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The 10 Best War Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

If you want to watch the best war documentaries ever made, look no further than Netflix.

Netflix has lots of great documentaries to watch. Whether you like biographies, science, music, or history, there is something for everyone. And Netflix excels with its choice of war documentaries.

Here are the best war documentaries to watch on Netflix right now.

best war documentaries - world war ii in colour

If you enjoy watching original footage rather than talking heads, World War II in Colour is the best documentary about the Second World War that you’ll find on Netflix.

This series was first released in 2009 on British TV. It combines original and digitally colorized footage, some of which had never been seen before. Robert Powell narrates the entire series.

Powell has narrated some of the other best World War II documentaries. They include Hitler’s Bodyguard, The Story of the Third Reich, and Secrets of World War II. Sadly, none of them are on Netflix.

World War II in Colour consists of 13 episodes. They cover the action on the Western Front and Eastern Front, as well as in North Africa and the Pacific.

After learning about the historical events between 1939 and 1945, you should watch the best World War II movies on Netflix

After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix

After Dunkirk: 12 World War II Movies to Watch on Netflix

If Dunkirk has sparked your interest in World War II movies, check out these 12 other flicks dealing with the conflict. They’re all currently available on Netflix USA…
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The Vietnam War is a 10-part TV series directed by famed documentary maker, Ken Burns. It’s the first of two Burns productions on our list. First broadcast on PBS in 2017, it is an epic series and is unquestionably one of the greatest war documentaries ever made; the entire series took more than 10 years to put together.

It contains original first-hand interviews with 79 witnesses (including those who fought in the war and those who protested against it). Burns also worked through 24,000 photos and 1,500 hours of video in a bid to leave no stone unturned.

The series contains 10 episodes and has a total runtime of more than 17 hours.

best war documentaries - 1945 the savage peace

World War II claimed the lives of millions of people and led to untold suffering. However, for the defeated Germans, the end of hostilities in 1945 marked the beginning of a new chapter of pain.

This BBC war documentary investigates the post-war reprisals against otherwise innocent German people who lived in other Eastern European countries after the Nazis surrendered.

It’s packed with original footage, most of which was unseen prior to airing. Be warned, it’s harrowing stuff. The reality of shootings, death marches, the rapes of women and children, and hideous torture are all laid bare.

The Age of Tanks traces the history of one of the 20th century’s most revolutionary creations—the tank.

The series begins with the story of Basil Henriques. During World War I, the British soldier became the first man to drive a tank in active combat and use it to fire on enemy combatants. Over the following four episodes, the use of tanks in the German Blitzkrieg, the Cold War, and 21st-century wars are all examined under the microscope.

Five Came Back is an adaptation of the book of the same name. It tells the story of five famous American film directors (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens), all of whom found themselves on the frontlines during the Second World War.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, the three-part series used more than 100 hours of archival footage to discuss the 40 documentaries and training films that the directors made to help the war effort. There’s a particular focus on Ford’s Battle of Midway, Capra’s Why We Fight, and Stevens’ life-changing experiences at Dachau.

The Civil War is the second Ken Burns documentary on our list. First broadcast in 1990, it’s considerably older than Burns’ The Vietnam War, but it still stands up as one of the best documentaries ever made about the all-American battle.

Indeed, at the time of release, it became the most-watched program ever on PBS on its way to picking up two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a Peabody Award.

The series starts with the pro-secessionists and abolitionists in 1861 and progresses through nine episodes until the murder of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Ostensibly started as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the War in Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. The total cost of the conflict has cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion.

The Bomb Squad is a two-part BBC documentary. It explores the role of British bomb disposal teams stationed on the ground during the struggle. It explores the relationship between the men, as well as the stress that their jobs place on their families back home.

best war documentaries - behind enemy lines

This isn’t the 2001 movie starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. We’re talking about the excellent BBC documentary of the same name (also from 2001).

In 1940, the UK was in a precarious position. Western Europe had collapsed, the Battle of Britain raged in the skies, and Hitler was desperate to force Churchill into signing a peace agreement. In response, Churchill created the Commandos, a specialist unit designed to help turn the tide of the war.

This four-part documentary explores the new units’ role at four critical junctures in the progression of the conflict: Dunkirk, the St Nazaire Raid, the North African campaign, and Operation Market Garden.

Terrorism is a type of warfare unlike any other. The most noteworthy terrorist events in history—9/11, the Lockerbie Bombing, the 2011 Norway attacks—will be ingrained in our collective minds forever.

One such incident is the November 2015 Paris attacks. 130 people lost their lives in a series of coordinated bombings and shootings across the entire city. The attack became the deadliest on French soil since the Second World War.

