Originally produced for television as a Soviet-American collaboration, the documentary miniseries The Unknown War (1978) relays the full story of the Russian struggle against the machinations of the Third Reich - an angle of WWII seldom taught in the west. In relaying its chronicle, it makes avid use of archival footage shot by the Soviets on the front lines of battle - spanning everything from the Germans' invasion of the U.S.S.R. in late June 1941, through the Russian occupation of Berlin in 1945. Along the way, the program works its way through subtopics including Soviet air, land and sea battles, as well as compelling individual stories - and suggests, overall, that the Russians played an incalculable role in defeating Hitler's minions. Burt Lancaster hosts the 20 episodes, all of which appear in this box set.
Interview with Rod McKuen: Celebrated writer, performer and composer Rod McKuen, who adapted the screenplay and composed the musical score for The Unknown War, takes you behind the making of this Soviet-American coproduction
Analysis by Willard Sunderland, associate professor of Russian history at the University of Cincinnati