Recently I bought The World At War on eBay.

This 11 DVD series commemerates the documentary’s 30th anniversary. I remember watching the documentary as a teenager and found it captivating. So I just had to get it.


I’ll admit to an ulterior motive. I wanted to share it with my kids. I hoped they would enjoy it, although they are much younger than when I set my eyes on the moving, yet thrilling black and white images.

The result?

My 12-year-old daughter finds it quite boring. The subject just doesn’t capture her interest. War is not for girls interested in ballet, musicals and art.

My son though, although only 8, is thrilled by the battle scenes. The fact that this isn’t a movie, that the footage is real, showing real fighting, and real dead people makes it worth watching. He goes off and plays with his soldiers after watching each episode!

I do have to fast forward through the interviews and the more boring sections and I do have to explain what’s happening to my kids. I’ve also skipped several of the less interesting episodes.

Thus far we’ve covered the fall of France, the battle of Britain, the rise of Japan (including the invasion of Malaya), the D Day landings, the fall of Germany, the Pacific war and we’re are about to watch the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I hope my kids are taking some of it in. No doubt they’ll learn about it in school.

How do I bribe my daughter into watching the World at War?

By promising to next put on an episode of the Simpsons!