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Long Shadow: The Great War
Long Shadow: The Great War “Renowned British historian David
  Reynolds looks at the Great War,
  its repercussions, how it shaped the
  world today and its affect on future
  generations in the intriguing and
  informative BBC World War I
  documentary series Long Shadow:
  The Great War

WE HAVE NOT LOST OUR CURIOSITY about The Great War, but what is the truth about the promise of a "war to end all wars"? Was it really a necessary, terrible, desperate attempt to bring peace to the world or a senseless waste of human life in the pursuit of victory?

Much-respected British historian Professor David Reynolds masterfully examines the facts behind the events leading to the First World War and the years of carnage that raged from 1914 to 1918, drawing upon years of research and a wealth of historical footage.

Long Shadow:
The Great War...
Well researched and
a must-see factual series
for everyone —
lest we forget.
A very significant
and compelling documentary...”
This remarkable series chronicles how the experience of war haunted the generation who lived through it and the soldiers who survived it, citing such prominent figures of the era as Benito Musolini, Éamon de Valera, Phillippe Petain, James Ramsay MacDonald and Thomáš Masaryk.

The conflict unleashed forces we are still trying to come to terms with today and Professor Reynolds travels to locations across Europe, from Slovenia to the Sudetenland, from Belfast to Berlin; uncovering the enormous consequences of the war, what was left in its wake and how it impacted on the entire Twentieth Century.

Using poignant, sometimes frightening, images of the conflict to give the viewer an idea of the shocking events unfolding before the brave soldiers some of whom were mere children, teenagers running away from home in search of adventure who could who not possibly have imaged the nightmare waiting for them and the consequences the war would have on their lives the series aims to change the perception of the idea of the First World War as mud, blood, Tommies and trenches.

Conscientious objectors at the start of the war were vilified but a deeper understanding came in later years. Pacifist politician Lord Robert Cecil, one of the founders of The League of Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland, had deep religious convictions and, at 50 years of age, he was too old for military service at the outbreak of the First World War so he began working for The Red Cross.

Professor Reynolds quotes from some of the many heartfelt poems of the Great War. Poet Rudyard Kipling, having encouraged his only son Jack to enlist, was one of the many to be told that his son was missing, presumed killed. His body was never found.

Sadly, it was impossible to bring back all the bodies of the British and Commonwealth soldiers, and lasting memorials such as Lutyens Cenotaph and those at the Continental war cemeteries on the Western Front bear testament to those who gave their lives for their country. England was a country worth fighting and dying for.

Nearly 750,000 would lose their lives and one and a half million servicemen would be wounded; many returning from the horrors of the trenches struggling to cope, having suffered sights and sounds that would leave a lasting, horrific impression on them. Haunted by the experience of war were the generation who lived through it and especially the soldiers who survived it.

However much information came back from the Front to those waiting desperately at home for news of their fathers, husbands, sweethearts and sons, friends and relatives who had not gone through the trauma of war would have had little understanding of its true nature.

By bringing his work Journey's End to The Apollo Theatre in London on 9 December, 1928, R C Sherriff, gave his audience a glimpse of his own experiences as a captain fighting in the trenches. Starring a young Laurence Olivier, the play was set towards the end of the First World War.

The series explores the impact of the war and the long shadow it has cast over Europe since the final shots were fired. Professor Reynolds questions whether the war should be dismissed as futile and inconclusive or actually seen as an important way forward in the superb BBC documentary series Long Shadow: The Great War, based on the prize-winning book.

While most of Europe celebrated, Germany looked at the year 1918 as a humiliating defeat, so perhaps it was inevitable that the rise of a deadly politician with charisma called Adolf Hitler would lead to the peace being shattered for a second time in the 20th Century by the outbreak of World War II.

Long Shadow: The Great War provides a fresh, captivating and, at times, disturbing look at The Great War and its lasting legacy. Well researched and a must-see factual series for everyone lest we forget. A very significant and compelling documentary.

Written and Presented by Professor David Reynolds, University of Cambridge; Director of Photography is Hugh Campbell; Composers: James Banbury, Pete Davis; Producer is James Evans; Director is Russell Barnes.

* The powerful, remarkable three-part BBC1 documentary series Long Shadow: The Great War, based on the prize-winning book, is released on DVD in the UK, courtesy of Simply Media, on 4 July 2016. Running Time: 150 Minutes Approximately on One Disc | Catalogue Number: 166451 | RRP: £19.99.

"Long Shadow: The Great War… Well researched and a must-see factual series for everyone lest we forget. A very significant and compelling documentary" Maggie Woods

"Engaging… humanising… powerful" Daily Telegraph

"I promise you that this will be the final war the war to end all wars" Woodrow Wilson, US President, 1913-21