TV Review: History’s ‘The World Wars’

The World Wars History Channel

The History channel continues to hammer away at historical programming for people it evidently doesn’t think have the patience to watch actual documentaries on the subject. Enter “The World Wars,” a three-part, six-hour undertaking that proves fitfully interesting despite its offputting narrative approach. Focusing on a 30-year period, the project tracks world leaders from their formative experiences during World War I to the pivotal roles they played in prosecuting World War II, using actors, reenactments and interviews — some of which can only be called high-profile pandering — to illustrate events. If Dr. Frankenstein stitched together a docudrama, it would look something like this.

Producer Stephen David employed a similar hybrid format on “The Men Who Built America,” although World War II feels different. This is a period with so much real documentary evidence and so many dramatic adaptations that the tweener treatment seems particularly awkward and unnecessary.

In essence, “World Wars” uses two actors (younger and older) to play Hitler, Mussolini, FDR, Patton, Churchill, MacArthur and so on, chronicling how the brutality of World War I — and the distasteful terms of the Treaty of Versailles that brought it to an end — bled into World War II. Jeremy Renner’s narration is augmented not only by genuine historians but by political luminaries (many with military backgrounds) such as Sen. John McCain, Gen. Colin Powell and British Prime Minister John Major.

Obviously, the goal is to make history come alive, but many of the re-creations play like something out of a Sergio Leone Western. What nearly salvages the project are the stray tidbits sprinkled throughout, from Hitler’s near-death experiences during World War I (and the inevitable “What if?” questions those invite) to Gen. Patton’s use of cars to assault Pancho Villa’s forces in Mexico before the U.S. entered World War I.

History, of course, has strayed pretty far from the confines of its old brand, and come away with ostentatious successes to show for it. Still, the stretch encompassed by “The World Wars” would be more compelling if presented as either fish or fowl — a big scripted miniseries on the order of “Hatfields & McCoys,” or a true documentary. (Ken Burns, after all, managed to wring 15 remarkable hours out of World War II alone for PBS, and it’s not like that lacked commercial appeal.)

As is, “The World Wars” might do reasonably well, positioned as it is in a spot where “Hatfields” shot up the Nielsen charts two years ago. Creatively speaking, however, even if History wins with “Wars,” it’s already lost the battle.

TV Review: History's 'The World Wars'

(Limited series; History, Mon.-Wed. May 26-28, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in West Virginia by Stephen David Entertainment.


Executive producer, Stephen David; co-executive producer, Tim W. Kelly; supervising producer, Shirley Escott; series producer, David C. White; director, John Ealer; head writers, David, White. 6 HOURS


Narrator: Jeremy Renner

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  1. Dan H says:

    As a long time student of WWII, I was shocked that the overt revisionist history and pandering to GWB cronies. Really, Patton led US forces in the defeat of Italy. Not one mention of Eisenhower or Bradley!

  2. Diane Ruth says:

    American planes bombing Warsaw on behalf of the Nazis in 1939? I was shocked when Jay Leno couldn’t find anyone at Universal City who knew who bombed Pearl Harbor. The French? With they way this History Channel debacle depicts events, that could very well be.

  3. Wayne says:

    World War history according to Cheney and Rumsfeld, what a sad joke. This defiles the memories of the brave men who fought in these wars. Despite best partisan efforts, an illusion of credibility cannot be created for these evil men. I had been looking forward to this miniseries but I had to turn it off. Shame on the History Channel for ruining it.

  4. Mike says:

    The attention to detail in the series is abysmal. For example, during the Munich putsch scene the police are armed with British Lee Enfield rifles, and Churchill in the “trench scene” has both a Lee Enfield and a German Mauser??

    • Ricky says:

      Although a WW1 British soldier with a Mauser is quite possible the Sicily invasion showed GIs with Lee Enfields and a Bren gun. The D-Day segment showed GIs with proper M1 Garrands. I blame it on the current attitude of “What difference does it make”?

  5. Dale Faxon says:

    I would like to see more of the world wars. ..enough of pawns star’s and pickers…

  6. Jim says:

    Apparently Patton conquered Italy in 6 weeks. I had no idea! If I keep watching maybe I’ll find out Yamamoto sank the Bismark while flying a B-52 that took off from the Ark Royal. Nah, inclusion of the Ark Royal would be flirting with accuracy too much for this “documentary.” I’ve only been watching for 10 minutes, and that is the second error. Why don’t they get some of the historians that contribute to the series to do at least a cursory review before they put it on tv. It’s the same with all their “documentaries.” It looks like some 15 year old interns did the narration and editing. It really wouldn’t bother me so much if they’d just admit reality and drop the history part from their name. Make it the garbage channel.

