Apocalypse: The Second World War: Crushing Defeat

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Wednesdays 2 September, 9.30pm

France. 1940. The Allied defensive lines are broken by Hitler’s daring sickle cut through the supposedly impenetrable Ardennes forest. British troops hastily evacuate from the beaches at Dunkirk, France, but are forced to abandon kilometres of precious military vehicles and equipment. The French army, once considered the best in the world, is in a shambles as almost two million soldiers are taken prisoner. Within a matter of days, the Germans march into Paris at daybreak. This episode includes colourised footage taken by Nazi soldiers on the beaches at Dunkirk as they gather around an old record player to celebrate their victory, as well as sound recordings taken by German Secret Service at the signing of the Franco-German Armistice. Heart-rending footage captures the plight of thousands of French civilians as they flee from the Nazis, as well as home movies taken by Londoners as they dig out from daily bombings, sleep in tube stations and carry on despite the death and destruction that surrounds them. In yet another daring gamble, Hitler now turns his attention to his Eastern campaign.

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