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 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 07:32 pm
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Doc C
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Was wondering what others thought of the first segment last night. Didn't really come up wih anything new concerning WWII. It did spend a great deal of time with what it was like, attitudes, etc. at home during the war. As always, great black and white photos.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 10:20 pm
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javal1
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Doc -

I was looking forward to the series. Sadly for me Episodes 1 and 2 are up against Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football. With me, nothing takes precedence over the NFL, so I'll tune in for episode 3. I think the premise of the whole thing was to follow 4 soldiers and the effects on their families through the war. So it doesn't surprise me that the homefront gets alot of attention.

Personally, I wish he had done WW1 which IMHO is far too understudied and actually more important in the grand scheme of things.



 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 10:45 pm
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Doc C
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As always Doc J, agree. What struck me was the reasoning for the men going off to war - some obviously went to make us free/patriotic reasons, but some honestly answerred that it was for the excitment, get away from their small towns. Similar to answers given by CW soldiers. Since I grew up a Cowboy fan, was occasionally switching to tha' Bears/Cowboy rout. Hopefully my Saints will finally come through. However, despite it's drawbacks, still think the Burns documentary is worth watching. One aspect that I was unaware of was the allied generals wanting to wait to attack Europe but Roosevelt and the politicians wanted an attack due to an election year. Guess who won - the politicians, thus North Africa was invaded. Sounds similar to Lincoln/McClellen - times never change do they. Something I didn't realize was Roosevelt prior to the US entry into the war called the chiefs of staff in and wanted to invade/take over the Azors, but the chiefs responded that they couldn't beat Portugal's army. Just an example how small/unprepared our own forces were prior to the onset of WWII. IMHO, without WWI, WWII would'nt have occurred. WWI holds more interest for me than does WWII. Diplomacy, correctly done, could have prevented it.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 11:21 pm
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Texas Defender
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Doc C-

   I believe that Ken Burns' object was to tell the stories of individuals from four different locations who served in the war as well as those who waited for them to return. Thus, it is the stories of the participants that it is the object to tell, rather than to be a general documentary on the war. After watching the first episode, I am not disappointed.

   Of the 16 millions who were in uniform, less than 20% remain alive. Its good that a few of them are getting to tell their stories now, since their time is almost up. I expect at the end of the series to see some form of memorial to those participants who have died since telling their stories.

   Americans, then and now, have always been an impatient people. Most of us came from those who were dissatisfied. After all, our predecessors were those who left their homes and families, either by choice or necessity, in order to make a better life for themselves in a new and strange land. The timid never left, and the weak died along the way.

   The strength of the nation came from a determination to make things work, as well as a willingness to make sacrifices when necessary. We saw this in the WW II generation, as well as in the Civil War generation. Ordinary people had to deal with frightening realities. I have to wonder if the present society has the same resilience as it did in previous times.


PS- In response to what you wrote about generals vs. politicians re: invasion of Western Europe, I have to agree with Churchill that Allied forces would have had a very difficult time prevailing in Europe in 1943. The invasion into North Africa in my mind showed how unprepared we were in 1942. We had not yet found the right leaders, the right strategies, and the right equipment that provided the victory later. Many lessons were learned in Africa and in the Italian Campaign on how not to do things. Even in 1944, after the Wehrmacht had been bled further on the Russian Front, the Americans and the Brits did not have an easy time of it.

Last edited on Mon Sep 24th, 2007 11:29 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 12:08 am
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CleburneFan
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Ken Burns' series is much better than I imagined it would be. I guess I feared it would be slow, but I don't know why I thought that.

I was pleased that so much of the early war in the Philippines was shown and the Bataan Death March. I lived twelve years in Manila. I knew people who had been in that march or their parents had. Before I lived in the philippines I thought only MAericans were in the forced march, but I learned Filipino civilians, even children and elderly were forced to march. Plus the march was at the hottest and driest time of the year in Luzon.

I also knew some women who were POWS in Manila and had the tatooed numbers on their wrists to prove it. Their stories were harrowing.

The horrors of Guadalcanal were very interesting too.

I like the format of using four US towns as a basis for telling the "story." I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.



 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 03:36 pm
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David White
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Disappointing so far, the music is horrible except when they play the period music. They are seemingly jumping around, they gloss over and ignore key things Coral Sea (completely ignored) and Midway (glossed over).

They are obviously going to beat to death the Japanese detention thing without mentioning the other side of the coin. I got the feeling he is comaparing that to Nazi Concentration Camps without doing so directly. the comment from one guy that the Japanese were there one day and then mysteriously disappeared over night smacks too much of the Nazis for me.

It should have been called the War and America as it seems to be as much about the home front as the war, versus a telling of the war itself. I understand what he is doing but the title "The War" seems too grandiose for that. Burns seems to want to make a huge point that America had its warts. Just tell the story without lingering on the racism angle, talk about it but don't beat it to death.


The Civil War it ain't.



Last edited on Tue Sep 25th, 2007 03:37 pm by David White



 Posted: Wed Sep 26th, 2007 04:09 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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So far I have enjoyed the series, and I believe that it is refreshing to see more of the home front strory told than one is likely to see anywhere else.

