“American Experience” preps six-hour “Great War” series

PBS and history series 'American Experience' will mark the 100th anniversary of America's entry into the Great War with a six-hour documentary special.
July 29, 2016

PBS and history series ‘American Experience’ will mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the Great War with a six-hour documentary special.

Due to premiere in April 2017, The Great War will air over three nights and recount the history of the First World War through the voices of nurses, journalists, aviators and troops.

Using the latest scholarship as well as unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries, producers will delve into the oft-overlooked stories of African-American and Latino soldiers, suffragists, Native-American “code talkers” and others whose participation is lesser-known.

One story will examine how a PR man bolstered support for U.S. participation, while another is to detail how patriotism and determination to support America’s crusade abroad led to crackdowns on civil liberties at home.

“It is also a story of little-known heroism and sacrifice (including the deadliest battle in American history) that would leave more than 53,000 men dead on the battlefield and more than 60,000 dead from disease,” the network said in a statement. “American fatalities would come at a critical time in the war, but they would be dwarfed by a cataclysm of violence that would ultimately claim 15 million lives.”

Mark Samels is exec producing and Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak and Rob Rapley are directing.

The broadcast of The Great War will be accompanied by a series of screening events and discussions at universities, museums and public television stations across the U.S.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.