The War (documentary)

The War (documentary)

Infobox Film
name = The War

image_size =
caption =
director = Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
producer = Sarah Botstein, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
writer = Geoffrey C. Ward
narrator = Keith David with Tom Hanks, Josh Lucas, Bobby Cannavale, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Arkin, Robert Wahlberg and Eli Wallach (amongst others)
music = Wynton Marsalis, "American Anthem" music/lyrics by Gene Scheer - performed by Norah Jones
cinematography = Buddy Squires
editing = Paul Barnes
distributor = Public Broadcasting Service
released = 2007-09-23
runtime =
country =
language =
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0996994

"The War" is a 2007 World War II documentary produced by American filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, narrated primarily by Keith David. [ [ The War | Pbs ] ]


The film focuses on World War II in a "bottom up" fashion through the lenses of four "quintessentially American towns"::*Luverne, Minnesota:*Mobile, Alabama:*Sacramento, California:*Waterbury, Connecticut

The film recounts the experiences of a number of individuals from these communities as they move through the war in the Pacific, African and European theaters, and focuses on the effect of the war on them, their families and their communities.

A number of notable actors including Adam Arkin, Tom Hanks, Ernie Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eli Wallach are heard as voice actors reading contemporary newspaper articles, telegrams, letters from from the front, etc.

The documentary is 14 hours and was broadcast in seven parts on PBS over two weeks, starting on Sunday, September 23, 2007 and continuing four nights the first week and three nights the second week, from 8 to 10 p.m. (8 to 10:30 p.m. on three nights). The documentary was provided to PBS affiliates in two versions: One with profanity generally prohibited by FCC regulations (including explanations of the acronyms FUBAR and SNAFU) and one without the expletives. [cite news | url = | title = Memories of the War: Burns' new documentary tells story through everyday Americans' eyes | first = Sean P. | last = Means | work = The Salt Lake Tribune | date = 2007-09-20 | accessdate = 2007-10-10 ]


Each episode begins with the introduction::The Second World War was fought in thousands of places, too many for any one accounting.:This is the story of four American towns and how their citizens experienced that war.

Episode 1: "A Necessary War"

Introduction to the American entry into WWII. Tells us about the four towns Burns selected for narration about the wartime experiences of the residents of those places. Covers the war in Europe; Pearl Harbor; The Draft; and, General MacArthur abandoning his troops at Bataan. Finishing with the Pacific campaigns of Midway and Guadalcanal.

Episode 2: "When Things Get Tough"

The North African Campaign; Philippines Non-combatant Internment Camp; Japanese Americans interned in the U.S.; Air War over Europe; Experiences of an American POW in Japanese "custody"; Invasion of Sicily; Mussolini deposed and Italy declares war on Germany; Anzio Landings and the Italian campaign; More Air War over Europe; Hitler strengthens the Atlantic Defenses against a possible Allied invasion.

Episode 3: "A Deadly Calling"

Racial segregation hampers the war production effort in the U.S.; Battle of Tarawa; Anzio; The Battle of Monte Cassino; The war effort in the United States; Acceptance of Blacks into combat units; The Anzio mess continues; Battle of Monte Cassino ends and the Gustav Line is broken; Breakout from the Anzio beachhead; Gen. Mark Clark's forces take Rome.

Episode 4: "Pride of Our Nation"

On D-Day, 1.5 million Allied troops embark on the invasion of France; The Marines fight a costly battle on the island of Saipan (See Battle of Saipan) in the Western Pacific.

Episode 5: "FUBAR"

This episode starts with the disastrous Allied assumption that the war in Europe would be over before the winter of 1944. It then covers Operation Market Garden (See also: A Bridge Too Far (book) and/or A Bridge Too Far (film)); The invasion of and battle for Peleliu; Experiences of Black servicemen; More coverage of the San Tomas internment camp for non-combatants in the Philippines; MacArthur returns to the Philippines; The heroism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Japanese-American) and the incompetence of General Dahlquist and the rescue of the Lost Battalion by the 442nd; The Battle of Hurtgen Forest; The downside of close air support; An American Indian recounts his combat experiences.

Episode 6: "The Ghost Front"

The Battle of the Bulge; More about Santo Tomas internment camp; The role of medics in combat; Pinups; Santo Tomas non-combatants freed (Philippines) only to be attacked by the Japanese; The battle for Manila; More on American POWs in Japan; The Battle of Iwo Jima; The air war against Japanese cities; Ground combat in Western Europe; Gen. Patton attempts to rescue his son-in-law from German prison camp behind the German lines.

