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"The War", the Ken Burns series re: WWII.....

by Angeline Booher / September 23, 2007 5:11 AM PDT
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(NT) "Reservatons" are confirmed here
by Mac McMullen / September 23, 2007 5:27 AM PDT
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(NT) Thanks for the reminder !
by grimgraphix / September 23, 2007 7:12 AM PDT
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All the Burns series (Ken and Ric) have been mesmerizing
by Josh K / September 23, 2007 7:24 AM PDT

I have the Baseball series on DVD, and recorded the New York series off the air. I'm looking forward to this one too.

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I have watched every night so far, 3 nights running
by bus / September 26, 2007 9:51 AM PDT

I'm a little burned out but I have learned a lot. It's on twice every night where I watch it. Is this the case for everyone?

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"The War", the Ken Burns series re: WWII.....
by taboma / September 26, 2007 2:32 PM PDT

Angeline, Great site. Thanks,


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It's pretty good, but...
by EdH / September 26, 2007 10:53 PM PDT

In my opinion, nowhere near as good as the excellent Civil War film, or even some of his shorter pieces. The one on Mark Twain springs to mind as a particularly good one.

If you watch the History Channel, this material is often presented in greater detail. Burns aims for an emotional tone, but sometimes it falls flat.

Of course, compared to most of the bilge on TV theses days.... well, I thank the stars for satellite TV.

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The "personal " side
by Angeline Booher / September 27, 2007 4:58 AM PDT

IMO, "Victory at Sea" is the best documentary of the fighting, resplendent with actual footage. (Some of which I still hide my eyes.)

We've had many movies about WWII, and those veterans say that "Saving Private Ryan" is the most realistic re-creation of D-Day.

But for those like me who were old enough during those years to remember them, this series brought to the front that there were real individuals from different parts of the country, and the war's impact on them, their families, and their towns. And the impact was the same for all of them. The country was united, not only by patriotism, but by the emotional toll.

There are fewer and fewer WWII vets living, and I think it is interesting that we hear their stories directly from them while they can still be told.

BTW, my mother worked in a defense plant making anti-aircraft shells.

Speakeasy Moderator

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I agree about Victory at Sea.
by drpruner / September 27, 2007 6:40 PM PDT
In reply to: The "personal " side

It was the regular viewing in our house, on the black and white Philco. And R. Rodgers' music still thrilling.

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I concur re: the R&H score. The opular song....
by Angeline Booher / September 27, 2007 11:41 PM PDT
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And on the fictional side, I can recommend
by drpruner / September 27, 2007 6:46 PM PDT
In reply to: The "personal " side
Swing Shift as a good evocation of daily life in those times.
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I can't place it.
by Angeline Booher / September 27, 2007 11:44 PM PDT

I did Google the title, and read about it. In the era it was made, I saw very few movies.

Maybe it will be shown on Turner Classic Movies.

Speakeasy Moderator

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Goldie Hawn produced and starred.
by drpruner / September 28, 2007 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: I can't place it.

Christine Lahti was so good in it that Hawn never worked with her again. Happy

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Raised a real concern..............
by Mac McMullen / September 27, 2007 5:08 AM PDT

I think it understandable that anyone not having lived those times will be hard pressed to comprehend what actually took place.

The concern - Could/would America of today be able to convert to a "war time footing" anything close to what took place in '42 and '43 ?

Is there any "leadership" within industry, and faced with the myriad of government regulations of today, that could convert industry as happened then ?

Lacking political "leadership", and faced with party partisanship, and the UN, could the government come to grips with things ?

Would the spoiled attitudes throughout our society of "Me first" and "My comfort" ever defer to demands of rationing; of full scale drafting into the military, and extended work hour days ?

Think about it !

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I have thought about it.
by grimgraphix / September 27, 2007 6:07 AM PDT

As I watched one of the early episodes talk about the rationing and war bond drives of the war... I was left wondering why our present government is so willing to go into debt to fund the Iraqi war (and not include that debt in the regular annual budgetary proposals) without actually asking the public for monetary support through war bond drives and the such.

... but that question is for another forum.

