In choosing Lorde’s take on the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Want to Rule the World,” the makers of “Surrender: The Fall of the Reich” found a perfect song to accompany the World War II special’s haunting preview.
“Surrender: The Fall of the Reich” premieres at 8 p.m. May 4 on American Heroes Channel. Filmmakers used newly discovered footage and colorized and sound-designed archival footage remastered in HD to tell both personal and well-known stories of the end of the war.
The new special documents the final episodes of WW II, following events from the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes, France, in the winter of 1944 to Germany’s surrender and V-E Day on May 8, 1945.
Although it would be impossible to explore all the details and ramifications of what happened in Europe at the time, producers Roche Productions and TF1 present a compelling history that’s just as haunting as the trailer for it.
“Surrender: The Fall of the Reich” is part of AHC’s “Countdown to Victory” week that commemorates the 70th anniversary the end of the war in Europe.
Check the schedule below for details.
COUNTDOWN TO VICTORY
(All times Central)
Monday, May 4
WORLD WAR II IN COLOR
7 p.m. “Turning the Tide”
As WWII erupted, there was a race to develop new weapons and ways to wage war. Both the Allies and the Germans were searching for something that would give them a knockout blow and bring the war to a quick end.
SURRENDER: THE FALL OF THE REICH
8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
It’s May 1945. The Reich that was intended to last a millennium has collapsed after a decade of depravity and abuse. In the United States, Europe, and the Soviet Union, the playing field has been redrawn. Oppressed people cast off the chains of brutality. Borders are redefined. Beyond the ruins, the world must reinvent itself. Relying solely on contemporaneous archival material to illustrate the monumental moment in time when the Axis army surrendered, SURRENDER gives history a deeply human face and voice that conveys the raw emotion and real-time perspective faced by the entire human race all those years ago. SURRENDER captures the saga that unfolded during the final episodes of World War II and the first steps into a new world: from the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944 to VE Day on May 8, 1945, ending the war in Europe. Using colorized and sound-designed archives remastered in HD, the documentary transports viewers into those crucial months when the fate of entire populations was disrupted.
Tuesday, May 5
This is the epic story of the twelve-hour battle for Omaha Beach, which changed the course of World War II. One of the biggest turning points in modern history hinged on some surprising factors. It is a battle in which strategy was decided by stage magicians; where conventional weapons were used alongside outlandish inventions like floating tanks and exploding paratroopers; and where spies sent paintings with hidden messages.
THE REAL INGLORIOUS BASTARDS
Revealing the incredible, true inspiration behind Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds, “The Real Inglourious Bastards” tells the story of Jewish-American refugees from Nazi Germany who went boldly behind enemy lines to seek vengeance. Through vivid first-person accounts from the extraordinary OSS veterans, gripping dramatic reconstructions, CGI and archive, the intrepid trio’s hair-raising ‘Operation Greenup’ is brought to life, revealing one of the most successful and daring covert operations of World War II.
Wednesday, May 6
D-DAY TO VICTORY
7 p.m. “The Scheldt and Arnhem”
The job of seizing the Scheldt Estuary fell to the Canadians, who fought a bloody victorious battle through mud, minefields and canals to secure the critical shipping supply route for Allied troops waiting in Antwerp. In contrast, the British attempt to break through to the Rhine at Arnhem is a tragic failure and becomes known as “the bridge too far.”
D-DAY TO VICTORY
8 p.m. “Battle of the Bulge”
As the Allies closed in on Germany, Hitler launched a last gasp offensive, using his final resources to try to split the Allied armies and retake Antwerp. He almost managed it. The Ardennes offensive took place in an inaccessible hill and forest country, in the dead of winter. Against prepared Panzer armies, stood unprepared and overstretched U.S. infantry divisions.
D-DAY TO VICTORY
9 p.m. “Victory”
With the defeat of the Ardennes offensive, now only the Rhine lay between the Allies and Hitler. Each Allied army crossed the river in its own way, by water in boats, using airborne troops and the amazing story of Ludendorff Bridge in the town of Remagen, where the Allies finally captured a crossing intact. We focus on the taking of the bridge, and the German attempts to destroy it as our soldiers try to cross it.
Thursday, May 7
D-DAY IN 3D
Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, the first paratroopers landed on the Cherbourg Peninsula in Normandy. It marked the beginning of D-Day, the largest and most complex military operation in history, but the incredible feat of warfare that was about to commence was only made possible because of an extraordinary invention: 3D aerial reconnaissance photography. This unique perspective on the enemy target gave the Allies the ability to study the terrain, to pinpoint German defenses with unprecedented accuracy, and to form an invasion plan with the best possible chance of victory. As one Allied veteran described it, “the Germans fought the war in 2D, we fought the war in 3D.”
WWII’S GREATEST RAIDS
9 p.m. “Hitler’s Last Bridge”
A brave band of regular GI’s are tasked with turning the tide of war. The last bridge standing over the River Rhine is the final gateway to the Heartland of Third Reich. It is a perilous mission, because the Ludendorff bridge is bristling with German guns and loaded with explosives. Worse, the enemy plan to destroy the bridge if the American unit assaults it.
FRIDAY, MAY 8
V-E Day anniversary
WORLD WAR II IN COLOR
7 p.m. “Victory in Europe”
As 1945 began, Hitler’s Third Reich was entering its death throes. In the west, Allied forces were within striking distance of the Rhine. In the east, a Red Army blitzkrieg brought Soviet forces to the River Oder just an hour’s drive from Berlin.