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World War 1 in Colour

The first of its six parts aired on 1 September 2003 in the United Kingdom. A documentary narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It was released on DVD in the United States as World War 1 in Color on 10 May 2005. The documentary consists of colourised footage from World War I.

It also contains interviews with WW1 veterans: Arthur Barraclough (1898–2004) (last survivor of the Battle of Arras), Harry Patch (1898–2009) (Britain's last survivor of the trenches), Fred Bunday (1900-2002), Arthur Halestrap (1898–2004), Hubert Williams (1895–2002) (the last pilot of the Royal Flying Corps of WWI), Bill Stone (1900–2009) (the penultimate Royal Navy veteran of WWI), and Jack Davis (1895-2003) (the last of Kitchener's Volunteers.)

The series was available as a free gift in The Daily Telegraph during August 2007.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

World War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war centered in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918 - it was to be the war to end all wars. More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war, a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance.

These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.

The trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and entangled international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.

On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia and subsequently invaded. As Russia mobilised in support of Serbia, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading United Kingdom to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy joined the Allies in 1915 and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in the same year, while Romania joined the Allies in 1916, and the United States joined the Allies in 1917.

The Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers via the Treaty of Brest Litovsk, which constituted a massive German victory until nullified by the 1918 victory of the Western allies. After a stunning Spring 1918 German offensive along the Western Front, the Allies rallied and drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice, and Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.

By the end of the war, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germany's colonies were parceled out among the winners. During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four (Britain, France, the United States and Italy) imposed their terms in a series of treaties. The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This, however, failed with weakened states, economic depression, renewed European nationalism, and the German feeling of humiliation contributing to the rise of Nazism. These conditions eventually contributed to World War II.

Episode 1

This first episode, Catastrophe, looks at the fact that between 1914 and 1918, 65 million men took up arms. Ten million were killed and 20 million were emotionally and physically incapacitated. The war ushered in new terminologies, new and massive weapons and a scale of artillery barrages never before imagined.
"Not a tree stands. Not a square foot of surface has escaped mutilation. There is nothing but the mud and the gaping shell holes; a chaotic wilderness of shell holes, rim overlapping rim, and, in the bottom of many, the bodies of the dead." - Captain Rowland Fielding
WWI was on a scale never known or imagined before. - Written by Anonymous

Episode 2
Slaughter in the Trenches

This episode looks at trench warfare on the Western Front, which was at stalemate in 1915. Communications proved to be a major drawback for both sides, as messages were sent by runners – who invariably faced death. Two simultaneous battles to push back the Germans were launched at Artois by the French, and by the British at Festubert in May 1915. Both failed and brought the realization that such massive casualties could not be sustained. With a need for more troops, Lord Kitchener went about a recruitment campaign that amassed some one million volunteers. The new volunteer soldiers lacked the discipline of the regulars, and were regarded with some disdain. At the battle of Loos in 1915 a pattern of trench warfare emerged – artillery barrage followed by troops going over the top, and slaughter.
"If any man tells you he went over the top and wasn't scared, he's a damn liar." Harry Patch: Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry - Born: 1898
These years would produce a new and deadly expression - "Going over the top"
Episode 3
Blood in the Air

In the battles of WWI a new theatre of war was to emerge — the sky. This new warfare was to prove just as deadly as the trenches, where pilots flew into battle with as little as five hours flying experience, with an average life expectancy of 11 days in 1914. Initially the aircraft replaced hot air balloons as a reconnaissance device; spying and photographing deep behind enemy lines, but in 1915 aviation pioneer Fokker revolutionized the aircraft as a weapon when he synchronized a machine gun with a propeller — allowing German pilots to annihilate French and British planes.
"A glorious death! Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood and the last drop of petrol." Baron Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen - The Red Baron
Military Commanders began to realise that flight might br useful for war.

Episode 4
Killers of the Sea

In this episode we discover that there was only one major clash of fleets in World War 1. Instead, the war at sea was one of blockades and sinkings and a small but feared U-boat. By August 1914 Germany and Britain were building massive and expensive warships – the dreadnoughts. The British controlled the North Sea, and built up supplies by commandeering all goods heading for Germany. Britain’s survival depended on keeping her trade routes open, and for this reason Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare on merchant shipping.
"The Lusitania is a godsend to the British. It's quite the most stupid thing the Germans could have done." - Professor Andrew Lambert, King's College, London
This sea war was about innovation and dazzling advances in technology.

Episode 5
Mayhem on the Eastern Front

When war broke out in 1914 the Eastern Front campaign moved swiftly. Austrian troops invaded Serbia, and Russia, as Serbia’s ally, invaded both Germany and Austria. The Austrians quickly retreated, demoralized by the success of the Russian advance. Yet against the Germans, 50,000 Russians were killed or wounded at the battle of Tannenberg. German Generals Hindenberg and Erich von Ludendorff, spurred on by their easy victories against the Russians, dreamed of an extended German empire to the East.
"Between the trenches are any amount of dead and decomposing bodies of our own men and Turks lying on the heather.
The smell is awful." - Captain Guy Nightingale
The war on the eastern front would reshape the map of europe forever.

Episode 6
Victory and Despair

For the Allies, 1918 proved to be the costliest year of the war. On the Western Front 2 million British and 3 million French were captured, wounded or killed – over a few miles of French and Belgian mud. On 21 March 1918, General von Ludendorff attacked along a 64-mile front which was to be the greatest attack yet seen in modern industrialized warfare. The Germans advanced 20 miles in 14 days, and von Ludendorff set his sights on Paris and victory. Field Marshall Haig rallied his British troops to fight to the end. Casualties ran at 350,000 for both sides, and the toll taken on von Ludendorff’s troops had overstretched his war machine.
"The First World War was certainly tragic, but it wasn't futile. In the First World War the Allies achieved a great negative victory; they prevented the domination of Europe by militaristic Germany." - Dr. Gary Sheffield, King's College, London
This is the story of 1918 - the year that changed everthing.

The last two in the series were added later

Episode 7
Tactics & Strategy
Episode narrated by Robert Powell

Episode 8
Making the Series

Sources: War 1 in Colour (TV_series)
poster image: same
movie: DAV FL 70 Webmaster private collection

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