$10.00
Wargames and History - freely available documentaries
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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It is a rare wargamer uninterested in history and politics. These games stimulate an interest in history and politics, and history and politics stimulates an interest in the wargames.

A book gives the background and detail of a conflict and it can be a delight to finish the 600 page, lovingly described history. But for a general overview and guide little can beat a quality documentary. Here are a collection of the better ones freely available on YouTube.

Still seeking the definitive presentation of Gustavus II Adolphus in English, or anything worthy on Hannibal's battles.

[edit 13 Jan]
This list has got quite large, so I've rearranged it into
- Philosophy & sweeps of history
- Ancients
- Medieval
- Early Modern
- 18th Century
- Napoleonics
- Early 19th Century
- American Civil War
- Later 19th Century
- 20th Century to 1918
- Interwar Years
- World War II
- Cold War
- Contemporary
- Things-I-Fail-To-Pin-Down
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26. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:259]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Liberty: the American Revolution
6 x 55 min
Ep. 1 - The Reluctant Revolutionaries
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmo9oBJJXr8
Ep. 2 - Blows must decide
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNNbShYgSfw
Ep. 3 - the Times that Try Men's Souls
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PwtTKSU9AU
Ep. 4 - O Fatal Ambition
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvzveiGce1s
Ep. 5 - World Turned Upside Down
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMBLebtGm0U
Ep. 6 - Are We to be a Nation
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGNciQTDk5M


The Revolution
13 x 45 min
Ep. 1 - Boston Bloody Boston
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=scZLv5pUr40
Ep. 2 - Rebellion to Revolution
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=diY7q6FikAA
Ep. 3 - Declaring Independence
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd07OdxwQQQ
Ep. 4 - American Crisis
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7nXIyoxXlA
Ep. 5 - Path to World War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5RCrmc37Mk
Ep. 6 - Forging an Army
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMhqMU7YqVk
Ep. 7 - Treason & Betrayal
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1MxohH4WZk
Ep. 8 - The War Heads South
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h2AnCK-AkQ
Ep. 9 - A Hornet's Nest
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpYDZ7dfxFE
Ep. 10 - The End Game
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmD_7e-uR3U
Ep. 11 - Becoming a Nation
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hh3fBDDYwQ
Ep. 12 - Road to the Presidency
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDmWbjrqLLM
Ep. 13 - A President and His Revolution
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJEJUtMv0jY


One of the difficulties in finding documentaries on the American Revolutionary War for an international audience are ones that do not rely on a working knowledge of US geography or limit any jingoism to a manageable level. These two comprehensive documentaries meet this.

'Liberty' is a PBS presentation from 1997. There are the usual collection of talking heads, both actors recreating scenes and academics interpreting the events. The highlight of this are the collections of paintings from the time, and the numerous excerpts from diaries and letters of the time.

'The Revolution' is a History Channel presentation from 2006, and I think a better introduction to the history. Its focus is more on the leaders and the campaigns, and for wargamers are more useful introduction. The maps and army movements helps greatly. Quite some time in parts 3 and 7 relate to slavery - the researcher in ep 7 talking of the African experience is quite inspiring. This presentation alludes to terrorism, especially in regard to the actions of John Paul Jones in part 6, yet is markedly unable to associate American actions with terrorism. Is this a reflection of the time when it was made? The presentation's highlights to me are the elaboration of Benedict Arnold's tragic story; the downside are the last two parts essentially reviewing the first eleven.

The Revolutionary times have come to life for me with these presentations, and for that I am pleased.
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27. Board Game: Levée en Masse [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:3126]
Tanks Alot
United States
Fort Mill
South Carolina
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28. Board Game: The Napoleonic Wars [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1201]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Napoleon
6x 45 mins
Ep 1 - The Early Years
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gkFkuqNmhc
Ep 2 - The Early Campaigns
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPhek-VK-9s
Ep 3 - Imperial Zenith
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntj56l-NriM
Ep 4 - The Spanish Ulcer
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrpBGNUwlCk
Ep 5 - Disasters in Russia
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6xH5aanK7A
Ep 6 - Waterloo
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppfsknPKQxY

Empires: Napoleon
4x 45 min
Ep 1 - To Destiny
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ1Vv_M2MWM
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tORG__mggF8
Ep 2 - Mastering Luck
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tlrJQb4JGA
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVRP4vooztY
Ep 3 - Summit of Greatness
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBqaf8orsP0
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jb7P0-dTjU
Ep 4 - The End
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwpJlHi9258
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbgU6-NvKwA

[Updated 19 Sept 12]

"I don't know why, but the little bastard scares me"

For some points in history it seems the events crystallise around a personality and drive, the Gallic Wars and Caesar or Barbarossa Campaign and Hitler being two examples. The wars of Napoleon, perhaps more than any other, are a reflection of the man's ambition. These documentaries do take what seems an inordinate amount of time focussing on the man himself, perhaps for these very reasons.

