Six years in the making, this epic 15-hour film focuses on the stories of citizens from four geographically distributed American towns — Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and the tiny farming town of Luverne, Minnesota. These four communities stand in for — and could represent — any town in the United States that went through the war's four devastating years. Individuals from each community take the viewer through their own personal and quite often harrowing journeys into war, painting vivid portraits of how the war dramatically altered their lives and those of their neighbors, as well as the country they helped to save for generations to come.
View Ken Burns' Interview about "The War" here.
Tuesday, July 31 at 9:00 p.m. A Necessary War Lives are shattered by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and America is thrust into the great cataclysm. Along with millions of other young men, Sid Phillips and Willie Rushton of Mobile, Ray Leopold of Waterbury and Walter Thompson and Burnett Miller of Sacramento enter the armed forces.
Wednesday, August 1 at 9:00 p.m. When Things Get Tough By January 1943, Americans have been at war for more than a year. The Germans still occupy most of Western Europe; the Allies can't agree on a plan or timetable to dislodge them. American troops, including Charles Mann of Luverne, are now ashore in North Africa.
Thursday, August 2 at 9:00 p.m. A Deadly Calling In November 1943, on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa, the Marines set out to prove that any island can be taken by all-out frontal assault. Back home, the public is devastated by color newsreel footage of the furious battle and grows more determined to do what's necessary to hasten the end of the war.
Sunday, August 5 at 9:00 p.m. Pride of Our Nation By June 1944, there are signs on both sides of the world that the tide of the war is turning. On June 6, 1944 — D-Day — a million and a half Allied troops embark on the invasion of France.
Monday, August 6 at 9:00 p.m. FUBAR By September 1944, the Allies seem to be moving steadily toward victory in Europe. "Militarily," General Dwight Eisenhower's chief of staff tells the press, "this war is over." But in the coming months, on both sides of the world, a generation of young men will learn a lesson as old as war itself — that generals make plans, plans go wrong and soldiers die.
Tuesday, August 7 at 9:00 p.m. The Ghost Front By December 1944, Americans have become weary of the war. In the Pacific, American progress has been slow and costly, with each island more fiercely defended than the last. In Europe, no one is prepared for the massive counterattack Hitler launches on December 16 in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxemburg.
Wednesday, August 8 at 9:00 p.m. A World Without War In spring 1945, although the numbers of dead and wounded have more than doubled since D-Day, the people of Mobile, Sacramento, Waterbury and Luverne understand all too well that there will be more bad news from the battlefield before the war can end.