  7. Robert Bee says:

    I watched this again and checked as many facts as I could. This is pure FICTION. Not one “dramatic” scene is based in fact. Shame on anyone involved with this farce!

  8. Robert Bee says:

    The two world wars were interesting enough. Why did they have to flat out embellish this “documentary” ? I can forgive equipment being wrong but facts were altered or plain falsified. Hitler did not shorten his mustache to fit a gas mask. Pictures from pre ww1 archives show him with his trade mark “Charlie Chaplin” look already in place. Douglas MacArthur is shown wearing 5 stars on his collars on being sent to the Phillipines in July of 1941. He did not become a 5 star General of the Army until 3+ years later in December of 1944. Patton is shown tearing after bandits with a machine gun in Mexico. Archived pictures shown him in an old Dodge with no machine gun. Just a few untruths I spotted right away.How many more errors to show people?? “History” channel you should be ashamed!!

  9. FrankQ says:

    Any historian associated with this program should have their credentials questioned. Equipment issues aside, the blatant omissions and outright factual errors were appalling.

  10. corey says:

    What an embarrassment. North Africa, Japanese Internment, as well as Eisenhower’s role are only a few of the many important people and events completely ignored by this joke of a miniseries. It overplays the Hero vs. Villain angle, has many dates incorrect, and so severely misrepresents the actual relationship between Stalin and Hitler. I cannot believe I just wasted time watching this joke.

  11. Dave says:

    Found many errors with the accuracy of events in this episode.. First off France did not fall before Belgium and Netherlands. Second Germany did not invade France through the Maginot line. Dates of Surrender to Germany… France…Invaded May 10th. Surrenders June 22. On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Belgium surrenders May 28th, 1940, Netherlands Surrenders May 14th, 1940. Someone didn’t do their homework!

  12. john says:

    Oh my Gawd, the clips! I could not believe the sloppy editing of film clips. With all of the excellent film footage out there the program instead made use of film clips of incorrect items. Just the aircraft for example, I never knew that American B-17’s bombed Poland for the Luftwaffe. There is a clip in the Battle of Britain sequence where you can see a Mig 15 getting shot down and a shot of a Mig 15 pilot, with oxygen mask, closing the canopy. There is NO excuse for this sloppy work.

    I think they used a wooden statue for Stalin!

    Obviously nobody can cram WWI and WWII into a three part series and have full coverage of what happened, but they really could have done better.

  13. Phyllis Berkowitz says:

    Where was Dwight Eisenhower who was the planner for D Day?
    We had many moments of Dick Cheney who never served and none of Eisenhower or the British Montgomery.

  14. Enter your comment here Where was Eisenhower

  15. Bob swartz says:

    Stick with pawn stars. This was terrible. Couldn’t the generals get uniforms that fit. Couldn’t young Patton shave.

    Most of the inaccuracies have been mentioned (and they permeate throughout –not just weapons but factual) but worth mentioning is that Roosevelt did not call the shots on Midway. That was Nimitz, cincpac.

    There is no excuse for such garbage.

    Final point. In the ads, one mentions the Armistice but the announcer has no
    Idea how to pronounce it. He says, ar-miss (accent here) -tis. What an idiot.

    We hardly watch this channel anymore.

  16. Will Greeey says:

    It is impossible to fully explain WW1 and WW2 in a six hour miniseries. Yet there are some insights and valuable truths in this program. I am frustrated by critics who seize on a single obscure detail (like “Enfield rifles) and in a black and white reaction dismiss the entire program. While the whole story is far more complex than this “Great Man Theory” approach, certainly individuals like Hitler had a huge impact on these events–such declaring war on the U.S.; the “Final Solution”; and so many other key decisions. This program is neither all bad nor all bad. I think some of the criticism here is out of jealousy–academics who are neglected because they are poor communicators and have contempt for others who they think are inferiors.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello Will, “jealousy-academics who are neglected because they are poor communicators and have contempt for others who they think are inferiors”, you might want to rethink your attempt at name calling. Also “this program is neither all bad nor all bad”, might be a further misstep that a academic would call attention to. FYI, this critique comes from a retired bus driver.
      By the way there were so many glaring errors that The History Channel producers need to be fired for allowing this show to air…

