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World War II: Behind Closed Doors


World War II: Behind Closed DoorsThis a documentary film on the role of Joseph Stalin during World War II. The film combines narrative-led documentary segments, interwoven by dramatic re-enactments, with actors representing main political figures of the period.

The documentary carries information newly available to the public, from the Soviet archives, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

British historian Laurence Rees did the research compilation and lead writing for the series.

Joseph Stalin - the supreme leader of the Soviet Union - was a tyrant responsible for the death of millions. Yet he also had some unlikely relationships during the Second World War.

Not just with leaders of the great democracies like Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, but also with Hitler and the Nazis.

For the first time, this ambitious series from award-winning filmmaker Laurence Rees uses exclusive evidence gained from the actual conversations and secret meetings Stalin conducted with Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler, to dramatically reveal the true natures of the three leaders and how the meetings they had - and the decisions they made - shaped the world today.

Ratings: 6.93/10from 14 users.

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39 Comments / User Reviews

  1. 4 U GC

    really good thanks

  2. brianrose87

    I've watched a large number of WWII docs, and this one is, by a large margin, my favorite.

    Instead of telling the stories of the battles of WWII (there's dozens of great and not-so-great docs for that) this one does a tremendous job of describing the culture and psychology of the German people before and during WWII.

    Did you know that Hitler was Time magazines Man of the Year in 1938?

    They have a number of quotes from German citizens and diaries from before and during the war. The insight you gain into how easy it is to manipulate a population is astonishing... and a bit scary.

  3. deliaruhe

    I've always known about the terrible human price Poland paid, what with Katyn, getting trampled over twice, and having its beautiful cities reduced to rubble, but I didn't know the details of the political price.

    Stalin persecuted Molotov and his top military commanders because they were the people who best knew that the war was won despite Stalin, not because of him. He was not much of a Commander-in-Chief.

  4. Glen Hale

    Stalin gave a speech to the party the first person to stop clapping was taken out and shot .
    He help the Germans set up concentration camps before the war just the same as he had in Russia.
    Thanks goodness these people die eventually.

  5. taxfatcats

    Endless war made Stalin positively chipper.

  6. subinemedine

    It’s very incomplete .
    I wander why film creators “ forgot” about so many other countries devastated by Stalin and Hitler.


    I am deeply shocked to know that people in this world are so much selfish and cruel. Being a nuetral person (as i have no concern with any country involved), all the comments below do not deny that Stalin was the most cruel man, even i feel bigger than the Hitler. I wonder why people of Russia stuck to Basterd Stalin and obeyed him although Mr. Molotove who being an stanch loyalist of him was not spared from victimisation could end the devil by shooting him. In my view, all the Russians are also liable for the evil actions of Stalin as they obeyed him and did not raise against him. The America and Britain even acted selfishly and in the quest for power how pitty. Its wrong to thing that WW has ended. It definitely would not untill this world ends but the difference is; subjects, targets and weapons have been changed. To sum up, the documentary having perfectly matching cast was nicely reconstructed however I also felt that it was somewhat partisan with Britain but at the same time it was based upon truth. . ,I feel deeply sad for the people of Poland and Japan who both suffered the most atrocities in war for no fault of theirs.

    1. Richard Cloven

      And Japan???????

    2. Sarcastic_Drew

      You blame the Russian people, yet you actually feel sorry for the people of Japan? LMAO!!!!! Dude, do your research. Do you know how much brutal murder Japan did to innocent Asians, especially the Chinese. How could you say you're a neutral person by holding Russian citizens accountable for not overthrowing their government, yet shed a tear for the "victims" of Japan. I'm speechless. All I can say is, it takes all kinds in this sick twisted world of human domination, it takes all kinds. lolll

  8. Karol Olko

    Vlad, first of all, Stalin is responsible for more human deaths than Hitler. For him, everyone was considered an enemy, including his best officers in 1937 (??????????? for instance). I'm sure you've read "Archipelag Gulag" by Alexander Solzhenicyn. You know millions of people were sent to work & die on Siberia simply because they were unlucky, not because they were criminals... Therefore I just can't understand how come can you defend Stalin!? His tactics led to unimaginable losses on russian side. Many fine, young and brave russian men died due to his stubbornness.

    When talking about captivity, first, let's set the numbers straight:

    NKVD killed more than 20,000 polish officers in Katyn, Kalinin, Kharkov, Minsk and Kiev.

    Polish-Russian historian comitee proved in 2004 that the russian claims of 60,000 - 100,000 captivity casualties are wrong. The real number of russian POW deaths was between 16,000 and 20,000.

    Now, let's continue: as a polish citizen, I deeply regret for what happened in 1919-1921 in Strzalkow, Tuchola and in other POW camps. Polish side has always tried to excuse themselves by saying epidemies were a major factor in death rate. That was true, but our government didn't do much to help this situation. It was morally wrong, a terrible behaviour. Every historically & politically aware polish guy knows that.

    NKVD's mass murder in Katyn was an atrocity. We're glad russian citizens are more and more aware of that.

