The World at War (1973–1974)
14 Sep. 1973A New Germany: 1933-1939
Program chronicles the draconian measures taken by Adolf Hitler to become absolute dictator of Germany and begin his domination of Europe.
7 Nov. 1973Distant War: September 1939-May 1940
France and Great Britain enter World War 2 following Germany's invasion of Poland. But with the exception of its navy Britain is rather uncertain how to prepare. After a failed operation in Norway lead by Churchill, Chamberlain is, ironically, replaced as Prime Minister by Churchill.
14 Nov. 1973France Falls: May-June 1940
As their forces invade Northern Europe German strategists capitalize time and again on French preconceptions confounding French defenses.
21 Nov. 1973Alone: May 1940-May 1941
In the end of May 1940, when the last French cities are captured by the Germans, half a million British and French soldiers retreat to the last channel port still open to them: Dunkerque. The following days Great Britain carries out the biggest evacuation in history. 330.000 French and British soldiers are picked up by boats and brought over the channel to England. German aircrafts start bombing English airfields, but the Royal Air Force wins this part of the battle of Britain. Göring orders his Luftwaffe to bomb London instead. During 76 successive nights German ...
28 Nov. 1973Barbarossa: June-December 1941
Following the conquest of France Hitler, almost casually by blitzkrieg standards, turn his eyes toward Russia. But Stalin is equally lackadaisical in preparing defenses against Germany. The German invasion rapidly reaches the gates of Moscow where it is stopped cold by the onset of winter then crushed by the Russian counterattack.
5 Dec. 1973Banzai! Japan 1931-1942
Following Japan's conquest of eastern Asia the Allies finally respond with sanctions. They prove so threatening to Japan that it prepares to conquer Southeast Asia to secure the resources it needs. But first the threat from the British and American Pacific fleets must be eliminated.
12 Dec. 1973On Our Way: U.S.A. 1939-1942
Although those in the know figured it was just a matter of time, the United States only reluctantly participated in World War 2. But it was not a foregone conclusion that the United States would side against both Germany and Japan. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor precipitated a quick decision. But in Germany's case a long series of mutual provocations, some intended, some not, gradually turned the United States against Germany.
19 Dec. 1973The Desert: North Africa - 1940-1943
In 1940 Mussolini deploys a massive army to invade British held Egypt, to capture the Suez Canal and most of all to establish an Italian empire to rival Germany's. So begins a multi-year campaign over a meaningless stretch of desert involving forces from a dozen nations and characterized by persistent attackers, stubborn defenders and ultimately controlled by supply line challenges.
2 Jan. 1974Stalingrad: June 1942-February 1943
Germany is dealt a crushing defeat when the Russians' stubborn defense of Stalingrad delays the German offensive giving the Russians time to mass their forces for a counter attack that surrounds then destroys the German Sixth Army and its supporting forces.
9 Jan. 1974Wolf Pack: U-Boats in the Atlantic - 1939-1944
For three years German u-boats ravage transatlantic convoys. Despite the critical need for the supplies and materiel British leadership give scant attention to the matter for two years. Finally in 1943 the allies begin introducing new tactics and weapons while Germany continues to focus on the numbers game.
16 Jan. 1974Red Star: The Soviet Union - 1941-1943
Bent on fulfilling Hilter's policy of colonizing Russia, German forces invade subjecting inhabitants of occupied lands to servitude or death. Russians respond with a mass evacuation and scorched earth policy, reestablishing their industrial capacity far to the east. After German forces fail to break Lenigrade or to capture Kursk and the surrounding Russian forces Russia goes on the offensive with its military production at full capacity.
23 Jan. 1974Whirlwind: Bombing Germany - September 1939-April 1944
While the British continue to rely on night bombing the American forces attempt to use more dangerous but more precise daylight bombing to interdict German military production and crush the national will.
30 Jan. 1974Tough Old Gut: Italy - November 1942-June 1944
After driving the Germans from North Africa the Allies turn their sites on Italy. But the Italian campaign turned out to be tougher the anyone expected. American reluctance to divert resources from the planned Normandy invasion, geographic challenges and German reinforcements hinders the Allied campaign which continued until the eve of the Normandy invasion.
6 Feb. 1974It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow: Burma - 1942-1944
Allied forces were totally unprepared for the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942. The Japanese quickly overran the country. The Allies counter-attacked using troops unfamiliar with jungle warfare which were unsuccessful against the Japanese guerrilla forces. But the Allies persisted and gradually adapted to the jungle environment. As additional forces arrived the Allies succeeded in destroying the Japanese forces.
13 Feb. 1974Home Fires: Britain - 1940-1944
The war effort required total commitment from British citizens stretching their bodies and spirits to the breaking point and occasionally beyond it. As a result of grim news early in the war, German bombing of British cities and disagreements on critical policies Churchill faced a no confidence vote. But extraordinary measures gradually put the kingdom on an effective war footing.
20 Feb. 1974Inside the Reich: Germany - 1940-1944
Germany is jubilant after the surrender of France. Then the unsuccessful expansion of the war to include Russia and England gradually turns German morale from joy to fatalism. Even der Führer falls victim to the insidious fatalism caused first by the crushing defeat at Stalingrad then the bunker bombing that nearly killed him. All the while the tightening Nazi grip and Allied assaults adds to the gloom of fear.
27 Feb. 1974Morning: June-August 1944
Four years after France fell the Allies invade Normandy. Caught by surprise the German defenses are quickly overcome. Heading inland the Allies win major victories against fierce resistance.
13 Mar. 1974Occupation: Holland - 1940-1944
The Dutch are shocked when the Germans bomb Rotterdam and invade their neutral country. But Germany follows with insidious conciliatory gestures that ease tensions. Germany gradually exploits the populace with conscriptions, forced labor and deportation of Jewish citizens. Finally anticipating liberation as the Allies move westward, Dutch suffering intensifies. As the German propagandists had claimed, liberation brought devastation, not from warfare but from a brutal German embargo and intensified deportations.
20 Mar. 1974Pincers: August 1944-March 1945
As the Allies debate how to prosecute the the invasion of Germany, Hitler settles the question with a massive counter attack in the Ardenne. Failure of the attack leaves German defenses of the Western Front in shambles. Meanwhile, Russian forces are also closing in but Stalin orders a pause so the SS can crush the Polish resistance.
27 Mar. 1974Genocide: 1941-1945
The history of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, showing events leading to the "Final Solution". Footage and Interviews with SS officers and Jewish survivors from various countries describe how the extermination camps operated and what existence was like there.
3 Apr. 1974Nemesis: Germany - February-May 1945
The closing weeks of the European war bring retribution for Germany in the form of carpet bombing cities like Dresden, the collapse of the Whermacht, atrocities by Soviet forces, and finally the fall of Berlin and suicide of Hitler.
10 Apr. 1974Japan: 1941-1945
After the victories in 1941-2, Japanese fortunes reverse as America succeeds in destroying their aircraft fleet and Pacific island bases. At home, shortages of goods and manpower lead to desperation for the population.
17 Apr. 1974Pacific: February 1942-July 1945
The island hopping strategy of Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur leads from one costly, battle after another. The Japanese fight fanatically as the war gets ever closer to home, but Americans finally use their newest weapon, the A-bomb.
24 Apr. 1974The Bomb: February-September 1945
Following the events from the death of US President Roosevelt through to the dropping of the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that prompted Japan's surrender.
1 May 1974Reckoning: 1945... and After
As wretched survivours suffer deprivations amongst the ruins, half of Germany and eastern Europe trade one socialist tyranny for another as the Soviets take power. Japan is occupied by the U. S., but the colonial empires disintegrate.