37 Days: The Countdown to World War I is a masterful, tense and gripping three-part political thriller. Set within the corridors of power in Whitehall and Berlin it tracks the unfolding crisis through the eyes of leading politicians and civil servants struggling to prevent the world's first global war. A stellar cast, led by Ian McDiarmid and Tim Pigott-Smith, reveal the complex behind-closed-doors story of the countdown to World War One. This political thriller follows the catastrophic chain of events that led from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June 1914, to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on 4th August.
One Month in Summer The British Foreign Office, led by foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey, receives news of an assassination in the Balkans. In Berlin, the Kaiser thinks he can exploit it for his own advantage.
One Week in July War in Europe is becoming a real possibility. Under pressure from the cabinet, the British foreign secretary unravels a tangled web of intrigue between Austria, Germany, Russia and France, while the German military command conspires to force the Kaiser's hand.Who will gain the upper hand?
One Long Weekend The last hours of peace. With the continental powers pushed to the brink, Sir Edward Grey seems unsure of whether to keep Britain out of the conflict. Desperate negotiations, resignations and a battle of wills in the Cabinet reach a crescendo with Germany's ultimatum to Belgium. Which way will Britain go?
History brought to life
- 37 Days: The Countdown to World War I review by LR
This is an excellent series. The acting is first class and you feel the events unfold with a terrible inevitability. Of course, nothing was inevitable and war could have been avoided. But it wasn't and this series gives a convincing explanation of why it wasn't. The countries of Europe had the technology of the twentieth century, but their politics was still grounded in earlier centuries. Kaiser Wilheim dreams of conquest and glory in a time-worn way and unfortunately some of his military command are as gung-ho as he is. If you think of bellicose leaders in power today, then this series will give ample food for thought.
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Another excellent drama by the BBC
- 37 Days: The Countdown to World War I review by LT
Both the acting and set design are great in this series, they really help to set the stage for the ever-growing chaos that was to come. From a retrospective point of view, you realise rather quickly that so much needless bloodshed could have been avoided. Historical figures are brought to life with zeal, to give you a real glimpse into what must have been a mad time behind the scenes.
Thoroughly enjoyable watch, I would recommend this to fans of history in particular.