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.