The History Channel has done it again, and you want to mark your calendars for November 15th, 9PM/8C, because you don’t want to miss WWII in HD. What’s really amazing to me about The History Channel is that I simply am not much of a history buff, and they can nevertheless put history together in ways I can’t stop watching.
If you are a history buff in general, or someone interested in WWII specifically, you don’t need to be sold on this. A 10-hour series on the war told through the eyes of 12 people who lived it, which includes a good deal of footage never before seen – you probably don’t need to know anything else. Of course I could say that it is put together in a nice package, that the stories are told wonderfully, and so on, but you’ve seen some of The History Channel‘s bigger projects, and you know the score.
Someone else can convince those already tremendously interested in history far better than I. As I say, I’m not really. For example, I recently visited Germany and went to all the places you simply have to go, especially when someone else is mostly in charge of where you’re going. The Berlin Wall, a concentration camp, and several other of the must-sees were on the agenda. They’ll show you a picture of The Wall, and tell you that looking at a picture isn’t the same as being there, but you know what, it really is. You get there, and think, “Yep, that’s what that picture looked like alright.” Maybe it’s me.
Going to a concentration camp is… really, staggeringly quiet. For me, the building of the giant honorarium and cost of maintaining a camp full of old shacks could probably feed a lot of people. Who knows, I feel the same way about the massive churches dipped in gold I saw there. The whole perspective is probably more strange coming from me – my mother was born in Germany in the early 40’s, and her family, to make a long story short, didn’t have a lot of fun.
For me, it doesn’t really change anything I think or feel about people being burned in ovens just because I stand in front of the thing.
But the truth is, you do have to go there. At least I did. You can see the war, but not at the Berlin Wall. You see it when you walk three blocks west and three blocks east of it. It’s still there. When you land in a big city in what was West Germany, and then walk around a smaller town in what was the heart of East Germany, you’ve seen the history, the war, before your trip starts.
Just walk around with the two kinds of Germans, who spent decades either in the West or the East, and listen (especially if they all think you’re a dumb American tourist who doesn’t speak German). The war is there right now, in the way they speak, the things they say, and the way they think.
WWII in HD is a documentary about the war that I really couldn’t stop watching, and being at an actual concentration camp couldn’t hold my attention.
Going to the Berlin Wall (or the Berlin line of bricks in the road now) wasn’t actually at all interesting to me. Going to a grocery store in Erfurt was absolutely fascinating. I leave it to you to let that be your guide when I tell you that I very highly recommend this show to you.
WWII in HD premieres Sunday November 15th at 9/8c on HISTORY!
The ten-part series narrated by Gary Sinise draws upon more than 3,000 hours of WWII footage culled from archives and private collections around the world. Restored and enhanced through HD technology, the series brings to light riveting footage from sources that range from the National Archives and the Army Heritage and and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Homer Helter’s Military Mall in Naples, Florida. The series follows a handful of people as their personal journeys intersect with one another throughout the war. Their stories, culled from diaries, journals, and new interviews, will be delivered with emotional impact by some of Hollywood’s top talents, helping to recreate the war’s events not as detached historical facts, but rather as profound experiences on the level of a great Hollywood epic. The veterans themselves also appear, recounting their experiences first hand. Join us online: Official Site, History’s Facebook Fan Page, and Twitter.
HISTORY‘s visually astonishing landmark series WWII in HD presents the story of the war ? viewed through the eyes of 12 Americans who fought in or contributed to the war effort. With original, color footage, never before seen by most Americans, the 10-hour series is narrated by Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise (CSI: NY). One of the network’s most ambitious projects to date, WWII in HD premieres on HISTORY on Sunday-Thursday, November 15-19 at 9-11 pm ET/PT.
To create this series, History launched an exhaustive worldwide search for color footage. As a result, WWII in HD draws upon more than 3,000 hours of World War II footage unearthed from archives and private collections across the globe. HISTORY preserved and restored this footage ? some of which has not been seen since the 1940s ? and converted it to HD for unprecedented clarity.
Diaries, journals, interviews and Dolby “soundscape” are incorporated to enhance these striking visuals. WWII in HD thus transforms a war that many Americans know only through black-and-white newsreel footage into something viscerally real, relatable and newly relevant. One of the goals is for viewers to experience what the war looked and sounded like to those who were actually there.
The series follows the 12 Americans throughout the war. Their in-the-moment accounts, culled from original sources and new interviews, are delivered with emotional impact by some of Hollywood’s top talents. The veterans themselves also appear, recounting their experiences firsthand.
As part of HISTORY’s multi-media partnership with the Library of Congress and its collection of nearly 140 million items, HISTORY will incorporate original Library of Congress audio recordings from World War II into the series.
The 12 Americans who served in the war represent an array of wartime experiences. Viewers will hear the story of war reporter Robert Sherrod, as well as Army nurse June Wandrey who served from the beginnings of the war in North Africa to the liberation of the camps in Germany. They will meet Shelby Westbrook, a young African American from Toledo, who became a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen; Jimmie Kanaya, the son of Japanese immigrants, who served in the U.S. Army and was imprisoned in Europe; and Jack Werner, a Jewish emigre who escaped from Austria before the war and wound up fighting in the Pacific Theater rather than against the man and people he despised, Hitler and the Nazis.
Their individual war stories will be voiced by the following actors:
Jack Werner: Justin Bartha
Rockie Blunt: Rob Corddry
Richard Tregaskis: Tim DeKay
Archie Sweeney: Mark Hefti
Jimmie Kanaya: James Kyson Lee
Charles Scheffel: Ron Livingston
Shelby F. Westbrook: LL Cool J
Robert Sherrod: Rob Lowe
Bert Stiles: Josh Lucas;
Jack Yusen: Jason Ritter
June Wandrey: Amy Smart
Nolen Marbrey: Steve Zahn
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Prizes courtesy of HISTORY