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SECRET WAR

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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(Apr 17, 2012)
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$38.47 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 10 left in stock. Sold by twilightmedia and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

"Derring-do, deviousness, and courage" —The Daily Telegraph (U.K.) "Incredible tales of top-secret espionage missions" —The Times (U.K.)

The secret agents who set Europe ablaze

Less than a year after World War II began, Hitler’s armies occupied much of mainland Europe—and the island nation of Great Britain stood alone. Rather than wait for the expected German invasion, Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided to hit back at the Nazis any way he could. In the summer of 1940, he set up a secret new organization called the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, and gave it a simple mission: "set Europe ablaze."

Secret War goes inside Churchill’s secret army, to a dangerous world of agents, double agents, and even triple agents. In 13 episodes, it tells the story of SOE agents and other clandestine warriors who went behind enemy lines to conduct intelligence-gathering, sabotage, and assassination. Sometimes the operations were spectacularly successful, at other times inexplicably inept. But together, the efforts of these intrepid men and women helped save thousands of lives, liberate Europe, and turn the tide of World War II.


Special Features

20-page viewer’s guide with a chronology of World War II and articles on Winston Churchill, Fortress Europe, resistance movements, the SAS, and MI6
Discussion questions at athenalearning.com
SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 656 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006Z4LOKK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,307 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on February 27, 2012
Format: DVD
Arguably the most fascinating WWII documentary ever. Few historical accounting's prove this enthralling (even to my wife.) It is about the British Special Operations Executive [SOE] established by Churchill himself, admonishing spies to "set Europe ablaze." They did, and this set provides 13 episode proof which contain narration, archival & new footage, survivor testimony, experts, photos, some reenactment clips, and all historically & entertainingly produced. Color and much in B/W, no attempt to colorize the 1940s film.

A must own for spy thriller, WW2, military, history, and political fans. Or those willing to try something completely different and astonishing.

It's a toss up as to whether it's more educational or entertaining. I submit 50/50. I began listing fave episodes till I realized it was them all. Helpful facts for the novice about British intelligence: MI6 = Brit. Intelligence Espionage Service; MI5 = Brit. Home Counter-Espionage Service; SAS = Special Air Service. The single drawback was noticing frequent duplicate use of archival film clips in different episodes. Even so, the set is worthy of 6 stars.

SDH SUBTITLES available.
1 SPECIAL INTERROGATION GROUP= SIG, least known intelligence/espionage group, summer '42. 40-German speaking Jews cause bedlam behind the Nazi lines.

2 HARDY AMIES: OPERATION `RATWEEK'= Fashion designer Amies, friend of the Queen, SOE spy, gay, in no-rules warfare. Belgian resistance.

3 THE MAFIA CONNECTION= Boss `Lucky' Luciano sentenced 50 yrs but died free after his secret dealing with the US forces. German spies were on the docks (control by Mafia) giving info to Nazi subs. Huge shipping losses required a unique remedy.
Read more ›
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By it on April 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had this company's documentary about Hitler's body guards. It was first rate. This presentation is completely different. It has loud mood music. It has visual effects such as rapid changes in the video image. These things are distracting in a documentary. In order to pad out the presentation to 50 minutes, additional scenes are added that are not from the situation being documented. It leaves out important information. For instance in the North African episode it failed to say that the British had terrible tactical radio security. The Germans collected much intelligence from this. The Germans had special radio direction finding units that triangulated the locations of the British forces, including commando raids. Also, the Germans had broken the British codes. This is how they had two weeks advanced notice of one of the raids. In order to disguise this, they attributed the cryptography information to human spies.

Another thing not mentioned in the documentary was that SOE was riddled with Soviet agents. I suspect that this included the general in charge who in turn put Soviet agents in the top London management positions. Some of them defected to the Soviet Union after the war. Part of the Soviet agenda was to allow the Germans to kill off everyone who would have the capacity to fight against a Soviet take over of their country after the war. This would explain the numerous cases of apparent crass incompetence in London that are documented in this series. It also explains the crass incompetence that are white washed in this series such as doing nothing when there was hard evidence that all of the Dutch agents were captured.
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this is not a new story for me, i have it in a Reader's Digest collection of short stories on spies of ww2. i bought ALL of the videos offered and i am a huge fan. please make more and i am guilty of watching and re-watching certain ones that have color re-enactments with paratroopers and black and white footage of the actual people. thanks so much!!
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You could very easily make a motion picture from any of these stories. Hey Holloywood, if you are looking for ideas just view these stories and you could have a great screenplay and movie in no time about true stories most folks never knew existed.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
So many tv shows with little new information now put out with the same bits of film seen hundreds of times. This was only slightly better than average. Some mistakes in labeling of film; Italians described as japanese is one example. Much too long for information given.
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The secret war takes a look at the British intelligent services during WWII and their role in infiltrating German facilities and communiques. It focus on the development and activities of spies and resistance movements, and focuses on particular individuals who made significant contributions to the allied cause, as well as those who made errors in judgment that cost human lives.
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FASCINATING, MAKES YOU WONDER WHY SCREEN WRITERS PRODUCE SO MANY POOR WORKS WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH INCREDIBLE NON-FICTION MATERIAL PRESENT IN HISTORY.
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While this DVD set is similar to the programs that originally aired on the Military History Channel (same scripts), the episode titles and narrator were different.These episodes were longer than the versions shown in the US which were edited to insert commercials into a 60 minute times slot. Unfortunately, with my player the format of the DVDs would not allow them to be played in color.

All in all the series is an excellent summary of the role and operations of the Special Operations Executive begun by Churchill to disrupt the Nazi occupation of Western Europe. The results were mixed. The Counter-Intelligence units of the Abwehr and Gestapo outwitted the SOE on several occasions leading to the deaths of many agents in concentration camps.
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