Persecution of Jewish People
This is the story of the greatest war of world history, of men and encounters that cast huge shadows across time. In this 13-part series we examine the events and personalities that drove World War II. In part one of this series we look at the legacy of Versailles and the League of Nations and their impact on events to come. The Versailles Conference and Treaty supposedly ended World War I; the guarantee of peace was the punishment and weakening of Germany. This humiliation would fuel the fire of one man's ambition to exact revenge - Adolf Hitler. When Hitler came to power in 1933 he did so on a wave of anti-Versailles feeling, assuring the German people that he would destroy the slave treaty of Versailles and once again make Germany a great power. With the impotence of the League of Nations further illustrated by their failure to act against Italy's invasion of Ethiopia and Japan's subsequent war on China, Hitler realised there was nothing to stop his plans for German rearmament and expansion. In 1938 he announced his plans to annexe Austria. With this country now in his pocket the way was clear for Hitler to move on to his next target - Czechoslovakia. As 1938 drew to a close Britain's Prime Minister was talking of appeasement, whilst a lone voice in Parliament, Winston Churchill, was warning the world about the coming dangers of Nazism.
In this episode, we examine the might of the Japanese as they win victory after victory in the Pacific. In this phase of the conflict the Allies endured some of their most significant losses.
Even after the triumph of VE Day, there still remained a war to be fought. The final act of this war was played out in the skies above Japan. A new US President, Harry Truman, took the devastating decision to deploy a new weapon against the forces of Japan. The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the dreams of Imperial Japan were ended at a stroke.
The Marines, including the newly christened 'Sledgehammer', continue the battle of Peleliu against an enemy determined to fight to the last man. Devastated by the loss of a revered leader, and witnessing unimaginable barbarity on both sides, Sledge veers to the very edge of moral collapse. Their objective finally secured, the Marines return to Pavuvu fundamentally changed by their experience on Peleliu.
1947 and the world is at the mercy of its leaders with Truman, Ho Chi Minh, Stalin and Mao Zedong each preparing to go to battle for ultimate power.
Despite the suffocating 115-degree heat and a lack of clean drinking water, Sledge, Leckie and the other Marines confront the highly-fortified enemy as they attempt to capture the Peleliu airfield. After seeing his comrades badly injured, Leckie himself is wounded and evacuated from the island. Sledge witnesses the shocking truth about what is sometimes required to survive and fight another day.