Hear the oral history of World War II as told by the veterans who fought in it, the filmmakers who captured it, and the historians who sought to understand it. Listen to these first-person interviews and watch history unfold in World on Fire, a new seven-part series by Masterpiece. The story begins Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 9/8c on PBS.
William Dodd served four years as the ambassador to Germany before resigning -- after repeated clashes with both Nazi Party officials and the State Department. Erik Larson chronicles Dodd's time in Berlin in his new book, In the Garden of Beasts.
World War Two combat veteran Robert Kotlowitz has written about his experiences in "Before Their Time: A Memoir." 1997 Hard cover and just re-printed this year on Anchor Books. Kotlowitz was part of a platoon that was ordered to charge the German front, an order that killed all but 3 men. His previous books included: The Boardwalk, His Master's Voice, Sea Changes, and Somewhere Else. (THIS CONTINUES INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW.)
Former Tuskegee Airman Robert Williams. He was with the Army Air Corps "Fighting 99th" the first squadron of Black fighter pilots in World War II. Now, after 45 years of trying he's gotten a studio interested in making a movie about the squadron. The new HBO movie, "The Tuskegee Airmen," stars Laurence Fishburne; Williams is the co-executive producer. The film debuts August 26th.
Guest host Barbara Bogaev interviews two women who are part of the new American Experience documentary on PBS: "Fly Girls" During World War II, more than 1,000 women signed up and flew airplanes in the U.S. military effort. Their careers were cut short by politics. It would be 30 years before women soldiers could take to the skies again. The two women are Barbara London and Dora Strother.
In 1944, World War II was dragging on and the Nazi forces seemed to be faltering. Yet, in military briefings, Adolf Hitler's optimism did not wane. His generals wondered if he had a secret weapon up his sleeve, something that would change the war around in the last second.
In his book, which has just won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, Keith Lowe describes a land with no governments, schools, banks or shops, where rape was rampant and women prostituted themselves for food. Flying in the face of usual post-WWII narratives, Lowe sheds light on a complex history.
In his new book, journalist Charles Glass explores the little-known history of thousands of American and British soldiers who deserted during World War II. Glass describes how the strain of war can push a soldier to the breaking point -- and how the line between courage and cowardice is never simple.
World War II is often thought of as a good and just war — a war the U.S. had to fight. But it wasn't that simple. Public debate was heated between interventionism, which President Roosevelt supported, and isolationism, which aviator Charles Lindbergh became an unofficial spokesman for.
Laurence Rees' Auschwitz: A New History provides details about the inner workings of the camp: techniques of mass murder, the politics, the gossip mill between guards and prisoners, and the camp brothel.
Novelist Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22, Something Happened and No Laughing Matter, his 1985 account of being stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a neurological disease in which the peripheral nervous system is attacked. Within two weeks of the first symptoms, Heller could hardly breathe or swallow. It took him two years to relearn his basic motor functions. Heller's best known work is still his first, Catch 22, a satire of the military bureaucracy and the madness of war.
Neither the pandemic nor age can keep legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp from her work. During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Tharp, now 79, choreographed several dances through through Zoom. She's the subject of a new PBS American Masters documentary.