June 28, 1914 could have been one more date on the calendar that would be forgotten. But the shot that ended the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria became the trigger for three decades in which the world ceased to be as it was known – as Stefan Zweig wrote in his masterpiece “The World of Yesterday” – to enter a period of barbarism never seen before.
The documentary, conceived as a super production, “A world at war” – which today premieres openly on the new Atresmedia channel, Mega, at 10:00 p.m. – narrates World War I and II from another perspective and, above all, through through a visual display such as has rarely been seen on television. “A world at war” is based on the thesis of many historians that both conflicts became a single one that lasted for more than 30 years. And he may not be without reason because during the Great War the Russian Revolution broke out (1917), which culminated in the rise to dictatorial power of the soviets. To this we must add the humiliation that Germany suffered after the conflict with the Treaty of Versailles.
Throughout six episodes, the production narrates all these events through the points of view –in most cases, contradictory– of Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt and Hideki Tojo, the prime minister of Japan during World War II. For those winks, which may seem paradoxical, but are far from it, some of them participated in the First World War. Churchill was the First Lord of the Admiralty and had to resign because of the mistakes that were made in the Battle of Gallipoli against the Turks. Charles de Gaulle fought in it and was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Verdun while Hitler was made a corporal, wounded twice and partially blinded by a mustard gas attack.
The documentary is narrated by actor Jeremy Renner, who has participated in several films in the “Mission: Impossible” saga.
One of the most celebrated aspects of “A World at War” is its visual conception. In addition to the excellent characterizations of the actors who play some of the most famous politicians and soldiers in history, the documentary was presented visually as if it were a movie. Thus, it has images generated in 3D, state-of-the-art computer graphics and filming in real locations, both in Europe and in the United States. To this we must add the valuable archive material with unpublished images. Perhaps what most surprises the viewer is the testimony of contemporary politicians such as General Colin Powell, former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and former British Prime Minister John Mayor, who reflect, with the perspective that time gives, on those years.
“History Comes Alive”
History Channel premiered this documentary on a very symbolic day for Americans: May 26, 2014, “Memorial Day”, the date the country recognizes the memory of all the men and women who have died while serving the country. Variety columnist Brian Lowry greeted the production with a positive review, noting that “the goal is to bring history to life, and many of the re-enactments are reminiscent of Sergio Leone’s cinema. One of the most interesting aspects are the images of the hypothetical death of Hitler during World War I, which allows one to question what the future of history would have been if he had died». The production received three Emmy Award nominations: for Best Documentary or Non-Fiction Series, for Best Sound Editing and for Best Screenplay in its category.