1970s The Road to World War II (1978, 2011)

Published on October 14th, 2011 | by Chris


The Road to World War II (1978, 2011)

Reviewed by:
On October 14, 2011
Last modified:October 3, 2012


If you're a military history buff, then this is a must-have.

The Road to World War II (1978, 2011)Questar's new DVD box-set, The Road to World War II, is an overdue re-release (with additions) of a 1970's television series which explored the time period between World War I, and World War II, with the notion of examining events "Between the Wars" (its original title.)  It examines how the events of WWI and the post-WWI era lead to WWII...

...and it does a fine job.  An excellent job, even.  This is quite the examination of history during that time period.  A lot of things I never knew about, or realized, or put the pieces together with.  From the Versailles treaty all the way to Pearl Harbor, you'll be surprised just how many events transpired which, now that we look at it, brought about the inevitability of the second war.

I think a great part of this is the credibility involved here.  Made in the 70's (a short 30 years after WWII), you've got commentary from people who either were *directly* involved in these events, such as host and journalist Eric Sevareid, to a myriad of professors and other figures.

Additionally, you'll get some Hearst Newsreels on each disc, which give a short summary and different perspective of either events that were talked about, or weren't....  Either way, the inclusion of these in this set works to its benefit (versus the earlier WWII in the Pacific set, where the European-theater-centric newsreels didn't make sense.)  I'm not sure of the source of these newsreels, the production and voice-over seem to indicate a much later production date, rather than contemporary pieces.  (Which I'd still like to see a good "movietone news" or similar DVD set from the war!)

The series is presented from a US-centric viewpoint.  Meaning that the events described take place starting from the US' short but pivotal role in WWI, up until Pearl Harbor.  But, it does examine all the other happenings between those two events, including the war in Europe, and Japan's expansion in Asia.  This is key, as a lot of these sort of documentaries merely jump in with both feet at Pearl Harbor, as if nothing at all had happened until then.

If you're a military history buff, then this is a must-have.  The films themselves appear to have been rescued, but not restored.  I only mention this because they do appear rather rough at times, and I wouldn't want anyone thinking you're getting anything different.  I don't have a problem with this at all.  This is about preservation mostly, and I'm glad that Readers' Digest and Questar have put this series to disc for the archives, instead of letting the film or tape turn to dust in some closet somewhere.

The Road to World War II officially releases October 18, with a sticker price of $49.99, although Amazon (and likely others) has it for less.

Here's a summary of the episode titles, which should give you an idea of the series comprehensive look....

Disc 1: 1. Versailles: The Lost Peace 2. Return to Isolationism 3. The First Salt Talks

Disc 2: 1. Radio, Racism and Foreign Policy 2. The Great Depression and Foreign Affairs

Disc 3: 1. FDR and Hitler: The Rise to Power 2. FDR and Hitler: The Dynamics of Power

Disc 4: 1. America in the Pacific 2. The Recognition of Russia 3. Latin America

Disc 5: 1. The Italian-Ethiopian War 2. The Spanish Civil War 3. The Phony War

Disc 6: 1. FDR and Churchill 2. Japan Invades China 3. War Comes to Pearl Harbor

Bonus Features: Exclusive Heart Newsreels showcase the era leading up to WW II

The entire series is also available to "rent" on YouTube!

The Road to World War II 6 pk. The Road to World War II 6 pk.
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This classic documentary series follows the events that inevitably sparked World War II, capturing the drama, the excitement and the juxtapositions of these crucial years between the end of World War I and Pearl Harbor...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: Questar, Inc.
Original Release Date:
  • Hosted By Eric Sevareid


  • Factory sealed DVD


Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting! Although I have been variously, & ..., May 5, 2016
Merton (Far end of Andromeda) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Absolutely riveting! Although I have been variously, & voraciously, reading history, this documentary is so instructive in informing the viewers the much broader context which led to this catastrophe. It eloquently spells out the errors by the leaders and by 'democracies', as reflective of plurality, and contrasted against the principled-democracies rooted in laws/constitution and springing form informed electorate: errors that are still being blithely committed.

Particularly touching was the poignant story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Thank you!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am delighted with this collection of WWII history, October 30, 2015
D. G. Windle (Northern California) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Road to World War II 6 pk. (DVD)
I am delighted with this collection of WWII history! I fear that future generations might not have an opportunity to learn the true facts of this war, so am planning to put the collection in the smart and capable hands of my grandchildren for safe keeping

4.0 out of 5 stars A good summary to the outbreak of WW II, November 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Road to World War II 6 pk. (DVD)
This was both informative and entertaining as the topic states. The Road to WW II. I would recommend it to viewers.

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The Road to World War II (1978, 2011) Chris

Summary: If you're a military history buff, then this is a must-have.


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

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