    • Jim Nowak says:

      When one claims to present history, they accept a responsibility to be as accurate and factual as they can be, otherwise their work is actually fiction. That means doing careful, detailed research and becoming or at least consulting with authorities on what is accurate to the story being told. I am glad many people found this overall story compelling because frankly, much of today’s world was shaped by these wars. I sincerely hope many viewers are now curious enough to do their own research and learn the facts and true flow of events, which as you point out, are very complex .
      The complaints aired are not just about which model Enfield was shown… they question the overall credibility of this work. When the so many basic details are wrong, can you believe the big story or is that fraught with errors, too? It’s just like an individual’s reputation. Suppose they claimed to be a sports expert and talked about how many field goals they kicked playing baseball, you would rightfully question their real level of expertise, right?
      The best thing that can come from this series (and this dialogue) is to spur critical thought on the part of viewers. The things that happened from 1914 to 1945 are mind-boggling in every sense of that expression. We live daily with the consequences and can learn so much from what transpired.
      From my personal experience in documentaries, there is a joy in sharing the power of telling what really happened in a historic event. I’ve interviewed many veterans. Out of respect to them, when I tell their story I want to get it right.
      I think many of us expected better from The History Channel. Lowering standards rarely, if ever, results in better quality.

  17. Les Baker says:

    First of all, this was a very professionally Historical drama. However the music in the background was too intrusive and made the dialogue very difficult to follow, as often happens on these more serious programs.

  18. Dan says:

    Amongst many of the things people have mentioned, the show also forgot to mention the US Marines. Not a single mention of the Marines, although certain scenes portrayed them. But apparently the Pacific was won only by MacArthur and the only battles it had were the Philippines, Midway, retaking the Philippines and the atomic bomb. And of course they excluded mentioning any of the Australian and British forces in the Pacific as well.

  19. JohnS says:

    The many inaccuracies almost make this “documentary” unwatchable. They show MacArthur and Marshall (not named) with 5 stars in 1941 when they didn’t get their 5th star until December 1944. How do they cover D-Day and not even mention Eisenhower, Bradley, and Montgomery? The American entry into the European war started in North Africa, not Sicily. In the Pacific, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Saipan, Tarawa, etc, under Nimitz are not even mentioned. The battles of Moscow and Stalingrad are conflated and inaccurately described, otherwise the entire Russian contribution (and 27 million dead) is virtually ignored. The acting was also horrible. If you want to know about WWII, the British “The World at War” series from the 70’s is still the best, as well as their Battlefield series.

    • Rusty Venture says:

      If you want to view accurate info about WWI, on YouTube there is the 1963 BBC documentary “The Great War”, fascinating rarely seen pictures and video, interviews with Vets that were in their sixties or early 70’s. Well covered in 26 approx. 40 minutes each videos.

  20. Goatkrieg says:

    Where was Canada in all this? Not even a single mention. Just garbage.

  21. Julie says:

    A lot of comments go into so much detail about which guns were used, which tanks, etc. Who cares? Being a woman, I could give a rat’s ass. They all shoot bullets. Anyways, my 8 and 7 year old sons watched the documentary to grasp the main idea about who was fighting each other during WWI and WWII. I think it was an excellent program for a general overview. Right now, they will only remember names and major players. They can learn the rest in detail in history books. It’s better than some of the other garbage on T.V.

  22. Ron says:

    I was amazed all the things the History Channel got wrong. The young Patton was a bit of a joke. He’s seen riding into battle in 1917 on the back of a WW2 era Stuart tank. Both American and German troops are seen using Lee Enfield rifles, even between the wars. During the invasion of Poland, the Luftwaffe is shown flying B-17F bombers. All in all it was like a bunch of 5 year olds were playing Army and using comic books as historical fact.

  23. Atticus says:

    Hey “History” Channel..


    He’s shown standing up, albeit with difficulty, and shuffling onward with an aide simply steadying his arm.

