Berlin, 1941. Five friends eager to become heroes in an adventure that will change the face of Europe - and that will forever change them as well. Level-headed, highly decorated officer Wilhelm is off to the eastern front with his younger brother Friedhelm, a sensitive dreamer more interested in literature than warfare. Deeply in love with Wilhelm is Charlotte, a young nurse who looks forward to serving in the Wehrmacht, also on the eastern front. While Greta is a talented singer who longs to become another Marlene Dietrich, her Jewish boyfriend Viktor still cannot convince his parents to leave Germany... Valor and courage come to the fore, but also betrayal - of values, beliefs, humanity. Friedhelm turns into a soulless killing machine... Wilhelm deserts his troops and is court-martialed... Charlotte's Nazi ideology crumbles when she betrays a Jewish nurse helping the German army... Greta obtains papers for Viktor's escape by selling herself to an SS colonel. They and millions of ... Written byAnonymous
I will not start to explain or describe any elements in the plot
concerning the storyline. For one, the mini series can be compared to a
painting. Words cannot describe emotions, as such I will not try to.
However, the series show a highly complex plot with an immensely
emotional depth. Being based upon a true story, the series never fails
to keep your attention. Something which is done very well especially
considering its length (approximately 90min per episode - with a number
of three in total).
You must bear in mind however, that it is NOT a Band of Brothers or the
Pacific like series. As said it is very emotional, not one you would
wish to watch on Friday night with the friends and family.
Additionally, though the action is intense and convincing, it should
not be your primary reason for watching. Acting is very much
convincing, seeing the actors on screen is as reading a book, they do a
perfect job in bringing the characters alive.
The series is both painful and beautiful. You will gain the most
intense experience by watching it without any stereotypes. As such, it
is important to neglect all negative comments and reviews below stating
the series is offensive - in terms of portraying history. Those whom
are offended by it, simply don't understand the series. I will not
start a discussion thread, but depicting the series as offensive shows
a lack of understanding, respect and gratitude to the actors, they
perform a brilliant screenplay.
For those whom have seen Das Leben der Anderen / Der Untergang (The
Lives of Others / The Downfall) it is a MUST see if you can get hold of
PS I'd advise you to watch it in German - but either way, it is
What characterizes the German perspective of this mini-series? The
Wehrmacht's invasion into the Soviet Union defines Germany's memory of
WW2. This campaign lasted the longest 1941-1945, covered the largest
front-line, involved the most soldiers, it is where the Wehrmacht
suffered 90% of its 2 million dead, it is where Germany was defeated.
Realistic or not? As a former German conscript soldier born 1968 I
recognize the depiction of military behavior, group dynamics and
everyday-life of soldiers in a German context. However, I would expect
more vulgar language. Other than that, I lack authority to judge.
The question whether or not this series is authentic is twofold ?
First, is it true to history? The Wehrmacht's invasion into Eastern
Europe and Russia accounts for the majority of deaths by war or
genocide in the European theater of WW2. Regardless of modern
technology, this war was still predominantly fought by the common
infantry man and suffered by civilians. The series reflects these
facts. But it never establishes the Wehrmacht as the efficient and
dangerous fighting force it was, even during defeat.
Second, is the narrative authentic ? The series illustrates the
recollection of my grandfather's generation and their perspective as I
heard it from them. In that sense, some undertones are both apologetic
and authentic to that generation's testimony. As an ambition, the
series aggregates many personal memories into one narrative.
The visual impact of the combat scenes feels intense. The stain of a
period drama, costumes and uniforms, disappears into the spectator's
excitement easily after 5 minutes. Cutting into black-and-white
newsreel footage feels smooth and provides perspectives a film on a
budget small compared against the actual event cannot. The staged shots
create an illusion of conquering a large landmass and moving in foreign
The dramatization follows the generation born in the 1920s: one German
Jew, two soldiers and two women. The story reunites the five in
fabricated coincidences. Does this overstretch the artistic license?
No, for it serves to re-examine the change both of the individual
characters and their relations to each other as a result of violent
experiences. More frequently observed is the changing relationship of
two brothers, different in character, different in response to shared
The series explores the nature of what in modern terms would be called
war-2.0 . Traditional war was but a means to an end that, at least in
principle, could be achieved otherwise. War-2.0 kills for the sake of
killing. In this series you'll see the Wehrmacht routinely executing
civilians with the SS or alone. War-2.0 applies traditional warfare to
the goal of genocide.
The series remains silent about the motives. It shies away from showing
the deep racism, antisemitism, the cool institutionalized execution of
genocide. When Friedhelm yells at his brother "there is no purpose, no
sense (Es gibt keinen Sinn) " to express his desperation he is
obviously blind to the genocidal intent of the campaign. The Nazi
criminals appear as people of bad character to which their genocidal
beliefs are but an accessory. Nowhere do we see a German as an educated
, sympathetic individual, whose only flaw were his racism and
antisemitism. The series only presents this type as a Polish partisan.
Entering the third part, one is sucked into an ever closer marriage of
survival and killing but gets trapped by Nazi patterns of thinking. The
Nazis created the myth of the German people fighting for survival
facing the Eastern peoples in order to legitimate the genocide,
preplanned from day one. The film implicitly picks up that image of
survival. Initially it were millions of men and women in Eastern
Europe, millions of Jews who fought for survival - not the Wehrmacht.
While the series appears apologetic on some subjects it completely
refrains from accusing the Red Army.
What about guilt? The soldiers portrayed in their early twenties were
not the generation who planned the genocide, nor did they cheer Hitler
into office. The swift and easy Wehrmacht victories in Western Europe
motivated German soldiers, the series reveals. The story leaves the
spectator with the crucial question: what, given the circumstances,
could one have done differently at the age of 23 ? The series suggests
that the line of guilt separates the generations rather than the good
from the bad combat soldiers. It is the older generation who abused the
young generation as the instrument of war. The series offers an iconic
scene to justify my interpretation. It shows a German soldier in an act
of self-sacrifice and redemption (I shall not disclose the details
I cannot grant redemption. The act benefits only German soldiers but
none of their victims. De- humanization and cruelty out of racism
characterize WW2. Uncompromising loyalty to one's own ethnic group sits
at the core of extreme racism. It is this exact loyalty the film
upholds in part 3.
I recommend the series. "Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter / Generation War"
entertains. Using 3x1.5hours, the vast scale of WW2, the nature of the
violence and the depth of personal experience come alive. It opens the
subject of WW2 to a female audience who can identify with the rich
female characters. Poles, Ukrainians, Russians will find the German
perspective accessible for it correctly places the horror of WW2 in
their home-countries. The series provides substance to a serious debate
by being historically accurate, though not representative.
I'll leave it to Germans, Jews and historians to vouch for the accuracy
of this film. As a work of dramatic entertainment, however, I can
attest to its brilliance of construction and visual realization.
Following the lives of five principal characters in the confusion of
war is no easy task, yet the makers have succeeded in keeping their
stories clear while producing exciting variety for us viewers. I saw
this film at a festival after sitting through two duds. Generation War
came as a riveting, exciting and thoroughly professional achievement.
The writing, acting, cinematography are all first-rate, and kudos, too,
to the musical score, including the terrific song, "Mein kleines Herz".
In detailing the lives of five people during World War II on the
eastern front, Generation War ultimately exposes the brutality and
futility of war. Because its protagonists plunge into it with the
greatest of hopes, the process of how those hopes are dashed is what
makes Generation War such a fascinating film.