The First World War

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The First World WarAlthough the First World War gets less attention than its successor, it was really the watershed event of the 20th century.

This conflict shaped the world that came after to this day. It was the catalyst for the rise of soviet communism in Russia, whose unraveling less than a decade and a half ago continues to affect worldwide diplomacy and economics.

Germany's defeat provided the opportunity for fascism and Hitler to come to power there, causing the Second World War and its greater destruction.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War and the diplomatic and political morass that followed was the precursor for the reconstitution of Israel and eventually brought the Middle East into center stage today.

This series is based upon the books and encyclopedic knowledge of Professor Hugh Strachan. It examines every aspect of the war, from its causes to the conduct of the war on and behind the front lines to its aftermath.

In doing so, it covers the diplomatic, political, military and social aspects, each of which played a role in shaping what happened and why. It does not just present the summary facts but goes in depth in its explanations.

For example, instead of simply depicting the spring 1918 German offensive on the western front, it gives detail about how they accomplished it, the attitudes of the troops on each side and the thought processes of the respective high commands.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist)

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Ratings: 8.50/10 from 131 users.
  • Guest

    @Vlatko
    A War doc on Thanksgiving is not appropriate in my mind. I'll pass. Too many boys at the top. lol
    az

    edit: i was tempted to take the comment off, but i will leave it here so people can see why i think it was a stupid comment on my part. It was inconsiderate to people of all cultures that come here and do not celebrate or know about Canadian Thanksgiving, it was also inconsiderate to Vlatko who can post as many War docs as he wishes.
    AND if you came to watch this doc it was not to read and comment on my view but to comment on this doc...so please do so.
    az

  • Anthony Williams

    This doc gives one the best and most accurate portrayals of the first world war I have ever seen.

    It reminds me of the Novel "Bomber" written by Deighton.

    I think the test of any piece of film, Literature,entertainment that is focused on history, is how well it can transport you into the shoes of the people of the time.

    This one does that perfectly, if you have the stomach and the patience!

    surely a future classic.

  • morgmorg

    I hate prequels.

  • BuzzBeak

    To be fair, the majority of us on this side of the Atlantic do not even know when Thanksgiving is!

    but Happy Thanksgiving

  • Guest

    Everything is a conspiracy. Do you not think that things could just happen of their own inertia?

  • Philio

    What a great doc, there is finally a source for a true historical perspective of the elements of WWI viewed without prejudice. It contains the subservice devices of all sides. No wonder they don’t teach this kind of history any more.

    Some of the rhetoric sounds like today’s news. There has got to be a handbook for it somewhere. And we think we have evolved beyond such claptrap. Same old propaganda attacks, same division of the masses, all with the same hopes of a workers paradise, I wonder who’s behind all the protest movements today? I wonder who will spring the trap this time around.

    I’ve always wondered why Lennon was so despondent over the revolution. The film clearly shows why he expected a world wide revolution. It was right there for the taking. What a shame but we have the seeds

  • Guest

    You are right.
    az

  • Guest

    For we Americans observe Thanksgiving a little later.

  • Guest

    i know, i lived in the us for many years and in Europe, was my bad. I get tired of war this and that...i guess some people like that kind of history.
    az

  • greyspoppa

    Very good doc have owned for about 4 years.

  • bbga

    Excellent documentary on WWI

    A must for any student of history

  • Guest

    Only those who make tons of money off of it, if I understand you correctly.
    But maybe I'm too optimistic...Lots of flag-waving rednecks all over this country.

  • mb.herbert

    Who is this Professor Hugh Strachan? Do you mean Professor Hew Francis Anthony Strachan?

  • tomregit

    @Azilda
    It's not a question of liking "that kind of history". History without warfare omits a large part in discovering who we are and how we got here. This applies to modern and ancient history and all parts between. No one needs to watch or study warfare if it is uninteresting to them, but totally ignoring it leaves one somewhat willfully ignorant.

  • Guest

    or willfully following the (hi)story of the winners.
    az

  • MMELT

    thanksgiving?

  • Guest

    Ok i've said already many times i was wrong...should i take the comment off?
    I......WAS..........WRONG.
    az

  • tomregit

    @Azilda
    No argument there, one should not believe everything told. Be skeptical and as I said, study history. Investigate.

    Thanksgiving? No,don't remove your comment. Unlike some of our American cousins you are worldly enough to know that Americans and Canadians celebrate the same holiday at different times.

  • murphmobile

    I was just a bit thrown off by some of the comments. For instance, it's mentioned that the assassination of Ferdinand was conspired by a group of Soviet officers. Is there any truth to that? I know that there were Soviets pre 1917, but were the officers secret Bolsheviks and part of a Soviet? Or did the documentary just use "Soviet" interchangeably with "Russian"?

  • magarac

    How could you ever consider everyone who could possibly read any comment?
    That is simply impossible.
    I know just about nothing at all about thanksgiving, but still very much get your point.

