Anyone know when this series was created? I assume the various interviews were filmed late 1950’s, maybe very early 1960’s. Was this series aired back then?
Twice in my country, 1976. This is the Thames production, right? Probably 1970s given the age of the respondents.
1973-1974 per wiki. Most expensive series at the time.
Thanks for this thread. I watched the series when it first aired and am looking forward to seeing it again. I didn’t know it was gonna be on – that’s not one of the channels we pay attention to.
It’s in constant rotation on that channel.
And as it turns out, the Military Channel isn’t in our DirecTV package. It’d be cheaper to buy the DVD set than to upgrade, probably.
Interesting trivia: The series makes no mention of Britain’s ‘Ultra’ program, the electromechanical computer Colossus and it’s team at Bletchley Park which cracked Germany’s Enigma codes, because it was still classified when the show was made in the early 70s…
It’s an excellent series that only has a few faults:
[li]The limitation and politics of the era when it was created preclude the Soviet side of the war from being accurately told[/li][li]Since it’s a UK production, it can be somewhat “UK-centric” at times[/li][li]Many of the Axis participants had either been executed at Nuremberg or other war trials and so some accounts are rather lopsided in favor of the Allies.[/li][li]Because of secrecy even at the time many aspects of the war which were game changers including Magic, ULTRA and the Manhattan are actually understated.[/li][li]Frankly, Allied atrocities such as the massacres at Monte Cassino by French-led Algerian troops and the Soviet barbarities in postwar Berlin are downplayed. Also, the brutality of the US unrestricted submarine warfare and the firebombing of Japanese cities are also downplayed.[/li][/ol]
It’s a great series.
However, if you want to learn as much as possible about the war, you’ll have to supplement viewing it with reading some of the many books writing about it and by watching newer and more update programs,
As I watched it, I thought the experience of the Japanese fire bombings was not glossed over (they interviewed a woman whose baby was roasted while she ran with it on her back - what more do you need?) but was shown sympathetically, as presented by the Brits who’d suffered it themselves. Also it did have a contemporary interview clip of a German woman saying that she’d been raped.
Some standout personalities who were also interviewed: Otto Ernst Remer, who foiled the July 20 plot and should go down in history as one of the biggest tools. And Andre Beaufre, who comes off as the smartest guy of all the interviewees.
Lawrence Olivier’s narration was based mainly on factual events. The interviewees weren’t very enlightening; though as a kid I was delighted to see people like Adolf Galland, Otto Kretsmer(sp?) and Carl Donitz speak on tv. Our father got a kick when he saw Kaye Summersby-Morgan.
And yes, it was limited to major military campaigns. The only deviation to this were the rise of the Nazi party and the Jewish holocaust.
NB. I still like to hum the program theme music.
- They really cheaped out on the Foley artist who did the marching boot sounds.
It was “glossed over” due to the fact that it was presented as if by the time the firebombing of Tokyo that the Japanese still had a defensive anti-aircraft capability to hinder or prevent it from occurring. They didn’t and more human beings were killed during that raid than initially died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 3 months later.
Not one of America’s proudest moments.
And the German woman’s clip really does nothing to describe the horrors inflicted upon the German civilian populace by the Red Army. Had the other Allies not been closer to the area and in a position to intervene, it boggles the mind as to what the Soviets might have done.
Not letting Germany or Japan off the hook fro their many atrocities by any means. Simply saying that a program aired for general consumption by the winning side of the conflict during the 1970s wasn’t going to be as “fair and balanced” as the myriad other accounts which have been written since then.
Admittedly, the war’s impact on the civilian population was not discussed at length in any episode (except the holocaust.) Since I was an informal student of the war back then, I didn’t mind the omissions too much. I mean, I’d rather know major air engagements and actual Luftwaffe and RAF losses than read Kaye Summersby-Morgan’s account of gathering and piling legs and arms in warehouses after each blitz attack on London.
IMO I don’t feel they ‘glossed over’ it (nor do I think it’s something America should ultimately be ashamed of, war’s hell). Gen LeMay himself is interviewed and states categorically that had we been on the losing side he surely would have been tried for war crimes for ordering it.
Even more so the generic ‘rifle shot’ sound they used for literally every semi-auto long arm being fired!
But the other shots were great, like visible tracer bullets (.30 and .50 cal) being fired from planes, and bombs exploding, sending their blast waves upward in “half-bubbles.” They’re a lot better than any computer-generated blast wave we see in the movies.
The limitations of this show - because it was made no more than 30 years after events - were more than offset for me by getting so many relevant people while they were still alive, and coherent. Even as recently as the 1970s a lot more peole died in their 60s.
I just loved having real people. Not everyone liked Lawrence Olivier’ narration but I really did.
I’ve just been re-watching some of the episodes and I love the snarkiness of the narration. Laurence Olivier: “A French general was captured by a German Panzer corps, according to the French.
According to the Germans, he was captured by a mobile kitchen unit.”
“Some refused to fight on a Friday…”
Is he the one who was still pissed at the British for the Dunkirk evacuation? He seemed more bitter than smart.
Sorry, but I’m ex-military and I find ANY mass slaughter of civilians to be deplorable, regardless of WHO did (or does) it.
Maybe I’m funny like that.