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Into the Abyss

Episode 2 of 2

The roles played by cousins Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of England in the desperate, frantic summer of 1914.

This episode looks at the realignment of the European powers and the emergence of the alliance system in the years following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. It examines the key role played by royalty in smoothing the path to the Anglo-Russian entente of 1907 and the part played by the kaiser's erratic, unstable personality in the growing isolation of Germany in the years leading up to 1914.

It explores the role played by each of the three monarchs in the frantic, desperate days of July and August 1914. And it tells the tragic story of King George's refusal to grant his cousin and close friend Tsar Nicholas asylum in England following the Russian Revolution of 1917 - a refusal that would lead directly to the brutal murder of the tsar and his family by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918.

1 hour

Last on

Tue 27 Nov 2018 22:00

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

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Role Contributor
Executive Producer Denys Blakeway
Producer Richard Sanders
Director Richard Sanders


  • Thu 6 Feb 2014 21:00
  • Fri 7 Feb 2014 21:00
  • Mon 10 Feb 2014 23:20
  • Mon 10 Feb 2014 23:50
  • Wed 12 Feb 2014 23:50
  • Wed 2 Apr 2014 00:20
  • Tue 23 Feb 2016 21:00
  • Mon 21 Aug 2017 19:00
  • Tue 27 Nov 2018 22:00

World War One at the BBC

World War One at the BBC

New perspectives on the war that changed everything.