The World At War
The World at War is a 26-episode television documentary series on World War II, including the events leading up to it and following in its wake. The series was produced by Jeremy Isaacs for Thames Television (UK). Commissioned in 1969, it took four years to produce, such was the depth of its research. It premiered on ITV in 1973 at a cost of £900,000 (2006: £10.9m) a then record for a British television programme. The series was narrated by Laurence Olivier and its score was composed by Carl Davis. A book, The World at War, was written to accompany the series by Mark Arnold-Forster.
The series interviewed leading members of the Allied and Axis campaigns, including eyewitness accounts by civilians, enlisted men, officers and politicians, amongst them Albert Speer, Karl Dönitz, Walter Warlimont, Jimmy Stewart, Bill Mauldin, Curtis LeMay, Lord Mountbatten, Alger Hiss, Toshikazu Kase, J.B. Priestley, Brian Horrocks, John J. McCloy, Lawrence Durrell, Arthur Harris, Charles Sweeney, Paul Tibbets, Anthony Eden, Traudl Junge and historian Stephen Ambrose.
Jeremy Isaacs says in "The Making of The World at War" (included on the DVD set) that he sought to interview, not necessarily the surviving big names, but their aides and assistants. The most difficult subject to locate and persuade to be interviewed, according to Isaacs, was Heinrich Himmler's adjutant, Karl Wolff. The latter admitted to witnessing a large-scale execution in Himmler's presence.
It is often considered to be the definitive television history of the Second World War. Some consider it the finest example of the documentary form. It also presented rare colour film footage of some of the war's events.
In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, The World at War ranked 19th.
The series has 26 episodes. Producer Jeremy Isaacs asked Noble Frankland, then director of the Imperial War Museum, to list fifteen key campaigns of the war and devoted one episode to each. The remaining eleven episodes are devoted to other issues, such as home life in Britain and Germany, the experience of occupation in The Netherlands, and the Nazis' use of genocide.
A New Germany (1933–1939)
The rise of the Nazis in Germany and German territorial gains prior to the outbreak of war. Interviewees include Werner Pusch and Christabel Bielenberg.