World War II in Colour (2009) (TV)

This is a streaming TV documentary series on World War II, with, as the title suggested, colorized video and images from WWII. The colorization is not what drew me to this. Instead, I’m watching this just to get an overview of WWII. This thread will be a repository for my notes and thoughts on what I’m learning. As a general point, I’m watching the series through with the present in mind, particularly in Europe. Also, my notes are based on memory, so take them with a grain of salt, as I may not have remembered all the details accurately.

Episodes 1-4

  • Germany and Italy invade other countries, while Britain and France do nothing. Japan invades China, and the League of Nations proves ineffective.

    Takeaway: invading another country is a really big deal. My sense is that there aren’t many situations where ignoring this would be OK. Had Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the U.S. responded more forcefully earlier it may have prevented WWII, or at least prevented those countries from gaining so much power.

  • New technology and new ways of conducting warfare were critical. For example, the Nazis had faster tanks, and used them differently. Instead of backing up infantry, I think they were used in groups that spearheaded an attack, often moving ahead of the infantry, penetrating deeply into another country. (I believe this was the core of the blitzkreig concept.)

    Takeaway: Innovation strategies and tactics and new technology can really throw off an opponent. (Radar was also relatively new, and the British used this to great effect in the air war against the Nazis. Germany underestimated the importance of this new technology.) This may be obvious, but I would point out that governments need to be keenly aware if there are novel technologies, tactics, and strategies being used and how this may require one to shed older ways of thinking about tech, tactics, and strategy. For example, right now, I think the internet and social media open up different ways of using information warfare, and I don’t get the sense that our government or military fully appreciate this.

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