    In reality his “walking” was an elaborate ruse to fool the public, whilst his legs were securely strapped in (all the way from his shoes to his hips), he would rock his body from one side to the other, pushing himself along with a cane in one hand and then using the extremely strong aide on his other to pull himself on that side and keep his balance.

    Comic books on WW2 have more gravitas.

  24. John says:

    I’ve been reading all the comments on this show that i can, and I’m having a hard time listening to all of you who don’t even bother to finish the series and give a legit review. Despite the many errors that are both obvious and expected by those who try to show films of the past, I didn’t watch the show looking for enormous detail on some of the biggest battles of the fighting, but more on the actions of the powerful people of those times.
    Throughout the series, I, along with what the show seemed to do, focused on the lives and actions of the powerful men in charge. I watched as these people were met head on by wars, watched their actions for and against it, and everything they did with and away from the other powerful men. I watched as Hitler went from a broken man to the powerful leader he was feared as. I watched as Churchill lost what he had and what he did to get it back. I watched as Stalin became the most feared man, even by that who helped put him back in power. I watched as our presidents during those times did what they could to keep war out of America and keep it from becoming worse.
    I can slightly understand the little to none mentions of some of the big characters of those times, mainly because they did not have as big of an involvement throughout the 30 years, from beginning to end of both wars, along with the 20 years in between.
    Unlike almost every other reviewer here, I actually thought about the show; each and every moment of it, and each impact those actions had. Unlike most of you reviewers, I looked beyond the mistakes at what the series showed; what men do when there are dire time among them, when they are pushed against the wall and do what they can to persevere, and what they do when all looks lost. I watched the humanity of these men at the worst time in human history, and the drastic measures they went to for their causes. I wish most of you would look back at that and look not at the fighting, but at those who were in charge of it.

    • Bob Alexander says:

      I watched every second of this series and agree with almost all of the negative comments. My first impression of your response to the negative comments is that even you did not mention General Dwight D. Eisenhower! How can a thorough, honest treatment of the events of June 6, 1944 omit the leader of the largest seaborne assault in the history of the world and future president of the United States of America?

      • Homer Paden says:

        John’s follow on comment shows a lack of knowledge of Gen. Eisenhower’s role in WWII. This was the man that Gen Marshall and President Roosevelt chose, early on, to represent the U.S. with our European Allies. When he was only a Colonel. Then he was promoted one rank every year up to 5-Star (which was created so that the U.S. would have a rank equivalent to a Field Marshal, common in European armies). Even though the U.S. came in more than two years after the war started in Europe, and he was out ranked by numerous American and British officers he was selected as the “Supreme Commander” of the Allied Powers Europe. This meant that the hardest part of his job wasn’t fighting the war, but dealing with the competing interests of all those Allies (and a lot of Generals who were passed over for his job).

      • John says:

        I think he wasn’t mentioned because he was more of an involved man during post-WW2. I understand the problem with him not being mentioned for the Operation Torch, and if people want them to talk more on Dwight D Eisenhower, then they should make something about the Cold War, since that was the time period he is more involved in.

  25. Bengo says:

    With some much quality real life footage from WWII, why even bother with the really poor reenactment and cinema material. Worst History Channel program I have ever viewed.

  26. Nick Flynn says:

    I’ve always have had a passion for history. But the historical inaccuracies of this series were just too much to bear. I couldn’t get through the final part and called it quits. The History Channel should issue an apology to its audience for presenting such shoddy piece of work with its blatant disregard of the facts.

  27. goatkrieg says:

    THey spent way too much time on the USA. I don’t get why, there were many more things they could have gone into them god damn Midway. Maybe Australia kicking Japan’s ass.

  28. The ARMS and EQUIPMENT for the most part are a JOKE ! US TROOPS carrying British Enfield’s….German troops shooting Births guns…and MANY MANY other BIG TIME SCREWUPS…..Apparently the producers and property people know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT WAR…..Even a rank amateur knows better…SHOULD BE REDONE WITH AN EYE TOWARD AUTHENTICITY IN MIND !!

    • Dennis says:

      FYI, it’s Brits gun not Births. Doh

    • Martin says:

      While I did find some inaccuracies, WWI US troops did carry Enfield’s into battle.

      “When the U.S. entered the war, it had a similar need for rifles. The Springfield Armory had delivered approximately 843,000 M1903 rifles, but due to the difficulties in production, rather than re-tool the Pattern 14 factories to produce the standard U.S. rifle, the M1903 Springfield, it was realized that it would be much quicker to adapt the British design for the U.S. .30-06 cartridge, for which it was well-suited.”

