World War I
World War I or the First World War, 1914 - 1918, was the first war that
involved nations spanning more than half the globe, hence world war.
It was commonly called "The Great War" or sometimes "the war to end wars"
until World War II started, although the name "First World War" was coined
as early as 1920 by Lt-Col à Court Repington in The First World War 1914-18.
Some scholars write of the First World War as merely the first phase of a
30-year-long war spanning the period 1914 - 1945.
Though triggered by the assassination (June 28, 1914) of the heir to the
Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria in Sarajevo,
Bosnia at the hands of a pro-Serbian nationalist assassin (a Bosnian Serb
student named Gavrilo Princip), the war's origins lie in the complex
relations of the European powers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 had brought not only the establishment of
a powerful and dynamic German Empire , but also a legacy of animosity
between France and Germany following the latter's annexation of the formerly
French territory of Alsace-Lorraine. Under the political direction of her
first Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, Germany secured her new position in
Europe by an alliance with Austria-Hungary and a diplomatic understanding
The accession (1888) of Emperor Wilhelm II brought to the German throne a
young ruler determined to direct policy himself, despite his rash diplomatic
judgment. After the 1890 elections, in which the centre and left parties
made major gains, and due in part to his disaffection at inheriting the
Chancellor who had guided his grandfather for most of his career, Wilhelm
engineered Bismarck's resignation.
Much of the fallen Chancellor's work was undone in the following decades, as
Wilhelm failed to renew the arrangement with Russia, presenting republican
France with the opportunity to conclude (1891-94) a full alliance with the
Russian Empire. Worse was to follow, as Wilhelm undertook (1897-1900) the
creation of a German navy capable of threatening Britain's century-old naval
mastery, prompting the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904 and its
expansion (1907) to include Russia.
Rivalry among the powers was exacerbated from the 1880s by the scramble for
colonies which brought much of Africa and Asia under European rule in the
following quarter-century. Even the once hesitantly imperialistic Bismarck
became an advocate of overseas Empire, adding to Anglo-German tension as
German acquisitions in Africa and the Pacific threatened to impinge upon
British strategic and commercial interests. Wilhelm's support for Moroccan
independence from France, Britain's new strategic partner, provoked the
Tangier Crisis of 1905. During the Second Moroccan or Agadir Crisis (1911),
a German naval presence in Morocco tested the Anglo-French coalition once
A key ingredient in the emerging diplomatic powder-keg was the growth of
powerful nationalist aspirations among the Balkan states, which each looked
to Germany, Austria-Hungary or Russia for support. The rise of anti-Austrian
circles in Serbia following a 1903 palace coup contributed to a further
crisis in 1908 over Austria's unilateral annexation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, German pressure forcing a humiliating climbdown on the part of
a Russia weakened (1905) by defeat at the hands of Japan and subsequent
Alarm at Russia's unexpectedly rapid recovery after 1909 fuelled feeling
among German ruling circles in favour of a pre-emptive war to break alleged
Entente "encirclement" before Russian rearmament could tip the strategic
balance decisively against Germany and Austria-Hungary. By 1913 both France
and Germany were planning to extend military service, while Britain had
entered into a naval convention and military discussions with France during
the previous year.
Austrian regional security concerns grew with the near-doubling of
neighbouring Serbia's territory as a result of the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913.
Franz Ferdinand's assassination in June 1914 provided the opportunity sought
by some Austrian leaders for a reckoning with the smaller Slav kingdom. The
Sarajevo conspirators were alleged by the Austro-Hungarian authorities to
have been armed by the shadowy Black Hand, a pan-Serb nationalist grouping
with links to Serbian ruling circles.
