Compiler Jean Aurel has done a thorough job of collecting newsreel footage on World War I from all over the globe, and then arranging the material into this 90-minute look at a complex 4-5 years in modern history. The situation in Europe just before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria is filled in as needed background to the explosion of war on a vast scale. As the newsreels testify, people go off to battle or simply support the war because they feel it will all end soon. Then comes the reality of trench warfare in which men were dug in like moles for months and years, only waiting for the time when a mortar or gunfire might either maim or kill them. The battles of the Somme, Verdun, and the Marne are all detailed, and by the end of the documentary, the special horrors of this war are brought home as well as the first stirrings of an embryo Nazi outlook.
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