      • Jim Nowak says:

        True, Americans carried what was known as the 1917 Enfield, which was adapted from the Pattern 14 being made by Winchester, Remington & Eddystone for export to Britain. But in this program, the actor portraying LT Patton on the Mexican border, for example, was using the Lee-Enfield Model #1 Mark III rifle. That rifle was never issued to troops in the US. Plus, these two Enfield rifles look totally different. Think of it as saying that someone drove a Ford… but was it a Model T, Mustang or Pinto? All are Ford vehicles, but each one appears very different from the rest. Seeing the character of Patton with the Enfield rifle he wielded in this program was as jarring as if a baseball drama showed Babe Ruth hitting a home run swinging a cricket bat.
        To be fair, though, I have some contemporary books in which doughboys describe training with American rifles, shipping out to England where they were issues British #1 MKIII .303 Enfields, then being given 1917 Enfields for combat. Another side note – Alvin York earned his Medal of Honor with a US Model 1917 Enfield, not a Springfield as shown in the film “Sergeant York.”
        This series held so much promise and if showing the wrong model rifle were the only flaw I could probably overlook it. I concur with the litany of gross factual errors listed by many other writers below. Having personally produced award winning documentaries, I know how much work goes into researching a story’s background. The attitude that “no one will notice” always falls apart. Meeting the standards of those who WILL notice lets one earn a reputation that is respected.

  29. Richard in ATL says:

    Here are some more ridiculous flaws in this pathetic documentary JUST IN THE LAST HALF OF PART 3: (1) the Battle of the Bulge footage is summer fighting scenes with a lot of greenery (green grass, trees in bloom, plush bushes) in them, (2) Patton is said to be given the Third Army after the Battle of the Bulge is started to rescue to rest of the American Army, (3) PT-109 is show fighting to liberate the Phillipines in 44 even though it was sunk the year before, (4) Hitler shoots himself in a room standing over a map, (5) Truman’s Oval Office is square with corners, (6) Patton personally leads the way in to the first discovered death camps, (7) Tojo is shown pacing the very same warehouse floor in 44 that Hitler is pacing in March 45 with the same debris (8) the Battle of the Bulge footage shows North Vietnamese troops being shot by Germans in the summer, (9) one of the vehicles (a truck) shown has an identification sign of the side that reads “World War 2, US Army, 1941 Dodge” (and other descriptive details) while it is being driven in the Battle of the Bulge (again with leaves on the trees)… I could go on. The History Channel should stick to UFO and Bigfoot shows and change their name to the paranormal channel.

  30. Rusty Venture says:

    The History Channel’s World Wars:
    First ever Comedy War documentary. May become a Cult Classic like “Plan 9 from Outer Space”.
    Did the History Channel exhume the ghost of Ed Wood to put this project together?
    You got to love how unpaid interns that were absent the day they covered WWI and WWII in high school were allowed to randomly pick any military stock footage from 1914 to 1999 they could find on YouTube. One of my favorites was South Vietnamese Army troops as American troops in the Philippines in 1941. Then, oh yes the acting parts. You really have to hand to President Wilson, that man was truly 25 years ahead of his time. Wilson had a 1940’s radio console in his office in 1916, 4 years before the first commercial radio station went on the air. Absolutely amazing and all the same stuff was still there, just slightly moved around in President Roosevelt’s office from 1932-1945. But, I am just a little confused about a few things like, Why was Churchill leading British troops in to battle carrying a Colt M1911 pistol?(I always figured him as a Webley man) Why were half the British troops he was leading issued M1903 Springfield rifles? Why did both German and American troops in both wars seem to prefer to use British Lee Enfield .303 rifles? Even Patton can be seen shooting at Mexicans with a Lee Enfield .303. Even Hitler did some time traveling so that he could get a 1916 German helmet in 1914. Then there was Roosevelt, planning the Battle of Midway, (no mention of Nimitz) like he was President Johnson planning to bomb truck parks on the Ho chi Minh trail. I guess U-boats and submarines had so little impact on both WWI and WWII that they didn’t need to be mentioned, just like that Allied Supreme Commander dude, that went on to get some other government job after WWII. I sure hope Putin doesn’t see this mini-series, they really got stuff all mix up about the Soviets. Why oh why would you want a bunch of present day political jack holes talking heads talking their BS? Somebody at the History Channel sure must have some brass balls to put this toxic abortion on the air. Have we all really sunk this low?

