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BBC Home Entertainment's commemoration of start of World War I on DVD

BBC Home Entertainment chose a great way to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War I. They have released a quintet of DVDs, riddled with historic images, rare footage and superb interviews. Looking back at history has never been so ideal.

Peace, as per Churchill
Author's collection

Churchill’s First World War
This landmark docu-drama re-examines the darkest hours of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable heroes, combining fascinating re-evaluation of the epic and traumatic experiences of Winston Churchill in the First World War, and his contributions as Britain’s greatest warlord. Disgraced by disasters in the Gallipoli wars, and with his political reputation in tatters, Churchill was all but `finished’. He was also tormented, for he knew that he was one of the very few political leaders opposed to the dreadful one note strategy of endless attrition in Flanders which was `chewing up a whole generation on barbed wire’. His invention of the tank and promotion of air power stemmed from his determination to find another strategy. Illustrating the extraordinary correspondence Churchill sent from the trenches to his wife Clementine, revealing intimate insights into his personal life, as well as life on the front, and with testimony from leading historians and military experts, this is the story of his fall–and his road to redemption.

14 War Stories
Fourteen vivid, true stories help you experience love and loss, happiness and grief on both sides of World War I through the words of those that actually lived it. What was it like for a French child to watch German battalions march through town? For a British homemaker to volunteer as a war nurse and comfort dying soldiers far from home? For a blood-soaked German soldier to cower in his muddy trench before an enemy he had never seen? Written 100 years ago in diaries, letters, postcards and telegrams, the exact words of real people–plus riveting dramatizations and archival footage–catapult you into the past.

My Boy Jack
Daniel Radcliffe stars with Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan, David Haig and Kim Cattrall in this dramatic wartime story of patriotism, loyalty and love of family. With World War I fast approaching, author Rudyard Kipling (Haig) must pull strings to get his son Jack (Radcliffe) a commission in the Irish guards, but Kipling’s wife (Cattrall) is bitterly upset, failing to see the glory in losing her only son to the war. In this searing drama, we witness Kipling’s dire struggle between his two greatest passions: love for family and devotion to King and Country.

Royal Cousins at War: The Final Blow to the Royal Houses of Europe
At the outbreak of World War I, three cousins reigned over Europe’s greatest powers–Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of England. This two-part series looks at the role played by the three monarchs, and their relationships with each other, in the outbreak of war. Mismanaging their countries and mishandling foreign policy, they failed to adapt to the forces of nationalism and democracy, and so brought tumbling down their own ideal of a Europe governed by the descendants of Queen Victoria. While it was war that delivered the final blow, this fascinating series shows how the problems had set in much earlier.

37 Days: The Road to World War I
This three-part political thriller, following the catastrophic chain of events which led from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on August 4, 37 Days explores with breathless tension the tragedy of how Europe’s old conventions of secret diplomacy fell apart–or were destroyed. With stunning performances and a fresh angle on an iconic story, this fascinating and provocative factual drama unlocks the mystery of the war’s origins, overturning common assumptions about its inevitability, demonstrating that World War I did not happen by chance, and nor was it a foregone conclusion–it took considerable effort and staggering bad luck, to disastrous and tragic effect.

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