World War II: A History of WWII (Part 2) – Full Documentary

(dramatic orchestral music) – By July 1942, a glimmer of light appeared to be on the horizon. For although the situation
was still worsening in Europe, the Atlantic, North
Africa, and Southeast Asia, in the Pacific theater, the war was turning in
favor of the Allies. It was not going to be
long before they switched from the defensive to the offensive. However, the main debate at
the time in the Allied camp, one that had been growing in intensity, was the question of
the invasion of Europe. – [Narrator] The beach
and port area of Dieppe were chosen for a trial landing
on the enemy-held coastline. Canadian troops were chosen for the job, codename Jubilee. It was a disaster. Hundreds of troops were killed as soon as they landed on the beaches, their bodies strewn along the shore. Those who weren’t killed
were rapidly taken prisoner. In the Mediterranean, Malta continued to hold out. It suffered endless
bombardment from sea and air, and in April 1942 alone, almost 10,000 enemy sorties
were flown against the island. Churchill was increasingly concerned about lack of progress
in the desert campaign and decided to visit
the Eighth Army in Egypt to see for himself. He felt a change of
leadership was now vital, and General Alexander
was given overall command in the Middle East. General Gott was appointed
to lead the Eighth Army, but was suddenly killed in an air crash. They urgently needed
someone to take his place. General Bernard Montgomery was the man. Monty, as he was immediately nicknamed, very soon impressed his
dynamic personality on his men. “There will be no more
withdrawals,” he told them simply. It was the message they
had been waiting for. The British knew from their cracking of Germany’s secret code that Rommel was preparing to attack. And in fact, he moved
at the end of August, thrusting towards Cairo and
ultimately to the Suez Canal. Monty then set about
preparing the Eighth Army for a decisive blow
against the Afrika Korps. This finally began on the
night of October the 23rd, the Battle of El Alamein. The Battle of El Alamein
began in the evening in the growing dusk. The final positions were taken up. At zero minus 30, the barrage began. (man screaming) (explosions booming) Then the Allied infantry advanced on a frontal attack
towards the Axis lines. British, Australians, New Zealanders. Many people believe that
it was all over in a day. But in fact, it took 11 days
to finally break through, and Montgomery’s men
began the 800-mile advance along the coastal strip of the
Egyptian and Libyan desert, through towns whose
names had become familiar not only to the soldiers who had advanced and retreated through
them time and time again during the last two years, but even to the errand boys, housewives, and music hall comedians of Britain. Tobruk, Benghazi, Bardia, Sidi Barrani, Derna, Tripoli. There was still much fighting to be done before the Axis armies were finally driven from North Africa. Large amounts of German
prisoners fell into Allied hands. The hand of the battle saw Rommel’s Afrika Korps totally broken. It was a vital victory for the Allies. As Churchill said, “This is not the end. “It is not even the beginning of the end. “But it is perhaps the
end of the beginning.” The war was stepping up in Europe too, particularly in the air. In spring, the Avro Lancaster
bomber came on-stream destined to become one of the most effective bombers of the war. Churchill believed that
failing a second front, the only direct way
that Britain could help reduce the Germany pressure on Russia was through her bomber command. (engine rumbling) In February 1942, bomber
command obtained a new chief, the blunt-speaking Arthur Harris, destined to be known as Bomber Harris. He believed in the
principle of area bombing. By this means, he expected that
the Germans would be beaten without the need for great losses in lives resulting from ground attack alone. During World War II, almost 3/4 of a million tons of bombs were dropped on German targets. In spite of the attacks, the German army was still on
the move on the Russian front, heading for the town of Stalingrad. For Stalin, the town that bore his name must be held at all costs. The civilian population
was hastily evacuated. The troops must be able to
defend it without hindrance. Now began one of the most intense and lengthy battles of World War II. As they reached the city, the Germans met with ferocious resistance. Every attack was met with counterattack. Every quarter, every
street was fought for. (weapons firing) As the November days went by, the city was gradually reduced to ruins. By the 19th, the Red
Army was being reinforced with fresh troops and began
an encircling movement around the city, though still
continuing to fight within. (explosions booming) (men yelling) A few days later, the encirclement was