Episode 7: "A World Without War"

The Battle of Okinawa and Kamikaze attacks; FDR dies and Harry Truman becomes President; The Soviet assault on Berlin; The fall of the 3rd Reich; The liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps; VE Day; Continuation of the Battle of Okinawa; The story of the USS Indianapolis; Atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; VJ Day and the surrender of the Japanese Empire on September 2, 1945; Epilogues. This is followed by David Brancaccio interviewing Ken Burns, Rev. Forbes, and Lynn Novick about what they were attempting to accomplish in this production.

Critical reception

"Time" magazine's James Poniewozik named the series one of the Top 10 New TV Series of 2007, ranking it at #9. [ [,30583,1686204_1686244_1691364,00.html Poniewozik, James; Top 10 New TV Series;] ]


"The War" came under fire after previews during the editing process indicated no mention of the contributions of Hispanics to the war effort, whose representation in the war itself is estimated at up to half a million people; complaints followed later as to omissions of Native American contributions and those of women in uniform.cite news | url = | title=Commentary: Honor Latinos' sacrifice even if 'The War' doesn't | author=Guerra, Carlos | work = San Antonio News Express | date=2007-04-25 | accessdate=2007-06-09 ] [cite news
title=Latinos left out of "The War" | author=Dick Kreck | url= |work=Denver Post | date=March 4, 2007 | accessdate=2007-06-09
] cite news | first = Amy | last = Goodman | url = | title = PBS Criticized for Excluding Latino, Native Voices from WWII Documentary | work = Democracy Now | date = 2007-04-13 | format = "rush transcript" version of interview of Maggie Rodríguez-Rivas | accessdate = 2007-07-17 ] Originally the premiere was scheduled for September 16, 2007; the fact that this date is both Mexican Independence Day and the start of U.S. observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month drew additional fire from its detractors, and the initial airdate was later moved to September 23, 2007, with no comment from PBS.cite news | first = Carlos | last = Guerra | title = PBS' WW II film no longer on Diez y Seis, but still no Latinos | work = San Antonio Express-News | datee = 2007-02-23 ]

Although at first the dispute seemed to be settled with the inclusion of additional footage to address the omission, in subsequent weeks, groups began to question conflicting reports from Burns and PBS as to whether the additional footage would be provided as supplementary material or would be integrated into the overall program.cite news | first = Suzanne | last = Gamboa | publisher = Associated Press | url = | title = Hispanics Still Unhappy With Burns Film, | work = The Washington Post | date = 2007-04-12 ] cite news | first = Paul | last = Farhi | title = Ken Burns Agrees To Expand Documentary: Inclusion of Minority WWII Service Members Follows Latino Protests | work = The Washington Post | date = 2007-04-18 | page = C-1 ] cite news | first = Paul | last = Farhi | url = | title = Burns Won't Reedit 'War,' PBS Clarifies | work = The Washington Post | date = 2007-04-19 | page = C-1 | accessdate = 2007-10-09 ] Burns initially insisted that re-editing the film was out of the question, with PBS defending that decision on the basis of artistic freedom. Over the months of May and June, as of mid-July, 2007, estimates put out by Burns suggested that additional footage showing interviews with two Hispanics and one Native American would be added to the series, for a total of 28 minutes additional footage to the nearly 15 hours the program was originally planned to cover; the additional footage would air at the conclusion of the selected episodes, but before each episode's final credits.cite news | author = Associated Press | title = Ken Burns adds half-hour to 'The War' series to include Hispanic, American Indian veterans | date = 2007-07-11 ]

News outlets began to report as of July 11 that the additional content had not been included in materials made available for preview by television writers and critics, prompting renewed discussion and speculation as to the eventual outcome of the debate. In an interview granted to the "Austin American-Statesman" that day, Latino filmmaker Hector Galán expressed surprise at this omission, but also confidence that the new content would appear in the finished product in a satisfactory form. He also addressed concerns raised by others that he had not been included in the panel presentations made to the critics, saying: "I didn't get invited, but that's OK. It's awkward, because it's not my film. I don't want to 'big-foot' his movie. I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me. I'm 100 percent certain our material will be included. I haven't seen exactly where it will be placed, but it will be incorporated into the story. We shot it, it's there and it's beautiful. It will not be tacked on after the credits."cite news | url = | title = Galán waiting to see his stories in 'The War,' | work = Austin American-Statesman | date = 2007-07-11 | accessdate = 2007-07-12 ]


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Library of Congress' companion website]
* [ Obituary of Earl Burke]

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