This three-part Netflix documentary chronicles the events of the day. It includes a timeline of proceedings and dozens of interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses.

Out of all the horrors which occurred during World War II, the Nazi concentration camps were among the worst. Today, experts believe that between 15 million and 20 million people were either killed or imprisoned in the camps between 1933 and 1945.

This film, from 1945, opened the world’s eyes to the scenes that lay within. Compiled from 80,000 feet of film taken by Allied military photographers after liberation, it is a camp-by-camp analysis of the atrocities committed.

The Allies used the film as evidence in the Nuremberg trials. Ultimately, the footage proved vital in securing convictions against many of the Nazi high command, including Karl Dönitz, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Alfred Jodl, and Wilhelm Frick.

More Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

We hope you agree with our list of the best war documentaries on Netflix. And if you think we’ve missed out on a must-watch documentary, be sure to let us know in the comments.

If you would like to learn about some of the other great documentaries available, read our article listing the best travel documentaries to watch on Netflix

10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

10 of the Best Travel Documentaries on Netflix

These are the best travel documentaries on Netflix right now, all of which are guaranteed to make you long for a week away.
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Which Candy Was Originally Produced Using Decommissioned World War II Machinery?

Smarties candies

Answer: Smarties

Smarties, those tiny tablet-shaped candies that tend to linger at the bottom of children’s Halloween bags until the rest of the loot has been picked over, were originally created using World War II-era machinery.

The tiny little candies were manufactured using a machine that, during the height of the war, had turned out tens of thousands of little compressed gunpowder pellets a day. With some serious cleaning and decontamination, a hopper filled with flavored sugar instead of gunpowder, and a translucent wrapper to show off the colorful and compact candy within, a veritable candy institution was created.

Bonus Trivia: Smarties are called “Rockets” in Canada to avoid confusion and trademark conflict with Nestle’s chocolate M&M-like candy “Smarties” marketed throughout the country.

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The Motorola One Action is A Weapon in the War Against Vertical Video – Review Geek

Motorola One Action

Vertical video has been a problem for years, with services like IGTV seemingly exacerbating it. Motorola wants to stop it from ever happening again with a brilliant new feature on its forthcoming One Action.

The feature itself is baked right into the name: Action. Like so many other modern phones, the One Action has a triple camera array on the back, but unlike other phones, one of them is an action cam. You know, kind of like a GoPro-type camera…just in a smartphone.

This unique camera features a 16 MP sensor and is only able to capture video (so, no pictures). It has enhanced stabilization to keep that video smooth and—here’s the kicker—a rotated sensor inside of the phone so it can shoot landscape video in portrait orientation. It’s so genius I honestly can’t believe that it hasn’t been done before. (And don’t get me wrong here—there is a time and place for vertical video. Most people just don’t know when or where that place is. Heh.)

Motorola One Action's triple camera array

That means you’ll be able to hold the phone comfortably—portrait, horizontal, upright…whatever you want to call it—and still be able to shoot landscape videos. In a world where smartphones can be called “boring” and are seemingly uninspired most of the time, this is a truly unique feature that should be surprisingly useful. Unlike the gimmicky crap most manufactures throw into their phones in the name of “innovation.” Nice work, Motorola.

As for the other cameras, it has a 12 MP primary camera and 5 MP depth shooter for portrait mode and whatnot. Past this, the One Action is an otherwise decidedly mid-range handset, with a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and rear fingerprint sensor. It also has a 6.3-inch 21:9 FHD+ display and 12 MP hole-punch front camera. Oh, and yeah—it has a headphone jack. Wild.

For software, it will run Android One in Brazil, Mexico, and Europe. It will get Motorola’s usual treatment on top of Android Pie (9.0) in the United States. Motorola is also guaranteeing at least two major updates—Android Q and R—for the One Action, which is a pleasant surprise (assuming they stand behind this promise).

It launches today in Mexico, Brazil, and “various European countries” for €259, with Latin America and Asia Pacific coming soon. For the US and Canada, the One Action is expected to launch in October, though there’s no pricing info just yet.

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Q&A: Blockchain expert Alex Tapscott sees coming crypto war as ‘cataclysmic’

Facebook’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency and digital wallet for users to make online purchases and money transfers should have the financial services community in a tither, with some expecting banks to quickly follow Facebook’s lead.

The social network’s shift into financial services also has raised the specter of regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency. The U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced Wednesday it will hold a hearing over Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans on July 16. The hearing will explore Facebook’s project Libra and data privacy considerations associated with it, according to Reuters. In a tweet Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, called on Facebook to halt its crypto plans and wants hearings to further study it.

The EU is starting to move toward regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, as well. A year ago, it published its Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), which is its first attempt to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges at a European level, according to Gartner.