The latter is a US production from 2000 and is in the main simpler. It has a greater focus on Napoleon's personal and family life, and includes more on the governments of Corsica and France. The maps and campaigns are described very simply. A good introduction.

The former is I feel of more interest to wargamers. The presentation is somewhat more academic than the other, with more talking heads, with some nice overviews of campaign maps and top-level leadership. It is not without flaws - the ongoing references to 20th century WW2 leaders a little irritating, and 'painting' filters over the recreations become tiresome - but the documentary's positives are many.


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29. Board Game: Napoleon's Triumph [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:192]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Campaigns of Napoleon: Battle of Austerlitz
5 x 11 mins
www.youtube.com/watch?v=34CGoLlvEes

While other Napoleonic documentaries take the big picture, here is one that looks closely at the pressures leading to battle and the tactics on the ground. This film dates from 1983 and sometimes the recreations look a touch dated, but for the detail is certainly satisfies,

The narration by Brian Blessed is great. As victory draws near for the French, he gets increasingly excited. He does sound restrained and not as shouty as he normally is though.
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30. Board Game: Wellington [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1444]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Wellington - the Iron Duke
3x 50 min
Ep 1 - The Making of a Man
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJjArklCBJA
Ep 2 - A Thirst for Reputation
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKp3bcoMmoM
Ep 3 - From Soldier to Statesman
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXT98ix1l8k

Of Napoleon's counterparts I suggest Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, is perhaps best known to Anglophones. This BBC documentary from 2003 is beautifully presented by the sadly missed Richard Holmes. The story takes the man's life, from Ireland and India, to the Peninsula Wars, then Waterloo and beyond.

As a leader I can think of no other who has learned so well and so much from his mistakes. And yet this skill served him so poorly in his personal life and his later political career.
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31. Board Game: War of 1812 [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1370]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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{Edit 26 Mar 13: this has been removed}
War of 1812
part 1 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFFtzMBr6o4
5 x 10 min
part 2 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8b2RVTejiA
5 x 10 min


The War of 1812
9 x 7 min
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl0SUidXnuA

The second revolution in North America? The first American civil war? The two documentaries give different faces to this conflict. The War of 1812 takes a distinctly pro-US, even jingoistic tone. My preference is for the more subtle second presentation, The War of 1812, which may, to US eyes, take an overly pro-Canada standpoint. It seems then that both nations emerge from the Treaty of Ghent viewing themselves as victors in their own terms.

The losers in this one are undoubtedly the native Nations.


New documentary
War of 1812
113 mins
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMFtn1mIs0
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32. Board Game: The Halls of Montezuma [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:3605]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Texas Revolution & Mexican American War
5 x 9 mins
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz6VUYzEIoU

Mexican American War
90 min
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nE3srC_3c4

More conflicts may benefit from leaders with nicknames 'Rough & Ready' and 'Fuss & Feathers'. Neither of these documentaries are great but the first is certainly better.

In the first documentary the first two parts cover the lead up to the American-Mexican war, including the succession of Texas from Mexico and annexation to the USA. Machinations by James K Polk and ideas of manifest destiny clash with the militaristic Mexican leader Santa Ana. There is a little bit of how the campaign proceeded and the story ends with the transfer of the modern (US) southwest to the Americans. Discovery of gold in California one year later makes me wonder how this may have driven the US push.

The second documentary is a lesser affair, another reenactment-rich History Channel offering. It focusses almost solely on the US experience, and its saving grace is in showing how widely US politics influenced the generals in the field.

