War 2007
World War II wrought such changes that, nearly seven decades later, it remains the defining event of the world as we know it. In fact, the conflict has left such a lasting impression even today's youth know more about the events and personalities of WWII than they do any other military conflict since.

Ken Burns' The War doesn't follow the traditional path to discussing the events of World War II. There aren't high-level accounts of the causes, much about Germany's expansion, or Japan's aggression along the Pacific Rim. In fact, the film skims over the first three years of the conflict, entering the war at the same time the US did — December 7, 1941— the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill, and Hirohito each get a bit of screen time, but Burns' focus is from the point of view of the soldiers and their families. Specifically, this mini-series is about people from four American towns: Luverne, Minnesota; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Waterbury, Connecticut. By cutting back and forth between the warfront and the home-front, the battles in the Pacific and those in Europe, The War brings a strong sense of reality to what has become a somewhat whitewashed view of history.

Directors: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary, War

The following seven films are included as part of The War:

A Necessary War (2:22:19): Unlike the devastation that was sweeping Europe and Asia -- German and Japanese soldiers ruthlessly and with incredibly efficiency conquered large areas of land and untold numbers of peoples while leaving behind countless numbers of and paving the way for even more atrocities -- the American home front went relatively unscathed. The people felt safe and far from the troubles plaguing most of the rest of the world. Yet on December 7, 1941, the war came home. A Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor killed thousands of Americans. A shocked populace wanted into the fight. The American military was quickly modernized, industry boomed, and depression gave way to eagerness, manufacturing, and a renewed spirit. German submarines now patrolled and disrupted shipping along American coast lines. A Necessary War examines the early stages of American involvement in the war, including the Japanese siege of Corregidor, the Bataan Death March, American victories at Midway and the costly push through Guadalcanal, the preparations for the North African campaign, and the American internment of Japanese civilians.

When Things Get Tough (1:54:48): With the United States fully committed to the war effort and having been involved for a year, the Allies launch a major offensive into the outskirts of Nazi-held territory in Northern Africa. American forces are swiftly and decidedly crushed in the earliest fighting, but a change at the top -- the arrival of General George S. Patton -- results in a better-prepared American ground force and yields a major victory in the war's southern front. Later, Americans make a push into Italy, hoping to cripple a key Nazi ally and reclaim critical territory within Europe itself. When Things Get Tough also focuses on the ever-dangerous B-17 bombing raids over Nazi-controlled territory, life for American and allied POW's inside harsh Japanese camps, and the life of Japanese-Americans interned within the United States. Also featured is life on the home front, the revitalization of the economy, vanishing unemployment, the mass production of military goods, the role of American women in the war effort, and shortages and rationing of both luxury and staple goods.

A Deadly Calling (1:50:17): Deep into the war, and finally brutal pictures of combat and dead American soldiers appear in LIFE Magazine and, later, upon cinema screens in government-approved video clips of the Italian campaign which show firsthand the brutality of war, a glimpse into the conflict the American people could have never imagined from the safety of places like Luverne, Mobile, Sacramento, and Waterbury. As the deadly Italian campaign pushes forward, Allies circumvent enemy forces on land and launch a sneak attack into the heart of Nazi-held territory at a little seaside city called Anzio. Meanwhile, in the Pacific, the war effort against the Japanese Empire continues, with a key battle fought over the small atoll of Tarawa. Back home, the story of interned Japanese-Americans continues to evolve, and racial strife, violence, and discrimination continues even as the nation exists on a war footing and needs every able-bodied individual to contribute to the war effort. A Deadly Calling lays the groundwork for Japanese-American and African-Amaerican troops in the war, while also looking at the boom in manufacturing, scrap drives, and further sacrifices on the home front.

Pride of Our Nation (2:16:50): By the Spring of 1944, the tide of the war had changed. The Allies were making great strides across the Pacific, and much of North Africa and Italy lay under Allied control. But for all the successes, one more major move remained to be made: a coastal invasion of France. On the morning of June 6, 1944, Allied soldiers from Canada, England, and the United States landed ashore on France, the Americans in particular facing heavy resistance. But the day was won and the grueling but necessary fight to drive the Nazis from Germany was underway. Pride of Our Nation also takes a long look at the public reaction to the long-awaited invasion across the United States, both the celebratory initial reaction and the tragedy of the influx of KIA notices to follow. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, American forces continued their island-hopping push towards mainland Japan. The target for the Summer of 1944 was Saipan, a heavily-defended island and home to Japanese civilians, not just well-entrenched and dedicated soldiers. The Allies also won a major naval victory against the Japanese Empire at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a battle which would turn the tide of the Naval conflict in the Pacific once and for all.

