March 04, 2009

"1945 The year that changed the world" DVD series

Another set of new DVDs available to borrow or view online.
Click on the title to view streaming video (TWU login required) or to request.

1945: the year that changed the world. The Allies were determined to inflict total defeat on their enemies, at any cost. But following victory the big three, Britain, American and Russia, fought each other for supremacy. This definitive, five-part series covers the conflicts in the final days of the war on both the European and Pacific fronts. The shape of the world we live in today is the legacy of events that took place in 1945.

The beginning of the end. As the Allied armies swarm into the collapsing Third Reich, the disagreements of Roosevelt and Churchill allow Stalin to gain effective control of Eastern Europe. The British military favours a sweep through the north of Germany to take Berlin, but Eisenhower opts instead to leave that region to the Red Army. The Americans effectively yield Poland to the U.S.S.R. to gain Russian support for the ongoing war against Japan.

The end of dictators The horrors of the death camps are exposed to the world with their liberation by the Allies; the loss in human lives in the forced marches, and in the flight from the Russian steamroller, is enormous. Political manoeuvring among the Big Three begins in earnest as they seek to segregate Europe's nationalities; the division of Germany into occupied zones is determined, but the fates of other nations are sealed by the momentum of the Soviets' drive to the west.

Victory in Europe Millions perish of starvation and other effects of the war. The broken promises and implicit threats between the Big Three create the arena for the confrontation of the two new superpowers as exhausted Britain loses its pre-eminence. Britain repudiates Churchill's dreams of restored imperial grandeur, and in twelve months the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. go from being allies to enemies.

War in the Pacific Experts deemed that using the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the quickest way to get Japan to surrender. When the war was won in South East Asia and the Pacific, the USA was forced to utilize British troops to restore order. They in turn used Japanese forces to quell growing calls for nationalism in the region; the combustible mixture which was to lead to the Korean, Vietnam and Cambodian wars was begun in 1945.

The future takes shape America is now the richest nation in the world. Britain is victorious but bankrupt. The Soviet Union has been devastated but is ideologically strong and committed to the victory of its brand of communism. The cooperation of the war years and hope for its continuance fade. Europe faces years of extreme hardship. The forces that are to shape international politics for the next fifty years have emerged.

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