The UK has marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a two-minute silence, as the country remains in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall led the silence at 11:00 BST to honour the servicemen and women during World War, with the Queen due to address the nation later today. Other events are planned throughout the day, but public gatherings have been cancelled and the government has called on the public to keep to social distancing regulations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid thanks to the VE Day generation, saying “our gratitude will be eternal”.

Victory in Europe Day marks the day in 1945 when Britain and its allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, bringing the war in Europe to an end. There were a number of public events planned to take place today, but with the country on lockdown we have selected a handful of documentary films to watch for free to remember the horrors of World War II and the sacrifices millions made for a free and peaceful Europe.

Each film is available to watch for free from Documentaries.io

1945: The Year That Changed The World (Episode 1)

Documentary charting the final months of the Second World War on European and Pacific fronts, beginning as tensions mount between the Allies over strategy.

The series’ narrative thread is an examination of the power struggle over who will win the peace. The fight takes place between the big three wartime allies: The Soviet Union, Britain and America. Each country and leader is embedded in each programme as central characters; we become familiar with their approach and their particular cocktail of double-dealing.

The three programmes follow a chronological order which enable us to track the shifting fortunes of the big three as a new world order is established. At the start of 1945 the Allies know that the war will be over – it is a matter of time – so while the actual military victory still has to be won the real intrigue takes place behind the scenes as World rule for the next 50 years is thrashed out.

So while the first two programmes deal with the military campaign in Europe and the Pacific this is set against the political infighting among the big three allies to cast the post war world in their own separate images. The outcome of these negotiations was to define the way we live around the globe for the next half a century.

1945: The Year That Changed The World (Episode 2)

1945: The Year That Changed The World (Episode 3)

The Battle Of Britain With Ewan McGregor

A gripping ninety minute special first broadcast on BBC1 and presented by Hollywood Superstar Ewan McGregor and his brother Colin to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain – arguably the most important event in modern British history and the only aerial war in world history.

Colin is a twenty years served R.A.F veteran and war hero – Ewan a hero of the big screen and fledgling pilot himself. Together they take us on a journey to honour the heroes of 1940 both on the ground and in the air.

How Britain’s Air Force Held Back Germany

A story of human endeavour, the contest between British and German airforces in 1940 which became a defining point of the Second World War. With unseen footage from the feature film, Battle of Britain, this series provides an unbiased accounts of the events in the skies above Britain. A chronological account of a country preparing to defend itself against a rising empire.

Bomber Boys with Ewan McGregor

Brothers Colin and Ewan McGregor follow up their documentary The Battle of Britain with a film exploring Bomber Command, a rarely told story from the Second World War.

The Secret Diary Of The Holocaust

The Secret Diary Of The Holocaust tells the extraordinary tale of a 14-year-old Polish girl, Rutka Laskier, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1943.

In 2005, the school notebook in which Rutka recorded her last months in the ghetto of Bedzin was made public, six decades after she hid it under the floorboards of her home there. Rutka was immediately dubbed the ‘Polish Anne Frank’.

In her diary, Rutka wrote about her life in the ghetto in 1943, detailing not just the Nazi atrocities, physical hardship and hunger, but also how she was developing as a young woman. She also tells how she made a daring escape from one of the early ‘aktions’, Nazi round-ups of Jews for transportation.

The documentary will unravel Rutka’s story through the eyes of her half-sister, Israeli academic Zahava Scherz, on a journey to Poland in search of the sister she never knew.

 

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