During World War IIin the summer of 1940, Winston Churchill faced a terrible dilemma. France had just surrendered and only the English Channel stood between the Nazis and Britain. Germany was poised to seize the entire French fleet, one of the biggest in the world. With these ships in his hands, Hitler’s threat to invade Britain could become a reality. This documentary tells the story of what Churchill did next, and why and how 1,300 French sailors died as a result in what the French still call their Pearl Harbor. This is the forgotten story of Churchill’s darkest decision: to sink the French Fleet.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901 she left behind an extended family network that spanned nine European thrones. This dynasty was the very pinnacle of high society and family members referred to themselves as The Club. But from the moment Queen Victoria died “The Club” was doomed. Long forgotten royal correspondence admiralty telegrams and secret service records discovered by historian Dr Andrew Cook reveal an amazing trail of events. It’s an incredible story played out against a backdrop of global war and revolution a moment in time that would change the course of the 20th century.
Ben MacIntyre brings to life his bestselling book Agent Zigzagthe gripping true story of Britain’s most extraordinary wartime double agent, Eddie Chapman, he duped the Germans so successfully that he was awarded their highest decoration, the Iron Cross. He remains the only British citizen ever to win one. Including remarkable and newly discovered footage from an interview Chapman gave three years before his death in 1997, the programme goes on the trail of one of Britain’s most unlikely heroes – a story of adventure, love, intrigue and astonishing courage.
A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great menPeople’s Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 2 Killing Fields 1914 – The Great War is fought with larger armies and deadlier weapons than ever before, bringing death and carnage on an unprecedented scale to Europe. The bloody Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Verdun fail to break a stalemate on the Western front, and soldiers become increasingly frustrated and demoralised with the war’s mounting casualties, poor living conditions and lack of progress. World War I’s Propaganda began for the first time in 1916. Despite the October Revolution knocking Russia out of the war in 1917, the odds shift against a blockaded Germany with the entry of the United States into the war, and eventually an armistice is signed. The psychological scars of this war would make the public less willing in future to go to war, or trust their leaders. The introductory scene shows soldiers mobilising at the beginning of the war, grossly under-estimating the destructive power of modern warfare. Interviewees include Karl von Clemm, Edward Smout and Cecil Lewis. (US version date: 1916).
On May 7,1915, a German torpedo sent the ship to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in just 18 minutes, its speedy descent into the depths occurring far too fast for most of those aboard to make it to the lifeboats. Of the 1,962 passengers and crew on board,1,200 were lost, including 94 children and, crucially, 128 US civilians, many of whom were prominent figures. President Woodrow Wilson’s neutral stance started to crack. All over the country there were calls for the United States to take up arms against Germany. In many ways, the Lusitania tragedy was the major turning point of the Great War, and perhaps the single greatest factor that eventually brought the United States into the war in April 1917.
This five part series reveals how the Second World War provided a backdrop to a time of intense social change in Britain. As the country fought a long and bloody wara sexual revolution was in its throes. Through heart rending revelations and intimate personal testimonies, Sex, Love And War reveals the full story of the sexual adventures of the nation during World War II. The danger of death inspired a live for today attitude. As a result taboos came crashing down.
Documentary telling the story behind the Pontmorlais First World War memorial in Merthyr Tydfil. In recent yearsthe memorial has been suffering from neglect and vandalism. The programme looks at how a new generation of children from Cyfarthfa Junior school in Merthyr are introduced to the idea of why war memorials were erected, and their significance in the community. The children took part in a Heritage Lottery project where they helped produce an animation film about the Pontmorlais memorial alongside professional film makers. The film follows the children’s exploration of war, through a series of workshops and visits which are locally and nationally based, from Cyfarthfa Castle Museum to the Cenotaph and the Imperial War Museum in London. The four minute animation film, which the children helped produce, is shown in the documentary.
First broadcast in 1964The Great War was the definitive film account of the world shattering events of World War I (1914 – 1918) a landmark history series widely regarded as a documentary masterpiece. 26 Episodes. The main narrator was Michael Redgrave. It was a co-production involving the resources of the Imperial War Museum, the BBC, CBC and ABC. The series, unparalleled at the time for its depth of research, range of source material and historical accuracy – all presented in a sequence of clear narratives – is now considered one of the finest achievements of BBC documentary. With few exceptions, successive blocks of episodes are devoted to each year of the war episodes 1 – 6 to 1914, 7 – 10 to 1915, 11 – 14 to 1916, 15 – 19 to 1917, 20 – 23 and 26 to 1918.