successfully completed. The German commander, General Paulus, found himself suddenly
cut off inside the city with 330,000 troops, separated from the rest of the German army by an unbridgeable gap of 50 miles. The battle for the city still went on throughout December and January. At the end of January, Goring broadcast to the people that Stalingrad must be regarded as a symbol of Germans’
unconquerable will to win. General Paulus, too, declared to Hitler that he would never surrender, and he was immediately
promoted to Field Marshal. But by now, his army was trapped inside two rapidly reducing
pockets inside the city. Within a day of his guarantee to Hitler, Paulus surrendered the
first of the pockets, and two days later, on
the 2nd of February, the other pocket surrendered as well. Stalingrad was a triumph
for the Russian army and its first real victory. The Germans lost 90,000 men at Stalingrad. An even larger number, 110,000, were taken as prisoners of war. The battle for Stalingrad
was the turning point of the war on the Russian front. Yet Hitler was still determined
to conquer the Russians. With that object in mind, he began by mounting a limited but defined offensive in the spring. The Russians had created a salient in the German lines near Kursk. Hitler decided to pincer
the salient and cut it off. The Germans assembled one of
their greatest array of tanks. At two in the afternoon of July the 5th, the Germans launched their
first wave of 2,000 tanks. By the end of that day, they had lost 200 of them and the staggering figure of 25,000 men. The battle of the giants raged for a week, and on the blazing summer
morning of July the 12th, two armies closed for the most terrible armored encounter of all times in which they constantly met head on. By the end of the day it was over, and more than half the
tanks had annihilated, burning wrecks, not even
fit for scrap metal. Kursk was a total triumph of Soviet arms. After that battle, the Germans were never to advance again on the eastern front. Even on the Asia fronts, the situation for the Allies
was more than holding. The U.S. General Stilwell, known to his men as Vinegar Joe, had been training the Chinese
troops in Burma for attack. Some 13,000 Chinese had been
flown across the Himalayas as reinforcements from China. Last year, Stilwell had claimed, “I tell you, we took a hell of a beating.” Now he was ready to retaliate. (cannons firing) His British counterpart
was General Orde Wingate, a highly charismatic character who had vigorously promoted the belief that the Japanese could be
beaten in jungle conditions. His specially trained men,
known as the Chindits, were ready to carry out one of
the most audacious operations of the Burma campaign. 10,000 of his Chindits
were to be flown by glider along with their equipment, including 1,000 pack mules, bulldozers, and 25-pounder guns into clearings in the jungle, right, as he put it, “into the guts of the enemy,” some hundreds of miles away across an 8,000-foot-high
mountain barrier. The glider force was under
the command of Bill Cochran, and there could be no
fighter escort for them. The operation was a complete success. Everything depended on
the element of surprise, and for the enemy, there was to be plenty of that. Anglo-American combined operations was increasing on every front. Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed that the defeat of Germany
would take precedence over that of Japan. General Eisenhower was put in charge of the first of their combined operations to take place in the
Mediterranean theater of war. The object? To finally clear North
Africa of Axis troops. It had begun on November the 8th, codenamed Torch, with
combined amphibious landings in the west on the Moroccan coast, and was a success. Meantime, Montgomery’s Eighth Army was entering Tunisia from the east. Rommel prepared to through his full forces against his old adversary, Montgomery. In early March 1943, Monty inflicted heavy
damage on the German tanks and Rommel left North Africa a sick man. – The end of January
1943 presented the Allies with a much different situation from that of 12 months previously. The Axis powers had been
exerting pressure on all fronts. But the world situation was changing. With two resounding Allied
successes at Stalingrad and El Alamein, the war
reached a turning point. Although the path that lay ahead had many steep and treacherous sections, the Allies knew that it was the path that would eventually lead
them to final victory. The time had come at last
for the Western allies to set foot in Europe for the first time. The British and U.S. forces landed on the island of Sicily
on the 10th of July. Not the long-called-for
second front, exactly. That was to wait for yet a further year. But a vital prelude by
attacking the so-called underbelly of occupied Europe. The operation went off
absolutely according to plan. For the Italians, the loss
