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The Blitz: London's Longest Night (2005)

Details the German bombing of London the night of the 29th of December, in 1940.

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Credited cast:
Dilly Barlow ...
Herself - Narrator (voice)
...
William White
...
Bill Regan
Sally Leonard ...
Marguerite
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London suffered its most devastating air raid on the night of the 29th of December, in 1940. Germany blanketed the city with incendiary bombs which lit 15,000 fires. Fireman valiantly risked their lives to save the city. This moving documentary shows us (colorized) footage along with interviews of survivors. Written by CindyH (magnoliasouth)

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Documentary | War

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15 February 2006 (USA)  »

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The British Royal Air Force (RAF) began bombing German cities on 11 May 1940, four months before the Blitz started on 7 September 1940. See more »

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Excellent, with one big qualifier
10 March 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is an excellent production, with interviews, re-enactments, maps, computer graphics. It gives a real and a terrible sense of what it was like to live in London during the bombing, on one particular night, the very worst of them all, to walk the streets and fight the fires as the bombs rained down.

It was a horrible, massively destructive, murderous experience. And yet ... and yet all the way through I was haunted by the sense that the terror, death, and destruction London was living through was (what word can I use?) mild compared to what German and Japanese cities experienced. It bothered me that there was just a brief, mildly worded acknowledgement near the beginning that the large-scale bombing of cities was, in fact, started by the British, not the Germans, and that no mention was made of the terrible retaliation Britain took on German cities. One of the waves of bombers in the London raid is described as consisting of 30 bombers. Imagine, then, what was unleashed by the Allies' attacks with hundreds, as many as a thousand bombers, on city after city. That must have been unspeakable, making this London raid seem like a sideshow in comparison. The video, quite rightly, makes much of the firestorm created by the incendiary bombs, but without a word of the firestorms in Hamburg and Dresden, immensely worse. I squirmed a little uneasily with the focus on St. Paul's Cathedral and the extraordinary efforts to protect it and the celebration of the great luck that it was not destroyed when everything around it burned. Were we supposed to believe that God or fate was protecting it? Just as miraculous was the survival of the cathedral in Cologne.

All this is not intended to take away responsibility from Adolph Hitler, the monster who started it all. And one can understand how the British would want to memorialize the worst night of the bombing for them. But I did find the lack of perspective troubling. Rather than presenting the story as "Look at how terrible the bombing of London was," I wish it had been ""Bombing of cities is unspeakably horrible. The worst of it during the war was suffered by Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo. But the bombing of London is our story. May it never happen to anyone again." That would have reminded viewers of their own sins as well as the enemy's——something the producers were apparently not brave enough to do.


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