With German backing, Austria-Hungary, acting primarily under the influence
of Foreign Affairs Minister Leopold von Berchtold, sent an effectively
unfulfillable 15-point ultimatum to Serbia (July 23, 1914), to be accepted
within 48 hours. The Serbian government agreed to all but one of the
demands. Austria-Hungary nonetheless broke off diplomatic relations (July
25) and declared war (July 28) through a telegram sent to the Serbian
The Russian government, which had pledged in 1909 to uphold Serbian
independence in return for Serbia's acceptance of the Bosnia annexation,
mobilized its military reserves on July 30 following a breakdown in crucial
telegram communications between Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II, who was under
pressure by his military staff to prepare for war. Germany demanded (July
31) that Russia stand down her forces, but the Russian government persisted,
as demobilization would have made it impossible to re-activate its military
schedule in the short term. Germany declared war against Russia on (August
1) and, two days later, against the latter's ally France.
The outbreak of the conflict is often attributed to the alliances
established over the previous decades - Germany-Austria-Italy vs.
France-Russia; Britain and Serbia being aligned with the latter. In fact
none of the alliances was activated in the initial outbreak, though Russian
general mobilization and Germany's declaration of war against France were
motivated by fear of the opposing alliance being brought into play.
Britain's declaration of war against Germany (August 4) was officially the
result not of her understandings with France and Russia (Britain was
technically allied to neither power), but of Germany's invasion of Belgium,
whose independence Britain had guaranteed to uphold (1839), and which stood
astride the planned German route for invasion of Russia's ally France.
The first battles
Germany's plan (named the Schlieffen plan) to deal with the Franco-Russian
alliance involved delivering a knock-out blow to the French and then turning
to deal with the more slowly mobilized Russian army. The German plan
involved demanding free passage across Belgium. When this was denied,
Germany invaded, occupying Luxembourg rapidly but encountering resistance
before the forts of the Belgian city of Liège. Britain sent an army to
France, which advanced into Belgium.
The delays brought about by the resistance of the Belgians, French and
British forces and the unexpectedly rapid mobilization of the Russians upset
the German plans. Russia attacked in East Prussia, diverting German forces
intended for the Western Front, allowing French and British forces to halt
the German advance on Paris at the First Battle of the Marne (September
1914) as the Central Powers (the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires) were
forced into fighting a war on two fronts.
The spread of war
* July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia;
* August 1, Germany declared war on Russia;
* August 2, German troops occupied Luxembourg;
* August 3, Germany declared war on France;
* August 4, Germany invaded neutral Belgium;
* August 4, The United Kingdom declared war on Germany after the latter
failed to undertake to respect Belgian neutrality;
* August 20, German forces occupy Brussels.
* August 23, Japan declared war on Germany.
* September of 1914 a Unity Pact was signed by France, Britain, and
* November 1-5, Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Germany and
* May 23, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary;
* October: Bulgaria entered the war on the side of Germany and
* August 27, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary;
* August 28, Italy declared war on Germany;
* February 24 - United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, Walter H.
Page, was given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which German Empire offered
to give the American Southwest back to Mexico if Mexico would declare
war on the United States
* April 6, the United States declared war on Germany;
* August 14, the Republic of China declared war on Germany.
Entry of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in October - November 1914,
threatening Russia's Caucasian territories and Britain's communications with
India and the East via the Suez canal. British action opened another front
in the South with the Gallipoli (1915) and Mesopotamia campaigns, though
initially the Turks were successful in repelling enemy incursion. But in
Mesopotamia, after the disastrous Siege of Kut (1915-16), the British
reorganized and captured Baghdad in March 1917. Further to the west in
Palestine, initial British failures were overcome with Jerusalem being
captured in December 1917 and the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under Edmund
Allenby going on to break the Ottoman forces at the Battle of Megiddo
Italy, since 1882 notionally allied to the German and Austro-Hungarian
Empires but with her own designs against Austrian territory in South Tyrol,
Istria and Dalmatia, and a secret 1902 understanding with France effectively
nullifying her alliance commitments, joined the Allies in May 1915,
declaring war against Germany fifteen months later. Italian action along the
Austrian border pinned down large numbers of enemy troops, though the
crushing German-Austrian victory of Caporetto (October 1917) temporarily
eliminated Italy as a major threat.
The Fall of Serbia
After repulsing three Austrian invasions in August-December 1914, Serbia
fell to combined German, Austrian and Bulgarian invasion in October 1915.
