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The First World War - The Complete Series [DVD]
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The First World War is the definitive documentary series about the global conflict which shaped the 20th century. Based on the book by Hew Strachan and narrated by Jonathan Lewis, the series covers all aspects of the war. The popular view of the First World War is dominated by cliché. Young British soldiers, many of them budding poets, were led to early and ghastly deaths in muddy wastes by incompetent generals for reasons that were seemingly futile. And although clichés are not necessarily lies, they are at best a selective view of the truth. This is a stunning account of the hostilities which offers new interpretations of and insights into one of the defining events of the twentieth century. And, for the first time, it offers a truly global vision of a conflict which is often misconceived as a prolonged skirmish on the Western Front. Accessible, compelling and utterly convincing, this is modern history revealed at its finest.
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Nonetheless, it has some interesting and useful vignettes which are usually ignored by mainstream productions, but as already averred, some episodes are so painfully simplistic that they are actually mischievously misleading eg. the discussion of the factions/factors that precipitated the outbreak of the war completely exonerates all - except the Central Powers of course. France in particular is portrayed as utterly innocent of any complicity in the outbreak, and generally presented as virtue personified and the victim of 'Hun militarism' - the fact that it had invaded German territory 31 times in the previous two centuries is conveniently omitted.
Perhaps more unfortunately (because the events occurred more than a century ago), most episodes have a strange barely concealed Germanophobic bias, (but produced and directed by Marcus Kiggell and Corinna Sturmer et al??) some so blatant as to suggest and imply that the 'usual' barbarities of war ( ie. the brutalities, savagery, looting and general excesses etc - they forgot raping for some reason?) were the exclusive proclivity of the 'bestial Hun' - no other combatants stooping that low.
Similarly, every idiotic utterance of the Kaiser is faithfully reproduced, but his English cousin's equally inane comments are tactfully omitted (not that royalty has ever been known for profundity)
Thus overall, although sprinkled with a few different and interesting insights and of course rare restored footage (corpses aside), its simplistic and slyly slanted treatment qualifies it as being 'definitive' only in a propaganda sense.
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it is 100 years since the end of ww1
hopefully something big will come out next year
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