Nov 11, 2009
1945. Berlin lies in ruins as the Red Army ravages its way across Eastern Europe, and the Allies close like pincers on the German capital. But this story begins in a very different Berlin; footage reveals Europe's most dynamic and liberal city in full swing even as the Great Depression sweeps the globe in the early 1930s. Newsreels, propaganda films, and rarely seen private films relate the story of Hitler's rise and his brilliantly aggressive bluffing game with French, British, and Soviet leaders, who were fatally reluctant to confront a newly radicalized Germany.
Nov 12, 2009
Holland, Belgium, Norway, and once-mighty France. One by one, allied and neutral countries alike find themselves outmaneuvered and overrun by a ruthless, seemingly unstoppable Wehrmacht. Rare footage reveals British and French forces packed like sardines on the beaches of Dunkirk, panic and exodus from Paris, German soldiers gloating over their captives or stuck in military traffic in the Ardennes, the burning of Rotterdam, the terrifying sirens of Stuka dive-bombers as they slaughtered soldiers and civilians alike. The fear and anguish of ordinary Europeans are brought to vivid life as, one by one, their countries share the terrible fate of Poland.
Nov 13, 2009
Paris is occupied along with nearly all of Europe's capitals, but London continues to defy German aggression. A private family's homemade film follows Rose Gowlland, a three-year-old British girl who has already lived through two years of war under the Blitz. Restored, unseen footage follows both sides of the war in the east, as sweeping summer victories turn to frozen winter nightmares outside Moscow. To the south, German forces inflict even more terrible nightmares on the Jews of Kiev in a ravine known as Babi Yar-and document their own atrocities. And in the winter of 1941, a shocking, devastating attack in the Pacific brings a reluctant United States into the war. The tables begin to turn, finally, against the German war machine.
The World Ablaze
Nov 14, 2009
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The tragic images of the US Navy fleet burning and sinking at anchor have been engraved in memory as Roosevelt's "date which will live in infamy." Now, for the first time, see Japanese pilots and crewmen waking up in the predawn hours of December 7, 1941, as they prepare to attack their powerful neighbor across the ocean. In 1941 it is anything but obvious, but the tide has already begun to turn against the Axis powers.
Nov 15, 2009
Stalingrad. In a war with many turning points, none was more horrific than the battle for this key Soviet city. With an estimated two million combined casualties, Stalingrad was a crucible of war in which soldiers, civilians, and the city itself were pulverized. Aerial and civilian footage shows the cruelty and horror of two implacable enemies tearing at each other without mercy. It's the Soviets who prevail. We also see the North African campaign end in Rommel's defeat, an event that Churchill called "not the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning." Not all Hitler's enemies prevail, however, as the fearless Jews making a stand in what became known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are finally crushed without mercy-a fate shared by thousands of partisans throughout occupied Europe. Nonetheless, with options running out and its enemies closing in, the noose is beginning to tighten around Nazi Germany.
Nov 16, 2009
Unconditional Surrender. Two fateful words full of terrible implications for the Axis countries-but also for the Allies. There would be no negotiations, no Treaty of Versailles, no bargaining for territories, no concessions. The policy meant that the Axis armies had to be beaten in every city and street and field in Germany and Japan. It meant governments had to fall, war-making powers crushed, and civilians brought to taste the agony of war their leaders had unleashed on the world. This final episode follows unique and powerful footage from D-Day to Japan's final surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri. As survivors emerge from the ruins, we catch one last glimpse of little Rose and her family. She has lived to grow up in a world permanently altered by war.