Ever since the United States has been a country, we’ve had men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to defend it. Though some of our military pursuits have been controversial, there’s no denying the bravery that so many of our soldiers have shown in times of tremendous danger and stress.
Many of us have never seen the effects of war up close. But there’s a good chance each of us knows someone who has — a grandparent, parent, sibling, or friend who has joined the military and served our country. Their stories — the good and the bad — become a part of our living history that we can reflect on and learn from.
Filmmakers and television producers have worked hard to document these stories for us, so that future generations can hear them as well. Here are four incredible TV miniseries about our military that you can watch on Netflix right now.
1. Apocalypse: The Second World War
See World War II like you’ve never seen it before with this documentary series that features colorized and remastered footage, some of which has never been seen before. Across six episodes, this series examines some of World War II’s most devastating battles, while providing the perspectives of those who lived through it — from civilians to ordinary soldiers to military leaders. A must-see for World War II history buffs.
2. The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of the Empire
Hosted by historian David Olusoga, this illuminating documentary series explores the forgotten legacy of the non-European troops who fought in World War I. Taking aim at the misconception that World War I was a purely European war, this documentary reveals the important role that recruits from Europe’s various colonies played in helping the Allies emerge victorious. A must-see for history buffs who want to learn more about this overlooked aspect of World War I.
3. Close Quarter Battle
This 13 episode mini-series is hosted by U.S. Special Forces veteran Terry Schappert. Schappert and his team analyze the operations of military and police units in urban combat scenarios. Of the many topics the series examines, the episodes focus on the history of renowned military organizations, provides a peek “inside the heads” of special police personnel, and looks at historical military events around the world.
4. Civil War 360
Dramatic recreations and various artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collection bring the Civil War to life in this three-part miniseries. Hosted by Ashley Judd, Trace Adkins, and Dennis Haysbert, this fascinating series includes perspectives from all sides of the Civil War, including the enslaved people at the heart of the conflict. Some of the historical objects featured on this series include the top hat Abraham Lincoln wore when he was assassinated, the diary of a slave, and the flag of truce that was used at Appomattox.
5. Homeland: Iraq Year Zero
This two part documentary series chronicles everyday life in Iraq both before and after the U.S. invasion. The Iraqi-French film director, Abbas Fahdel, spent a year and a half in Iraq delving into the Iraqis expectations of the war and the effect it had on their everyday life. The first part of the series, titled “Part 1, Before the Fall” is followed by “Part 2, After the Battle.”
Additional writing by Nathanael Arnold.
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