of Sicily was the last straw. They deposed their once-great
leader Duce Benito Mussolini. In Italy itself, the Allies chose Salerno south of Naples to obtain
a strategic foothold. They extended their beachhead there and landed reinforcements in spite of considerable German resistance. Italy decided now not
just to quit the war, but actually to change sides, and her fleet sailed to Malta, the George Cross island, to surrender. Across the world, the struggle continued for the mastery of the Pacific. Progress for the Allies
was still painfully slow through the almost impenetrable
jungle of New Guinea. And in the Pacific island of New Britain, the Japanese held out in the
face of American landings of the start of December 1943. It was another four months
before they withdrew their forces further inland. In India, about the same
time in the spring of 1944, the Japanese besieged the town of Kohima and cut the supply road from Imphal. The British troops were
hemmed into a narrow ring and the small garrison lay
under a murderous barrage of Japanese fire from the
heights above the town which blasted away the trees and bushes. All land routes to the besieged
Fourteenth Army were cut. The surrounding hills could
provide no landing grounds for supply aircraft. Every day, American
pilots flew 300 sorties through a storm of shells
to drop their urgent cargo, and their dropping area became
smaller and harder to target as the Japanese squeezed
in on the surviving troops. No member of the garrison
slept longer than two hours. Medical supplies were all but nonexistent. The only water lay within a
few yards of Japanese gunfire. But the garrison held. They didn’t realize it at the time, but Generals Slim and Mountbatten had organized the reinforcements that were about to lift the
siege and turn the tide. (weapon firing) (explosion booming) – The day of victory was
getting nearer for the Allies. The British and American bombers were pounding Germany from the air. Brave sailors ran the gauntlet of the U-boat packs in the Atlantic. On the eastern front, the Red Army had cracked the
once-invincible German panzers in the greatest tank
battle in history at Kursk. They then pressed on to
give Hitler a harsh lesson in his own blitzkrieg tactics. The Afrika Korps had been
driven out of North Africa. Italy had been invaded
and Mussolini was deposed. All of this provided the backdrop for what was to be the
greatest assault of the war, Operation Overlord, D-Day. (tense orchestral music) – [Narrator] It was the
news that all the people of the free world had been
waiting for four months. Yet when it came, it seemed unbelievable. The Allied troops were
on the shores of France. (explosions booming) (dramatic orchestral music) The Allies thrust south
from Caen to Falaise to cut off the withdrawing German forces. A pincer movement developed, and it took the Allied
forces more than a week of intense fighting before they were able to overcome German
resistance and close the gap. (weapons firing) (energetic orchestral music) August the 16th, 1944. “On the march at last.” The British had relieved their
besieged garrison at Kohima and all were moving north now to meet the rest of the relieving forces. They found the hillsides and the villages of battered bungalows and
gardens covered with enemy dead. The Japanese strength here was now spent. The tide of aggression had begun to end. (men murmuring) The monsoons broke again. It was all the British troops could do to keep on their tails. Eight miles a day at best
were all they could achieve in this atrocious weather. By the middle of September, contact with the enemy
became more frequent. The men were now so
hardened and acclimatized, they were beginning to ignore
the lesser discomforts. Supplies could only be
obtained from the air. They began with hit and miss
drops to isolated garrisons, but gradually, things
became properly organized through eastern air command. Somebody put it that “the
army of the jungle advanced “on the wings of the air force.” In the Pacific, a similar
claim might’ve been made that the fleets of the ocean advanced on the wings of their air force. The Americans had made
great advances in that ocean and were sailing in the
region of the Mariana Islands. In the air battles that took place above, the Japanese lost no
less than 219 aircraft against the Americans’ 29, and American submarines sank
two Japanese aircraft carriers. On the following day, the American aircraft attacked
the Japanese fleet again and sank another carrier as
well as more Japanese aircraft. The Japanese losses
reached such proportions that the U.S. pilots called this battle the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. On the Italian front, however, the American forces weren’t enjoying the same degree of success. (cannons firing) The Germans were setting
