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The Great War

Episode 1: On the Idle Hill of Summer

Duration: 45 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Two EnglandLatest broadcast: on BBC Four HD

In 1964 the BBC broadcast one of its most important and ambitious series ever. The Great War was to be the definitive film account of the world-shattering events of 1914-1918. The Great War draws on over one million feet of original film, hundreds of exclusive veteran interviews and contemporary diaries, letters and reports from the war. It is narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave and features the voices of many other leading actors of the day including Sir Ralph Richardson and Marius Goring.

In 1914, Germany had recently emerged as a major world power, second only to the Americans in industrial might. The French and British, worried by the increase in German militarism, entered into the Entente Cordiale, a mutual defence pact which drew in France's traditional ally Russia. Germany saw itself surrounded and turned to the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire for support. As the two deeply suspicious and fearful military alliances faced off against one another across Europe, it would take just two pistol shots to ignite the entire powder keg. Show less

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