Serbian troops continued to hold out in Albania and Greece, where a
Franco-British force had landed to offer assistance and to pressure the
Greek government into war against the Central Powers.
Early stages: from romanticism to the trenches
The perception of war in 1914 was almost romantic, [Louvain1915.jpg]
and its declaration was met with great enthusiasm by
many people. The common view was that it would be a Louvain, Belgium, 1915
short war of manoeuvre with a few sharp actions (to "teach the enemy a
lesson") and would end with a victorious entry into the capital (the enemy
capital, naturally) then home for a victory parade or two and back to
"normal" life. There were some pessimists (like Lord Kitchener) who
predicted the war would be a long haul, but "everyone knew" the War would be
"Over by Christmas...."
Recruitment to the British army during WW I
The Trenching Begins
After their initial success on the Marne, Entente and German forces began a
series of outflanking manoeuvres to try to force the other to retreat, in
the so-called Race to the Sea. France and Britain soon found themselves
facing entrenched German positions from Lorraine to Belgium's Flemish coast.
The sides took set positions, the French and British seeking to take the
offensive while the Germans sought to defend the territories they had
occupied. One consequence of this was that the German trenches were much
better constructed than those of their enemy: the Anglo-French trenches were
only intended to be 'temporary' before their forces broke through the German
defences. Neither side proved able to deliver a decisive blow for the next
four years, though protracted German action at Verdun (1916) and Allied
failure the following spring brought the French army to the brink of
collapse as mass desertions undermined the front line.
Around 800,000 soldiers from Britain and the Empire were on the
Western Front at any one time, each occupying a sector of the
line from Belgium to the Arne and operating a month-long four
stage system, unless an offensive was underway. The front
contained over 6,000 miles of trenches. Each battalion held its
sector for around a week before moving back to support lines and
then the reserve lines before a week out-of-line, often in the
Poperinge or Amiens areas.
The Somme and Passchendaele
Both the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Passchendaele (1917) also on
the Western Front resulted in enormous loss of life on both sides but
minimal progress in the war. It is interesting to note that, when the
British attacked on the first day of the battle of the Somme, and lost
massive amounts of men to a continuous hail of machine-gun fire, they did
succeed in gaining some ground. This caused the German command to order its
soldiers to re-take this ground, which resulted in similar losses for the
Germans. Hence, instead of a lopsided engagement, with only British soldiers
attacking, which would have resulted in large amounts of casualties only for
the British, the volume of attacks was rather evenly distributed, which
caused even distribution of the casualties.
Not even an initially devastating array of new weapons achieved the required
victory: poison gas (first used by the Germans on Russian soldiers without
much success in battle of Bolimow on January 1, 1915; more often quoted as
first use is the attack on Canadian soldiers at Ypres on April 22, 1915);
liquid fire, introduced by the Germans at Hooge on July 30, 1915); and
armoured tanks (first used by the British on the Somme on September 15,
1916) each produced initial panic among the enemy, but failed to deliver a
Use of poison gas in World War I
Aircraft and U-Boats
Military aviation achieved rapid progress, from the development of
(initially primitive) forward-firing aerial machine-guns by the German air
force in the autumn of 1915 to the deployment of bombers against
London (July 1917): more dramatic still, at least for Britain, was the
use of German submarines (U-boats, from the German Unterseeboote)
against Allied merchant shipping in proscribed waters from February
1915. Germany's decision to lift restrictions on submarine
activity (February 1, 1917) was instrumental in bringing the United States
into the war on the side of the Allies (April 6). The sinking of the
passenger liner Lusitania was a particularly controversial "kill" for the
The Eastern Front and Russia
While the Western Front had reached stalemate in the trenches, the war
continued to the east.
German Victories in the East
The Russian initial plans for war had called for simultaneous invasions of
Austrian Galicia and German East Prussia. Although Russia's initial advance
into Galicia was largely successful, they were driven back from East Prussia
by the victories of the German generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff at
Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes in August and September 1914. Russia's
less-developed economic and military organisation soon proved unequal to the
combined might of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. In the spring of
1915 the Russians were driven back in Galicia, and in May the Central Powers
achieved a remarkable breakthrough on Poland's southern fringes, capturing
Warsaw on August 5 and forcing the Russians to withdraw from all of Poland.
