Saturday, June 06, 2015

The World at War

Hitler dances for Hermann Goering at Berchtesgaden
I first saw the BBC TV series "The World at War" many years ago, when you could only see it on TV and if you missed an episode you were out of luck.

Now all 26 episodes are available on Youtube.

I did catch the episode called Genocide back then and it is horrible as you might expect. I knew about the concentration camps of course, but not all the awful details.

You know what you're in for with the series though because episode 1 begins with an atrocity - in 1944 the Germans wiped out an entire village in France, Oradour-sur-Glane, which was left empty as a memorial. In January of last year they hauled one of the last surviving German soldiers from the massacre into court.

The rest of the first episode follows Germany from the periods of social unrest and unemployment following WWI up to Hitler's assumption and consolidation of power, to the invasion of Poland. Also included, a little bit about Hitler's personal life at Berchtesgaden, with Eva Braun's home videos - a snippet of which I edited to create the animated gif above. I didn't colorize it, btw, it was filmed in color.

Watching the series now, I hadn't remembered that a big reason why it was so easy to defeat France was all the Communist-hating Nazi sympathizers in the French government. They couldn't wait to join up with Germany.

Since this series was made in 1973, there were lots of survivors of WWII still alive, and not only common people but German, British, American and Japanese officers are interviewed. It was good that the BBC did the series then and didn't wait.

I'm about half-way through the series. I might skip over the genocide episode though.


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