A world war was not inevitable, but people in power made decisions throughout the interwar period that helped set the fuse of conflict on fire. Studying those decisions can help us avoid similar catastrophes in the future. Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) and featuring gripping dramatic scenes, this three-night event series shows how the events that led to world wars were not just a series of isolated incidents, but a long chain of events that culminated in a global cataclysm.
When war begins, nations are divided into Central Powers and Allies. Germany and Austria-Hungary are considered Central Powers, while France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States are Allies. The Allies hope to defeat Germany and its axis of evil, while the Central Powers try to stop them at all costs.
On February 3, President Wilson goes before Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. The delegates are stunned when the president declares that the Zimmermann Telegram, intercepted weeks earlier, promised Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico in return for siding with Germany.
The Allies invade Europe, launching the amphibious landings of Normandy in June and southern France in August. The Allied forces also land in Burma, pushing back the Japanese and arresting Benito Mussolini in September. After soundly defeating Japan in the field and destroying their cities with two atomic bombs, the Allies finally bring about an end to the war.