I think it is a good thing that they concentrate on the japanese treatment of POW's and the show has not glossed over the effect of our strategic bombing campaign on the enemy civilian populances. Burns said in an interview that much of the motivation for doing the series was the lack of understanding shown by the american populance of the war. This is of course true, and I think "the war" provides an excellent starting point for people to learn about, and become interested in learning more about world war 2. People have these notions today about what war is all about (i.e. the "war" in Iraq), and "the war" does well to illustrate just how terrible it is and MUST BE when executed with an aim to win.

On a side note, it is interesting the differing views of those who fought in different theaters. So far the series has not come out and out in saying it, but one can infer from the views represented the difference. The amount of hatred my grandfather (who served in the pacific) holds for the Japanese is 100 times that expressed by my grandfather who fought in Europe against the Germans (with the possible exception of the SS).

Still, today, my grandfather holds a burning hatred for Japanese (ALL japanese -no matter how young) though he fought against them 60 years ago. Is it wrong for him to be that way? Yes. But I sure as hell cannot begin to comprehend what he went through and will leave him to his beliefs. He has never really told a lot about his experiences there, but when he does they are universally some of the most horendous events one can imagine.

My grandfather on my dads side fought in europe, was a BAR man over there. Landing on D-day plus 11 I think, and wounded horribly at the battle of the bulge. His stories were even fewer, but it is obvious he did not have that amount of hatred of the enemy my other grandfather has.



 Posted: Sun Sep 30th, 2007 11:52 pm
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CleburneFan
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Just yesterday I saw an explanation by Lynn Novik who directed "The War" along with Ken Burns who says they chose World War Two to film because veterans of this war are dying at the rate of a thousand a day. They wanted to get these vets' stories while there were some still alive who could tell it in their own words first hand. Burns spoke with 600 people for this film.

While World War One is fascinating, few--if any--World War One veterans are alive to tell the story of their WW1 experiences.  

My dad was in the Navy in WWII, He is no longer with us, but my Mom's stories about how WW II was for the women who had husbands, brothers, sons, and family members in the war and the sacrifices made on the home front from rationing to what was known about the war and how little about the actual progress of the war was really known by those left at home. 



 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2007 08:05 am
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cklarson
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My neighbor (USMCWR) and I wrote a letter of complaint to PBS, regarding the lack of coverage of military service women -- only a fiew oblique references with no context and 1 interview with an Army nurse. Now some may argue that Burns couldn't cover everything, but he seemed to cover everything except the military women. Also some might think well, they weren't in combat and just were sitting behind typewritters-- how wrong this is. As the author of the only military history of women in WWII, here are a few facts:

-- nurses were in on the first assault landings in N. Africa and at Anzio; hospitals were bombed and strafed consistently; evac planes were attacked; hospital and transport ships were torpedoed--the first WACS arrived in N. Africa after being rescued off a torpedoed ship and after they rescued sailors.

-- women CG Auxiliary crew and Civil Air Patrol pilots conducted anti-U-boat patrols off the E. Coast

-- US women merchant mariners signed on as crew on Norwegian ships in exile in NYC, after being "beached" by FDR and the USMM after 12/7/41

-- US women were resistance workers in France and the Philippines--a couple running lines that aided hundreds of downed fliers; aiding guerrilla groups and POWs. Two in the Philippines were imprisoned and tortured, with one joining the CG after release. About 1/2 doz. were awarded Medals of Freedom and one OSS agt. in France earned the Distringuished Service Cross.

-- Mary Sears, the head of the Navy's oceanographic unit, picked the landing sites for the Philippines and Okinawa.

Otherwise, I loved "The War" even though some friends thought parts tedious. Someday someone will cover the disasters on the homefront during the war: the E. Coast 1944 hurricane, the Mississippi floods, the Cleveland gas co. fire that killed more than 100, the Port Chicago explosions, etc.

And BTW, the facts of the US internment were not totally correct. Following Pearl Harboar, Japanese submarines shelled locations on the W. Coast. Areas were designated military sensitive from which all Germans, Italians, and Japanese families were removed--the first 2 groups just being told to leave, the Japanese being carted away to camps. Due to political pressure after about 6 months the Germans and Italians were allowed to return except that some real suspects were interned in camps in the West. Ironically Exec Order 9066 (?) was issued in response to the Roberts Commission report that alleged that the Japanese fleet was aided by Japanese on Oahu. Ironically the Japanese in HI were not removed. One scholar feels that the reason the W. Coast Japanese were hit hard was because unlike the Germans and Italians they had no ethnic groups in other areas of the country to lobby on their behalf, as the E. Coast groups did for the Germans and the Italians. Of course, the German Bund was well known and active in the N Y  area prior to the war.

CKL





 Posted: Wed Oct 10th, 2007 10:49 pm
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MajDoc
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Considering I have to get up between 0300 and 0500 in the am I dont get much time to watch evening tv. I did watch the last one about the end of the war and everyone coming home, did not have a dry eye through most of it.



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