Recent cryptocurrency launches could herald a new financial system where fiat-backed tokens are used on blockchain networks, removing the need for central banks or clearing houses to handle monetary transactions.

Studies show millennials are likely to embrace cryptocurrencies. In October, Edelman research published a report showing 25% of millennials making $100,000 or more, or who have at least $50,000 in investable assets, own cryptocurrency. Nearly another third are interested in using or owning it. Other studies, according to Gartner, report that more millennials own cryptocurrency than own stocks.

Alex Tapscott, the co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute, a think tank whose members include CIBC, the Depository Trust and Clearance Corp. (DTCC), PNC Bank and tech firms such as IBM and Salesforce, believes Facebook’s potential to onboard 2.4 billion users is the most consequential move for the industry to date.

Following are excerpts from a Computerworld Q&A with Tapscott:

Would you consider Facebook the largest and most impactful company yet to embrace blockchain? “Many large companies have taken real steps to embrace blockchain, but this is far and away the most consequential enterprise implementation of blockchain we’ve seen so far. Facebook is not merely paying lip service to a new technology, they are stepping into the fray with a bold and daring move.

“However, you feel about Facebook as a company, the potential to onboard their 2.4 billion users and the many more who are still not connected to the internet into a fully digital financial system is significant. As we have said for many years, the unstoppable force of blockchain is on a collision course with the seemingly immovable object of the legacy financial system. The impact will be cataclysmic.”

How will this affect the traditional financial services industry? “If I was a banker, I’d be frankly quaking in my loafers. A lot of ink has been spilled suggesting Libra is a threat to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Not at all! If anything, Facebook has created the biggest on-ramp ever into a digital financial world. The real threat is to existing banks and financial intermediaries.

“Consider the unbanked: If you’re living in Africa or South Asia, you’re far more likely to have a Facebook account than a bank account. These folks could be the low-hanging fruit for Facebook. In the same way cell phones allowed billions to leapfrog landlines, blockchain-enabled financial products such as Libra will allow billions more to leapfrog traditional financial institutions.”

Facebook highlighted the opportunity Libra represents for developing nations with poor banking systems. But without a bank account, how do you accumulate Libra? “This is not just about the developing world. Like Bitcoin, Libra is yet another alternative to traditional financial institutions and fiat currencies in the developed world as well. There are tens of millions of young people who don’t have a bank account but who either already own cryptocurrencies or who certainly have Instragram, WhatsApp or Facebook. Perhaps the next cohort will never have a bank account at all.”

What are the inherent risks in Facebook’s cryptocurrency platform from a security or privacy standpoint? “There are still many unanswered questions and implementation challenges to successfully launching Libra – and there is a lot Facebook will need to prove before it gains the trust and confidence of users, to say nothing of regulators and their initial banking partners. Having said that, Facebook has clearly given some thought to governance – probably more thought than most were expecting. For example, by putting up a ‘big tent’ for many other companies and organizations to take part in governance, they are limiting their ability to control this platform unanimously. Still, their initial cabal is mostly large corporations that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

“As a company, Facebook has a trust problem and they will need to make user privacy and security a priority. Claiming they won’t have access to data and asserting they will make efforts to protect privacy is one thing. Doing it (and earning the trust of users through action) is quite another.”

How does Facebook’s Libra token spell disintermediation for the banking community? Don’t you still have to have a bank account to purchase Libra? “Digital technology has had a profound impact on virtually every aspect of our lives –  except for banking. The institutions we rely on as trusted intermediaries to move, store and manage value, exchange financial assets, enable funding and investment and insure against risk, are more-or-less unchanged since the advent of the internet. This is changing, thanks to blockchain. Libra is only the latest in a wave of revolutionary new innovations that is beginning to disrupt the old model.

“Bitcoin remains the most consequential and important innovation in at least a generation. It laid the ground work for a new internet of value that promises to do to value industries, like financial services, what the internet did to information industries, like publishing.

“At first, the impact on banks will be muted. In fact, Facebook will need to rely on some existing banking infrastructure to successfully launch Libra. Over time, however, Libra could cut banks out of many aspects of the industry altogether. I share the same deep belief that Bitcoin will do the same. If you’re a financial intermediary and you collect fees for rent-seeking, sitting in the center of transactions and capturing a fee because of a monopoly business or regulatory favoritism, you are at risk.

“I do have some questions and concerns about what Libra means for the fiat currencies of many countries. Libra will probably be a much more reliable and useful store of value, medium of exchange or unit of account than a lot of smaller and more marginalized currencies. You may not fully trust Facebook, but you’ll probably trust them more than the Tin-Pot dictator driving the value of your currency into the dirt. Governments will be quick to pick up on this, and the fight will be epochal!”