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I think it could.
by Angeline Booher / September 27, 2007 7:57 AM PDT

Several times I have whined that we on the "Home Front" have not been asked to do anything. We learned later that some things we were asked to do in WWII were not really necessary, but geared to help us feel useful.

We were rather isolationistic before Pearl Harbor, but we heard and saw what China and Britain were experiencing, and thus willing to help.

Maybe part of it is that there is no longer a draft, so not as many households have sent their kids off to war as when the Draft Board sent "Greetings".

Somehow I continue to think that we respond to a crisis. After the hijacking of airplanes began we accepted going through a security check. After 9/11 we have accepted even more stringent security measures. We were asked to be vigilant.

Those who have kids serving now might be more likely to follow the war news. It comes almost instantly, unlike during WWII. And I consider it more "accurate" now. The news then was so delayed that the papers and newsreels could show/print it in a more positive manner, which was good for our morale.

We bought War Bonds and stamps . I don't know how close they came to finance our part in the war, but one felt he was buying guns, tanks. ships and planes. Signs and posters were everywhere to remind us we were at war. We all were a part of it.

(I found this interesting site re: the history of income tax in the US. WWII was not the first time money was raised to help pay for a war.)


The major difference I see now that would be a stumbling block is that the country is so very divided. The chance to capitalize on the togetherness we felt after 9/11 and our going into Afghanistan was lost. I think that was due to our leadership.

Speakeasy Moderator

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I think it could.
by taboma / October 4, 2007 3:00 PM PDT
In reply to: I think it could.

WAR. Angeline, I have been following this post and love to read everyone's comments. You and my wife must be on the same frequency. As the series started my wife asked me if I was going to watch it on Public Ch. 2 out of Boston?
More importantly, she thought that this series should be taught as manditory in Public School as part of our Nation's History.

Your thoughts on this for a mandatory part of History Education in the Public Schools Nationally?
Some kids today do not know who Hitler was. Japan even less.
I wonder what young student knoes anything about world history concerning the 20th century? Sad!



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IMO, should be required viewing......
by Mac McMullen / September 27, 2007 2:02 PM PDT

.....by all Americans.

THE WAR - KEN BURNS - PBS (Repeats later each night)
(Times are DST Mountain)

- Sunday, Sept. 23: Episode 1 ? "A Necessary War"
December 1941 - December 1942. ?..7 - 9:30 PM

- Monday, Sept. 24: Episode 2 ? "When Things Get Tough"
January 1943 - December 1943.?.7 - 9 PM

- Tuesday, Sept. 25: Episode 3 ? "A Deadly Calling"
November 1943 - June 1944.?..7 - 9 PM

- Wednesday, Sept. 26: Episode 4 ? "Pride of Our Nation"
June - August 1944.?.7 - 9:30 PM

(There is also some kind of repeat on Sunday, Sep 30 of Episodes 1 - 4, earlier or later than schedule of Episode 5)

- Sunday, Sept. 30: Episode 5 ? "Fubar"
September - December 1944.?..7 - 9 PM

- Monday, Oct. 1: Episode 6 ? "The Ghost Front"
December 1944 - March 1945.?.7 - 9 PM

- Tuesday, Oct. 2: Episode 7 ? "A World Without War"
March 1945 - December 1945.?..7 - 9:30 PM


Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941
US declared war on Japan - December 8, 1941
Air - Sea - Ground combat operations?..until?.
Atomic Bomb Hiroshima - August 6, 1945
Atomic Bomb Nagasaki - August 9, 1945
Japan surrendered September 2, 1945

US declared war on Germany - December 11, 1941
Air - Sea combat operations?..until?..
D-Day Normandy - June 6, 1944
Air - Ground combat operations?.until?
Germany surrendered May 7, 1945

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I can understand that Ken mistakenly
by Dan McC / September 27, 2007 4:13 PM PDT

believes the war started in December of '41, but is he also leaving out the ground action in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East before D-Day?


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Did you watch .............
by Mac McMullen / September 27, 2007 5:59 PM PDT

.....the first three chapters, that led up to June '44 ?

