On May 21, National Geographic Pays Tribute to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in Europe With a Full Day of Programming, Including Two Powerful Primetime Specials, Featuring Stories From the Front
"This is a solemn but glorious hour."
- President Harry S. Truman
The White House Oval Office, May 8, 1945
Beginning May 21, at 8/7c, WWII IN EUROPE: VOICES FROM THE FRONT, Narrated by ABC News' Bob Woodruff, Features First-Person Accounts From Some of the Last Surviving Veterans of World War II
Experience the Stories of the Legendary Airmen who Shifted the Fate of World War II in HEROES OF THE SKY: THE MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE Premiering May 21, at 9/8c
World War II Commemorative Specials Complement National Geographic Magazine's June Cover Issue "The Last Voices of World War II"
WASHINGTON -- On May 8, 1945, the Allied forces formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany, officially bringing an end to World War II in Europe. This historic event, which became known as Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, offered a long-awaited moment of hope and celebration for millions of people around the world whose lives had been gripped by turmoil, overwhelming devastation and heartbreaking loss throughout the breadth of the war.
In observance of the 75th anniversary of the pivotal day, National Geographic gives voice to those who were on the front lines of the global war that took the lives of an estimated 66-85 million people. On Thursday, May 21, the network is programming a full day of World War II content underscored by two primetime original premieres, beginning at 8/7c. The specials combine thousands of hours of research, interviews and original footage that give viewers an intimate account of the epic war told through historians as well as those who experienced the war firsthand.
Beginning at 8/7c, WWII IN EUROPE: VOICES FROM THE FRONT, narrated by ABC News' Bob Woodruff, offers viewers a chance to hear from some of the last remaining voices of a war that forever changed the world. Giving attention to a full range of those who experienced the war in Europe, including the Allied Powers and the Axis Power of Germany, the one-hour special uniquely presents vivid memories from more than three quarters of a century ago.
Told using rarely seen archival footage and photographs and dozens of interviews, WWII IN EUROPE: VOICES FROM THE FRONT captures the moment of jubilation and remembrance when people around the world learned that the European chapter of the second world war had drawn to an end. From New York's famed Times Square to London's Piccadilly Circus to Moscow's Red Square, the special captures how that moment represented different meanings to all who were involved.
At 9/8c, the two-hour special HEROES OF THE SKY: THE MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE introduces viewers to the courageous men of the legendary Eighth Air Force of the United States. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States officially entered the war as Nazi Germany stood at the pinnacle of its power, occupying most of Europe. To take the fight to the enemy, suddenly, the Eighth Air Force was called into action and entered the brutal air war over Europe.
HEROES OF THE SKY: THE MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE features recollections of the brave men from the U.S. Eighth Air Force who entered the cockpit mission after mission, knowing that their call to duty was a likely death sentence. Integrating the airmen's own words from personal diary entries, letters to loved ones and previous interviews, the special seamlessly draws from more than 1,000 hours of rare and never-before-seen intimate footage to tell the incredible story of the heroic figures in "The Mighty Eighth."
"We look at history in order to understand our past and inform our future," says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment at National Geographic. "At National Geographic, we combine our trademark access and our commitment to historical accuracy to deliver authentic, meaningful content to our viewers. As we approach the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, it's more important than ever to revisit and remember this crucial time in world history and to ensure that these stories live on for generations to come."
National Geographic's full day of World War II remembrance programming features the very best historical programming, including premieres of the Europe from Above series and re-airings of top specials, such as Nazi Underworld, Inside the SS: Rise to Power and Hitler's Last Year. The day's full programming line-up is below.
The June issue of National Geographic magazine features a cover story commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. The cover feature shares the stories of some of the last surviving veterans of the conflict from seven countries through a series of interviews and photographs. Subjects include still-living members of the military and those affected by the war from both the Allied and Axis powers of the time, including the United States, the Soviet Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and others. The June issue cover story, "The Last Voices of World War II," will be available online at natgeo.com/WWII on May 6.
WWII IN EUROPE: VOICES FROM THE FRONT is produced by National Geographic. Christine Weber serves as executive producer. The special is produced, written and directed by Chad Cohen. Bethany Jones is associate producer.
HEROES OF THE SKY: THE MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE is produced by National Geographic and Lou Reda Productions. For Lou Reda Productions, Scott L. Reda, Marc L. Reda and Bruce Kennedy serve as executive producers and Anthony Buzzetti serves as supervising producer. The two-hour special is directed and edited by David Jakubovic. For National Geographic, Simon Raikes and Francesca Johnson are executive producers.
About National Geographic Partners
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic's media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children's media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers ... and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
About Lou Reda Productions
In the 1970s, Lou Reda, a decorated World War II veteran turned television producer, started Lou Reda Productions after seeing a need and opportunity in television to create historical documentaries through a fresh lens that would examine and bring to light the issues of the day. The company was propelled to the national stage when Reda produced the first syndicated television series for Viacom, and later, the acclaimed CBS scripted miniseries "The Blue and the Gray."
Nearly five decades later, Lou Reda Productions' humble beginnings have led to over 600 hours of programming for domestic and international networks and the amassing of the largest privately-owned film archive - Reda Archives, LLC - in the United States. The company has received immense praise and numerous awards from the industry, including a People's Choice Award, Peabody Award, and Primetime Emmy Award (including nine nominations).
Now known as Reda Films, the company has expanded into formatted and scripted television. From a documentary about the intersection of sci-fi and rock & roll, to a formatted series about the dissection of ordinary objects, to a scripted series about Prohibition-era Mississippi, Reda Films has one mandate when developing new content for film and television: to bring to light stories that are underrepresented or told from an atypical point of view. By telling these stories, Reda Films continues to solidify itself as a leading producer of important and thought-provoking contemporary work.