Soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians from four American
towns who took part in the Second World War.
time: 15 hours
years in the making, this is a brilliant, extraordinary documentary
about the impact of the Second World War on the citizens of
four American towns.
personal stories of the survivors - soldiers, sailors, airmen,
family members, factory workers and Japanese Americans shipped
off to remote internment camps makes for spellbinding viewing.
war affected every inhabitant of Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile,
Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota as
it did the inhabitants of every town in every country caught
up in the war.
were separated as sons and brothers marched off to war in
the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany's
declaration of war on the U.S. Many thought it would soon
be over, but 1942 brought bad news everywhere and soon the
telegrams were arriving telling devastated familes their loved
ones weren't coming home.
the war transformed the U.S. economy, and turned sleepy communities
into major manufacturing centres turning out tanks, airplanes,
ships, guns and bombs, the men in the front lines faced unimaginable
horrors - particularly in the Pacific theatre where fanatical
Japanese troops fought to the last man in a series of brutal
island campaigns. Many U.S. troops captured by the Japanese
were brutalized and executed. Little wonder the survivors
harboured a deep hatred that lingered for decades after the
was scarcely better in the European campaign, where thousands
of Americans died in the bomber air war and during D-Day and
its aftermath. The documentary does a particularly fine job
of showing the tough campaigns to take North Africa, Italy,
France, Holland and Germany.
Vets who saw their friends killed and had to kill themselves
speak of the trauma that never leaves them. Many remember
with tears the first time they killed an enemy.
seven part-series includes a lot of combat footage, much of
it in colour, and all of it harrowing. This is real war, not
some glorified Hollywood version of it.
the hit music of the day - from Bing Crosby to Glenn Miller
and Frank Sinatra - bringing alive the atmosphere of the war
years, filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick deserve accolades
for a wonderful project.