Never forget. Those two simple, tiny words have echoed throughout America’s people since the tragedy of September 11th, 2001. That dark day was this generation’s Pearl Harbor. It changed our country forever, just as Pearl Harbor did for the Greatest Generation. Sadly, today roughly only ten percent of that generation still remains today to tell the story of what happened when the United States entered the war, which had already ravaged much of Europe for two years. Now, thanks to History Channel and A&E Home Video, a new piece of the history from World War II has been brought to light in order to make sure that no generation will ever forget. That piece of history is the recently released WWII in HD Collector’s Edition on blu-ray. The WWII in HD Collector’s Edition on blu-ray was released May 15th of this year. The new collector’s edition is one of the more comprehensive sets released in recent memory. The two primary discs that make up the set take audiences from the dark days when the Nazi occupation began spreading through Europe straight to the closing days of the war when the allied forces finally closed in and tightened the noose around the Nazi forces in the German capital of Berlin. It also includes two bonus discs. The first of the two bonus discs is a roughly forty-minute program that focuses on the battle to take the island of Iwo Jima. It goes into full depth explaining how rather than taking ten days (as was predicted by one official), the battle to claim the island took more than a month. The raising of the two flags atop Mount Suribachi was only one part of that horrific battle. The second bonus disc focuses on the air war over the European Theater and its attempts to disable the production of Messerschmitts in Nazi occupied Germany. The run time on this program is just under an hour and a half. But it is truly worth that near ninety-minutes for anyone from military historians to students to the most casual of viewers.
The story presented in WWII in HD starts off in Germany, 1939. Audiences are first introduced to Austrian Jew Jack Werner. He is one of a dozen figures from whom audiences will learn what life in the war was like. Werner came to America to escape the Nazis. He also came with stars in his eyes, hoping to become a movie star. When that didn’t happen, he ended up working in a flower shop before joining the American war effort. The other eleven figures are: Bert Stiles, Shelby Westbrook, Nolan Marbrey, Jack Yusan, Rockie Blunt, Archie Sweeney, Richard Tregaskis, Charles Scheffel, Jimmie Kanaya, June Wandry, and Robert Sherrod. Each figure brings their own perspective to the men and women who served during one of the country’s most difficult times. North Carolinians will appreciate the mention of Archie Sweeney, who was voiced by Mark Hefti throughout the program, was originally assigned to Fort Bragg before entering the war.
Among the more interesting pieces of history included in WWII in HD are that when America’s military first entered the war, it was hardly the largest or most well trained. That lone puts the entire war into a wholly different perspective. Audiences also learn of the reaction of Nurse June Wandry to providing candy to the captives in the concentration camps, and of the prisoners themselves to receiving said candy. It’s one of those moments that will bring even the most emotionally strong individual to tears. There is also note of how President Truman actually gave the Japanese the opportunity to surrender. He offered them two chances, as a matter of fact. It was because they refused both of those chances, according to the documentary, that both bombs were dropped. Audiences will also learn other interesting facts such as the landing force used at Okinawa was larger than that used at Normandy on D-Day.
WWII in HD shares so many stories that there is no way to tell each one of them. And while there is no way to possibly tell each individual’s story shared in this mini-series, one thing is certain, though, of this presentation. The complete story shared in the WWII in HD Collector’s Edition reminds viewers of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform past and present. It helps us to appreciate everything that they have gone through and go through today. It serves not only as an educational tool or entertainment. Rather, it serves as a tool to ensure our world will hopefully learn from its past, and never forget. Audiences can purchase this box set in stores or online at http://shop.history.com.
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