  31. Enrique says:

    Oh and what is the deal with having Dick Cheney as a commentator, he has no creditability after the lies of the Iraq war!!! This is nonsense!!! And what about the five star generals, OMG!!! When I was in the Army 82nd Airborne one of the many things we had to learn was about the only five generals who where awarded to be five star generals and all where awarded after 1944 and no later. Propaganda and trying to rewrite history!!!!!!!!!!

  32. James H. Macomber says:

    Chock full of historical inaccuracies. Nice try History Channel, but no cigar…

  33. Enrique says:

    What happened to Eisenhower??? What the history channel didn’t want people to Google President Eisenhower’s last state of the union address about the military industrial complex. This was nothing but propaganda and an attempt to rewrite history!!!

  34. Jim says:

    Garbage sums up the whole production. It was like watching something produced by high school students who knew a little history but not much. MacArthur being flown to Australia from Corregidor,really. Hey kids where did he find a plane? This production was really disturbing to view. If you are writing a historical report at least get your facts straight.

  35. Richard says:

    After watching “World Wars” the only thing that is blatantly clear is that when it comes to history and military equipment the History Channel doesn’t know its A_S_S From A Hole In The Ground!


  36. Dr. Venture says:

    History Channels “The World Wars”, is the “plan 9 from Outer Space” of war documentaries. This thing is so sloppy bad, that it is funny. How everyone involved with this project wasn’t immediately fired and how this project ever even got on the air is astonishing. This project is so error ridden, that I can’t believe it was not done on propose, as some type of sick joke. For example British troops are using M1903 Springfield rifles and M1911 pistols, American Troops are shown using Lee Enfield rifles and Bren guns, even the German troops seem to prefer the Lee Enfield to their issued Karabiner 98k’s.

  37. Bob Alexander says:

    How can a history of D-Day, as told in this documentary, make NO mention of General Dwight Eisenhower. NO MENTION!

  38. Cassandra says:

    The blatant and sloppy historical inaccuracies are beside the point, when it comes to this program. This is pure revisionist history, designed to promote a conservative, militaristic agenda. Mussolini and Hitler are shown as semi-heroic figures, shamelessly promoting their “anti-government” movements. True, they opposed the current governments they lived under, but both created totalitarian regimes that are the antithesis of “small government”. FDR is shown as a crippled buffoon, to be scolded by Douglas MacArthur for cutting military expenditures during THE WORST ECONOMIC DEPRESSION IN U.S. HISTORY, after “The War to End All Wars”. The British Labour government is treated in a simiiar fashion, for spending money to alleviate the horrid conditions of their people, rather than building more weapons. At the same time, “TWW’s” points out, correctly, that the depression in Germany directly contributed to the rise of Hitler. You can’t have it both ways, people. Are the producers of this program complaining that the U.S., U.K., and France didn’t turn into Fascist dictatorships like Germany and Italy? In a similiar vein, the treatment of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact seems to indicate that Hitler and Stalin were allies. From the beginning of his rise to power, Hitler expressed over and over again that Communism was his #1 enemy, and that the inevitable goal of his movement was the destruction of the Soviet Union. Stalin certainly was aware of this, but also aware of the fact that the Red Army was in tatters due to his purges, and that the Allies would never help the USSR. The Pact was Stalins effort to buy time for the inevitable war with Germany, as he hoped that Germany and the West would bleed each other white first. But this is never even implied in “TWW’s”. Leaving out Hitlers hatred of communism is not an accident, because even most American right-wingers are uncomfortable with the idea of cheering on Hitler, despite their own hatred of the Soviet Union. This program seeks to lump the Nazis and Soviets together, much in the way that Winston Churchill and George Patton always did. The truth, as always, is inconvenient for American conservatives, and the truth about WWII is especially so. As propaganda for the modern verison of militaristic corporate conservatism (known as “fascism” everywhere outside of the U.S.), “The World Wars” is a piece of work that Joseph Goebbels and Leni Reifenstahl would’ve been deeply proud of.

