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X-post: Best reommendation for a documentary history of WW2?

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I'm having a hard time picking something as our local lib has just taken all the VHSs off the shelves and has very little of any quality in the DVD collection. There is so much listed on NF and Amazon, that it is hard to know what is worth watching.


Also, I'd like to keep it in the 8-10 hour range, not one of the monstruously long series.




P.S. This is for a highschooler, and I'd like it to be an overview, including the lead up to ww2 and major battles, campaigns, and characters. I'm not looking for individual in-depth topics.

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It's a little longer than what you mentioned but I loved Ken Burns' The War. It was the best WWII documentary I have ever seen. I really learned a lot and came away with a great appreciation for what everyone in the US sacrificed to commit to the war effort. The way the country came together was inspiring. The series is available from Netflix, both on DVD and for instant streaming.


As an FYI - since they were able to use actual footage, some of it is pretty graphic but since you are looking for a highschooler, I would think it would be fine.

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Not much on the lead-up, but Band of Brothers is absolutely excellent. It is a true story, follows a specific group of soldiers, has interviews with the men (the real men, not the actors), and begins with their basic training and goes until the end of the European advance. This company was in most of the major battles.


It does not discuss the battles/aspect of the war in Asia (though there is a series recently released that does, by the same producer/director). It does cover the European aspects in thorough, honest detail.


It was more of a mini-series than a documentary, so might not be exactly what you are looking for but I would definitely recommend it as an excellent supplement to any study of WWII. It makes the war seem real rather than just some vague thing that happened to some people; rather, you see it through the eyes of the guys who were there fighting. An important perspective, imo.

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