Dissatisfaction with the Russian government's conduct of the war grew
despite the success of the June 1916 Brusilov offensive in eastern Galicia
against the Austrians, when Russian success was undermined by the reluctance
of other generals to commit their forces in support of the victorious sector
commander. Allied fortunes revived only temporarily with Romania's entry
into the war on August 27: German forces came to the aid of embattled
Austrian units in Transylvania, and Bucharest fell to the Central Powers on
December 6. Meanwhile, internal unrest grew in Russia, as the Tsar remained
out of touch at the front, while the Empress's increasingly incompetent rule
drew protests from all segments of Russian political life, resulting in the
murder of Alexandra's favourite Rasputin by conservative noblemen at the end
The Russian Revolution
In March 1917, demonstrations in St. Petersburg culminated in the abdication
of Tsar Nicholas II and the appointment of a weak centrist provisional
government, which shared power with the socialists of the Petrograd Soviet.
This division of power led to confusion and chaos, both on the front and at
home, and the army became progressively less able to effectively resist the
Germans. Meanwhile, the war, and the government, became more and more
unpopular, and the discontent was strategically used by the Bolshevik party,
led by Vladimir Lenin, in order to gain power.
The triumph of the Bolsheviks in November was followed in December by an
armistice and negotiations with the Germans. At first, the Bolsheviks
refused to agree to the harsh German terms, but when the Germans resumed the
war and marched with impunity across the Ukraine, the new government acceded
to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918, which took Russia out of
the war and ceded vast territories including Finland, the Baltic provinces,
Poland and the Ukraine to the Central Powers.
Turning of the tide
1917 finally saw the entry of the United States into the war.
Entry of the United States
Early in 1917 Germany resumed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
This, combined with public indignation over the Zimmerman Telegram, led to a
final break of relations with the Central Powers. President Woodrow Wilson
requested that the United States Congress declare war, which it did on April
6, 1917. (Only one member of Congress, Jeanette Rankin of Montana, voted
against the war).
The United States Army and the National Guard had mobilized in 1916 to
pursue the Mexican "bandit" Pancho Villa, which helped speed up the
mobilization. The United States Navy was able to send a battleship group to
Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, and a number of destroyers
to Queenstown, Ireland, to help guard convoys. However, it would be some
time before the United States forces would be able to contribute significant
manpower to the Western and Italian fronts.
The British and French insisted that the United States emphasize sending
infantry to reinforce the line. Throughout the war, the American forces were
short of their own artillery, aviation, and engineering units. However,
General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Force commander, resisted
breaking up American units and using them as reinforcements for British and
French units, as suggested by the Allies.
German Offensive of 1918
The entry of the U.S. into the war the previous year had made the eventual
arrival of U.S. troops certain, while Russia's withdrawal and the Italian
disaster at Caporetto allowed the transfer of German troops to the West.
Four successive German offensives followed, that of May 27 yielding gains
before Paris comparable to the first advance.
On March 21, 1918 Germany launched a major offensive, "Operation Michael",
against British and Commonwealth forces. The German army developed new
tactics involving stormtroopers, infantry trained in Hutier tactics (after
Oskar von Hutier) to infiltrate and take trenches.
The Allies reacted by appointing French Field Marshal Foch to coordinate all
Allied activity in France, and then as generalissimo of all Allied forces everywhere.
The German offensive moved forward 60 km and pressed the British lines so
much that the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commander, Field Marshal Sir
Douglas Haig, issued a General Order on April 11 stating "With our backs to
the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight
on to the end." However, by then, the German offensive had stalled because
of logistical problems. Counterattacks by Canadian and ANZAC forces pushed
the Germans back.
The American Expeditionary Force, under General John Pershing, entered the
battle lines in significant numbers in April 1918. At the Battle of Belleau
Wood, from June 1 to June 30, 1918, the Second Division, including the
United States Marine Corps, helped clear out the German offensive
On July 18, 1918, at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, French and American
forces went on the offensive.