Born in 1905John was the youngest of George V’s children. Diagnosed with epilepsy, he died in 1919 after a particularly severe seizure. Had he lived he would have been the present Queen’s uncle. The popular image of Prince John has since been one of a neglected child who was regarded as an embarrassment and shut away from public view, deprived of contact with his family. Using testimonies of individuals with direct personal connections to the prince, together with new research and photographs of the real Johnnythis documentary unravels some of the mysteries and misconceptions surrounding him, presenting a more complete story than has ever been told before.
WWII was not just a military conflict. It was also a series of psychological battles waged by the four great leaders Adolf HitlerJoseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In these mental duels, the warlords liedschemed, charmed, flattered and cheated to win. Inter-weaving the leaders’ own words with personal recollections and private diaries, it reveals the four warlords as fascinating, flawed, and fully human. Episode 2 Churchill vs Roosevelt, May 1940April 1942 An examination of the mental battles waged between 20th century leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt during the first two years of their relationship. A duel of false promises, evasion and delusion ensued, which was far removed from the more familiar image of friendship and loyalty.
WWII was not just a military conflict. It was also a series of psychological battles waged by the four great leaders Adolf HitlerJoseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In these mental duels, the warlords liedschemed, charmed, flattered and cheated to win. Inter-weaving the leaders’ own words with personal recollections and private diaries, it reveals the four warlords as fascinating, flawed, and fully human. Episode 3 Churchill vs Stalin, June 1941 – June 1943 Churchill v Stalin examines the duel between the British and Russian leaders over what kind of Europe would emerge at the end of the war, a duel during which Roosevelt secretly intervened behind Churchill’s back to decide the outcome.
The Britisches Freikorps unit of the Waffen SS served alongside the Nazis on the Eastern Front. Its members wore the death’s head insignia and took German rank. They helped defend Berlin even as Hitler retreated to his bunker. But each and every member was recruited from BritishCanadian, Australian and South African soldiers who volunteered to betray their country. Recognising the potential propaganda value of the unit, the Nazis ordered 800 SS uniforms with Union Jack arm badges. Most Allied prisoners of war ignored or resisted recruitment tactics ranging from leaflet bombardment to bribery and torture. But some 200 Allied prisoners answered the Nazi call. Some were motivated by greed, or by sympathies with the fascist cause. Others were simply described by intelligence files of the time as of weak characterand found the opportunities offered by the Germans to drink and womanise too tempting. For the first time on British Television, the British SS soldiers speak of their treachery, and their part in a failed German propaganda coup.
Wayward women tells the tale of some of history’s most fascinating females and combines strong story telling from celebrities and academics with the unique atmosphere and ambience of a burlesque venue. This series focuses on women from Yorkshire and the North East of England. It is a great short introduction to women you may not have heard of before. It is not an in depth programbut it is intended to spark your interest so that you will explore more on your own. Historians and psychologists add fact to the rumours. Each story is accompanied by artistic re-enactments, archive stills and burlesque artists.Commentors include Germaine Greer, Carol McGiffin, Scott Henshall, Michelle Heaton, Jayne Middlemiss and Simon Donald. Episode 3 Rebels and Traitors features Diana Mitford (Scandalous Socialite), Unity Mitford (A Facist Heart), Josephine Butler (Fighter for Justice), Jane Edson Brailsford (Newcastle’s Prisoner Conscience), Margaret Douglas (Royal Rebel), Ellen Cicely Wilkinson (Jarrows’s Political Pioneer), and Emily Wilding Davison (Morpeth’s Militant Martyr).
A charismatic originalIvor Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating and for a while his mental health improved. Unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn’t a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front line soldier. A private. The poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful, capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier, and the this documentary argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well known soldier poets of WWI.
Battlefield Britain is about famous battles in the history of Great Britain. From Boudicca’s destructive rebellion against the Romans to the incredible feats of The Few who saw off the Luftwaffethese battles all had wide reaching consequences and implications for the future of the British isles. Presented by father and son team Peter and Dan Snow. Peter explains the battleplans, Dan the perspective of the common soldier, sailors and airmen. The episodes also featured interviews with soldiers from both sides, re-enactments of the battles and computer generated scenes with bird eye views and blocks to show troop movement. Episode 8 Their Finest Hour, The Battle Of Britain – The final installment looks to the skies for the Battle of Britain and the RAF’s struggle to prevent a Nazi invasion in the darkest days of World War II when Britain stood alone.
