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

The First World War, Episode 6: Breaking the Deadlock

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Video Description

Episode 6:
Attrition; lions led by donkeys; the slaughter only ceasing for brief truce one Christmas - traditional and mistaken views of the war on the Western Front. But there was constant movement along the 500-mile front, with generals wanting to break through the trench systems. Hundreds of them, on both sides, died leading their men into battle. The battle of Verdun became a battle for France herself. The Germans tried new tactics, but in the end lost the ground they had won at such cost. Three quarters of a million men - French and German - lost their lives at Verdun.

Some men adapted to trench warfare, adopting a system of "Live and Let Live," with countless informal, local truces. Generals on both sides tried to stir things up, with raids across No Man's Land and big offensives. After the terrible failure of the Somme offensive the allies continued to develop new tactics and weapons to break the German line. In November 1917 at Cambrai, British tanks rolled five miles beyond the German lines. Church bells rang out across Britain. But the Germans soon re-occupied lost ground. The Victors on the Western Front would have to learn how to consolidate success.

Category: Education, History

Tags: the first world war breaking deadlock germany france britain trench warfare christmas truce

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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