The British Army, using a large number of tanks, attacked at Amiens on
August 8 causing such surprise and confusion that German commander-in-chief,
General Ludendorff, said it was "the blackest day of the German army."
On September 12 the First United States Army, which had recently been
organized from the American Expeditionary Force, eliminated the Saint-Mihiel
salient, which the Germans had occupied since 1914. This salient threatened
the Paris-Nancy railroad line. American forces were short of artillery
support, which was provided by the French and British. This also was the
first use of the U.S. Tank Corps, led by Lieutenant Colonel George S.
Patton. Four days later, the salient was cleared out.
On September 26 American forces began the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which
continued until the end of the war. A key German observation post on Hill
305 in Montfaucon d'Argonne was captured on September 27. Approximately
18,000 Americans fell during this offensive. This was the first offensive
conducted by the United States as an independent army. General Pershing's
general thrust was the Rhine River, which he expected to breach early in 1919.
On October 24 the Italian Army, with very limited American assistance, began
the Vittorio Veneto offensive against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which
lasted until November 4.
End of the War
Bulgaria was the first of the Central Powers to sign an armistice (September
29, 1918, followed by Turkey (October 30) Germany requested a cease-fire on
October 3, 1918, followed by Austria-Hungary. The fighting ended with an
armistice agreed on November 11 at Compiègne. Austria and Hungary had signed
separate armistices following the overthrow of the Habsburg monarchy.
When Wilhelm II. ordered the German High Seas Fleet to sortie against the
Allied navies, they mutinied in Wilhelmshaven starting October 29, 1918. On
November 9, a German Republic was proclaimed, marking the end of the 1871
German Empire. The Kaiser fled the next day to Holland, which granted him
political asylum. See Weimar Republic for details.
Allied Soldiers Killed:
* Belgium: 13,700
* British Empire: 908,000
o Australia: 60,000
o Canada: 55,000
o India: 25,000
o New Zealand: 16,000
o South Africa: 7,000
o United Kingdom: 715,000
* France: 1,240,000
* French Colonies: 114,000
* Greece: 5,000
* Italy: 650,000
* Japan: 300
* Montenegro: 3,000
* Romania: 336,000
* Russia: 1,700,000
* Serbia: 45,000
* United States: 50,600
Central Powers Soldiers Killed:
* Austria-Hungary: 1,200,000
* Bulgaria: 87,500
* Germany: 1,770,000
* Turkey: 325,000
* Austria-Hungary: 300,000
* Belgium: 30,000
* Britain: 31,000
* Bulgaria: 275,000
* France: 40,000
* Germany: 760,000
* Greece: 132,000
* Romania: 275,000
* Russia: 3,000,000
* Serbia: 650,000
* Turkey: 1,000,000
Distinguishing features of the War
The First World War was different from prior military conflicts: it was a
meeting of 20th century technology with 19th century mentality and tactics.
This time, millions of soldiers fought on all sides and the casualties were
enormous, mostly because of the more efficient weapons (like artillery and
machine guns) that were used in large quantities against old tactics.
Although the First World War led to the development of air forces, tanks,
and new tactics (like the Rolling barrage and Crossfire), much of the action
took place in the trenches, where thousands died for each square metre of
land gained. The First World War also saw the use of chemical warfare, and
aerial bombardment, both of which had been outlawed under the 1909 Hague
Convention. The effects of gas warfare were to prove long-lasting, both on
the bodies of its victims (many of whom, having survived the war, continued
to suffer in later life) and on the minds of a later generation of war
leaders (Second World War) who, having seen the effects of gas warfare in
the Great War, were reluctant to use it for fear that the enemy would
retaliate and might have better weaponry.
Notable infantry weaponry of World War 1 included the Maxim machine gun.
British forces used the Lewis gun and Webley. American forces used the
Browning Automatic Rifle and M1911. German forces used the Karabiner 98k and
Luger. French forces used the Chauchat.
