former Wall Street investment banker and author of “The War on Small Business,” gives advice to Americans who want to protect their checking and savings accounts before it’s too late.

Watch the full episode below:

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The stock markets have taken a nosedive in the biggest downtrend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. But that's nothing compared to what's coming thanks to our government's embrace of modern monetary theory, warned BlazeTV's Glenn Beck on the radio program.

"It really is important that you understand what's happening to us," Glenn stated. "Modern monetary theory is truly the [fuel] ... for the great reset. It is the idea that we can print as much money and spend as much money as we want," he explained.

"Then the next step is to release the Federal Reserve digital currency and make payments by other currencies [including cryptocurrencies] illegal," he continued. "And you're seeing it happen now in real time. Why would they do this? Because you cannot print this kind of money without having absolute control over how it is spent."

Glenn broke down the steps powerful political organizations — like the Federal Reserve — will take to end currency competition and enact a Federal digital dollar, which will allow for the government to have complete control over how we spend our money.

"This is what's coming. This is coming quickly, and events will make it move faster. For instance, why is Joe Biden basically giving Ukraine to Russia? He's giving it to them. He he knows Russia's not afraid of him. Putin knows that [Biden] is not going to do anything ... neither is NATO. They're not going to do anything," Glenn said.

"It's because war resets everything. War is the best great resetter. Changes boundaries. It changes borders. It changes laws. It changes societies. It changes currencies. It changes everything. And in the end you just want the war to stop. And so you you accept whatever it is the terms are that you're going to have to live under now. We're in very, very dangerous times. The only way to survive this is to know why they are dangerous times."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn Beck:

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Chances are, you've noticed that many large companies have decided to become woke activists, despite the fact that alienating half your customer base is a terrible business strategy.

This woke shift isn't being driven by the usual market forces. It's the Great Reset's ESG score system at work, Glenn Beck said on "GlennTV." Under the “environmental, social, and governance” score system, companies will no longer make decisions based on what you, the consumer, want. Now, it's all about what those in power deem society should want. And it's not just businesses that are affected, he explained.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of "GlennTV" here:


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11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.