  • magarac

    Can´t help but wonder what Gavrilo Princip would thing of being responsible even if not directly for the death of 77 million people.
    The whole shooting Franz Ferdinand idea might not have been one of the best ones ever, but at least he did "something".

  • Guest

    I don't think you did...I said people of all cultures, not everyone.
    Also, read the last phrase.
    az

  • Hodd

    Assassination equals conspiracy, and it's naive to ignore power and monetary interests in world events regardless of whether or not things can happen of their own intertia.

  • 0xDeadBeef

    Yes, it was Thanksgiving here in Canada. Great, great doc but I wish it had a little more Canadian content. Not enough people are aware of our own history in this horrible conflict.

  • http://twitter.com/panthera_f panthera f

    Humanity= FAIL.

  • Guest

    No assassination does not equal conspiracy. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. It is naive to assume otherwise.

  • Anthony Williams

    I do believe events have their own inertia, but that we seek our own benefit in-spite of this and throughout it, is perhaps why such manifestly small tragedies can be magnified so grossly, until all sense and perspective is lost.

    I think you may be seizing on an ambiguity in my comment that arises from my failure to read the synopsis, I though it was going to be a short doc that dealt with the conspiracy to assassinate Ferdinand, as though this where some new aspect of things we had just discovered.

    With regards to that, I was totally wrong and may explain why my comment seems a little off base.

    So I will amend my comment...

  • kchief58

    Amazing Doc. The best on WWI, Excellent

  • Guest

    Derrick Thomas. One of my all-time favorite Chiefs.

  • kchief58

    Yep, thats why i wear his number Proudly,,Thanks

  • djc200

    I could only get through the first episode, from which I've gathered that during this time in human history, religion and just plain ignorance played a huge role in bringing mankind at arms against each other. It's clearer to me - now more than ever - that peace on earth is truly evolution for humanity. I cannot wait for the day when all nations cease to build objects to destroy one another.

  • magarac

    @djc200
    The most important reason for that tiny Serbian/Austro-Hungarian conflict to grow out of proportion in the way that it did was by far politics.
    And you are absolutely right about peace. War is just a huge waste of lifes, resources and time.

  • Placeboaddict

    Amazing series, and supplements "War of the world" nicely.

    At a glance, this conflict like uncountable following it, boils down to a manifestation of economic interests of the major players. Every time the blame is passed to the nearest and most obvious of scapegoats, who goes down in popular history as villains. While unnamed bankers/investors can claim their prizes, and reinvest has they see fit. War is business, and a rotten one at that.... this century's revolutions are likely to be very different, hopefully.

    It's really troubles me, that even now, the lending habits of nations and major banks are not subject to mandatory publication prior to the loans being issued. How are we ever supposed to know, who we are actually fighting for?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GQP5ARDHIANGW2HPZKNHXKWNYM aaroncalgary

    so the Irish were 2 days late to get their guns. figures. just pissed

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Samirich/1534965599 Michael Samirich

    There are those who wish to scapegoat the Balkans for the first world war and spread their psycological virus. One of the greatest examples of a small truth being turned into a big lie is that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the reason for this war, closer to the truth was that it was the excuse.
    For four and a quarter years a large part world went on killing each other in unprecidentented scale, and then like little children having a fight in the playground would say, some want to say to the Balkans you started it. For the love of humanity this stupid war should not have been allowed to go on so long. Bring it on bigots and smart alecs.

  • Sarcastic_Drew

    WW I was sparked not by the killing of Franz Ferdinand but of his ignorant driver. That d-bag should have studied the city's transportation system Ad nauseam, hindering the chances of taking a wrong turn. What a noob... ;)

  • Rafael Perez

    Any truth to the statement that WWI was caused because Germany wanted to build a railroad from Turkey to Iraq to get some of the the newly found oil?

  • adilrye

    Did you get to the part where they talked about the lulls in combat in the Western Front? Where, between 1916 - 1918, fighting was really sporadic? And then you see the soldiers enjoying themselves and having fun and not shooting one another if they don't need too...and my heart was warmed.

  • RileyRampant

    its certainly true that Serbia had a legitimate grievance against Austro-Hungary, and can only be taxed with an act of rebellion.

    Also, as noted in the doc, Serbia paid the higest per-capita casualty rate of any nation in the war. So it can't be said they didnt pay a steep price in any event.

    there is this small consolation - mano-y-mano, the Serbs kicked the fat, dumpy, spoilt Austro-Hungarian ass into the dirt. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/jamort68 James Orth

    Serbia got what they deserved for starting the war in the first place, too bad the rats won.

  • MickeyWool

    Serbia didn't started the war, don't be ignorant.

  • JVHREH

    Checkout "The History of the Baghdad Railway".-JH

  • JVHREH

    Check-out "The History of the Baghdad Railway"

  • cdnski12

    No mention of the terrific effort Canada put into WW1. Even British Generals admitted the Canucks were the best Commonwealth Soldiers at the end of WW1.

