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Race To Victory    

Information
Series 1: 6x60 | HD | 2020
Production Company
CIC Media
Primary Broadcaster
A+E Networks UK

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE day on 8th May 2020, this documentary series recalls one of the most thrilling races in history. It was not only the race to win a war, but a race to gain territory and power between countries that were supposed to be allies.

The leaders of Britain, the US and the Soviet Union - Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin - were many miles apart geographically, and ideologically. But by 1941, these three men were supporting each other in the war against Nazi Germany and its fascist dictator, Adolf Hitler. It was an uneasy alliance and one fraught with power-struggles, false promises and deadly suspicions.

This documentary series follows a chronological timeline of how and why these unusual alliances were formed in the years leading into WWII and paints an in-depth picture of the race to power and victory concluding with “VE” day on the 8th of May, 1945.

Each episode begins with a decisive moment in the war and then backtracks to ask: Who was scheming? Who was backstabbing? Who was making concessions? How was power shifting between the Big Three? Expert interviews with historians, and military figures, give the series a contemporary relevance.
 

Episode 3

On 13th April 1943, mass graves filled with the corpses of more than 4,000 Polish military officers are discovered by German forces. We now know that these were not the victims of Hitler’s Holocaust but evidence of the Soviet-Union’s brutal take-over of Poland in 1939. However, Stalin denies any involvement, claiming the Nazi’s have killed the victims themselves. The USSR was taking the brunt of the German attack in the East. The Siege of Leningrad was causing hundreds of thousands of Russians to starve to death. The siege lasted nearly 900 days, whilst Nazi shelling and bombing of the city continued.

Episode 2

7:48am on 7th December, 1941. The US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii is attacked by 350 Japanese planes. They sink four American battleships - half the US fleet. In just two hours, they also destroy 188 aircraft and kill more than 2,000 Americans. The majority of Americans did not want to be caught up in another world war. Roosevelt had won a third presidential campaign in 1940 promising "Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." Throughout 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill had worked together to win victory over Nazi Germany, whilst maintaining American neutrality.

Episode 1

8th May, 1945. Celebrations erupt across the world as the war ends in Europe. It is VE Day: Victory in Europe Day. But it has been a long, hard race to get here…and war is still raging in the Pacific. In 1938, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, was determined to keep the peace in Europe. By signing the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler, he believed he would prevent war with Germany and bring “peace in our time”. The peace Chamberlain thought he’d guaranteed, however, was shattered by Hitler’s invasion of Poland on 1st September, 1939. Over the next eight months, the Nazi’s continued to sweep across Europe, with Norway, Holland, Belgium and France falling under Hitler’s control.