up strongly defended lines across the Italian peninsula against which the Allies made little or no progress. (tanks firing) (dramatic orchestral music) What is more, winter was setting
in rather sharply this year and the Allied troops
were becoming fatigued and losing momentum. They were also aware that the spotlight of popular attention was
shining more brightly on the successes of the Allies in France. Paris at the beginning of August 1944. Things were stirring. For some days now, some Germans had started leaving the city. Not the soldiers, but
their civilian officials. Next day, the Gestapo left. That same day, a police car opened fire on a German detachment on
the Place de la Concorde. Then scuffles broke out, and suddenly the tricolor
was flying from every window. The city was full of
excitement, expectation, not even German soldiers around now. Suddenly, from the outskirts of the city, shouting could be heard. The rumor was going around everywhere. The French army was on
the road into the city. The rumor soon proved true. It was the French army. Paris was liberated. It belonged to the people again. (crowd cheering) A few days later, it was the same in Belgium. The citizens of Brussels
were laughing and crying as the Tommies came rolling in in tanks. The people could hardly believe it. They were free. (crowd cheering) Montgomery was now aiming for Germany’s industrial
heartland, the Ruhr. The 1st British Airborne Division was now given the task
of taking the bridges over the Dutch stretch
of the Rhine at Arnhem. (engine droning) (energetic orchestral music) It began well enough, but German resistance proved
far greater than anticipated and supplies to the British were delayed. The operation ended in disaster as the British troops were cut off and more than 7,000 men
were taken prisoner, wounded, or killed. (plane crashing) For the troops in Burma, December the 7th, 1944 was a great day. They were once again looking
down on the old Chindwin River at the very place where 2 1/2 years ago they had crossed it in retreat. They had even buried guns
on the far bank at that time and they wondered whether
they were still there. The big task now was to get
a bridge across that river. (dramatic instrumental music) In the Pacific, the Americans had built giant airstrips on the Marianas. At the end of November, over 100 B-29s attacked
the aero-engine factories outside Toyko. The sustained air offensive against the Japanese homeland had begun. In Europe, things were
slowing down a little with the start of winter. Still, they had now reached
the Belgian Ardennes. The German border was now
barely a dozen miles away. And then all hell broke loose. (explosions booming) Hitler had decided to throw
in everything he’d got in one last, desperate
gamble to turn the tide. His generals stopped the
Americans in their tracks. The U.S. troops were stunned, as was the rest of the
Allied world at the news. The Germans were taking American soldiers as prisoners in the thousands. The Americans hadn’t known
anything like it before. Because of foggy weather, the U.S. Air Force was grounded and couldn’t provide their
troops with air coordination, until suddenly on Christmas
Eve the fog lifted and the Americans went
back on the attack again. The Germans had shot their last bolt. (explosions booming) – But the German army
fought on stubbornly. Their attack through the Ardennes to fight the Battle of the Bulge was a last, desperate gamble. With its failure, the avengers closed in on a Reich which Hitler had
promised would last 1,000 years. – [Narrator] The U.S. Army
was on the march again and made the first crossing
of the German border in spite of every effort the Germans made to keep them off German soil. (energetic orchestral music) German cities were
being reduced to rubble. The factories of the
industrial Ruhr region were hammered incessantly. In the air, Anglo-American aircraft were bombing round the clock, the RAF by night, the U.S. Air Force by day. The transportation systems, roads, rails, bridges were being cut, along with the trucks
and trains and barges carrying war material. Bombing of the refineries
caused a serious shortage of fuel for the army vehicles, tanks, and Luftwaffe aircraft. (explosions booming) And now in the Pacific, the picture was the same. – From the moment it failed to achieve a total victory at Pearl Harbor, defeat was inevitable for Japan. But turning inevitability into reality was to take a heavy toll in human lives, for the Japanese were the
most tenacious fighters. The Allies faced death on the beaches of palm-fringed islands,
in the steaming jungles, in the vastness of the Pacific, and in the horrendous prison camps. When General MacArthur
left the Philippines, he vowed, “I shall return.” He did so in a spectacular
campaign of island hopping. – [Narrator] For General
MacArthur himself, it was an emotional moment to be able to step ashore
again on the Philippines and honor his vow of two years
