By January 1916 the war had become a stalemate. Millions had died and yet no side had achieved a decisive breakthrough. Austria-Hungary tripled the size of its armies to five million men. Germany doubled its forces to seven million. And in Britain men were volunteering to fight at the rate of up to 33,000 a day.
2017 • History
The numbers will favoured one side, then the other in 1918. When the Bolsheviks took Russia out of the war, millions of German and Austro-Hungarian troops were freed up to attack Britain and Belgium, France and Italy. But across the Atlantic, America was training an army of two-million men.
2017 • History
The search for the tomb of the greatest warrior who ever lived is a 2000-year-old mystery. The film searches all over Egypt and beyond and discovers how his body has been used as a political tool throughout the ages. Drama and CGI bring Alexander back to life and as we follow the clues we finally may have solved the mystery.
If David Olusoga's first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress, both intellectual and scientific, that underpinned the imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
Second part is looking at Czechoslovakia's attempts to reform communism, which were brutally crushed in an invasion by Warsaw Pact allies in 1968. What followed was the reimposition of hardline communist rule known as 'Normalisation' - under which the reformers were removed, the reforms reversed and history rewritten, leaving the country known as 'the Kingdom of Forgetting'.
Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
The finale episode examines an ancient civilization unlike any other, that of the Indus Valley. Rather than imposing order through war or religion, it relied on the free flow of trade. The exchange of goods promoted wealth, co-operation and trust.