51:50 | Modern history

The War

When Things Get Tough  |  Season 1  |  Episode 4  |  ABC

July 1943-December 1943: On daylight bombing missions American airmen gamble their lives against preposterous odds to bring the war to the heart of Hitler's enormous domain. Allied forces invade Sicily and then Italy but as they grind their way towards Rome, the weather turns bad and the terrain grows more and more forbidding - twisting mountain roads, blown bridges - all under constant German fire. This series, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four quintessentially American towns. The series explores the most intimate human dimensions of the greatest cataclysm in history, a worldwide catastrophe that touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America and demonstrates that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives. Throughout the series, the indelible experience of combat is brought vividly to life as veterans describe what it was like to fight and kill and see men die at places like Monte Cassino and Anzio and Omaha Beach; the Hurtgen Forest and the Vosges Mountains and the Ardennes; and on the other side of the world at Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan; Peleliu and the Philippine Sea and Okinawa. In all of the battle scenes, dramatic historical footage and photographs are combined with extraordinarily realistic sound effects to give the film a terrifying, visceral immediacy. The film honours the bravery, endurance, and sacrifice of the generation of Americans who lived through what will always be known simply as the War.

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