In between the reality show nonsense on the History Channel, one of the best documentary series on World War II has been shown recently. Unlike most of these series, Soviet Storm: WW2 in the East focuses exclusively on the Eastern Front and the Russian experiences in the war, which in itself is enough to recommend it to me. But it’s also very good in itself, giving a clear and honest picture of the war in the East, combining the big picture with quick sketches of what the war was like at the sharp end. Especially good is how CGI is used to enhance battle replays. It’s always clear that these are reconstructions, the CGI generated tanks and guns and such slightly plastic looking, probably deliberately, but still fairly realistic and convincing. Also counting in its favour is that it’s not too fetishist about the tanks and other weapons used in the war.
Soviet Storm was originally a Russian production, first broadcast in 2010 and this is noticeable, if only due to the Cyrillic letters shown on the maps. More seriously, it’s the way that the focus remains almost exclusively with the Soviet soldiers, showing the Germans only as the enemy, that shows its origins. Most western documentaries on the Eastern Front are shown from the German point of view, something which can minimise the very real accomplishments of the Red Army. Soviet Storm is a good corrective to this.
A lot of this series is available on Youtube; check it out.