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Episode 3

Great War Diaries Episode 3 of 3

Based on letters and journals, many of which have never been published before, this documentary tells the story of 1914-18 solely through the eyes of those who lived through it. Bringing together 25 broadcasters from around the world, this is television's global event for the centenary of World War I.

After more than three years, the war is beginning to draw to a close. Men, women and children urge themselves on through the last year until hostilities finally cease. Featuring the stories of a young Cossack woman caught up in the Bolshevik revolution, a wealthy English lady who, as part of the newly formed women's police force, becomes involved in a strike at an ammunition factory, an Australian piano teacher trying to get home from behind enemy lines, an Italian-American who leads a revolt in a psychiatric hospital, a German soldier caught up in a mutiny, a German schoolgirl who attempts suicide, an experienced English journalist who is sickened by the Allies' behaviour as the war comes to a close and a young French boy who witnesses the German retreat and the final end of the war. Their diaries focus on what archive and historical analysis cannot reveal: personal tragedy, love, happiness, pain and grief.

Through dramatic reconstruction, viewers experience the greatest war mankind had ever seen, not from the perspective of what it was but of what it was like from within. Great War Diaries reveals the simple human experience of 1914-18, unsullied by historical interpretation.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Tue 2 Sep 2014 01:50
BBC Two Scotland

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Role Contributor
DirectorJan Peter
ProducerGunnar Dedio

World War One on TV and Radio


Marking the centenary of World War One across the BBC

TV Blog: Turning diaries into drama

Gabrielle West diary page

'We came across these handwritten pages, with tiny little drawings and some photographs'