World War II In HD Colour is a 13 episode television documentary series recounting the major events of World War II narrated by Robert Powell. The series combines both original and colourised footage. With the very latest satellite delivered terrain mapping and state of the art graphics this story can now be told with access to information which was not previously available to other older series. Conventional wisdom has recently changed as more and more secrets have been revealed particularly in the last five to ten years as documentsfiles and photographs have been released. Code breaking revelations, and newly released government papers on both sides of the Atlantic have added a very insightful new dimension to the understanding of this the worlds’ greatest ever conflict.
Exposing the undercover dealings of enemy agents and the MI5 counter deceptionknown as the double cross system, in the Second World War. Captured German spies were turned into double agents and used to deceive the Axis forces. These agents played a crucial role in the success of the Normandy landings Includes interviews with Pat McCallum, who was in charge of the double agents’ files at MI5, Anthony Simkins, former Deputy Director of MI5, as well as members of the German Abwehr military intelligence service.
What was it like to live in Britain during the First World War? How did it change the countrydramatically, and permanently? Those are the questions that lie behind Britain’s Great War, the four part series presented by Jeremy Paxman. There were huge changes in Britain too at the end of it, standards of health, nutrition, political representation and sexual equality had risen as the state took a far greater responsibility for its citizens than had ever before been imagined. Britain’s Great War does not play down the grief and suffering of a terrible conflict. Rather it chooses to tell a different, unfamiliar story, the story of how the First World War affected the people of Britain, and dragged the country into the modern age. Episode 1 War Comes To Britain – Traces the story of the dramatic early stages of the war, from stunned disbelief to the mass recruitment of volunteer soldiers. Britain expanded its small army of 80,000 men in France and mobilised 1,500,000 volunteers. Fear of invasion grips the country, Boy scouts guard bridges, and spies are suspected everywhere. For the first time, British civilians are fired on by enemy ships and bombed from the air. Jeremy Paxman, host of the documentary, meets a 105 year old eyewitness to the shelling of Hartlepool, who describes how she thought the Germans had landed. Total war has come to Britain.
Professor David Reynolds takes a fresh look at the extraordinary events and personalities that brought about the armistice of 1918 venturing beyond the familiar British account of Remembrance Day to unravel how the Germans, plunged to total defeat in just a few months at the end of the war. In a journey that takes him through command centres and battlefields, he uncovers a story of wounded egos, mental illness and political brinkmanship as statesmen and generals haggled over the terms of peace, while soldiers fought on with sustained brutality. Reynolds argues that the bitter endgame of the “war to end all wars” tragically sowed the seeds of even more appalling conflict to come.
On September 3rd 193925 year old English aristocrat Unity Mitford walked into a Munich park and shot herself in the head. Distraught at the prospect of England declaring war on her beloved Fuhrer, Britain’s most notorious Nazi sympathiser seemed determined to make the ultimate act of fanatical devotion. Featuring original testimony and with the release of secret documents from the Home Office and MI5, this programme examines how this archetypal English aristocrat fell under Hitler’s spell and became one of his closest confidantes.
Ninety years agoBritain’s teenage boys volunteered en masse to fight for their King and country. Such was their will to fight that a number of enthusiastic boys joined up below the legal age to enlist. Now, new research reveals that these boy soldiers were not just a passionate handful but a significant proportion of Britain’s army. Additionally, the government has been found to have deliberately turned a blind eye to their enlistment. In their naivety, many of the boys envisaged a few months away fighting, followed by victory and a hero’s welcome back home. this documentary charts the struggle of one man, Liberal MP Arthur Markham, to persuade the war office to tackle this issue, and to secure the return of tens of thousands of boys from the savage battlefields of Europe.
Hitler’s Favourite Royal covers the life of Prince Charles EdwardQueen Victoria’s youngest grandchild, who was forced by his Grandmother to take up the Dukedom of Coburg in Germany after a series of unexpected deaths of uncles and cousins. With the advent of World War One, he reluctantly fought for the German army but refused to fight the British. However, once the war was over, he was stripped of his English titles. Disillusioned, he turned to far right politics and became an enthusiastic early supporter of the emergent Nazi Party and unwittingly helped in Hitler’s rise to power.