World War II: Total War
The Second World War was a total war in which massive armies advanced, confronting whole populations with impossible choices. The manufacture of weapons transformed industry and the workforce; area bombing campaigns reduced cities to rubble; sieges doomed populations to starvation; racial policies sponsored campaigns of genocide. Told through incredible archive footage & expert interviews.
S01:E01 - A Terrible Precedent
The Second World War was the closest the world has come to a complete total war. But it was in the interwar years that nations honed the methods of destruction which were unleashed on a much wider scale in the Second World War. We look to wars in Manchuria, China, Abyssinia and Spain to see how each served as a ‘terrible precedent,’ revealing elements of total war that soon engulfed the globe.
S01:E02 - Arsenal of Democracy
Total War demands resources: economic, agricultural and industrial. It draws upon the labour and the morale of entire populations to meet its needs. When it became clear that strategies of appeasement would not prevent another world war, nations across the globe mobilised for total war. This episode examines and compares the extent of that mobilisation in countries in Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
S01:E03 - Unprecedented, Unmerciful and Unrelenting
The Second World War shattered the boundaries between battlefield and home-front in much of the world. As nation after nation fell to advancing armies, their people and their resources were subsumed into the total war efforts of occupying forces. In this episode we examine the impact of occupation and the stories of those who fought to resist their occupiers.
S01:E04 - Fear of the Air
In the Second World War civilians became defenders against and targets of aerial warfare on a scale never before seen. We trace the escalation of strategic bombing campaigns which incinerated great cities in an attempt end the war. We examine the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the deaths of tens of thousands in the ultimate expression of total war from the air.
S01:E05 - Rejoice in Life
Total War was not the cause of the Holocaust but it did provide a means for its execution. This episode will explore what role total war played in this genocide. How it enabled ‘ordinary people’ to take part in unfathomable horrors against innocent women, children and men under the cloak of war. How the administration of the war facilitated the enactment of a repugnant ideology.
S01:E06 - Enduring Peace
The end of the Second World War brought destruction and liberation, relief mixed with grief. Explore the aftermath of total war. The war crimes trials that sought to prosecute unprecedented crimes and established new laws that hoped to prevent their repetition. The creation of the United Nations, the hopes for an ‘enduring peace’ and the fate of millions of refugees displaced by total war.
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