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War of the Century

  • 1999-10-26T04:00:00Z
  • BBC
  • 1999-02-01T00:00:00Z
  • 42 mins
  • 2 hours, 48 mins
  • English
  • Documentary
One of the most emotionally powerful of all World War II documentaries. It begins with the story of Operation Barbarossa, and Germany's subsequent war against the Soviet Union. Altering the course of World War II, it shaped the borders and attitudes of Europe for the second half of the 20th Century. It was a catastrophic mistake. Napoleon had tried it and failed. Yet in 1941, Hitler broke the golden rule of warfare, never to fight on opposite fronts, and marched into the Soviet Union. The annihilation of the Soviets would have meant the death of Communism and the Slavs. It would have meant living space for the voracious Third Reich. But Hitler overlooked two things: the withering Soviet winters and the brutality of Stalin's rearguard action. It was the largest and bloodiest military operation in history and by the end of the campaign 30 million had died. With commentary from leading historians, unique access to newly available documentary and film archives and both Soviet and German eye-witness testimony, this could be the definitive series on a key turning point in history.

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