Germany At War 1918-1941 [DVD]

This is the first volume of a series of documentaries devoted to World War II and telling the story from the point-of-view of newsreel and government-shot footage that would have been seen by the German people. The DVD is well-produced within the limits of the available materials -- there isn't a lot that can be done about the inherent tinniness of the music accompaniment to the scenes of German military rearmament, or the lack of visual material depicting the occupation of the Sudetenland and other events of the period. Additionally, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done about the graininess of much of the footage and the other flaws. These problems are forgivable in the broader context of the release; a lot of the specific footage isn't nearly as familiar as the material routinely used in documentaries on the subject, and the DVD is a handy repository for them. The running time is short enough so that it's easy to spot what one wishes, even though the chapter encoding is limited to a mere six. The disc opens to a simple three-selection menu, the only bonus feature consisting of brief excerpts from the wide selection of more subject-specific World War II documentaries in the series, most of it broken down on military lines (aerial bombing as it was carried out at different phases of the war, the U-boat campaign, etc.). Those are pretty eerie, as some of their content is from official government newsreels, complete with musical accompaniment (Franz Liszt's Les Prelude, a favorite tune of German officialdom, which was primarily associated in American popular culture with the Lone Ranger radio show and the last Flash Gordon serial, turns up on the soundtrack).
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Germany at War 1918-1941
The documentary Germany at War 1918-1941 details the events inside that country that led from the defeat in World War I to the rise of Hitler an the beginning of World War II. The film utilizes archival footage that has rarely been seen outside of Germany. The film touches on such historically important events as the Reichstag Fire, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the surrender of Poland, and Hitler's collaboration with Mussolini. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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