    I firmly believe no intelligent polish citizen considers a russian as a WWII Slaughterer... We understand you were ruled by a mad man, a sadist.

    Finally, I must say I'm proud to be a Pole. This film has shown there were (and hopefully, there still are) men of honour in our country. If I were a russian, I would be a proud man, too! But dude, relax and have an objective view on some matters!

    1. Abrao

      Please be informed about the facts on Stalin and WWII!
      It has everything to do with de Molotov-Ribbentrob pact.

      On September 17 1939 Soviet troops moved in into eastern Poland and re-captured territories that were taken from them by force in the Soviet-Polish War 1919-1921, namely western Belorussia and western Ukraine.

      Between September 17 and October 2 the Red Army captured 452 536 Polish prisoners of war, many of which were soon let free and could return to their homes. Among those who remained in Soviet captivity were 18 789 Polish officers. They were kept in three POW camps in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov.

      In the Spring of 1940, according to the official story, they were all cold-bloodedly massacred by the NKVD troops and buried in mass graves that were “found” in 1943 by the Germans.

      Immediately the Germans, led by their propaganda minister doctor Josef Goebbels, started a massive campaign with the goal to split the Western-Soviet alliance. Katyn affair was just perfect for that purpose. The Polish government-in-exile that was led by Sikorski, “bought” the German version almost immediately, before they even had a chance to examine the graves. Shortly after that the Soviets broke their diplomatic contacts with the Poles.

      After the WWII the Katyn affair had been a political weapon used by western “democracies” in their war against the “evil Soviet empire” (for instance in 1950?s, during the coldest times of the cold war, when american congress investigated the case and made a conclusion that the Soviets were guilty).

      When times of perestroika came Mikhail Gorbachev was severely pressed by the Poles and Jaruzelsi to admit that the “Katyn crime” was carried out by the Soviet NKVD… and in April of 1990 he officially proclaimed that that was what happened without presenting any single evidence to that.

      In 1990?s investigations began in order to find “the truth” about Katyn, and several documents were “found” by the new new Russian liberalists. Those documents that are supposed to prove the Soviets guilt wer Beria’s memo of March 5, 1940; Politbureau’s decision from the same date, and KGB chief Shelepin’s memo to Khrustchev of March 3, 1959.

      Those documents proved to be fakes. For instance, the Beria memo was published again three years later (in 1995) but had no date on it this time. How come? Later the liberalist archivists said that the date was actually March 3, 1940. So, what should we believe in: March 5, March 3 or “…March, 1940?? Your guess is as good as mine.

      Many witnesses have told stories that do contradict with the now official version. For instance, several people had witnessed that they had seen Polish officers in Smolensk in July of 1941! If those same (?) officers were killed by NKVD, then they should have been lying in their graves since March or April of 1940. But, no, people saw them with their own eyes!

      The place were the supposed NKVD crime took place was a Soviet pioneer camp that was used until June of 1941. Did the children live in their tents that were placed directly on the newly created massgraves (with stinking air and odoeur from dead bodies beneath them all around)?

      There are lots and lots of arguments against the now official version. And those are no Soviet revisionist propaganda as some people may object. Those facts are undeniable and point towards German guilt. The Katyn crime has not been properly investigated by the Russian authorities. Between 1990 and 2004 lots of documents were assembled, but now only 1/3 of them are publicly available. And the problem is probably not that Russians are trying to cover up Stalin’s crimes. They are rather trying to cover up their own failed investigation with all the fake documents and fake witnesses that contradict even each other.

    2. WHAT ABOUT all these letters and diares made by Polish soldiers? , the camps for kids were on the other side of the forest you f... comunist . why those grave was not examin.? coz russian did not let europan comission to do it....

  9. Vlad Borisov

    From all the comments i found only one worthy from Farking Spamhell.
    BBC is indeed good at brain washing, does this documentary mention the facts that prior the ribentrop-molotov pact USSR has been trying to make an alliance vs germany with the french/england/checkoslovakia/poland and only french and checkoslovakians were considering it and britain forced them to deny. only after ussr failed to ally with them they turned their eyes to germany, germans didnt wanted to fight in two fronts and so thats why after negotiations between russia and+ britain failed germans quickly approached and signed pact with russians. Poland was germanys ally and didnt believe that germans would attack them until it was too late... that the allies sold out checkoslovakia to germans as part of their brilliant appeacement policy... nooo we dont hear anything like that.... we start straight from the point where evil russians are slaughtering everyone.... few thousand polish officers etc... did you know what happened to the thousands of russian soldiers that were captured by poland in the war in 1920's they were all killed... and here we talk about almost 100,000 men that never returned home from polish captivity....

  10. James del Valle

    not backing this up with fact but common sense dictates that Hitler had to gamble and attack Russia because it was a matter of time before Russia attacked Germany, the longer the War went on the stronger the Russians would have been and the weaker Germany would have been through fighting the British empire.