before that he would return. As the months of early ’45 wore on, the B-29s continued their
high-altitude attacks. The first of the
concentrated attacks on Tokyo took place on the night of
the 9th and 10th of March. The results were devastating, two squares miles of the
city being totally destroyed. Attacks on other Japanese cities followed. (weapons firing) (tense orchestral music) (explosions rumbling) – On land, at sea, and in the air, the Japanese were staring
defeat in the face. They were driven to desperate
measures, suicide attacks. But even the banzai
charges and kamikaze raids could not stave off the Allied advances. The sun was rapidly going
down for the Empire of Japan. (weapons firing) All pilots were volunteers
for what was regarded as the ultimate honor, to die in battle for the emperor. In the end, it wasn’t
going to win the war, but over the coming months, they were to damage or
destroy many warships of the U.S. Navy. (weapons firing) (dramatic orchestral music) (explosions booming) The next target for the U.S. forces was the island of Iwo Jima. The Japanese had turned
this small, volcanic island into a veritable fortress. It took weeks of air and naval bombardment before the U.S. Marines
were able to risk a landing. The marines finally beached
on February the 19th, and by nightfall, they
had landed 30,000 men. It took another month before
Iwo Jima was fully secured at the cost of 25,000 American casualties and 20,000 Japanese killed. The island of Okinawa was the final step in the island-by-island
advance towards Japan itself. 50,000 American troops
made their first landing at the start of April. But the battle to capture the island was to last for another three months. – In Burma, the forgotten Fourteenth Army under General Sir William Slim beat the Japanese at their
own game of jungle warfare. – [Narrator] In Burma, the campaign was going slowly but surely ahead. The IV and XXIII Army Corps
linked up on the plains before the Irrawaddy River
in the early part of 1945. A very valuable prize now lay
across the river, Mandalay. This objective was considerably helped by the completion of the new Ledo Road linked to the old Burma Road. It had been carved
through jungle and swamp, flooded gorges and mountain slopes. Every inch of the way was
a struggle against nature. But the supply route to
China was now once again open and the first great convoy
wound its way across the hills into China at the end of January ’45. The troops crossed the Irrawaddy to take the immortal road to Mandalay. (upbeat orchestral music) But the Japanese were well-entrenched in its pagodas and among its shrines and now had to be driven out. Beyond the hill lay Fort Dufferin, its massive walls
protected by a wide moat. (energetic orchestral music) (machinery firing) The RAF led the combined attack on this last enemy
stronghold before Rangoon. (explosions booming) On the 20th of March, the walls were finally breached and Mandalay became once more a free city. (people cheering) (triumphant orchestral music) Meantime, shortly after
the surrender of Germany, Stalin had agreed at a
meeting at Yalta in the Crimea to enter the war against Japan. The Western Allies had one
big obstacle yet to overcome, the crossing of the River Rhine. They knew that the Germans
would blow up all the bridges, and that would mean the
problem of amphibious crossings under fire, almost like a mini D-Day. And then on the 7th of March, they saw an astonishing sight. At the town of Remagen, the Ludendorff Bridge was still intact. They couldn’t believe their eyes or luck. Someone in the German command
had seriously blundered. The U.S. 9th promptly seized it, and by the end of the day, 8,000 troops had managed
to cross the Rhine. For the next 10 days, the Germans tried to destroy
the bridge without success. Meanwhile, U.S. engineers
began constructing temporary bridges of their own across other stretches of the river. As they pushed on deeper into Germany through blazing villages, the Allied troops found they seldom came across German soldiers, just mainly civilians
and occasional refugees. Till they came to what
all of them described as the most sickening moment of their entire battle experience, the concentration and death camps. The names have become only too well-known. The most famous or infamous, Dachau, Treblinka, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and here, Bergen-Belsen, and too many others to mention. As one man said. – [Man] If there’s anybody left who wonders if this
war was worth fighting, well, I wish they could’ve been along. (somber orchestral music) – [Narrator] Towards
the end of April 1945, Western Germany was virtually
overrun from north to south. French and American troops
had reached the Danube. General Patton’s 3rd U.S. Army had crossed the Czech border. The Western Allies were
