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Episode 1

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Documentary based on letters and journals, many of which have never been published, which tells the story of World War I solely through the eyes of those who lived through it.

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.

In 1914, most people's knowledge of war came from schoolbooks and newspapers. But when the heir to the Austrian throne was killed in Sarajevo, the system of alliances ran its inevitable course. Featuring the stories of a Scottish auxiliary nurse who accompanied the British army to Belgium as a matter of national honour; a young Cossack girl who followed her father into battle; a German mother who endured the untimely death of her only son; a French schoolboy who witnessed his country under occupation; a German schoolgirl who was forbidden to use French words in class; and an English journalist whose age was held against him. Their diaries focus on what archive and historical analysis cannot reveal - personal tragedy, love, happiness, pain and grief.

Through glorious 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.

1 hour

Last on

Tue 19 Aug 2014 00:50

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Credits

Role Contributor
Director Jan Peter
Producer Gunnar Dedio

Broadcasts

  • Sat 2 Aug 2014 18:10
  • Tue 19 Aug 2014 00:20
  • Tue 19 Aug 2014 00:50

World War One on TV and Radio

World War One on TV and Radio

Marking the centenary of World War One across the BBC

TV Blog: Turning diaries into drama

TV Blog: Turning diaries into drama

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