The Complete History of the Second World War

The Complete History of the Second World War

2017, Military and War  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 7.51/10 from 68 users.

With staggering ambition and an epic storytelling sense, The Complete History of World War II transports viewers back to the war to end all wars. Spread across two tightly presented segments, the film is a feast for viewers who are anxious for fresh insight and perspective on this defining moment in world history.

Part 1 begins where it all ended. The United States drops two nuclear bombs atop Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 130,000 civilians and effectively drawing a close to the war. This was as an unspeakably tragic conclusion to a long and ugly conflict, but the events leading up to it were no less dramatic.

Most historians trace the opening curtain of the war to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party, and their infiltration of Poland in 1939. This aggressive action was met with an immediate and dire response from Britain and France, who threatened full-fledged war if German soldiers failed to withdraw. Their warning went unheeded.

What follows is a complex tale of rapidly spreading tyranny, innovative combat strategy, the strengths and insecurities of the world's most powerful leaders, and a series of military milestones including the fall of France, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and Hitler's first overture to war with the Soviet Union.

The second segment submerges us in the growing tensions between Japan and the United States, and the surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor. The date that would forever live in infamy demanded a swift and powerful retaliation from the U.S. as they officially began their foray into the war.

From the unimaginable horrors of tens of millions of dead soldiers and civilians to the tremendous acts of valor in the face of insurmountable odds, the documentary pays tribute to the grand canvas of the Second World War with profound and solemn respect.

The film is steeped in an impressive collage of imagery from the period, and its constant barrage of information is delivered deftly and with a great attention for detail.

The Complete History of World War II is a finely researched treatment of one of history's costliest and most consequential conflicts.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. David

    All these documentaries on WW2 only serve to ensure the real reasons for the war are never understood, because, let's be honest, we are spoiled snowflakes in the west and much prefer to believe fairy tales than the awful truth.

    The reasons given for going to war by our leaders in defending freedom and democracy are just rubbish. All wars are fought out over the control of the world's resources by the world's major industrialized nations, as none of them have the resources within their own borders to feed their industries. The British had their colonial possessions and were already up to their necks in blood and fighting to hold on to them, against the heavily industrialized Germany that was desperate to get their share. America's star was rising and so was the need for huge amounts of material resources that the US would need. While the British used colonial occupation, the US has used imperialist regime change overthrowing well over 50 elected governments since WW2 alone, and waging imperialist war for resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa today. Our life styles are contingent upon the continued misery of millions in the third world that was created by the west

    The very idea of brave war heroes are just more fairy tales....they are terrified cannon fodder hoping to God they will survive .

    Democracy has never existed anywhere. Freedom does not come at the end of a barrel. It will only come when we throw away our guns, stop voting for psychopaths and learn to share know, like we tell our children

    “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, and said "this is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

    Jean Jacques Rousseau, The origins of inequality 1754

    1. Dion Hunter Sanchez

      You speak of a fairyland yourself. Because there are maniacs, we can't give up guns or the space we occupy because there aren't enough people that think this way. Soldiers were brave and heroic son, otherwise what adjectives can we possibly use to describe the differences between those who hid in a foxhole and those who charged the enemy?

  2. David

    Funny how our American friends seem to have a problem understanding the narrator, I think he speaks very clearly. I am from Australia, and we have the worst accent in the entire Galaxy and are in no position to complain about anything when it comes to speech.

    If you have problems with this guy, you will have no hope of understanding Welsh, I don't think they really understand it themselves. They do have a nice flag with a dragon on it, that must count for something?????????

  3. tom pugh

    Poor pronunciation, poof spelling, and some outright wrong information seriously detract from this item: it was interesting and viewable because it did have some previously unseen pics and elaborated on some heretofore minor incidents in the war that actually are given little or no coverage by most war historians and writers. It's overall rating is mediocre in light of other treatments and better narrators, and I would hate to cite it as an authoritative (re)source in any scholarly paper..

  4. Blah Blah crap story

    WOW...British forces capture Sidi Barani? Nope Australian forces did..British forces took Tobruk? Nope more Australians, the Australians were the majority force and it was them who held out at Tobruk for 242 days....Tobruk fell after the Australians withdrew even though more "British" forces replaced the Australians.

    1. Derek

      During WW2 all Commonwealth soldiers were considered part of the "British Army" and under overall command of British generals. But they did serve in separate units like the Australians, Anzacs, Canadians, Indians, Gurkhas etc. And these Commonwealth soldiers served with great distinction. So when historians say British forces during WW2 they include Commonwealth soldiers like the Australians.

  5. Chad

    Where is Part 2 ?

  6. Laurence Hickey

    The narrator cannot speak English. Every word is a mystery to him. Pathetic.

  7. Pie

    Wow looking at the comments I see that Americans can't take NORMAL english. greetz from the Netherlands.

  8. Malcolm Jackson

    The narrator is Welsh, hence the awful mispronunciation.

    1. Glen Gettie

      you've obviously never heard a Welsh accent, if you listen to the likes of Richard Burton & Anthony Hopkins you will hear amongst the best spoken English from Welsh people. you sir are an idiot, the narrator is probably picked because he doesn't speak with a harsh accent to suit the awful subject and with what us Brits would call an almost BBC accent.

  9. Robert Canaan

    Readers Digest version of "The World At War", which, combined with "Victory At Sea", remain the two definitive, encyclopedic, historical film documents of WWII.

