WW1 Media

Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale

A BBC documentary screened on 11 November 2010.
Published on YouTube 11 Jan 2015

Jeremy Paxman tells the tragic story of World War One poet Wilfred Owen. At a time of jingoism and wartime propaganda, one Shropshire lad was compelled to tell the truth. Paxman travels to the battlefields of France to discover how the ugliest and most terrible arena imaginable gave birth to some of the most poignant and powerful poetry in the English language. Wilfred Owen is played by Samuel Barnett.

Timewatch: The Last Day of World War One

A BBC Documentary from 2008-2009
Published on YouTube 17 Jan 2014

Michael Palin tells the story of how the First World War ended on 11th November 1918 and reveals the shocking truth that soldiers continued to be killed in battle for many hours after the armistice had been signed. Recounting the events of the days and hours leading up to that last morning, Palin tells the personal stories of the last soldiers to die as the minutes and seconds ticked away to the 11 o’clock ceasefire.

The Necessary War

A BBC Documentary screened on 4 June 2014
Published on YouTube 12 Oct 2014

A documentary to mark the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of war, Sir Max Hastings presents the argument that although it was a great tragedy, far from being futile, the First World War was completely unavoidable.

He presents the case that the rulers of Germany in 1914 were intent on dominating Europe and, after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in June 1914, actively encouraged the Austrians to invade Serbia. They were responsible for igniting the spark that turned a local controversy into a full-blown European war.

Life in the Trenches

Published on YouTube 1 April 2014

The story of trench warfare during World War I, with a focus on the lives of British soldiers. Includes dramatizations of the actual experiences of soldiers. The battle reenactment scenes are taken from the 1979 film “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

WW1 Uncut: Surviving the U-Boats

A BBC Production
Published on YouTube 31 July 2014

Dr. Sam Willis investigates the reality of being attacked by one of the German navy’s highly effective submarine fleet: a U-Boat. At first, the British Admiralty underestimated the offensive threat posed by the German U-Boats but they very quickly realized that the Royal Navy was facing one of the greatest threats in its history. Yet it wasn’t just the Navy that had to contend with the lurking threat beneath the waves. In 1915, the German Admiralty began to pursue its controversial policy of unrestricted warfare against all enemy shipping.

WW1 Uncut: A Tommy’s Sex Life

A BBC Production
Published on YouTube 23 May 2014

Rising comedy talent Thomas Gray plays the part of a young junior officer who has just returned to duty after a raucous last night on leave. It may surprise many but this fictional account of British Army soldiers visiting a brothel in northern France is based on one of the less well-known aspects of WW1.

The Somme Secret Tunnel Wars

A BBC documentary from 2013
Published on YouTube 20 May 2013

Beneath the Somme battlefield lies one of the great secrets of the First World War, a recently-discovered network of deep tunnels thought to extend over several kilometres. This lost underground battlefield, centred on the small French village of La Boisselle in Picardy, was constructed largely by British troops between 1914 and 1916. This documentary follows historian Peter Barton and a team of archaeologists as they become the first people in nearly a hundred years to enter this hidden, and still dangerous, labyrinth.

WW1 Tanks

A BBC documentary from 1995
Published on YouTube 21 Aug 2012

This is documentary from the Timewatch series looks at the effect of the tank on the First World War and how it was used as a propaganda weapon. Veterans contribute stories and experts put their arguments across.

The War Revolution 1914

A BBC documentary
Published on YouTube 7 Oct 2013

This is an interesting documentary from the Timewatch series that examines three major inventions that helped to prolong the Great War. It provides useful information for explaining why the First World War lasted so long, and is therefore ideal for students. Uploaded for educational purposes only.

The First Blitz

A BBC documentary from 2007.
Published on YouTube 31 May 2014

Known as ‘Iron Thunderstorms’, the Zeppelin bombing raids of the First World War brought a new style of warfare directly to the British public. By autumn 1916, a wave of panic had spread across London and the South East, hundreds of thousands of residents fled the city, many sought shelter deep underground and over 1,500 people were killed in the attacks.

These horrific bombing raids ushered in a new type of warfare that would become the defining feature of 20th century combat. Timewatch looks at the effect on the British psyche of the first-ever Zeppelin raid in 1915 on the town of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and maps in detail — using first-hand testaments and archive — how the Germans waged their first airborne terror campaign on British civilians.

The Somme – From Defeat To Victory

A BBC documentary from 2006
Published on YouTube 11 Mar 2012

The 1st of July 1916 was the bloodiest day in British military history. But there was much more to the Somme than senseless slaughter. The Somme: From Defeat to Victory challenges the traditional view of the battle as a disaster and reveals how it was on the Somme that the British Army learnt to fight a modern war. Based on extensive research in British and German archives, the film mixes realistic, historically sourced drama scenes, archive, documentary footage and state of the art computer graphics to bring the extraordinary events of the Somme to life. It has been made with the advice of some of the world’s top military historians. The result is a film that offers a radical new perspective on the Somme, putting the terrible events of July 1st into their proper historical context.

The film is also influenced by the personal perspective of its writer, director and producer Detlef Siebert, who says: “As a German, I approached the battle of the Somme without the preconceptions that most British people seem to have. Even 90 years on, the Somme is still seen as a prime example of the recklessness and idiocy of British generals who sent wave after wave of brave young men to certain death.

“And although the battle of the Somme lasted almost 5 months, it is normally only the first day that is remembered. This popular view of the Somme struck me as rather one-dimensional and I wondered how the British Army would have won the war if it was really led by ‘donkey’ generals. In fact, recent historical research has demonstrated that many British commanders proved able and willing to learn from the disaster of the 1st of July.

“I wanted to make a film that not only shows the human tragedy of trench warfare but also highlights the learning curve of the British Army on the Somme.”

The Trench

Film released on 17 September 1999
Published on YouTube 17 Apr 2014

A story about a group of soldiers last days before the battle of the Somme in 1916 it shows the conditions in the trenches during World War One and takes you into the minds of the soldiers.

Directed by William Boyd
Writen by William Boyd
Staring: Paul Nicholls, Daniel Craig and Julian Rhind-Tutt

WW1 Film Presentations by the BBC

Six short film presentations produced by the BBC highlighting what it was like for a soldier on the Western Front. Contains contemporary photographs, dramatised diary readings and interviews with veterans of World War One.

WW1 Soldiers Memories

Allied and German Soldiers memories of WW1

WW1 Trench Songs

WW1 Allied Soldiers trench songs

Western Front Animation

BBC short animation of events on the Western Front, 1914 – 1918.

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