JP Morgan Chase earlier this year announced its own crypto currency backed by fiat money. Do you believe this will be a slow trend or something more financial services stalwarts will begin to adopt quickly to stay competitive? “Facebook’s really thrown down the gauntlet, both for the big banks and the big digital conglomerates. They’ve put them on notice. I would expect that in the coming months and years, many big technology companies will launch their own stablecoins. The banks, being more conservative, will follow suit.

“Amazon is the juggernaut in e-commerce in the U.S. and elsewhere; do you really expect [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos to lay down while Libra is being used by his customers? Sure, at first he could fight it, but the market talks louder than words and eventually he will need to embrace it or something like it. Apple runs Microsoft Office, Google Apps are available through the App Store, etc etc. In this sense, Libra and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin share some similarities with operating systems.

“Unless you want the payment rail for your business running on some other company’s infrastructure, with that company capturing most of the upside, you better get your act together and build a competitor. The crypto wars have begun in earnest. Buckle up.”

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Microsoft surrenders in its Windows Update war with users

Most businesses know that a war with the people who buy and use their products is a war they can’t win. Microsoft has belatedly recognized this with regard to its Windows Update policies. And if you’ve been paying attention to shifts in the corporate culture in Redmond, the company’s surrender to its customers shouldn’t be a surprise.

The long-simmering war has to do with the way that Windows 10 updates itself on PCs — specifically, the twice-a-year significant updates called “feature updates” that add new capabilities to Windows. For years, you’ve had, for all practical purposes, no choice about whether to update; your PC installed all updates automatically whether you liked it or not. (Technically, you could get around this, but it wasn’t an option most users would choose; more on that in a bit.)

Windows users have not been pleased about this, and with good reason. Far too often, features updates have been released before they were ready for prime time, sometimes even causing damage to PCs and files. For example, the last one, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, deleted files without letting users know, and those files were lost forever. Then there was the Windows 10 April 2018 Update fiasco, when people complained that it crashed their computers and displayed the notorious blue screen of death.

Not many people did what was necessary to stop those automatic updates from being installed, because it’s not particularly easy, and the results aren’t ideal. I’ve written about a variety of tricky ways you can get around the automatic updates. But they involve doing things like turning off the Windows Update service using Control Panel, which means you won’t get any updates, including important security updates. So you’d only want to use those workarounds as a last resort.

People complained, long and loudly. Microsoft ignored them. They complained some more and were still ignored. But now, with the upcoming Windows 10 May 2019 update, Microsoft has cried uncle. Late in the update’s testing phase, the company announced that it is going to give people control over whether to install feature updates.

With the upcoming release, Windows won’t automatically install a feature update when it becomes available. Instead, Windows will notify you that it’s available by showing a “Download and install now” message and link in the Windows Update Settings pane. If you don’t want to install it, you can ignore the message. If you want to install it, click the link and follow the instructions. And if you want to wait a while — a few days, a few weeks, a few months — until you can make sure that the update isn’t problematic, you can go ahead and do that. The control, finally, is in your hands.

Well, not completely. There is a caveat. When the version of Windows 10 you’re running reaches “end of service” and Microsoft no longer supports it or issues security updates for it, you’ll have to install the latest feature update. Usually, that’s 18 months after your current Windows version’s release. This makes plenty of sense, and it’s completely analogous to similar issues in public health. Just as it’s vital that people get vaccinations against diseases to protect everyone’s health by ensuring herd immunity, PCs should be protected against malware. If there are lots of unprotected PCs around, they can be used to breed malware or be turned into malicious bots and attack other people’s PCs.

Note that you’ll still have to install the small patches Microsoft issues every month. That’s because they are often security updates, and everyone should have them. However, Microsoft has agreed to give you some control over when they’re installed. You’ll be able to delay them for up to 35 days.

Why the change after so many years of Microsoft’s refusal to let people decide for themselves whether to install feature updates? It’s because Microsoft is a different company under Satya Nadella than it was under Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. It has shed its arrogance and is far more open to new ways of doing business and dealing with its customers. A few months ago, for example, it pulled the plug on its 25-year browser strategy and said it would replace Edge’s web rendering engine with one developed by the Chromium open-source project — a project originally launched by Google.

Microsoft has also welcomed working with other open-source software, for example having Linux run the popular SQL Server database. And it killed off Windows Phone, a massive money pit, rather than continuing to use Windows as a battering ram to force people to use the mobile operating system.

Listening to customers and giving them control over updating Windows isn’t just good for Windows users. It’s good for business as well. It will likely lead to increased customer loyalty. Under Nadella’s new openness, Microsoft has thrived. In late April, it became the third U.S. company to have a market cap of more than $1 trillion. So expect to see more moves like this in the future.

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