A deadly war
Many of the deadliest battles in history occurred in this war. See Ypres,
Vimy Ridge, Marne, Cambrai, Somme, Verdun, Gallipoli. See Wars of the 20h
Century for various totals given for the number that died in this war. For
instance, is it proper to consider the Influenza pandemic (see below) as
part of the overall death count for the war, given the important part the
War played in its transmission?
Perhaps the single most important event precipitated by the privations of
the war was the Russian Revolution. Socialist and explicitly Communist
uprisings also occurred in many other European countries from 1917 onwards,
notably in Germany and Hungary.
As a result of the Bolsheviks' failure to cede territory, German and
Austrian forces defeated the Russian armies, and the new communist
government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. In that treaty,
Russia renounced all claims to Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
(specifically, the formerly Russian-controlled Congress Poland of 1815) and
Ukraine, and it was left to Germany and Austria-Hungary "to determine the
future status of these territories in agreement with their population."
A separate, but related event was the great influenza pandemic. A new strain
of Influenza, originating in the U.S.A. (but misleadingly known as "Spanish
Flu") was accidentally carried to Europe with the American forces. The
disease spread rapidly through the both the continental U.S. and Europe,
reaching, eventually, around the globe. The exact number of deaths is
unknown, but in excess of 20 million people worldwide is not considered an
overestimate. See also: Spanish Flu
Social trauma: The experiences of the war lead to a sort of collective
national trauma afterwards for all the participating countries. The optimism
of 1900 was entirely gone and those who fought in the war became what is
known as "the Lost Generation" because they never fully recovered from their
experiences. This was especially acute in France where a huge number of
their young men were killed or injured during the conflict. For the next few
years the nation became obsessive in its mourning and thousands of memorials
were erected, one for each village in France.
Nearly 15 percent of the land area of the German Empire was ceded at Allied
insistence to various countries. The largest confiscated part of Germany was
given to Poland; this part was called the "Polish Corridor" because of its
position between East Prussia and the rest of Germany. In addition the
western powers helped Poland gain another huge chunk of land in western
Ukraine. Britain and France occupied the vast majority of former German and
Ottoman colonies as "League of Nations mandate s".
Russia also lost substantial land. The countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and
Estonia were created to accommodate ethnic groups. Also, land was taken for
addition to Poland, and Romania.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken into many pieces. The new republics
of Austria and Hungary were established, disavowing any continuity with the
empire. Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia formed the new Czechoslovakia. Galicia
was transferred to Poland and South Tyrol and Trieste went to Italy.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Vojvodina were joined with Serbia
and Montenegro to form the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later
Yugoslavia. Transylvania became part of Romania.
Because of the intermixed population and partly because of the interests of
great powers, the new borders did not always follow ethnic divisions. The
new states of eastern Europe nearly all had large national minorities.
Hundreds of thousands of Germans continued to live in the newly created
countries. A quarter of ethnic Hungarians found themselves living outside of
Less concrete changes include the growing assertiveness of Commonwealth
nations. Battles such as Gallipoli for Australia and New Zealand, and Vimy
Ridge for Canada led to increased national pride and a greater reluctance to
remain subordinate to Britain, leading to the growth of diplomatic autonomy
in the 1920s.
Also extremely important was the participation of French colonial troops
from Indochina, North Africa, and Madagascar without whom France might well
have fallen. When these soldiers returned to their homelands and continued
to be treated as second class citizens, many became the nucleus of
* Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont-Hamel
* The Cenotaph, London
* Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
* Montfaucon American Memorial
* Ossuaire Memorial
* Pennsylvania Memorial
* Thiepval Memorial
* Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing at Passchendaele
* Verdun Memorial Museum
* Vimy Ridge Memorial, Vimy, France
Many towns in the participating countries have a war memorial dedicated to
local residents who lost their lives.
Tombs of the Unknown Warrior:
* Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
* Westminster Abbey, London, UK
The first major television documentary on the history of the war was the
BBC's The Great War (1964), made in association with CBC, the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation and The Imperial War Museum. The series consists of
26 forty-minute episodes featuring extensive use of archive footage gathered
from around the world and eyewitness interviews. Although some of the
programme's conclusions have been disputed by historians it still makes
compelling and often moving viewing.