I Was There : The Great War Interviews

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  • The Imperial War Museum in London holds an extraordinary treasure trove of First World War eyewitness testimony. Filmed 50 years ago for the BBC's landmark series The Great War, only a tiny fraction of this footage ever made it to air. This program delves into this vault of powerful, personal interviews with soldiers and civilians, so that their voices can be heard for the first time. This poignant film brings the conflict to vivid and shocking new life: from the horrors of artillery bombardment and the anguish of young men forced to become killers, to fleeting outbreaks of peace on the battlefield, and the heartbreaking stories of the women on the home front who lost those closest to them. This is the Great War as visceral, lived experience, with eyewitnesses still spry, alert and passionate. Finally, they are given their chance to speak directly to us across time.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on November 23, 2014.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Great War Series (2:28) -- World War I Recruitment (4:12) -- War Realities (2:59) -- Trench Warfare Psychology (disturbing images) (2:21) -- War of Attrition (3:04) -- Crossing No Man's Land (3:24) -- Regrouping for Attack (1:14) -- "Keep the Home Fires Burning" Home Leave (3:26) -- Moments of Peace (2:16) -- Holiday Cease-Fires (4:26) -- Killing during Combat (3:07) -- Military Justice System (3:58) -- Battlefield Luck (5:29) -- War's End (2:37) -- Credits: I Was There: The Great War Interviews (0:44)
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