If documentaries are too much for you, They Might Be Giants can summarise.
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33. Board Game: Crimean War Battles [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Crimean War
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqik0WDMDco
3 parts x 45 mins

A shining example of the style. Background and political situation given, and a great mix of photographic evidence in the Ken Burns style. The trench warfare foreshadows 1914. The horror of supply failures are hard to believe, and lessons of medical hygiene would need to be re-learnt in the American Civil War of the next decade.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them
  Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
  Rode the six hundred.
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34. Board Game: The No Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The First Australians
7 x 5x10 min

Part 1 - They Came to Stay (1788-1824)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcslF8yQ1Tg
Part 2 - Her Will to Survive (1803-1880)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnsOTvASaJc
Part 3 - Freedom for our Lifetime (1860-1890)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVGcfqj04Qk
Part 4 - No Other Law (1878-1947)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=28-xzP8mRwU
Part 5 - An Unhealthy Government Experiment (1897-1937)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsgB-dn1pjw
Part 6 - A Fair Deal for a Dark Race (1937-1967)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTgjpJpeTBY
Part 7 - We are No Longer Shadows (1967-1992)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTtRVdWautg

Time to point the gaze homewards,
Here: A war without a game. An undeclared war. A dark history.
A celebration of survival

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35. Board Game: For the People [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:493]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Causes of the Civil War
www.youtube.com/watch?v=blNSI2taJr0

American Civil War
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx4ot4ZKsRc
3x 6 mins

A House Divided
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jCF5blsux8

The American Civil War: A Union Divided
4 x 60 mins
Ep 1 - The Road to Fort Sumter
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMGv2zMplJ4
Ep 2 - The Early Years
[ missing? ]
Ep 3 - Total War
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JWTjAczPOA
Ep 4 - Twilight of the Confederace
[ missing?]

I've heard there is no conflict in history over which more ink has been spilt than the American Civil War. I suggest a modern update to this - there is no conflict taking more server space than the ACW.

Too many of the documentaries are presented for an internal audience who know the layout of the eastern US, or are buffs of the times. Trying to select material for you, gentle reader, has been a challenge.

Causes of the Civil War is useful for the 'international' viewer as it gives a very gentle introduction to US politics circa 1830. I suspect it was prepared for a high school audience. As a scene-setter, it is fine.

American Civil War and A House Divided are a pair from 1954 and 1960 respectively. The conflict would be just at the end of memory at this date. The recreations are dated, the sound is cruddy, but for a short overview either gives a 30 min snapshot, nothing more.

The Ken Burns series from 1990 is seemingly unavailable. If you want the full 11 hour magnificence, go buy it. It is worth it. I have found a shorter, four-hour version, and for gamers I think it is better. This version shows the lay of the land for the battles and moves the story along more snappily. It isn't Burns, but for gamers the level is fine.

Unfortunately only two of the four parts are presently available, but part 3 does cover Gettysburg. I will follow up with the missing parts and documentaries on individual significant battles and players in due course. Stay tuned!

[Edit 27 Feb 13]

The unalloyed magnificence of the Ken Burns version is now available. It may only be for a short time. If you have not seen this, watch it now. See the next item in this list - it's worth it.
 
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36. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:575]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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[Edit 4 Mar 13 - the links are disabled on account of a copyright claim on YouTube. Sorry about that.]

The unalloyed magnificence of the Ken Burns 1990 documentary is now available. It may only be for a short time. If you have not seen this, watch it now. Reserve 12 hours away from your life and revel in this masterwork. There will of course be disagreements on the politics, but for documentary watchers few others come close.

Ep. 1 - The Cause (1861)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyTS3J3a-q4
Ep. 2 - A Very Bloody Affair (1862)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX7sy-GJTUA
Ep. 3 - Forever Free (1862)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=peeA2ZyyFHw
Ep. 4 - Simply Murder (1863)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON9QzMzWZGk
Ep. 5 - The Universe of Battle (1863)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUcHsFNPEl8
Ep. 6 - Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=im_Q2IBSow8
Ep. 7 - Most Hallowed Ground (1864)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_e9af0bYb4
Ep. 8 - War Is All Hell (1865)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpBIqXxhri0
Ep. 9 - The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865)
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln2uzVJZ0Wk

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37. Board Game: The Franco-Prussian War [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8238]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVsYG_fkwL4
4 x 10 min

The 19th century balance of power in Europe was regularly tested. This fairly unedifying conflict may have started from internal German politics but the preconditions were waiting long. Here we see the end and start of the French and German Second Empires respectively.

Napoleon III saw the threat and invades the Rhineland before the general staff were ready. Planning, such as it was, were tactics of Napoleon I. Prussia had been planning for at least two years and had observed the American Civil War. Outcome: France mobilises and loses, even suffering Paris under siege. O the shame. Worse, Germany gets its goal, unification.