  39. Leon says:

    I never realized that the Germans used airborne troops during the invasion of France – or that they APPARENTLY JUMPED FROM C-130S (as shown)!!!!

    • Dr. Venture says:

      I wonder why the war lasted as long as it did, since the US is pictured as having Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers, even for a brief second with a deck packed with Super Hornets? Of course those darn Japs had destroyers with Phased array radars, and Standard Missile launchers If you didn’t look too close, you might have missed the South Vietnamese Army troops as American troops in the Philippines. That President Wilson was sure ahead of his time, he had a 1940’s radio in his office in 1916, four years before the first commercial radio station ever went on the air.

  40. MJB says:

    Anxiously anticipated this mini-series’ debut. Upon watching the entire run, I was significantly disappointed in the sheer number of glaring inaccuracies depicted. Any one who has viewed the landmark BBC series “The World at War” would have spotted the errors immediately. It is precisely this type of non-attention to detail which signifies “Hollywood” and it’s very casual approach to telling any story. Unfortunately, many millions who viewed this series now have very inaccurate information impressed upon them. I need not list the pictured or stated inaccuracies, others are already busy doing so. Shame on the producers/director of this series for not doing their homework (or caving to the “Hollywood” standard of Orwellian “Doublespeak”).
    As for the better, the overall premise that the Second World War was a clear resumption of the bitter hostilities and unaddressed issues resulting from both the causes and effects of the Great War (the First World War) is both compelling and generally accepted. The depiction of some — not all by any means — of the major military and political leaders of the Second World War — whose personal and professional lives were shaped by their experiences prior to, during and after the First World War was compelling if not just plain interesting. The causes of the First World War are still being debated. The Balkans are still a troubled region as evidenced in the 1990’s.
    This series was not a waste of time, if compared to some of the other programming for the brainless which is spewed on television, but it could have been much more historically accurate if the effort had been made — which would not have added significant cost to the production. Next time, please ask the multitude of knowledgeable people or do the research. Use sources outside the United States as we by no means mandate the only or final assessment of history.
    Overall, I’d grade this series with a “C”.

  41. Jim says:

    Showing MacArthur and Marshall with five stars early in the war is worrisome. Makes one question the whole production.

    • Dr. Venture says:

      I knew we were in trouble when Hitler couldn’t get his gas mask to seal in what was labeled Sep. 1914, since there was no militarized poison gas in until 1915, even then the first gas mask were basically a wad of cloth you peed on then tied over your noise and mouth. Real gas mask didn’t start showing up until 1916.

  42. Renee says:

    Watched this and liked it. But very curious that Eisenhower was not mentioned once.

  43. hello everybody, all true history fans! well I just completed seeing the World Wars, and have read many of your comments. well for the most part I think your right! History Channel should hire more Historians and fewer Mad Men! The series was a very good idea but not very well done . and like most documentaries done these days they just seem to get worse each time! I understand that the program was concentrating on a limited group of the Top political Leaders of the mainly Second World War but so much was left out and other people should have got more attention, As for mistakes there are lots! But also there’s a good deal of confusion in the film making. It looks like a lot of filming was done in Russia or some east European country, I saw a lot of Russian equipment being used for everybody! Here’s some noticeable ones. Hitler in 1914 wears the 1916 helmet. Patton’s Tank is a Stuart M-3. Chamberlin’s flight to Hitler is a Lancaster! (nice shot), Ethiopia attack shows German Paratroopers! attack on Poland shows a B-17 and T-54 TANK. Battle Of Britain ‘ show’s p-51 and B-17, China war 1937 shows ALL TOMMY GUN fight between Chinese/ Japanese troops, when they only used bolt action rifles and light MGs. also the troops looked like Korean war army Chinese! later on in the Battle of the bulge scene inn summer , I saw Russian troops mixed in there! Also to much credit or attention is given to Patton and MacArthur, the British army is not even mentioned! Also historical errors. Battle Of Britain was not started out as a terror bombing campaign but a direct attack on the RAF airfields and support facilities , plus ports! the bombing of London came about as a error by a few Germans bombers on a night raid , the British retaliated then Hitler struck back. the main Blitz came about after the failure of the Luftwaffe to gain control of the air by day. Hitler actually issued special orders to avoid bombing London when the battle started! also the losses stated are wrong. not the 3000 German to about 600 British Fighters, but closer to 1,700 to 1100. also the narrated says several times not Luftwaffe but LUFT WAF! Hitler never said bomb all the villages and towns and kill everybody concerning the attack on France, In the film Roosevelt is given too much credit for certain military decisions, such as at Midway, though I believe he granted a request from Eisenhower to get Patton reinstated? There are omissions such as the Spanish Civil War! a almost forgotten subject and Hitler’s support against Stalin. and the bombing campaign of WWII. But this film was about the leaders . I think the actors tried to do a good effort, these were not the best matches but not bad really. ROOSEVELT WAS PRETTY GOOD , CHURCHILL DID A DECENT JOB, STALIN WAS NOT BAD, TOJO ACCEPIBLE (the man in TORA !TORA !TORA! was best) , MUSSOLINI LOOKED A BIT MORE LIKE HIM THAN THE OTHERS, PATTON WAS OK, Mac ARTHUR NOT THE BEST, AND ADOLF HITLER, WELL THE OLDER ONE WAS BETTER THAN THE YOUNGER ONE, BUT BOTH MEN TRIED. ONE SMALL DETAIL, ANY ONE NOTICE THAT HITLER ALWAYS WORE THE TAN PARTY JACKET IN THIS MOVIE, NEVER HIS FIELD GRAY ARMY ONE WHICH IS ACTUALLY WHAT HITLER WORE MOST OF THE TIME LATER IN THE WAR. Well lets thank HISTORY CHANNEL for getting back to history but lets hope they can improve on there facts and research and try for a TORA! TORA! TORA! INSTED OF A PEARL HARBOR!

