The last episode of the History Channel’s World Wars was pretty much like the rest of the series; ambitious, chock full of big facts, but a little shaky on the small ones. (MacArthur was not a five star general at the beginning of the war. He fled the Philippines on a PT boat, not in an airplane, and the American garrison wore the British style model 1917 helmets at that stage of the war, not the M1 pot helmet that became standard shortly thereafter.)
And a lot of stock footage was used that didn’t quite fit, such as lines of captured Americans filing into a German POW camp when the narration was talking about the Holocaust, and a Japanese warship that appeared to be a modern guided missile frigate. The device of following several leaders and showing how their first war experience affected their actions in the second was an interesting take, and was mostly handled well, although some of the advertising claimed that World War 2 made both Hitler and Stalin into monsters when, in Stalin’s case especially, they were already monsters.
But the overall thrust and recounting of events was accurate, given the tremendous amount of material they had to cover. Sure, they left out important things such as the Dolittle raid and downplayed the Battle of the Atlantic, but most people who watched now know a lot more about the wars than they did before they started and that’s all to the good.
At any rate, it’s good to see so much actual history on the History Channel for a change. So much of the programming is about pawnshops, UFOs, truckers, lumberjacks, alligator hunters and topics that are more anthropology reality show than history.
Good job, History Channel. Keep it up!