  11. TonyIII

    Here is the template: As for the communists: Who knew? Both Stalin and Hitler knew that the alliance changed nothing. Hitler's nationialism was intrinsically opposed to communist one worldism . It was no big secret. Intell of the time showed the USSR massing for an attack: read Gen Gehlin's book.Portraying this as a betrayal by Germany of the good guy communists is simply mistaken.

  12. delhibiguy

    Great films! I was always unclear about how the world went from WWII to the cold war and this series makes that amply clear. I only wish they had better actors playing Churchill and Stalin.

  13. oxoox

    Excellent Series!!

  14. Pete Leclair

    Without a doubt we would be Japanese or Germrussia.Regardless the world needs to realise it is now the Arab nations on the verge of potential mass murder and there is not a damn thing that can be done about it except make peace and get along.We will all perish if this is ww3

    1. Axel Robert Geyer

      I think if ww3 was to happen due to all the problems in the Middle East, and Africa's muslim countries, it is not because of them but because America and Europe's Governments decided so and not the Muslim Nations in the world starting it. The news are extremly biassed , and sadly 99% of the people in the world have a complete wrong understanding of the muslim religion thanks to that.
      Ps I lived for 10 years in the Middle East.

    2. Martin Mirek

      Very true, its like people are brian washed by television into thinking theyre all terrorist, when its a select few who represent the whole, otherwise they seemed like nice people in restorepo and other docs i guess theyre just pissed at times at what the american invasion

    3. kilgore h

      Yeah thats why Israel has all those Nukes aimed at Western Capitals, how many wars has Iran started? How many has Israel started? The entire Arab bloc has ZERO NUkes except for Pakistan which is balanced by Indias menagerie. The Sub contineent has been trying to self immolate since 48. Israel is the one who keeps the kettle boiling

    4. adilrye

      The replies here are spot on. We are so brainwashed to believe that it's the Muslim countries that will lead to WW III...(my grandma recently asked me if the Muslims will end the world, which shocked me), yet a war between Egypt and Iran (for example) WOULD NOT be WW III until the big powers get involved. The region only becomes "the birthplace of WW III" because of Western (and increasingly Russian and Chinese) interest in the region.

      In fact, if there were a WW would probably have something to do with the Far East, between China and the United States for dominance of the Pacific, it would have little to do with the Middle East.

  15. 0zyxcba1

    A bullet in the right place can change the World.

  16. Sam Adams

    Man, just imagine what might have happened if Hitler would not have turned on Russia and they remained allies throughout. Scary thought.

    1. kilgore h

      I have often wondered why the foolish Brits and French didnt attack the USSR as well. They attacked poland too. If yer scared, say yer scared

    2. Jack1952

      They didn't declare war on the USSR because they didn't want the Soviets to ally themselves any further with Germany. Fighting Germany alone was daunting enough and almost failed. In the end, Britain allying itself with the USSR turned the war effort in their favor. Strategically, it was brilliant. Morally, it was repugnant. In any case it was not foolish. They won the war. That was the objective. If anyone was foolish, it was Hitler, by invading the Soviet Union.
      It would appear that you carry a personal bias and have find it difficult to make an objective assessment about the period in human history.

    3. PavolvsBitch

      Hey, Sam; scarey reality or hadn't you noticed?

  17. Justin_Funski

    Hindsight's 20/20. We should've blackmailed, pressured and rolled back the USSR as much as possible at the end of the war, it was the best possible time to have saved Eastern Europe from decades of Soviet tyranny.

  18. Justin_Funski

    Good behind the scenes stuff about what probably really happened and how major decisions are sometimes guided by the petty emotions of leaders.

  19. Glenn Lopez

    at 8:00... it sounds like they just modified the tetris theme song

  20. Farking Spamhell

    Nice documentary till you realize that sh^t was thrown at everyone but the British.

    I doubt this documentary exposed what really happened.

    As an example its obvious the British/US delayed the western front to try to weaken Russia and Germany. This was portrayed only as Stalin's paranoia or trust issue.

    Be careful of the BBC when it comes to politics/history. It is a brilliant propaganda machine.

    1. Jack1952

      Also be careful when criticism consistently target one group. It may be a sign of a personal agenda.

  21. Ivan Simo Simic


  22. An Oldfool

    I am working my through this insightful series. The story is intriguing since, like some below, most of this is news to me, despite a life long fascination with the period. The casting is wonderful, I think, and the integration of newsreels and reenactments is first class.

  23. Emanuele Pavone

    BBC, you've done it again!

  24. kilgore trout

    Poland should have allowed Germany to have the corridor and self determination observed in the "stolen" territories. Also Stalin had moved many armoured units to western Russia prior to any of this. If Hitler hadnt attacked the Communists we would all be living under communism now.

  25. KingLucas

    amazing...even though Ive studied world war 2 all my life and knew all of the facts pointed out in the doc, i still enjoyed it nicely done !

  26. Heather Wade

    For some reason, I can't get enough of WWII information!! Love it!

  27. John Andrew Murray

    Great another one!!