The Wehrmacht Documentary Series Overview (2007)


Introduction

The Wehrmacht (German: Die Wehrmacht – Eine Bilanz) is a five-part documentary that provides differentiated answers on the Wehrmacht role in the World War II based on the latest historical and comprehensive investigative research, bringing many new facts to light, among them documents proving for the first time ever, what many among the officers actually thought from Trent Park operation archives.

Outline

This series deals with the role of the Wehrmacht in Hitler’s Germany. Recently, historian Sönke Neitzel discovered secret records in British secret service files of private conversations between all the German generals held by the Western Allies at Trent Park in Britain during and after World War 2. In re-enactments of these conversations, the generals speak frankly, revealing their real opinions about the war, Hitler and the Nazi regime.

More than 17 million men served in it, for more than five years it waged what is probably the most murderous war in world history, temporarily occupied half of Europe and yet ended in total defeat: the German Wehrmacht. More than six decades after the end of the war and ten years after the exhibition about the crimes of Hitler’s army sparked a heated debate in Germany, the ZDF is setting the current agenda with the five-part series “The Wehrmacht – A Balance Sheet” (Die Wehrmacht – Eine Bilanz).

Recently discovered documents provide an undisguised insight into how the German generals saw Hitler and the war. Numerous high-ranking military officials were interned in the Trent Park officers’ prison camp near London; it was there that the British secret service intercepted their confidential conversations. Until recently, the eavesdropping protocols were top secret, but now they are being shown for the first time in a television documentary. Essential passages with informative, sometimes dismaying statements and self-knowledge are reconstructed in a scenic manner. They illustrate how the Wehrmacht allowed itself to be turned into a tool of the dictatorship in an unprecedented campaign of extermination – and how little resistance there was. The generals in particular were by no means just taking orders; many waged this war out of conviction.

The five-part series reflects the current state of scientific research. Above all, a young generation of historians has their say who has made a name for itself in recent years with new and unexpected findings. An abundance of previously unseen film finds from private archives as well as haunting descriptions by former soldiers convey an idea of ​​everyday life at the front: “Above all, we wanted to survive” – ​​the more than a hundred contemporary witnesses who were interviewed for the series agree. Some of them were eyewitnesses to war crimes.

The Wehrmacht Series

  • Episode 01: The Blitzkrieg (Attack on Europe, Angriff auf Europe).
  • Episode 02: The Turning Point (Turn of the War, Wende des Krieges).
  • Episode 03: The Crimes (Crimes of the Army, Verbrechen der Armee).
  • Episode 04: Resistance (Resistance in Uniform, Widestand in Uniform).
  • Episode 05: To the Bitter End (Fight to the End, Kampf bis zum Untergang).

Production & Filming Details

  • Narrator(s):
    • Andrew Solomon (English version).
  • Director(s):
    • Ingo Helm … (3 episodes, 2007).
    • Alexander Berkel … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Christian Frey … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Peter Hartl … (1 episode, 2007).
  • Producer(s):
    • Guido Knopp … executive producer (5 episodes, 2007).
    • Stefan Brauburger … producer (1 episode, 2007).
    • Stefan Mausbach … producer (1 episode, 2007).
    • Michael-Christoph Wagner … production executive (1 episode, 2007).
    • Ulrich Lenze … producer (unknown episodes).
    • Thomas Schuhbauer … producer (unknown episodes).
  • Writer(s):
    • Ingo Helm … (writer) (2 episodes, 2007).
    • Christian Frey … (writer) (1 episode, 2007).
    • Peter Hartl … (writer) (1 episode, 2007).
    • Alexander Berkel … (unknown episodes).
  • Music:
    • Andreas Dicke … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Thomas Onderka … (1 episode, 2007).
  • Cinematography:
    • Matthias Haedecke … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Matthias Windrath … (1 episode, 2007).
    • André Böhm … (unknown episodes).
    • Björn Kurt … (unknown episodes).
  • Editor(s):
    • Nanni Leitner … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Jochen-C. Müller … (unknown episodes).
  • Production:
    • CineCentrum Deutsche Gesellschaft für Film- und Fernsehproduktion mbH.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) (2007) (Germany) (TV).
  • Release Date: 13 November 2007 to 11 December 2007.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 43 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: Germany.
  • Language: German.

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