The fire-and-movement tactics, rail deployment, and battlefield flexibility originate here. Thus I suspect the subtitle of this conflict, the first modern war.

The documentary is about right for this relatively minor conflict, featuring a rich collection of bearded academics, some contemporary images, and a few reenactments.
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38. Board Game: Africa 1880 [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:7959]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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. . . Belgians in the Congo


White King, Red Rubber, Black Death
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RHl7oySH9I
10 x 10 min

When the scramble for Africa goes bad - the crimes of Leopold II in the later 19th century. This 2004 BBC presentation does not offer too much nuance here: The Belgians extracting rubber are bad, the missionaries are good, and the natives are oppressed. It is an interesting, ugly story.

The documentary quotes widely from Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The 1993 movie is also available
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJUPNYmlQFE


. . . The Congo Civil War

A Short Recent History of the Congo
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv8llEj0CXw
5 mins

The Economist magazine has this short presentation on movements in the Congo, 1994-2008. Worth while to see how this large country is a country in name only.


Congo's Curse
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZd8RZnv2VU
15 min

United Nations short presentation on the 1998 civil war. A quote by a former president of the Congo to soldiers complaining they are receiving no pay: "Why do you [soldiers] need a salary when you have guns?"


The Real Mobile Phone Wars
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQIsLqkuATY
25 min

Coltan, the cobalt-tantalum mineral vital to many modern devices. This presentation focusses on the mineral, the miners, and the kleptocrats.
 
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39. Board Game: Zulus on the Ramparts! [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1280]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Zulu
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuG8RmT7caE
12 x 10 mins

Not a documentary, just a great film.
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40. Board Game: A Splendid Little War: The 1898 Santiago Campaign [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Spanish-American War, 1898
8 x 15 min
www.youtube.com/watch?v=urtm4GpjFu4

The United States' entry into international militaria. The Monroe Doctrine of 80 years earlier had restrained the US, but now the beast was unleashed. In many ways this seems to be the final step in which the US finally followed in the steps laid down by European powers some centuries earlier.

While the conflict was relatively minor aspect to the US - albeit the foreshadowing of media barons on foreign policy is ominous - the effect on Spain and its prowess was significant. Couple that to the war in the Phillipines and this is the final twilight of empire for Spain, and the stirrings of an African American nationalism. Yet given this, the US reticence to military influence a decade on remains curiuous.

Still, Teddy Rosevelt and the Rough Riders remain an impressive image. That, or the army of athletes. And hamburgers.
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41. Board Game: The Second Boer War [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The (Second) Boer War / The South African War

The Boer War - a bitter and bloody clash of arms
80 min
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQIqsBiWacA
www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzZ_v_LxhTs

The South African War
5 parts x 5x10 mins
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VevirRnoLxg
[7 Dec 2011 looks like parts 2 - 5 have been removed ]

Where the British Empire met its tipping point, and another object lesson in the limits of power. These documentaries still often skirt over why the Transvaal and Free State were forced - goaded, perhaps - to war. The longer version is better in that respect, and Martin Meredith's 'Diamonds Gold and War' is a good starting point for more detail of the 50 years leading to the conflict.

The bitterness of the Afrikaaner interviewees is clear - yet it is hard to sympathise with some of their attitudes. A reminder, if one is ever needed, that the past is a very different place.

The long version has some ads circa 1998-1999. Ignore, or enjoy.
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42. Board Game: Pax Britannica [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1825]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Making of Modern Britain
6 eps x 6x9 mins
Ep 1 - A New Dawn
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tRJ1E9Ai2E
Ep 2 - Road to War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=93glK6rtgfk
Ep 3 - The Great War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6LC4SWCrjY
Ep 4 - Having a Ball
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIKg9Rb_LL0
Ep 5 - Little Britain
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNuNeI-fOh4
Ep 6 - Britannia at Bay
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZLqlNy2gek

Another great collection from the BBC. I do enjoy Andrew Marr's presentation. This covers from the death of Victoria in 1901 to the end of World War 2. Highlights are the pre-WW1 buildup, an extensive view of fascism in Britain, and the risks in 1940 of sharing technology with the USA.

