The History Channel’s “The World Wars”


Did anyone watch the recent mini-series on the History Channel titled “The World Wars”? I did and I was severely disappointed.

This mini-series was just a tad over 2 hours each night for three nights starting on Memorial Day. I had become slightly desperate for Memorial Day programming as I thought the pickings were slim. So I was thrilled when I saw this would be on and had high hopes this would be a great docudrama to fill the void.

Apparently, I need to lower my expectations. The mini-series advertised it would cover World War I through World War II and about the rise of several key players: Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, and Patton to name the majority. I should have suspected something was amiss when I didn’t see Mussolini or MacArthur or Eisenhower but I figured maybe I missed the spots they were in so I wasn’t really worried.

Based on the way the mini-series ran, it seems like it was the brainchild of the same people who brought us “The Men Who Built America” because it had a very similar vibe. That should have also been a red flag. While I enjoyed that series, there were several key details that it overlooked.

The first episode of “The World Wars” covered World War I through the Paris conference and the Treaty of Versailles. The coverage of the war didn’t go into a great deal of detail (it only covered maybe one or two battles but again, no detail) but tried to focus on the key players and their roles in that war. No mention of Eisenhower and this is where I started to become concerned.

The second episode took us from the Treaty of Versailles through Pearl Harbor. I’m not a fan of MacArthur but the person who wrote this mini-series clearly was a huge fan. It downplayed the animosity between Washington and MacArthur and implied he was a huge and positive impact in the Pacific campaign of the war. It did cover Patton to some extent but pretty limited.

The third episode covered post-Pearl Harbor through the end of World War II. This is the episode that nearly broke me. Several key problems became too glaringly apparent:

1. After 6 hours of this show, Eisenhower was not mentioned, not even once. How is a docudrama about World War II not going to even touch on Eisenhower, even briefly? And for that manner, Rommel? Also not mentioned: not one single Admiral like Nimitz.

2. When they got to the Battle of Stalingrad, the narrator (Jeremy Renner, actor, “The Hurt Locker” among others) states “It wasn’t long before Hitler’s army is overwhelmed.” Dear History Channel: Shouldn’t you know that battle lasted over 5 months?? This show made it seem like it was several weeks long.

3. They could take the time to cover Patton’s famous hospital incident (where he slaps a physically uninjured soldier) and the resulting media coverage and political impacts but it can’t mention Eisenhower and Rommel (clearly, I’m bitter about this)??

4. Apparently, because of the limited time this series ran, they could only cover two battles in the Pacific: the Philippines (at an extremely high level) and the battle at Midway. Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima didn’t make the cut which I found atrocious.

5. There were six minutes left in the program and four of them were spent on both atomic bombs. It was the quickest wrap-up I’ve seen and at the end all I could say was “That was it?” and stare at my television as if I was just scammed. I’m pretty sure the biggest scam was the six hours I spent watching it.

What really concerns me is if someone who is not familiar with either of these wars watched this program, they might think that was all there was to it and that’s the biggest disappointment of all.

H2 is going to air the series again (apparently, with additional “Never-before-seen-footage!” which I’m sure will also not mention Eisenhower) starting June 22nd just in case you have more than 6 hours and literally, have nothing else to do.

Did anyone else watch it? What did you think?


About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
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