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The War of the World

Premier :: 2006-07-19

on Channel 4

Genre :: Documentary

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The War of the World is a major new history of the 20th Century by the acclaimed and controversial historian Professor Niall Ferguson, described by The Times as the 'most brilliant British historian of his generation'. We think we know the last century well, but our view of it was skewed by the fact that we were living through it. Now, six years into a new century, Professor Ferguson argues that we need to re-think our understandings fundamentally. He shows that in the last century there were not in fact two World Wars and a Cold War, but a single Hundred Years' War. It was not nationalism that powered the conflicts of the century, but empires. It was not ideologies of class or the advent of socialism that was the driving force of the century, but race. It was ultimately ethnic conflict that underpinned 20th-century violence. And finally, it was not the West that triumphed as the century progressed; in fact power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East. Setting arguments and narratives in striking global locations including China, Japan, Russia, the United States, Germany, Iran, Poland and the United Kingdom, Professor Ferguson explains why the last century was the most bloody in world history.

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 2 - The Plan
Aired - 26 July 2006

Episode summary:

In the aftermath of the First World War, the whole world was entranced by an American dream. America stood for new freedoms: in economic, social and political life. Then this dream was shattered by the greatest economic disaster in modern history precipitated by the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

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