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In a time of crisis or war, any personal decision by a national leader can change the course of history. Some of the great leaders and dictators of the 20th century - Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, De Gaulle and Roosevelt - all had to make important decisions that plunged millions of people into danger. Told like a thriller, each episode of this series brings these pivotal moments in modern history back to life.Travel back to the moments in history when famous figures were about to make some of the most important decisions of all time. Archive material and gripping dramatisations reveal why these men chose the paths they did and how it changed the course of events forever.

Genres: History | War
Station: Yesterday (GB)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2018-02-21

The Day When... Air Dates


S01E02 - The Day When... De Gaulle Chose War Air Date: 28 February 2018 20:00 -

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On 16th June 1940 in Bordeaux, an almost stranger Under-Secretary of State for War decided to secede and to rebel openly against the policy adopted by the French legal government, which was preparing to ask for an armistice. The following day, he flew to England. This episode tells the story of how a provisional general in a subordinate function became De Gaulle, leader of Free France, without who the country would have ended the war in the camp of the vanquished.


S01E03 - The Day When... Roosevelt Chose War Air Date: 07 March 2018 20:00 -

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On 7 December 1941, after Japanese pilots sunk a large part of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt launched the United States into the war. However, rather than focus the main efforts on Japan he instead directs it against Germany. Elected to bring peace to the country, Roosevelt, without much support, did everything to provoke the Japanese and brought America into the war. Without him, and the US Armed Forces, Germany would probably have won World War II.


S01E04 - The Day When... Hitler Lost The War Air Date: 14 March 2018 20:00 -

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Hitler's downfall began well before the official end of the war in 1945. It was exactly on 22nd June 1941, when Hitler launched the largest military offensive in history against the Soviet Union: Operation Barbarossa. By opening this eastern front, the Führer, blinded by his firepower, signed his own death sentence. This episode relates, through archives and re-enacted scenes from historical documents, this fateful day. Why did Hitler open a second front after always saying he wouldn't? Why did he suddenly attack the Soviet Union, which did not want to be an obstacle to its enterprises on the west and south fronts? And, why did Stalin foresee the attack?


S01E05 - The Day When... Stalin Won The War Air Date: 21 March 2018 20:00 -

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In February 1945, it was known that Nazi Germany had lost the war. But the real winner remained uncertain. In Yalta, Americans, British and the Soviets competed for the domination of Europe. Stalin was outnumbered by his western counterparts, but thanks to his political manoeuvres, cunning and skill, Stalin tipped the scales in his favour. The final episode tells how Stalin, despite the opposition of Churchill and Roosevelt, became the master of a large part of Europe.

The Day When... Actors

Robert Dauney(Narrator)



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