Parts 2 and 3, the end of the Edwardian era and descent into WW1 are the highlights in my opinion.
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43. Board Game: The Tide at Sunrise: The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:2480]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The first war of the 20th century and starter's pistol for the Russian Revolution; the first shift in the rebalancing of Asian involvement in world affairs or the beginning of the decline of Europe. However you interpret it, this short conflict is well worth further investigation.

History's Turning Points - Battle for Tsushima
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbjr-RLXsnw
25 mins

'Win first, fight later'
This looks like it was commissioned by the History Channel, and offers too many people dressed as samurai swishing swords about, but it is a nice overview of the conflict. The focus is certainly on naval affairs, and, to my taste, the first half traces the political events leading to the conflict and the education to Togo. On Togo there are perhaps too many parallels made to Nelson and to Trafalgar, and how the Russian Baltic fleet was simply outclassed, outplanned, and outgunned. The presentation shows a nice overview of the European influence on Japan, Japan using British influence for its own ends.

Russo-Japanese War
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT-1tZ_TUYM
2 x 9 mins
I try to avoid 'home brew' documentaries, but this one is exceptional in its detail. It is not a balanced presentation, but worth the time as it gives a greater focus on the land conflict, and shows the land and sea manoeuvers. It does make the documentary look like a replay of a simulation game, but suggests also the maker is a nut for this history.
The Japanese text is translated, albeit poorly ("A desperate human bullet battle which scrambles for Lushun harbor was performed"). One does need to follow the images to help decipher some texts.
Part 1 includes pre-war measures, Yalu River, and the blockade of Port Arther; part 2 the battle of Hill 203, the siege of Port Arthur, and battle of Mukden, as well as Akashi's work in St Petersburg, and the Baltic Fleet arrives mid part 2.

Русско-Японская война 1904-1905гг
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITktDU3M-jY
7 mins
In Russian, as the title suggests. I can't comment on the text but the film clips are great and useful complement to the other presentations.
 
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44. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:46]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The First World War
10 parts x 6x9 mins
Ep. 1 - To Arms
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L7t_1BJVYQ
Ep. 2 - Under the Eagle
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcXsTcX0mqU
Ep. 3 - Global War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogDGyqiu_uo
Ep. 4 - Jihad
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1rKtDDW-mg
Ep. 5 - Shackled to a Corpse
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-ATW0sqEM
Ep. 6 - Breaking the Deadlock
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr2tMJyQM-0
Ep. 7 - Blockade
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZcEfH73iJo
Ep. 8 - Revolution
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ig-tHmoVoU
Ep. 9 - Germany's Last Gamble
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctCK8lFr36U
Ep. 10 - War Without End
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RyN3pJqQeI


World War I
26 parts x 4x10 mins
Ep. 1 - Web of Alliances
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBrD_u20UF0
Ep. 2 - Confusion Among Central Powers
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9mF5gksr5s
Ep. 3 - Schlieffen Plan
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0kvczF1p04
Ep. 4 - German Forces in Belgium
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFGDZuepy_w
Ep. 5 - Trench Warfare Begins
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC3S9RgDIDs
Ep. 6 - Naval War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqSZcGRZ3CI
Ep. 7 - We Await the Heavenly Manna
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJchHW2SXs0
Ep. 8 - Why Don't You Come and Help?
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rlzCarcNiE
Ep. 9 - Gallipoli Campaign
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3E_OcZXRVk
Ep. 10 - Gorlice Tarnow Offensive
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhVWF6r9CTk
Ep. 11 - Battle of Verdun
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWJB6Y-3N5o
Ep. 12 - For Gawd's Sake Don't Send Me
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnC7pE0JV5Y
Ep. 13 - Battle of the Somme
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGXAphAjKwM
Ep. 14 - All This Is Our Duty to Share
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4uH8VO2eMM
Ep. 15 - We are Betrayed, Sold, Lost
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2wkfUqsEcU
Ep. 16 - Entry of the United States
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmcbdt3taR4
Ep. 17 - Battle of Passchendaele
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMYLBkE8GIQ
Ep. 18 - Russian Revolution
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQUAW_CdBds
Ep. 19 - The Hell Where Youth and Laughter Go
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=92NDW0M7btw
Ep. 20 - Only War, Nothing But War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRbM1hgvCKk
Ep. 21 - Spring Offensive
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymQ5ofw1N68
Ep. 22 - Damn Them, Where Are They?
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ub1zv8BWXc
Ep. 23 - Hundred Days' Offensive
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPBHjE6MOPI
Ep. 24 - Allah Made Mesopotamia
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBfQlhMMrlY
Ep. 25 - Allied Victory
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvkl2zIk2ts
Ep. 26 - And We Were Young
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Vi-1hXMmw


Two British presentations on the people and events of 1914-1918.

