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The Crimes

   2007    History
Soldiers and officers continually came into conflict with their consciences. How much freedom did individuals have? Were they executing Hitler's criminal plans, or was it the Wehrmacht's war? There were crimes against humanity, against civilians, prisoners of war, and there was the Holocaust itself. The Trent Park records discovered and analysed by historian Sönke Neitzel, author of Tapping Hitler's Generals, show that the 84 German generals who were interned at Trent Park were aware of the severity of the war crimes they had been involved in and that some discussed them almost compulsively. They included the Commissar Order, to kill any Soviet commissar, and Rathenau's order to kill the Jews, including children.
Series: The Wehrmacht

Free for All

   2013    Art
Part 2 examines how the freewheeling modernism that had shocked audiences in the first two decades of the century came under state control. Initially, many practitioners thought the totalitarian regimes would be good for music and the arts. What followed in Germany was a ban on music written by Jews, African-Americans and communists, while in the Soviet Union there was a prohibition on music the workers were unable to hum. After the cataclysm of the 1940s, a new generation of composers - Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Nono, Ligeti - turned their back on what they saw as the discredited music of the past and tried to reinvent it from scratch. Or, at least, from serialism, which became as much of a straitjacket as totalitarianism's strictures had been. But from this period of avant-garde experimentation, which many listeners found baffling and terrifying, came some of the most influential and radical musical innovations of the century.
Series: The Sound and the Fury

Dream and Machine

   2010    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon continues his exploration of German art by looking at the tumultuous 19th and early 20th centuries, and how artists were at the forefront of Germany's drive to become a single nation. Andrew travels to the north and the coastal town of Griefswald, the birthplace of Caspar David Friedrich, the most influential of the German Romantics, to discover how the Baltic coast impacted his mysterious paintings of the German landscape. He also visits Berlin and explores the art of the powerful Prussian state, which would spearhead the unification of Germany in 1871. The episode ends with the outbreak of World War I and the attempts of the artists Franz Marc and Otto Dix to rationalise the catastrophic experiences of the world's first technological war, a war driven by the Prussian innovations.
Series: The Art of Germany

The Turning Point

   2007    History
The German army launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the East, with supreme confidence in its own superiority. High Command was sure that victory would come as quickly and as easily as in France. At the onset, the troops advanced rapidly and the Panzer forces under General Guderian were unbeatable. There were, however, far more casualties and more wear-and-tear on equipment than anticipated. The invading force got bogged down short of Moscow and the withdrawal from there was a severe psychological blow to the men. When an extremely severe winter set in, morale sank further. The soldiers were not equipped for such low temperatures and their guns and machinery could not cope. Hitler ordered his troops to stand firm.
Series: The Wehrmacht

Resistance

   2007    History
Among the ranks of the Wehrmacht there was limited opposition to Hitler. Most officers initially felt enthusiastic about the prospect of war and were grateful to Hitler whose war-mongering had furthered their personal careers. Furthermore all soldiers had to make an oath of allegiance to the Führer and, up until the very end, there were many who felt unable to break this pledge. There were, however, some officers who opposed Hitler. For some it was on moral grounds and for others because they thought that his military tactics would lose them the war. There were plots against Hitler and attempted coups, the best known being the July bomb plot led by Claus von Stauffenberg. Some soldiers refused to bear arms and were shot, others deserted, others still carried out quiet acts of sabotage and subversion. By and large, however, the Wehrmacht carried out the orders Hitler issued, even if it involved perpetrating acts of atrocity.
Series: The Wehrmacht
Space Deepest Secrets
Space Deepest Secrets

   2019    Science
Conversations with Dolphins
Conversations with Dolphins

   2016    Science
Breakthrough
Breakthrough

   2015    Medicine
The Planets
The Planets

   2000    Science
Through the Wormhole Season 8
Through the Wormhole Season 8

   2017    Science
Natural World
Natural World

   2015    Nature
First Life
First Life

   2010    Science