advancing on the river Elbe. From the east, by the 6th of April, the Russians were at the gates of Vienna. Hitler ordered that the city, which his troops had taken into the Reich just seven years before
without a shot being fired, must now be defended to the
last drop of German blood. A week later, the Russians
stormed the Schonbrunn Palace and Austria’s capital finally
fell to the Soviet troops. (explosions booming) (dramatic orchestral music) Now they began to advance
on the next capital city, Czechoslovakia’s capital of Prague. This too was rapidly taken, and Stalin now turned his full attention on the most prized of them all, Berlin. At three in the morning
on the 16th of April, 16,000 Russian rocket
launchers, guns, and mortars opened fire on the German
defenses to the east of the city. The Red Air Force added
weight to the barrage. (cannons firing) (dramatic orchestral music) Hitler vowed he would stay
in his capital to the end. It was hard to believe this aging, almost pathetic figure was the same man who only a mere three years before ruled over half of Europe. A week earlier was the last time that another national leader
was ever to make an appearance. On the 12th of April, FDR, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, died. Before the month was out, a third one-time national leader also made his last appearance in public, shot by his own countrymen
who now reviled him. Benito Mussolini, hanging
by his ankles upside-down in the central square in Milan. On the banks of the River Elbe
at the small town of Torgau, while the Russians were
still fighting for Berlin, some of their divisions bypassed the city heading west to meet up with
their allies pushing east. The Russians were still
fighting for Berlin. They finally stormed the
German parliament building, the Reichstag. (somber orchestral music) Days of intense street
fighting still went on, and it was by own of those extraordinary symbolic coincidences that the Soviet army was able to hoist the
red flag in the center of the enemy capital stronghold of Berlin on May Day, May the 1st, one of the most important
days in the Soviet calendar. In Italy, meanwhile, the war was all but forgotten. Senior SS officers there had already opened negotiations with the Allies, realizing that defeat was
staring them in the face. German officers signed an
unconditional surrender on the spot without any
reference to Berlin, and the armistice there came
into effect on May the 2nd. – [Announcer] Luneburg Heath,
Germany, May the 4th, 1945. The instrument of Germany’s unconditional surrender was signed. Said Monty, “If you don’t agree, “I shall go on with the war “and be delighted to do so.” But the Germans sat down, and having read out the
terms of capitulation, Field Marshal Montgomery gave his orders. – And the German delegation
will now sign this, this paper. And they will sign in order of seniority and General Admiral von
Friedeburg will sign first. (clears throat) (camera humming) Now General Kinzel will sign next. Now I will sign the instrument on behalf of the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower. (bell tolling) – Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, Tuesday, the 8th of May. But in the interest of saving lives, the ceasefire began yesterday to be sounded along all the fronts. The German war is therefore at an end. We may allow ourselves a
brief period of rejoicing. Today is Victory in Europe Day. – [Announcer] Sardines
have nothing on the crowds in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly. (joyful band music) (crowd cheering) A man we seem to have
seen before somewhere looks down from a balcony in Whitehall. (crowd cheering) (triumphant band music) Given the freedom of London, feted in Paris, and now
Washington and New York. America goes wild over a
farmer’s son from Kansas, General Ike. Outside Hitler’s aid raid
shelter at the Chancellery is the spot where the bodies
of Hitler and his alleged wife, Eva Braun, were said to have been burned. An SS man says he saw the
bodies soaked in petrol and watched them burn. – From his bunker in Berlin, a shattered and ailing Fuhrer directed imaginary armies
until even he realized it was all over and committed suicide. His body was soaked in petrol and burned. A fitting edge for the man who had plunged the world into flames. Across on the other side of the globe, the Japanese were also suffering their own punishment by inferno. – [Narrator] The island of Okinawa. The last Japanese defenders
took refuge in clifftop caves and had to be literally blasted out. Some Japanese even threw
themselves off cliffs rather than suffer the
indignity of surrender. This fanaticism boded ill
for the invasion of Japan. On the 17th of July, an Allied conference convened
at Potsdam south of Berlin. All the heads of state were to attend, and there was a new face. Harry Truman was now President of the USA. since the death of Roosevelt. (men murmuring) Very soon, there was