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The dramatic device Burns is using to study...
by grimgraphix / September 27, 2007 10:42 PM PDT

... the war is to focus on 4 american communities and the individuals from those localities. For some americans in the isolations america of that period, many hoped and prayed that the US would not be drawn into the war. In the 4 american communities Burns looks at, the war did start in Dec. 41. Burns points out in one of the first episodes that the Japanese saw the withholding of oil and scrap metal by US held interests as the signal to move on the US and the trigger for Pearl Harbor. This is why Burns basically ignores the Japanese colonial expansion during the 1930s, and the German, Italian aggressions in Poland, Spain, and Africa.

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Japan invaded Manchria in 1931.
by Angeline Booher / September 28, 2007 1:03 AM PDT

Then went into China in a few years later.

In 1937 Chenault formed the Flying Tigers.


The German Blitzkrieg began with Poland in 1939. After Germany invaded Poland, Britain honored the defensive agreement that led to the declaration of war against Germany,

During the Battle of Britain some Americans joined the RAF.


Lend Lease began in 1941. We listened to Edward R. Murrow during the Blitz, and watched newsreels. As school children we helped provide articles for "Bundles for Britain".

So some Americans were engaged in fighting prior to Pearl Harbor, the date on which the US declared war. Our first theater was in Africa, which did not go well for us until General Patton took over command.

Much of this was addressed in the first parts of the series.

Speakeasy Moderator

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Don't forget the Spanish civil war.
by grimgraphix / September 28, 2007 1:11 AM PDT

Communists, socialists, and common adventurers (Hemingway, for one, reported about the war) from all over the world, volunteered to fight in that war. Hitler and Germany supported the fascist regime and tested out their new air force equipment and developed tactics later used in the invasion of Poland.

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That was the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade;"
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / September 28, 2007 9:14 AM PDT

in the McCarthy Era, all those who served in it were labelled "un-American" and blacklisted from Hollywood and the media...

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Something Important Ken Omitted
by nrborod / October 3, 2007 7:58 AM PDT

Throughout the entire series, I noticed that Burns never mentioned the contribution of American women pilots at all. There existed a whole culture--a sorority if you like, of women pilots who had the important job of ferrying new aircraft direct from the factories to various sites, i.e, from the the Grumman Iron Works in Bethpage, L.I.

Too many male pilots were assigned to combat roles to do this work, so women had to pitch in, and I understand many were great pilots--and some got killed doing their jobs.

I believe Burns could have added to the color of his piece by mentioning this fact, and why he didn't ( would have taken 2 minutes )is beyond me. Couldn't be that he didn't know about this after 6 years of research and making his docu. Besides, other dcoumentaries exist on the subject. Neil

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I heard several bits about 'Meanwhile,
by drpruner / October 3, 2007 8:14 AM PDT

everyone was praying for the success of Our Boys ...'
Not everyone; some were in jail for not joining in the war effort, no matter in which language "Our Boys" were being prayed for.

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But was that part of the narration...
by EdH / October 3, 2007 10:22 PM PDT

or someone being interviewed?

Within the scope of the piece I don't think "everyone" should be taken literally.

Not "everyone" was praying either.

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Came up at least three times,
by drpruner / October 4, 2007 2:39 AM PDT

from narration and quotes. Usually involving one of the major invasions or other incidents he covered.
His point was the undeniable general unity during "the last good war" fought by "the greatest generation".
Even then some of that was a myth, and the prison sentences were indicative of denial. A. Lincoln and W. Wilson both steamrollered rights during wartimes, and it will happen again. Some of us will not be surprised.

BTW Burns does present a more balanced view than the Victory at Sea series, although that was by definition more limited. He reported one incident during the island-hopping that makes Abu Ghraib look like Sunday School, as they say.

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(NT) War is heck!
by EdH / October 4, 2007 4:53 AM PDT
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by J. Vega / October 3, 2007 12:51 PM PDT

Thought on why. Burns decided to get personal accounts from people living in 4 cities - Sacramento, Calif., Mobile, Ala., Waterbury, Conn. and Luverne, Minn. With that limitation, could he have had a problem with coming up with former pilots living in those towns and who were willing to appear in a TV documentary?

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Women pilots...
by nrborod / October 3, 2007 10:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Thought...

Even so, in speaking about the home front, the mention of women pilots would have been very useful. It's omission is unfortunate.

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