I’m a bit of a history buff, particularly when it comes to the First and Second World Wars. I’ve watched dozens of documentaries, miniseries and films, and have visited sites of battles in France. I thought I knew almost everything. Not even close.
Airing on Remembrance Day on History, 100 Days to Victory unveiled two hours of material I’d read scant details about. Produced by Bristow Global Media and Electric Media in association with Corus Entertainment’s History and narrated by Peter Outerbridge, 100 Days to Victory—broadcast Sunday, Nov. 11, at 9 and 10 p.m. ET/PT on the specialty channel—tracks the final 100 days in the First World War. The program is a stunning achievement in television, combining words from historians and recreations of crucial battles to tell the story of Canada’s important role in the conflagration.
The opening minutes set the scene. It’s early 1918 on the Western Front and German forces are making a final push to crush the Allies and win the war. French Marshal Ferdinand Foch and British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, desperate for a victory, turn to Canadian General Arthur Currie and Australian General John Monash for advice. Between them, the pair devises a brash and ingenious plan to rout the enemy using a combination of forces in a whole new way.
Along the journey, the producers introduce the background of each of the four military leaders; where they came from, their military backgrounds and personalities. And, using actual letters and diary entries written by military leaders and everyday soldiers in the trenches, the program provides a well-rounded description of what was happening and going through everyone’s minds. Historians like Dr. Tim Cook of the Canadian War Museum, Prof. Elaine McFarland, Patrick Watt and Mat McLachlan offer a detailed play-by-play of each battlefield move.
In the second instalment, Allied forces smash through Germany’s impregnable Hindenburg Line—a five-trench, fortified, 600-kilometre horror bristling with barbed wire, machine guns and booby traps—with daring Canadian Corps advances planned by Currie.
Remembrance Day, for me, is a time of reflection. And, by watching programs like 100 Days to Victory, I’m able to put myself in the shoes of Canadians who fought to defend this country and salute them.
100 Days to Victory airs Sunday, Nov. 11, at 9 and 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.
Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.