The former dates from 2005 or so and is paced closer to modern tastes. I have the boxed DVD set and it regularly gets a play; unfortunately this YouTube presentation was filmed from TV and the quality is much reduced and some few moments are missing. Spend some time, if you can, and track down this - Huw Strachan is the historian behind it.

The latter dates from the 1960s and is a much more leisurely presentation - three episodes to get things moving, ten episodes in to reach mid-1915. The interviews with those who lived through these days is worth the price of entry though. The selection of interviewees though seems to be limited to English speakers - an inhabitant of Przemsyl or a soldier with Brusilov would been interesting. Perhaps there is such a thing on Polish television.


[Edit 5 Apr 13]

World War I in Colour
6 x 50 min
Ep 1 - Catastrophe
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAm4IfdAS8Q
Ep 2 - Slaughter in the trenches
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNdRUvtr2zM
Ep. 3 - Blood in the Air
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLP1ZIehscQ
Ep. 4 - Killers of the Sea
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLThAlXRrCM
Ep. 5 - Mayhem on the Eastern Front
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbN8lqWQo5E
Ep. 6 - Victory and Despair
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D70CF1ppOE

Unlike the above two documentaries this one, made in 2003 by the Imperial War Museum, takes no chronological view but rather a thematic one - Tanneburg for example makes an appearance in the second-last episode. Kenneth Branagh's narration is good and fits to the British focus, but I despair for people for whom English is not a first language to comprehend the interviews with the veterans. Worth watching after one or both of the above documentaries.

Each episode has a somewhat irritating amateur introduction, so hold on for the first 90 sec.
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45. Board Game: Red Poppies: WWI Tactics [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:3963]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The focus on documentaries on separate battles on YouTube does tend to focus on the Western Front, and generally the Anglophone-influenced conflicts. I am sorry for fans of the Balkans or East Front; when I find something I'll post it. As for the French, life isn't fair.


Line of Fire: The Somme
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAz_msoBAR0
4 x 10 mins

Line of Fire: Cambrai
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyjq3LzQcWU
4 x 10 mins

The perception of WW1 is of plodding commanders, where character and dash win battles, not brains and planning. Here are two examples, one for a grinding misuse of corps to the use of an innovative new tool.


Krieg in den Dolomiten
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWPbimSoRnM

German language documentary on the Italian front. Even if you don't follow the language, look to the landscape on how difficult the campaign must have been. Usual recreations, but the images are great.


Battle of Vimy Ridge
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHj88WeLohk
10 x 8 mins

I knew of Vimy Ridge as the Canadian parallel of Hamel for the Australian corps. What I didn't know is of how startling a leader Arthur Curry was, and curiously how close he parallels John Monash. This 1997 documentary was worth the time. I'm quite happy to not see the images of trenchfoot in part 5 again.


20th Century Battlefields: Western Front 1918
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qklDnu2t28
7 x 10 mins

A focus on the battle of Amiens. Annoying graphics, but a useful overview of the ending of the trench warfare.

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46. Board Game: Dawn Patrol [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:3082]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Four Years of Thunder
(As WWI Aviation on YouTube)
19 x 9 mins

Flying to War
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b8Rx0XX9EE
The Fokker Scourge
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozkQKRDSNgc
Bloody April
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=E15Qq4xcLpw
Winged Victory
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkH8GxsmhrU

This 1996 documentary is an excellent mix of original film plus modern images of planes in flight. The technical, engineering, and tactical details would be of interest both to the casual viewer and the more expert viewer. Highly recommended.


WW1 Aviation History in Colour
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvVV2RRX-oM
3 x 15 mins

Looks good, but unfortunately in French without subtitles.

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47. Board Game: Triumph of Chaos [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:1506]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Russian Revolution and succeeding Civil War are treated differently in the world of the documentary. I can locate any amount of material on the Revolution but the Civil War has much less to offer in English. Here then are the best I can find that links both events.

Russian Revolution
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VldXUyCaeQ
20 mins

John Rees presents a short overview of the Revolution. A nicely detailed sweep through the events is contained in this short presentation.

