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In 1914, decades of building European resentments and rivalries finally exploded into a massive total war that became much larger and bloodier for far longer than anyone could have imagined. This series endeavors to tell the full story of World War I, which was far more than just the trenches and includes war on the high seas and furthest flung regions of the world.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You would not recommend reading only one history book, so why would anyone recommend only one documentary about World War I? This is a good documentary because it covers a great deal and very engagingly, but sometimes it tries to cover too much and necessarily leaves gaps.
If you watch other documentaries, you will find out that the first great tank breakthrough was preceded by a tank failure and that the British Expeditionary Force was so unprepared for the breakthrough when it came that they failed to send enough troops into the breach to secure it, leading to the German recapture of the temporarily lost territory.
There is confusion, too, as when it is said that German commander von Hutier's attack on Amiens, France had no purpose, but a few minutes later it is said that when Ludendorff decided to attack Amiens he had an objective of smashing the railroad nexus there. Had Hutier succeeded, wouldn't that have served the same purpose even if accidentally?
A mass of information is presented that dizzies the old hand let alone the beginner, but even so, I was glad that this documentary offers a wealth of stimulating information about all sides of the conflict. The fact that it is British-made gives it an unavoidable bias that is made up for by its attempt to bring other nation's voices into the narrative, using the accounts of both well-known and relatively unknown participants.
There are many documentaries about World War I that are also good. Some, for example, focus more than this one on the war from the point of view of those outside of Europe. This one gives a lot of information about that aspect of the war even though it tries to cover too much ground to tell the viewer all the details. This is a survey, and a pretty good starting point. Learn more about World War I, and you will come to see that there are other opinions on some of the topics. There is more subject matter than this documentary had time to cover, and you might even think that what they left out is awfully important. You might, nevertheless, always remember "The First World War" fondly as an equally informative and moving introduction.
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