FUBAR (2:04:21): By the middle of 1944, the push deep towards Germany was well underway, and Allied forces were under the assumption that the European war would be over by Christmas of that year. But things don't always go according to plan. Operation Market Garden was conceived as a plan to win the war in weeks, not months, to strike deep at the industrial heart of the German empire and finsih the thrust forward towards Berlin. But it proved to be a disastrous operation, "the best laid plans" and whatnot, a major setback for the Allies and a major, morale-boosting triumph for the Germans following the Allied successes in the wake of of D-Day. Meanwhile, Marines continued the difficult island-by-island trek through the Pacific and towards Japan. The latest target: Peleliu. Also: Japanese prisoners of war find hope in the skies; General MacArthur makes good on his promise to return to the Philippines; the Battle of Leyte Gulf, thought to be the largest naval engagement in history, is fought; and additional Eastward pushes towards Germany are highlighted.

The Ghost Front (1:56:51): By the end of 1944, victory was still out of reach in Europe -- contrary to popular belief earlier in the year and following the costly but successful invasion of France -- and the battle for the Pacific was far from won. Soon, the Pacific fighting would reach a small volcanic island called Iwo Jima, a critical midway point between Allied-control territory and mainland Japan. The battle for control of it would yield one of the bloodiest campaigns in U.S. military history. Meanwhile, in Europe, Hitler planned a daring counter-attack in the Ardennes Forest to slow, or prevent, the Allied advance. His plan: push westward, cut north, and drive the Allies out of Europe and into the sea. But the German brass was unsure of the plan. The German military was spread thin and her war machine low on material. Men of all ages and abilities were drafted, and the result was a costly, frigidly cold, and bloody confrontation that would come to be known as "The Battle of the Bulge." Meanwhile, prisoners of war in Manila finally taste freedom. This film also examines the role of medics in the war, the psychological repercussions of war, the Yalta Conference, the Allied firebombing of Germany and Japan, and the Allied push deep into Germany herself.

A World Without War (2:05:03): The lengthy war was taking its toll on all, including U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would die suddenly on April 12, 1945. His successor, Harry S. Truman, would not simply preside over the waning days of war, but he would be faced with a decision that would forever change the face of warfare, alter the world's military and political power structures, and usher in a new era of incredible might in the form of the tiny atom. In Europe, Nazi Germany was being squeezed on both fronts, with quickly-advancing Soviet forces to the east and Western forces coming in from the west, with final destruction or surrender seemingly the only choices for the Third Reich. In the Pacific, U.S. forces prepared for an assault of Okinawa, "the gateway to Japan," and a victory on that island would mean only the prospect of an invasion of mainland Japan, that invasion predicted to see the deaths of countless thousands, if not millions, of fighting forces and civilians, or the use of a radically advanced weapon that could destroy an entire city with a single blow. Also: Japanese kamikaze attacks; the liberation of Nazi concentration camps; the Potsdam Conference; the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis; and post-war celebrations and life in Waterbury, Connecticut; Sacramento, California; Mobile, Alabama; and Luverne, Minnesota.


• Audio Commentaries: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick discuss Episode One, A Necessary War; and Episode Four, Pride of Our Nation.

• Making The War: Burns, Novick, and others discuss the conflict. They also speak on the purposes behind making this documentary and the process of creating it, including choosing the four towns featured in the film, the benefits of the approach, interviewing veterans, creating new footage, assembling and organizing archival footage, the challenges of retelling major battles, mixing the film's sound effects, and crafting the score.

• Deleted Scenes: War Correspondents, Attacks on Aachen and Metz, Flies, Al McIntosh on Sacrifice, Sid Phillips Writes Home, Order 9066, Breaking Out of the Hedgerows, War Town, Wax Work, Jim Thomas Dies, Fussell Kills, The Old Country, Operation Cobra, Sam Hynes on Okinawa, Inouye's Lucky Dollar, Returning Fathers, and Sascha Comes Home.

• Additional Interviews: Quentin Aanenson, Asako Tokuno, Barbara Covington, Joe Medicine Crow, Paul Fussell, Tom Galloway, John Gray, Sam Hynes, Daniel Inouye, Sascha Weinzheimer, Jim Sherman, Burnett Miller, Bill Lansford, and Katherine Phillips.

5 x DVD9 + DVD5 | NTSC 16:9 | 39.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

6 x BD50 | 1080i AVC | 209 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

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