The Greatest Events of WWII in Colour
If you paid attention in history class, you’ll know most of the events covered in this 10-part documentary series in at least broad strokes, but there is something incredible about seeing footage that’s only ever been shown in grainy black and white in full colour. The infantrymen, the politicians, the inmates at the concentration camps, the civilians, everyone involved seems so much more human, so much more relatable, so much more like you and me when you see them like this.
The first episode deals with the Nazi occupation of France with the Blitzkrieg, or “lightning war”, and further episodes cover the usual suspects – the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the dropping of the atom bombs over Japan, the D-Day landings, and, perhaps the most harrowing episode of all, the Allied liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Some of the footage in the series has never been seen before at all, not even in black and white, including film from Russia (the episode on the Siege of Stalingrad gives perspective on the importance of that battle that a lot of us, even amateur history buffs, might not have seen before) and Japan (the final episode on Hiroshima contains several difficult-to-watch scenes).
The talking heads may get in the way of a more immersive experience, but keep an eye and ear out for the chilling narrative from the German historian Sonke Nietzel – as Decider says, he “uses the present-tense ‘we’ to narrate the movements and strategies of the Nazi military, which isn’t at all creepy”.
IMDB rating: 8.6/10