The First World War (2003) The Complete Series - Channel 4

The First World War, Episode 5: Shackled to a Corpse

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Added: 11 years ago.
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Video Description

Episode 5:
The war on the Eastern Front was a racial war, fought between Slavs on the one side and German peoples on the other. The front was vast, stretching from the Urals to the Alps, fought over brutal terrain by armies moving fast and living off the land. Many of the horrors of twentieth century warfare were initiated here: the first ever use of chemical weapons [months before Ypres on the Western Front], mass expulsions of civilians, the scapegoating and targeting of Jews.

The Italian front with Austria-Hungary was said to be perhaps the bitterest of the entire war. Soldiers fought in the harshest environments, perched on mountain tops, living in caves, enduring avalanches and frost-bite as well as the usual hazards of war.

On the Eastern Front, the alliance system was put under the severest test of the whole war: Germany felt betrayed and let down by Austria-Hungary - "shackled to a corpse" - which in turn came to look on Germany as her "secret enemy." Yet it was alliances which kept this bitter war going. In 1915 Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria invaded Serbia. The entire Serbian nation fled over the mountains in Albania. Over a third of her entire population died in the First World War.

Category: Education, History

Tags: the first slavic germanic world war shackled to corpse austria-hungary serbia italy eastern front russia germany

Documentary Description

Television has tended to look at the First World War through a veil of tears, seeing only a tragic waste of life in the mud of Flanders. This definitive series strips away ninety years of myopia to get back to the reality of the war.

This was a global conflict from the start, involving nations in every continent and people of all classes and races. Using fresh archive footage and specially shot material from authentic locations in 22 countries, the multi-layered series demolishes myths and answers key questions from the origins of the war to its bitter end.

Universally acclaimed as one of the finest documentary series ever made about the Great War. The First World War is a powerful, original and truly comprehensive account of the conflict. It places the war in truly Global military context as never before, exploring many of the little known campaigns, battles and actions as well as the better known conflict on the Western Front. The series combines previously unseen footage from newly accessible archives in Central and Eastern Europe with exclusive film of many of the battlefields as they are today, studies key participants and weaponry, and diary entries and letters home from soldiers, officers and commanders.

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