  10. Joe

    The narrator is British and it's a proper English accent. If you Americans can't understand it, turn on the subtitles... but be warned, it's using some kind of speech detection, so it's not perfect.

  11. Glenn

    Well narated and put together, we fail to learn from the past and continue to beat the drums of war.

  12. Ian

    The pacing of this parade of facts is much too fast for my liking.
    Coupled with the boring narration and mispronunciation this documentary is just ehh.
    The archival footage is nice though.

  13. DustUp

    History is written by the victors ...unless you are able to find an observer with less motive to cover or edit out very important elements. Recommend seeing "The Greatest Story Never Told". Don't agree with 100 percent but much of it.

    One way or another, the final reason for going to war boils down to money, despite claims to the contrary. Sadly all those young soldiers were injured or killed to put money into a few less than human pockets. Read Major General Smedley Butler's "War Is A Racket". Its not that long but telling.

    1. Derek

      Are you seriously saying that Hitler & Nazi Germany didn't start WW2 in Europe in 1939 by invading Poland? Or that Japan didn't invade China in 1937 or attack Pearl Harbor in 1941?

    2. David

      The Crisis in Democratic Morality

      In order to guarantee the triumph of their interests in big questions, the ruling classes are constrained to make concessions on secondary questions, naturally only so long as these concessions are reconciled in the bookkeeping. During the epoch of capitalistic upsurge especially in the last few decades before the World War these concessions, at least in relation to the top layers of the proletariat, were of a completely genuine nature. Industry at that time expanded almost uninterruptedly. The prosperity of the civilized nations, partially, too, that of the toiling masses increased. Democracy appeared solid. Workers’ organizations grew. At the same time reformist tendencies deepened. The relations between the classes softened, at least outwardly. Thus certain elementary moral precepts in social relations were established along with the norms of democracy and the habits of class collaboration. The impression was created of an ever more free, more just, and more humane society. The rising line of progress seemed infinite to “common sense.”

      Instead, however, war broke out with a train of convulsions, crises, catastrophes, epidemics, and bestiality. The economic life of mankind landed in an impasse. The class antagonisms became sharp and naked. The safety valves of democracy began to explode one after the other. The elementary moral precepts seemed even more fragile than the democratic institutions and reformist illusions. Mendacity, slander, bribery, venality, coercion, murder grew to unprecedented dimensions. To a stunned simpleton all these vexations seem a temporary result of war. Actually they are manifestations of imperialist decline. The decay of capitalism denotes the decay of contemporary society with its right and its morals.

      The “synthesis” of imperialist turpitude is fascism directly begotten of the bankruptcy of bourgeois democracy before the problems of the imperialist epoch. Remnants of democracy continue still to exist only in the rich capitalist aristocracies: for each “democrat” in England, France, Holland, Belgium there is a certain number of colonial slaves; “60 Families” dominate the democracy of the United States, and so forth. Moreover, shoots of fascism grow rapidly in all democracies. Stalinism in its turn is the product of imperialist pressure upon a backward and isolated workers’ state, a symmetrical complement in its own genre to fascism.

      While idealistic Philistines – anarchists of course occupy first place tirelessly unmask Marxist “amoralism” in their press, the American trusts, according to John L. Lewis (CIO) are spending not less than $80,000,000 a year on the practical struggle against revolutionary “demoralization”, that is, espionage, bribery of workers, frame-ups, and dark-alley murders. The categorical imperative sometimes chooses circuitous ways for its triumph!

      Let us note in justice that the most sincere and at the same time the most limited petty bourgeois moralists still live even today in the idealized memories of yesterday and hope for its return. They do not understand that morality is a function of the class struggle; that democratic morality corresponds to the epoch of liberal and progressive capitalism; that the sharpening of the class struggle in passing through its latest phase definitively and irrevocably destroyed this morality; that in its place came the morality of fascism on one side, on the other the morality of proletarian revolution.

      Their morals and ours

  14. Mike

    Legion of nations?
    I could go on.... .

    If you want your documentary to be taken seriously please have someone check your work beforehand. Unfortunate, because I was enjoying the footage.

  15. Last Viewer

    There are more facts, details not mentioned in other previous docs but since this doc isn't split into 3, 5 or even 6 episodes; it make it close to impossible for the viewer to swallow and digest the whole.
    Too bad because of this.

  16. stu

    Quite a good short version of WW2 but sadly spoilt by a drab voiced narration. The guys pronunciation of well accepted words is so odd that it leaves one guessing half the time what he is referring to. Shame!

  17. Immi

    The narrator sounds like some kid trying to come across with a posh accent and failing miserably! That just put me right off in the first 10 seconds.

  18. J Hueb

    The Reasons for the War are CLEARLY spelled out in"Tell The Truth and Shame The Devil"
    by Gerard Menuhin the son of the famous Jewish violinist Yehudi Menuhin! Read it and WEEP!-JVH They were not what We(Americans) have been told or this Movie depicts!!-JVH

    1. DS

      So you don't believe Nazi Germany started the war in Europe and Japan started the war in Asia? You don't think Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews of Europe? You somehow believe England, France, USA & USSR wanted war w/ Germany? What's your evidence if that's what you believe?

    2. Derek

      So what were the reasons for WW2 if it wasn't Nazi Germany invading Poland & Japan invading China & later attacking the USA? Are you saying those events didn't happen? What evidence is there that contradicts anything said in this documentary? Be specific.

  19. John

    Considering all the shooting going on I have to conclude that humans are the worst shots imaginable. It might have been more interesting if every shot had found a mark.