The first months of the war on the Western Front were mobile, fast and dangerous; casualty rates were higher than with later trench warfare. The Germans were halted by the Allies at the Battle of the...
One of the greatest achievements of television -broadcast from 1964 in 26 episodes. Use of extensive archive footage and sound effects, linked with contemporary classic music of that area. ... See full summary »
THIRD REICH: THE RISE & FALL tells the story of Hitler's Germany through rarely seen films of the people who were there. Immersive and evocative, it takes viewers inside the Germany of the ... See full summary »
Vintage footage from the Vietnam war is presented in High Definition video format along with narration from both war veterans and Hollywood voice talent. The documentary follows key events ... See full summary »
The World Wars tells the story of three decades of war told through the eyes of various men who were its key players: Roosevelt, Hitler, Patton, Mussolini, Churchill, Tojo, DeGaulle and ... See full summary »
Daniel Martin Berkey,
The year 2014 marks the centenary of the start of one of the most devastating wars in human history, which claimed the lives of ten million soldiers and over twenty million civilians, ... See full summary »
A six-night miniseries presenting the history of how the United States was invented, looking at the moments where Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress -- from the rigors... See full summary »
In 1914, decades of building European resentments and rivalries finally exploded into a massive total war that became much larger and bloodier for far longer than anyone could have imagined. This series endeavors to tell the full story of World War I, which was far more than just the trenches and includes war on the high seas and furthest flung regions of the world.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Exhaustive but biased documentary disappoints despite high promise
I was eagerly looking forward to this ten episode, four DVD set (8 hours and 23 minutes in all) based on the claims on the box of previously unseen film footage and newly accessible archival material from Central and Eastern European sources and most especially the ties to a book by a "professor" (presumably of history - Hew Strachan). Unfortunately, as assembled (in an initially promising chronological format) by BBC 4, there is little or no pretense of objective history and far too many omissions and distortions in the service of a strictly British viewpoint. The over all effect, despite copious quotations from participants on all sides, is like a history of World War II's "D-Day" told entirely from Field Marshall Montgomery's aide de camp's viewpoint.
The vast majority of film footage (mostly acknowledged - but not some of the obvious naval model work; possibly from faked "newsreels"?) is from 1920's and 30's film reconstructions and fictionalizations mixed with color footage of locales as they look today. While there is interesting period movie footage, it is almost all behind the lines and of close-up non-action scenes and TV cameras scanning across still photos.
One of the single most desired sequences, the final newsreel footage of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand leaving the Serajevo City Hall moments before his assassination, is only shown in the abbreviated and already much circulated cut. The reasons for Franz Ferdinand - a fascinating, complex figure given very short shrift here (and his Sophie) being in Bosnia that day (their 14th Wedding Anniversary) are totally omitted - as are any understanding of his reigning Uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph at the head of a great multi-cultural empire or the reasons the majority of Moslem Bosnia was opposed to Eastern Orthodox Serbian pretensions over their territory since both broke away from the shrinking Ottoman Empire.
Once the war itself started (you will be hard pressed to understand why from the sketchy story told here), the British documentary almost entirely ignores the original combatants but focuses on the British and their conflict with Austria's unsubtle allies in Germany.
Because of the British confrontations (to their considerable discomfort) with the Ottoman Turk, much time is spent on this front, allowing at least rudimentary (and that's about all) discussion of the source of the continuing Armenian question in Episode Four, but even here, there is almost no followable line of the way the Ottoman wobbled in and out of the war until finally committing to the Central Powers following the second Russian Revolution in 1917, removing them from the war. There is even less discussion of impact of the tenuous Japanese alliance with the Russians and British springing from the settlement of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.
A far better look at the complexity of World War I (although neither attempt or claim to be as complete in the material covered), with far more actual footage from the period in question is available in several documentaries ranging from Hollywood GOES TO WAR to WORLD WAR I IN COLOR. This Anglophile attempt at history is only for the dedicated Anglophile looking for entertainment pretending to be serious, not the serious amateur historian who will see too many holes spoiling the fun.
30 of 62 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this