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    The World Wars

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    Do you Know

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    Biographies for the B(ibl)iophile

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    Harry Potter





“Before history knew their names, they fought their own battles.

World War 1: The world changed them. World War 2: They changed the world.”

There is so much to learn and re-examine about the World war 2; 70 years on there are still new discoveries,fresh interpretations or just the comfort of repetition. And it is this which makes “The World Wars”  a documentary on History channel remarkable. It’s a smart,imaginatively made and unusually sweeping look at what happened in the world for Sarajevo in 1914 to Hiroshima in 1945 or as Churchill put in,”One story of a 30 years’ war.”


The history here is presented through narration and re-creations of events, augmented by on-screen commentary by contemporary military and political figures and historians. For instance, the first scene opens in the German trenches of World War I, where a young man with watery eyes almost dies during an enemy gas attack because he can't tighten his gas mask over his wide mustache. The attack over, he takes a knife and trims his mustache to a tiny thing just under his nose. It is Hitler, described as an orphaned "lost soul" who found in the German army "a place to belong."


The whole idea behind this docudrama is going through the lives of all the major players of World War 2 in World War 1 to help us understand the circumstances which let to the 2nd world war, arguably the biggest ever in the world in terms of casualties etc. And then proceed to the roles all these individuals played in the second world war. The main personalities in the series are primarily Adolf Hitler,Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles De Gaulle,Benito Mussolini and Tojo(The Japanese General). There are many experts who keep giving their views throughout the documentary, be it political figures like such as Sen. John McCain, Mario Monti,the recent Italian prime minister,and British Prime Minister John Major or people with a military background like Gen. Colin Powell,Gen. Stanley McChrystal etc along with eminent historians and of course, the narrator of the show Jeremy Renner.


The actors portraying the role of Hitler and Winston Churchill are remarkable in their performance, bringing each emotion of their character as they understood to life. In the first part of the series while we see how George Patton,being a supporter of technology, bring cars to assault Pancho Villa’s forces in Mexico before the U.S. entered World War I, in the second part we see how that penchant for technology led to Patton tanks which were instrumental in allies winning the war. The part about US being brought into war is pretty interesting too.When war loomed in the Pacific,while Franklin Roosevelt rushed to bulk up what had shrunk to become the world's 17th largest army, an intermediate plan was to cripple the Japanese war machine by cutting off Japan's main supply of oil, which was from the U.S. But Japan had an even better idea, as it turned out, of pretending that it wanted to negotiate an end to U.S. sanctions. While Washington embraced the negotiations, Japan secretly made plans to get oil from the South Pacific by attacking any country that stood in the way. It's hard not to think about Iran when hearing about that.Thereby came the whole Pearl Harbour attack which to this day makes historians think of the alternate scenario of US not coming into the war and the allies losing out leading to a world led by the axis powers.

"The World Wars" has a few annoying habits, including pared-down descriptions that can be depressingly inane. Thus, Stalin's U.S.S.R. when we first hear about it is summarized as a place of "no freedom, total censorship" and some "deadly work camps." Alas,six hours is not a long time to tell the story of the 30 years from the start of World War I to the end of World War II, let alone explain 100 million dead. The History channel's three-night series "The World Wars" has to summarize and simplify in ways that are not always edifying. However, the essence of something being better than nothing is very important as for the present generation, the horrors of the war are something which they’ve never seen and well, knowledge of the past is essential to improvise in the present to not keep making the same mistakes in the future.