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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

"The First World War" DVD


David Ridgus

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"The First World War" is the television series based on Hew Strachan's book, originally shown on Channel and currently being repeated on BBC 4. The three DVD set is currently on sale at Amazon for £8.68 - which I think is a fantastic deal (I'm being altruistic I bought it for a lot more when it came out originally!)

The series is probably the nearest in conception to the 1964 series and with a broad sweep that takes in the African War for one in more depth than I have ever seen before. And at that price - what's not to like?

David

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First class series, and a snip at that price. Well spotted.

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I can't recommend this series highly enough.

Snap it up!

Maxi

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  • 1 month later...

Just bought it on Amazon yesterday as my self-burnt DVD's are probably not compatible on newer machines.

Maxi

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Can anyone post a link as I'm only seeing a 69.99 price tag!

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Pile of them for sale in Sainsburys today - didn't notice the price but it was obviously a big batch.

Simon you were looking at the original DVD release. It's been repackaged, presumably to tie in with the repeat showing. At £15 currently it's still a steal

Here's the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-First-World-War-Complete/dp/B00BQY1GYS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397512502&sr=8-1&keywords=hew+strachan+dvd

David

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That's a bit better! Thank you!

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I bought it and hoped it wasn't going to be like some of the other WW1 DVDs I have bought over time. I certainly wasn't disappointed and thought it was a first class series. :thumbsup:

Anne

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  • 1 month later...

I've just started watching this on DVD, and excellent though much of it is, I've come across one or two puzzling things. I'm sure that it has been reviewed in this Forum before, but I can't seem to find anything. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Melvin

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just finished watching this series and, like the authors of previous posts, I am very impressed overall. The collection of film clips is a remarkable archive, illustrating every imaginable aspect of the war, and the use of first-hand accounts gives a human scale to what’s seen on the screen. Inserting current views of scenes shown in the films is very effective, especially such iconic ones as the location of the assassination in Sarajevo. The scenes of bodies being unceremoniously dumped into graves, on several fronts, are chilling in the extreme.

The producers have stated that the popular view of the war has been dominated by cliché, often being “misconceived as a prolonged skirmish on the Western Front”. They have gone to great lengths to depict the war, quite rightly, as truly global, and have covered what happened in all the theatres of war, both large and small, near and far, whether on land, at sea or in the air. The appalling suffering of civilians in many theatres is vividly described, along with the effects on the fighting men of deprivations on the home fronts and the outbreaks of revolution.

This is all very admirable, but I feel that the producers have swung too far in the opposite direction. Rather than being a ‘prolonged skirmish’, ultimately the Western Front was where the war could have been lost on more than one occasion, and where it was finally brought to an end – without Germany being able to continue the fight, it was finally all over. The fighting on the Somme, at Verdun, and the German offensives of 1918 are all covered well, but the 1914 campaign is reduced to the Battle of the Marne, the whole of the 1915 campaign is covered by a brief mention of the use of gas, and the 1917 campaign is only marked by the French army mutinies and the first effective use of tanks. Passchendaele is only mentioned as being synonymous with the suffering of war, and the town of Ypres (surely as central to the British experience of the war as Verdun was to the French) only noted once, in passing.

I feel it’s a bit like the recent trend in history teaching, where dates are no longer considered important, and like the National Maritime Museum’s recent division of naval history into themes, with little reference to key battles. If the series is to do what its producers claim – to be the definitive series about the war – then surely it must at least include what became defining events for one of the leading combatants – Britain.

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