Ken Burns has become the master of epic documentaries with critically acclaimed previous films The Civil War, Baseball and Jazz. The man is the model of thorough and involved. Though many films and documentaries have been done on World War II this one is different because it examines the effect the war had on your average American. This war had an effect on every family in the United States and the four towns of Waterbury, Connecticut, Mobile, Alabama, Luverne, Minnesota, and Sacramento, California are used as models for all American cities. Using interviews, letters and footage from the towns involved Burns and co-director Lynn Novick created this seven-part television series.
Episode 1: December 1941-1942: The Second World War was fought in hundreds of places, but American cities were not destroyed, though 405,000 Americans did die during it. American civilians lives were not threatened like their European counterparts, but the war did have an effect on every American family.
Episode 2: When things Get Tough -January 1943-December 1943: The United States had been at war for one year at this point. War had an effect on the daily lives of all American citizens. The Americans were firmly behind their President Roosevelt and Germans started suffering defeats in Russia.
Episode 3: A Deadly Calling – November 1943-June 1944: American cities like Waterbury, Connecticut and Mobile, Alabama are transformed into war cities. Victory still seemed a long way off for the Allies. Japanese Americans and Blacks felt the sting of racism in the U.S.
Episode 4: Pride of Our Nation: June 1944-August 1944: American soldiers are now being sent to the front. In the spring of 1944 signs were showing up that indicated an Allie victory. Americans were bracing themselves for the battle with the German forces in France.
Episode 5: Fubar: September 1944-December 1944: The Allied forces are on the borders of Germany. American commanders start dropping their troops behind enemy lines.
Episode 6: The Ghost Front: December 1944-March 1945: The Allies begin taking German prisoners of war. Americans were beginning to grow weary of the war as they had been fighting for three years.
Episode 7: A World Without War: March 1945: The Germans are on the verge of surrender. President Roosevelt warns Americans that the war with Japan could take years to win.
Special Features: Making The War, Deleted Scenes, Additional Interviews