to be another new face. In the middle of the discussions, Prime Minister Churchill
had to leave the conference and return to Britain to hear the results of the British general election. (people murmuring) Everyone in Britain acknowledged the enormous and
indispensable contribution made by Winston Churchill
to the war effort. But a deep and often unexpressed feeling had been developing, especially among the
young service personnel, that a different sort of government was going to be needed
in the post-war world. And so Churchill arrived only to learn that his conservative government had suffered a staggering defeat. Even the British people themselves were a little surprised at the result. Churchill kept his seat as an MP, but no longer as PM. The new government was
led by Clement Attlee, who had been Churchill’s deputy in the wartime coalition government. So when the conference
reconvened at Potsdam, a new British leader was present. But having been with Churchill
at Potsdam till then, Attlee was thoroughly briefed
on the issues involved. After the war in Europe was over, many problems came to the surface. Every German serviceman
had to be screened. This was both to confirm his true identity and to ensure that he had not
been involved in war crimes. All members of the SS were prime suspects, and many tried to disguise themselves. (people murmuring) Many people had
collaborated with the Nazis. The Allies agreed that
they should be dealt with by the authorities in their own countries. A number were Russians who wanted Hitler to rid their country of communism. They knew their fate would be a grim one when they returned home. In the summer of 1945, Germany seemed to have no future. Her cities were shattered. Food was desperately short. The Allies did their best
to provide basic rations in order to keep the people
above starvation level. (people murmuring) Goring had been branded as a traitor by Hitler in the Fuhrer’s last days. He had tried to take over the leadership on the grounds that Hitler could no longer exercise control from the
isolation of his Berlin bunker. Now he was arrested in southern Germany and then taken to a detention center. The American scientists
had been developing an atomic weapon. Under the supervision of
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and General Groves, the Manhattan Project, as it was codenamed, finally managed to create the weapon. A trial bomb was successfully exploded on the 16th of July, 1945
in the New Mexico desert. More bombs were now constructed. (explosion rumbling) Steps to end the war with Japan now required the urgent attention of the leaders at Potsdam. Japan was presented with an ultimatum to surrender or suffer the consequences. She refused. On the 6th of August, the first atomic bomb
was dropped on Hiroshima. The 9,000 pound bomb was
carried by a single B-29, equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. (eerie vocal music) The casualties in Hiroshima
were over 78,000 killed, almost in an instant of time. In Nagasaki, the next bomb
killed another 40,000. As many again subsequently
died of injuries, burns, and the terrible new
disease of the atomic age, radiation poisoning. The most devastating war in
history was brought to an end by the most savage weapon known to man. – I have received this afternoon a message from the Japanese government in reply to the message
forwarded to that government by the Secretary of State on August 11th. I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which specifies the
unconditional surrender of Japan. General Douglas MacArthur
has been appointed the Supreme Allied Commander to receive the Japanese surrender. Great Britain, Russia, and China will be represented by
high-ranking officers. – [Narrator] The Emperor
Hirohito had decreed that the Potsdam Declaration for surrender must be accepted by his government. The great Allied armada now sailed into Tokyo Bay and dropped anchor. The U.S. battleship Missouri was selected for the ceremony that would finally bring the Second World War to its official end. General MacArthur was to preside over the formal Japanese surrender. His fellow commander Chester
Nimitz was also present. After the signing, MacArthur spoke. – Let us pray that peace be
now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed. (engines droning) – The Second World War had come to an end. A staggering 50 million
people had lost their lives. Many millions more had lost their homes, and in some cases, especially the concentration
camp survivors, their countries. Those six long years of war
had left the world in ruins. On the British 2nd Division
Memorial at Kohima, there is an inscription. It reads, “When you go home, “tell them of us and say “for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” (somber orchestral music)

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