The World At War

I was forced to take a later lunch break today due to a meeting at work. I got home to let the dogs out and have some lunch, switched on the television to catch up on the days news and it came on tuned to BBC2 (was watching Newsnight last night before retiring) and an episode of the excellent The World At War was just starting. I then spent the next 50 minutes engrossed and appalled by the history and horror of the allied bombing campaign during WWII.

Produced in the early 70s this amazing 26-episode television documentary series on World War II is often considered to be the definitive television history of the Second World War. Some consider it one of the finest examples of the documentary form ever produced.

The main praise for the series was the human factor, images of brutal fighting, dead bodies and atrocities are dispersed with often touching emotion filled recollections and eyewitness accounts by not only officers of both the Allied and Axis forces but also civilians, enlisted men and politicians. The sublime narration by Laurence Olivier and the score was composed by Carl Davis add to the gravitas and feeling that you should watch and learn – we really should never forget.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Produced in the UK for Thames Television and originally premiered on ITV in 1973 it is a stark contrast to the populist, rating chasing, non-educational drivel that spews from the same channel today.

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