  • http://twitter.com/thegeekman Chris Rogers

    No @csnski12, to mention in-depth all the soldier groups from various nations would be gratiuitous and pointless. There were far too many such groupings - and incidentally, each earnestly believes that their own soldiers were the very best.
    I could name multiple countries that still hold the belief that "their boys" were the elite and were punching well above their weight (but will not, since I'd hate this to degenerate into an argument of the merits of each). This is a pretty dangerous view to harbour in my opinion.

    BTW - this series is simply the best WW1 doc I have seen. Focusses on many under-investigated aspects of it all. Especially loved the episode on Revolution.

  • Jordan Ryan

    Mr. Rogers csnski was just stating a fact, I have herd a quote from Winston Churchill stating the similar. He or she is obviously a Canadian who wants to know more about the country where he or she is from and its contribution to the war. Not very dangerous at all in my opinion. Check out Norm Christie's "For King and Empire" great Canadian war documentaries.

  • TankDriver

    That is the stupidist take on causes of the 1st World War I've ever heard

  • Sarcastic_Drew

    You sir, have no sense of humor, or sense of sarcasm for that matter.

  • http://twitter.com/HeidiLynnBorter Heidi-Lynn Borter

    Very interesting and beautifully portrayed! I wish I had a copy to call my own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.gregory.186 Justin Gregory

    New Zealand didn't "steal" Samoa. We were requested to seize it from the Germans by Britain. What else did you get wrong in this documentary?
    Having said that, what New Zealand did to Samoa after that until independence in 1962 could easily be described as a crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.parkison.5 Jeremy Parkison

    A very good documentary. I wanted to learn about WWI and that's exactly what I got.

  • lex lexich

    trixie nasty little Brit hobbits... no dignity in foolin' them u-boats

  • Guest

    Is there a better documentary on WWI out there? This one is crap.

  • serbiansoldier123

    Ha! please don't make me laugh. it wasn't the Serbs who started it it was one person and besides he was Bosnian.

  • Kapetan Esid

    Bosnian nation did not exist back then. It was the Bosnian Serb. Anyway, assasination of Franz Ferdinand was just the excuse for Austria-Hungary to attack on Serbia. War was planned way back by Germans and Austrians, especially general Von Schliffen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/devahsofia Devah Sofia Lucus

    They certainly had a large hand in why it came about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/devahsofia Devah Sofia Lucus

    The driver wasn't responsible for his government posting the route Ferdinand would take. It was foolishness. You have no proof that he didn't study the city's transportation system. Why would a driver a driver of a high official not? Does that really make sense?

  • https://twitter.com/2Drewish Sarcastic_Drew

    trololololol

  • WiseGapist

    He was joking...

  • Josh Wytaske

    that is a very minor detail.....it should be overlooked, not scrutinized, this documentary is exposing a lot of knowledge, it doesn't have to be linguistically accurate........

  • Bradley Morin

    A great documentary. Doesn't address the whole Rothschild and international bankers role in it all because most people would write that off as ludicrous. Aside from the always interesting banking aspect of war, this series is the most in-depth and well rounded WWI documentary out there. Concise yet detailed, informed yet objective. I have watched about 10 times over the past 4 years. Fine piece of work

  • guest

    Also Hitler fought in ww1 so he hated the jews many went trough staveation diet sorry for spelling really late at night

  • docoman

    So you're suggesting that everyone that fought in WWI on the German side hated Jews?

    No, that's wrong. There were quite a few Jewish soldiers on the German side in WWI, (both sides to be accurate), it had nothing to do with anti-semitism in WWI.

  • DC

    I really enjoyed this documentary, I watched all ten parts. There was so much footage of the war I had never seen before. What also stood out was the use of primary sources - letters home from soldiers, memoirs of great leaders - to explain what and why things happened, as opposed to interviews with historians. This gives the documentary a very non-biased feel. I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to watch all ten parts.

  • M V Mike

    In truth Austria internally was posing biggest treat to itself. They incorporated many different nations under one Crown while only one of all those nations enjoyed preferential status, tze Austrians. Habsburgs were posing a very poor ruler. For other nations there were no human and citizen rights, or very limited. It was domestic social bomb waiting to explode caused by grave dissatisfaction based on an internal ethic discrimination. Read the Hungarian (1848 ) uprising and the reasons for it. Habsburg Royal House were anything but peoples rulers. They presented worst form of hardcore ruthless rulers in Europe keeping their citizens slightly better then slaves. AH Empire was called those days " Dungeon of peoples". People in Bosnia didn't need Russian secret service to tell them about appalling living conditions, day to day life. They didn't need upper crust diplomacy to be involved. It was them who had to live that "slave" discriminative life. That could be well absolved and understood by reading authors of the period in their poems and novels.

  • Annie Stone

    I had to watch these documentaries for school since I got sick for a month and this was my makeup assignment. I had to write a report on each one. I didn't like doing it.

  • Robert Smith

    quite brilliant

  • Jon

    Wasn't JP Morgan the US banker who financed the end of World War 1? This was his legacy and in fact there was an attempt on his life by a German assasin.

  • Elfrad

    I agree with your assessment but much of what you mention would also describe the Russian Empire