World War II has been seen as a black and white war... until now! The scenes are authentic. The color is real.
In the 1980s determined researchers began scouring the world for color film shot during World War II, and the result of their quest is spectacular. Seeing the war through the ubiquitous black-and-white footage has always made the experience somewhat distant, but in clear, crisp color, the enormity of the war and its horrors is startling and dramatic. Films of Nazi rallies are all the more disturbing; a viewer seeing the scene in color realizes the massive crowds saluting Hitler are no longer gray and faceless masses, but gatherings of well- dressed civilians. Color combat footage, from across Europe and the Pacific, is frighteningly immediate, and some of it, showing the wounded, the dead, and even prisoners being executed, will no doubt be disturbing for many viewers. Violence and destruction on an unimaginable scale is vividly put on display, as are smaller moments of soldiers smiling for the camera or liberated prisoners from the concentration camps staring in pained bewilderment. The episodes, produced by the History Channel, are introduced by veteran journalist Roger Mudd, and the narration for each individual segment typically contains excerpts from letters and diaries describing events close to those depicted in the film footage. The footage used is of a surprisingly high quality (much of it was shot and stored away, virtually unseen for decades), and it provides a stunning look at how the war appeared to those fighting it.