Generation War

2014 • BBC Two
56 reviews
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Season 1 episodes (3)

1 Part 1 - A Different Time
Berlin, the summer of 1941: The five friends Wilhelm, his sensitive, artistic brother Friedhelm, Charlotte, Viktor and Greta meet to say farewell to each other. Wilhelm and Friedhelm have been ordered to the eastern front, Charlotte will go there as a nurse. They promise each other to meet again after the war, and they are convinced that it will be as soon as Christmas.
2 Part 2 - A Different War
Greta has been sent by her lover Dorn to entertain the troops on the eastern front and in furthest Russia meets Wilhelm, Friedhelm and Charlotte, two years after their last encounter. But the war has changed the friends. It is on the eve of the largest German tank offensive, close to the Russian city of Kursk "Operation Citadel" is supposed to shift the balance of power in the east in favour of the Wehrmacht again. Out of arrogance, Greta misses her flight back to Germany, and in Charlotte's field hospital for the first time experiences the horrors of war close up. At the same time, Viktor is on a train transport to a concentration camp in Poland, along with many fellow sufferers. He manages to escape. Together with Polish girl Alina, he flees into the forests. A Polish farmer discovers them and wants to betray them to the Germans, but his son warns them, and leads them to a group of Polish partisans. Wilhelm's unit is annihilated in the battle for Kursk and the two brothers are separated. Friedhelm, believing his brother to have died, is the only one to escape the senseless fight. Badly wounded, he is taken to Charlotte's field hospital, and her application alone saves him. The news of Wilhelm's death hits Charlotte hard, for she was secretly in love with him since their Berlin days. What neither Friedhelm nor Charlotte could imagine is Wilhelm has managed to survive, too. He had left the battlefield, confused and wounded, and found shelter in an abandoned lodge, where finally the field gendarmerie runs him down and arrests him. Friedhelm, who has been granted home leave for convalescence, together with his parents learns about his brother's being arrested and sentenced to death by firing squad for desertion. His father disowns his formerly favourite son, and seeks to get closer to Friedhelm. The latter is realising that he cannot cope with home life any more, and applies for his transfer back to the front. Meanwhile, Greta tells Dorn of her pregnancy. Fearing his wife could find out about his affair with Greta, Dorn has her arrested.
3 Part 3 - A Different Country
Wilhelm's death sentence has been mitigated to a transfer into a punitive battalion. The Wehrmacht now needs every man. In Russia, Charlotte and Wilhelm meet again - a disturbing encounter for both. Especially as Charlotte is overwhelmed by her feelings, since she thought Wilhelm dead. But the war tears them asunder once more. The Red Army is now advancing on all fronts. While Friedhelm's new unit in Poland is still cracking down brutally on the partisan group Viktor is a member of, Charlotte's field hospital is overrun by the Russians. Charlotte is captured by the Russians. Greta is visited in prison by her former lover and protector Dorn. Like so many others, he sees the end of the NS-regime approaching and tries to save his own neck. He wants Greta to testify that he had helped her boyfriend Viktor to escape from Germany: her life in exchange for her signature. Wilhelm uses the chaos of retreat and defects from his punitive battalion. He makes his difficult and dangerous way back to Berlin. The war is on its last legs, but still thousands are dying each day. Friedhelm, too, is sent towards the advancing Red Army with a contingent in the last days of the war. Four years previously, the five friends had wanted to meet in Berlin at Christmas. Four Christmases have since passed, without a reunion. A country lies in ruins. Millions of people on all sides have died a meaningless death. Those five, too, haven't weathered the war without losses, and those who survived will never be the same again.

About this show

Career-soldier Wilhelm, his pacifist younger brother Friedhelm, and their friends Charlotte, Viktor and Greta say farewell in the summer of 1941 in Berlin, with the promise to meet again after the war. Wilhelm and his brother have been ordered to the eastern front, Charlotte will join them as a nurse in a field hospital there. In Berlin, Greta makes a name for herself as a singer, with the help of a high-ranking party official. Her Jewish boyfriend, Viktor is despatched to a concentration camp in the east. Little do they know how much the unfathomable experiences, deprivations and terrors of the war will change them. It is the experiences of friendship and betrayal, belief and disappointment, illusion and insight, guilt and responsibility that will change their lives forever.

Ratings and reviews

56 reviews
Chris Greenwell
May 17, 2014
The scenes in this are amazing, especially like the approach they took this. A really good representation of what the so called "enemy" really felt like.
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sorrel mchugh
May 11, 2014
This was a 3 part drama on BBC2 about a group of friends during WW2 germany, a must watch drama, fantastic
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Geoff D
July 11, 2014
German made for television drama about five close friends and their dramatically different experiences and survival over the course of WWII
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