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

The First World War, Episode 9: Germany's Last Gamble

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Video Description

Episode 9:

In March 1918, Germany launched a massive offensive on the Western Front - her last chance to win the war. The Russian Revolution had taken Russia out of the war, freeing up half a million German soldiers, Germany had to act before the Americans poured into Europe. The offensive was masterminded by the brilliant but unstable General Erich Ludendorff. Within the first few days the British 5th army was in retreat and Paris was being shelled. Some Allies feared defeat.

But Germany faced a challenge on all fronts: her allies Ottoman Turkey and Austria-Hungary were both on the point of collapse and at home German civilians were losing their appetite for war. Dangerous pacifist ideas were carried back by troops returning from Russia. Then Ludendorff's great offensive ran out of steam. He had set no achievable objectives, nor were his armies adequately supplied. Starved and exhausted German soldiers slowed in their advance to loot and drink. Some of Ludendorff's colleagues feared for his sanity. Then his worst nightmare unfolded: American forces started arriving at the rate of 250,000 per month. The tables had turned against Germany.

Category: Education, History

Tags: the first world war germany surrender russia communism united states super power treaty of versailles france britain

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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