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The War: a PBS Documentary about World War II

PBS has a fantastic documentary series about World War II called The War by Ken Burns. It took Burns six years to create the film series, which follows the lives of soldiers that actually fought the war and their families:

Sixteen million American men and women served in uniform during the war; more than 400,000 lost their lives. Find out from those who were there what the war was like on the front lines - in the air, at sea, and on the ground. Discover how they trained and how they fought - and what it was like for them to come home.

Link - Thanks Steve Pearson!


meaning no offense to the Americans who served in WWII,

but when do we see any acknowledgment of our allies?

you know, the millions of troops from other countries, like Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, France, Poland, etc.

and, any bets on how much time this documentary devotes to the Nisei and Negroes who served in our army?
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There's a touch of controversy attached to this latest Burns series - there are two versions of it that have been sent out for airing. One is untouched, but a second version has been censored, altered to remove any four letter words thanks to the scare tactics of the FCC. Viewers will have to check with local affiliates to see which version they'll be viewing.
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In the parts of the series I've watched, there have been interviews with "the Nisei and Negroes who served in our army," as well as Nisei and Negroes who weren't allowed to serve.

This documentary isn't so much about the war as about the American experience of the war—on the homefront and on the front lines. If that's not your cup of tea, don't watch.
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I'm currently watching episode three, all I can say is that Ken Burns just has a magic for making documentaries that just catch your attention and hold them for the entire series. It's not like we haven't heard some of these stories before, but the way the whole package is put together, the archival films, the interviews, etc., is just pure magic.

The interviews with former veterans is simply awe inspiring. What continues to amaze me is the savagery and brutality of the battles in both theaters of World War 2. What also struck me was how the war department censored all news coming from the front, especially the Pacific theater, to keep all the horrendous casualties out of the public eye. It wasn't until 1943 and the battle of Tarawa that a horrified American public became aware of the tremendous cost.

Indeed the generation that fought WW2 was the greatest generation. There is no way our current generation would have the stomach to fight a war like that, where a single campaign that lasted a few months would exceed the current casualty rate from Iraq by a factor of two or more.
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I thought Part 1 of Burns' show was the best so far...last night's coverage of the African front and the women building planes was kinda snore-worthy, but tonight brought up how weird it was to be a Japanese-American who wanted to ride a bus--and didn't know whether to ride with the whites or the blacks.

Wow. Great work all around, and I can't wait to see the finale. WWII was such a different war, and everyone in America was indeed touched by it.
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It is well researched and features many ordinary people and the stories they tell from those terrible years. It is also worthy because it does not glamorise war and tells of the mistakes made.
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Vemba, most of these world war 2 documentaries focus on Americans because they are made by Americans. If you ever watch British documentaries on world war 2 they are almost exclusively talking about the role of British soldiers.

I'll check it out, but honestly world war 2 has been done to death! It will be interesting to note how many of these shows are made once all the veterans of WW2 have passed away.
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the comment by 'L' is exactly the arrogant ignorance I was complaining about.

the Chinese had been fighting the Empire of Japan since the early 1930's, years after the Japanese had occupied Korea.

Poland was invaded in September 1939. France attacked May 1940, and the Battle of Britain started that same year.

Russia started fighting Germany in June 1941.

America entered the war December 1941.

the USA was, in fact, the LAST major power to enter the war.
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Well, at least some of the South Asian soldiers and others from the British Empire were finally recognized when the Queen established the Memorial Gates Trust @ Constitution Hill in London, UK.

http://www.mgtrust.org/index.htm

It's been a long time coming but I'm glad to see it finally up since many folks from the Caribbean, Africa and the India subcontinent (present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - henceforth referred to, for convenience, as ‘India’) will get some acknowledgment for their sacrifice.
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VembaTsith

Just to be exact: the French did not attack. they declared war, and then waited like a sheep for the slaughter.

And true, having watched a lot of French documentaries, they aim a lot on the Resistance, much less on the Debacle or the fate of the French navy... All documentaries have a domestic (or else) prism indeed.
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The documentary is quite good. As others have mentioned, the mistakes made throughout the process are highlighted, rather than swept under the rug. We also see stories of the Japanese-Americans in containment camps, as well as the blacks that fought in seperate companies.

I do not understand the FCC fines referring to the cursing. The images within the film are in no way suitable for children, and honestly, if you can handle a close up shot of a baby starved to death at a concentration camp, you can handle a few four letter words.
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