    • Jim says:

      Did you notice MacArthur and Marshall with five stars? Somebody needs a history lesson.

      • Dennis says:

        One point of concern was Stalin’s height. He was a short shit if real history has any validity.

      • Dr. Venture says:

        Did you notice how they had Roosevelt planning the battle of Midway, like he was Johnson planning to bomb truck parks on the Ho chi Minh trail? No mention of Nimitz or Yamamoto. Karl Doenitz, Submarines, U-boats guess they were not important all in WWI or WWII.

  44. Fred says:

    Why spend so much trouble on making a multi-hour “historical documentary”, just to make it inaccurate in so many places? I couldn’t even finish watching it. Do they feel no responsibility for presenting accurate history to some people who may actually be using this to try to learn something?

  45. bob says:

    As a student of both world wars I came away from these three documentaries with mixed feelings. Firstly, I felt the first installment on world war one was very well done. Very few people know much about this massive conflict and I felt they did a good job fitting most of it into the two hour block. However as soon as the series reached the second world war I was left scratching me head. There is no rational explanation for leaving so many pivotal players and events in the conflict totally unmentioned. You cannot tell a credible story about the second world war without mentioning Eisenhower, Montgomery, Rommel and Zhukov. Not enough time was spent on many of the major planning and execution aspects of Operation Overlord.

  46. sadlyyes says:

    oh gawd,Dick 5 deferments Cheney,and Joe (the military wasn’t for me),commenting on 2 world wars.History Chanel,when you do a program on Chickenhawks,hire these 2 losers

  47. Dan says:

    I am fearful that people might watch this and “learn” from it. What is worse? To not know history or to know inaccurate history?

  48. Hank Dryfoos says:

    Not one word about Gen. Eisenhower. Too much Patton who had to answer to Ike!

  49. KDW says:

    It has been so long since the History Channel actually produced a show about history, it appears they have forgotten even that. Sadly, I wasted six hours watching all three nights. It offers no new information and provides no real new insights. And a show focusing mostly on WWII that doesn’t even mention Eisenhower? In fact, it gives credit for the D-Day plan and the Patton ruse entirely to Churchill. A total flop. I swear in one quick shot of the US navy I even spotted an Aegis class destroyer.

    • Dr. Venture says:

      That was a Japanese Aegis Class destroyer, luckily there was a brief shot of a US Navy Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier with it’s deck filled with Super Hornets ready to launch. My favorite, almost made me change undies, clip was when Churchill, in WWI is ready to go over the top, he holds not a revered British Webley revolver, but a M1911, while his men seem to of some how been equipped with m1903 Springfield rifles instead of the Lee Enfield .303. Well, his mother was born American.

  50. John Bornhofen says:

    Loaded with factual errors, too many to list.

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