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1914-1918 Programme 3 - "Total War"

The UK History channel has shown the 1996 BBC TV documentary series "1914-1918", which looks at WWI and is narrated by Judi Dench. The third part of eight part documentary series titled Total War briefly outlines the Armenian Genocide at the end of the programme.

Though the segment dealing with the Armenian Genocide is less than five minutes in length, it usues footage of Armenian refugees that has in all likelihood never been seen before in the UK.

You can read the transcript of the programme below, and even send a e-mail to the Viewer Liaison at UK History, so as to tell them what you think about how the programme deals with the Armenian Genocide.



Read the transcript

Send an E-mail to UK History


Read the Transcript


This transcript only encompasses the section at the end of the programme regarding the Armenian Genocide.

Narrator- Total war demonised the enemy, it demanded all the resources of the nation. It transformed civilians into military targets. But in 1915 total war went a step further.

Only hours after the first allied soldiers had stepped onto the beaches of Galipoli, the 20th Centuries first genocide began.

The presence of a thriving and wealthy community of Christian Armenians in NorthEast Turkey, was seen by Turks as a festering irritation.

Armenians cultural links with Russia - a wartime enemy - provided Turkey with the excuse it had been looking for. Their leaders were rounded up and executed, the entire communities were marched of into the desert to die.

A young medic in the German army, Armin Wegner, defied orders and smuggled a camera into a refugee camp.

Armin Wegners words- In the last few days I have taken numerous photographs, on the penalty of death. I do not doubt for a moment that I am committing and act of treason.

Hunger, death, disease, despair shout at me from all sides. I was seized by terror, and hurried out of the camp, my heart pounding. I was overcome by dizziness, as if the earth was collapsing on both sides of me, into an abyss.

Dr Jay Winter, Penbroke College Cambridge- The First World War was the biggest war ever to date, the Second World War was even bigger still. It is no accident that both of them were marked by genocide. It is the logic of the brutalisation of total war.

Narrator- In years to come Armin Wegner would send a letter to Adolph Hitler, pleading for the Jewish people.

It was a plea that fell on deaf ears. For Hitler had learned a totally different lesson. He told his inner circle "who remembers the Armenian massacres today?"


Send an E-mail to UK History

TV Channels thrive off viewer comments, and UK History is no exception. Your views will have a large impact as to what type of documentary they will screen in the future. UK History is a brand new channel, so we have a real opportunity to take the lead. Whatever you think about the documentary, once you have seen it, should be shared with them, and if allot of you e-mail they will realise that their is large public interest in the Armenian Genocide.

You can e-mail Kirsty Hindmarsh who is the viewer liaison at UK History with this e-mail address, which you can click on to open an e-mail kirsty.hindmarsh@bbc.co.uk

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