Russian Revolution in Colour
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fx6p4x2pM0
93 mins

This 2004 documentary offers a good deal more detail than the above, but padded out with recreations of the events. I found the recreations to get a bit much, but the coloured film brings an immediacy and contemporary feel to this presentation. The main theme is the experiences of the Kronstadt sailors, both as a focus of the revolution in St Petersburg/Petrograd in the first half, and the tragic attack by the Red Army in the second half of the film.

Leon Trotsky
www.youtube.com/watch?v=phyQY9ptbJw
A snappy 15 mins on the Man Who Could Have Been.

Vladimir Lenin: Voice of the Revolution
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRecjfE-24
A 45 min biography of the Man Who Was. The outline of life in Tsarist Russia and his early motivations is interesting and worth the time.



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48. Board Game: Warlords: China in Disarray, 1916-1950 [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:8767]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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China in Revolution 1911-1949
10 x 10 mins
Ep 1 - Battle for Survival 1911-1936 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRkKKRdiTBc
Ep 2 - Fighting for the Future 1936-1949 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=A01xpLfWfwE

This 1989 presentation traces the transition from empire, through disorder, invasion, civil war, and people's republic. Be warned, the sound quality isn't great.

The first part shows a China in disarray as the heavenly mandate comes from the Qing. Images of a long gone China are pretty interesting. In these early days wearing buttoned clothes and not eating noisily are, according to Chiang Kai-Shek, good Revolutionary behaviour. The interviewees are interesting too - a certain Xie Pie-Lan at 6 mins in on part 3 of episode 1 seems quite a force of nature.

(As an aside it is taken as read that Mao marched for the entire Long March. Has this since been discredited? There may well be other historical amendments here I suspect, especially as it is an older presentation, just predating Tiananmen Square.)

The story takes a rapid turn to the ugly. Torture and violence against women close the first episode, As the Japanese attack in the north the Nationalists offer a curious policy of non-resistance - 'necessary to wipe out the Communists before fighting Japan'. The sufferings of civilians, and the attack on Nanking are wracking. And even when that is over, civil war and land reform.

This is not a fun documentary to watch - but I think everyone ought to at least know of what China endured in the 20th century.

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49. Board Game: Weimar: German Politics 1929-1933 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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Apocalypse: The Rise of Hitler
2 x 45 mins
Part 1 - Becoming Hitler
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hEG-5_9nK4
Part 2 - The Fuehrer
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqPc93Pvs0U

This 2011 documentary is beautifully presented, a highlight being the coloured images. I've not read much on Hitler himself, so the psychological insights of the first episode were mostly a surprise, including his strong links to his niece and mother, and the images of 1920s Germany are like looking at a lost world. The second part chronicles the rise of the Nazi party and Hitler's leadership and the chilling images of the cheers as democracy dies.

For those who want to see a saucier side to young Adolf, I recommend 19:00 and 39:20 minutes of part 1.


Berlin: Metropolis of Vice
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SkXCRmSkpg
3 x 15 mins
'Berliner luft, luft, luft...'. The rich cultural life of Weimar-era Berlin. I guess A.H., even with the photos from above, never saw Berlin vom Hintern. But you can; enjoy.

The Nazis come to Berlin in the second half, taking over a prominent cross-dressers bar, before burning the books then burning the people.


42 Ways to Kill Hitler
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pbhDvdbITM
46 mins
A very trivial item. It is a bit too Mythbuster-esque, and even includes a 'Buster' Hitler-dummy filled with ice-cream. Surviving 42 assassination attempts (why 42 of all numbers?) is impressive. The Stauffenberg attempt is at 31 mins.
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50. Board Game: Origins of World War II [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:7089]
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
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The Road to War - Britain
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y36mr5K-DbE
The Road to War - Italy
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=idFg9frXl-M
The Road to War - Japan
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDv8NxGv9Yg
The Road to War - USA
. www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Xf1eykVps

Journalist Charles Wheeler brings his attention to the events of the 1920s and 30s to show how the catastrophe of the later 1930s unfolded. At 4x 50 minutes there is quite sufficient broad brush sweeps with the smaller human-scale details. For gamers most of this ought to be unsurprising but to view the passivity of Britain, isolation of the USA, enviousness of Japan and disappointment of Italy following the end of World War 1 one can see a story that is relevant today. Would have been good to have seen three more, with the stories of the Soviet Union, France, and a collection of other nations - Poland, Scandanavia, the wider Commonwealth - to round the collection off.
 
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