Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

MHQ Reviews: The First World War Series on DVD

By Gene Santoro 
Originally published by MHQ magazine. Published Online: May 03, 2012 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

DISCUSSIONS of the War to End All Wars usually focus on the trenches that scarred western Europe, but it was almost as global as its sequel. Based on the excellent history of the war written by Hew Strachan, The First World War (Image Entertainment, $34) is stippled with revelations from all parts of the conflict. After frequent airings on the Military Channel, it is finally available as a DVD to buy or rent—and it ranks among the top war documentaries.

Highlights of the 10-episode series include the compelling use of key documents—including letters between the royal cousins whose countries are lunging toward conflict—and incisive quotes from dozens of the war's players, such as Emperor Franz Josef, Lloyd George, Clemen­ceau, Churchill, and Ludendorff. More obscure folks get their moments too, like the British soldier who dryly notes, "I'd rather not be a hero and have plenty to eat."

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to MHQ magazine

The documentary's compelling you-are-there approach tracks the war's unprecedented carnage (10 million dead), often pointless military operations, endless political intrigues, brutal economic and propaganda warfare, technological leaps, and endemic racism. The series also points up the conflict's plentiful historical ironies. Start with Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who champions the Austro-Hungarian Empire's minorities until he is assassinated by a bungling Serbian revolutionary, which brings on the severe repression that stokes the war.

The series skips none of the war's surprises, such as the Ottoman Em­pire's humiliating defeat of the Allies at Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut. And there are premonitions of the future: With the airplane, truck, and tank, modern warfare dawns, and its tactics are sketched out in the film's depiction of such battles as Cambrai.

Authoritative and insightful, The First World War boasts amazing film footage and arresting stills. For that alone, it's well worth watching.


Gene Santoro is a New York–based writer and reviewer.


Click For More From MHQ!
Click For More From MHQ!


Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy