The Nazis: A Warning from History

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The Nazis: A Warning from History
DVD cover
Written byLaurence Rees
Directed by
  • Laurence Rees
  • Tilman Remme
Narrated bySamuel West
Theme music composerJohannes Brahms
Opening theme"Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras", the second movement of A German Requiem
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languages
  • English
  • German
  • Polish
  • Lithuanian
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
ProducerLaurence Rees
CinematographyMartin Patmore
  • James Hay
  • Alan Lygo
  • Mark Summers
Running timeApprox 50 mins.
Production companies
Original release
NetworkBBC Two
Release10 September (1997-09-10) –
15 October 1997 (1997-10-15)

The Nazis: A Warning from History is a 1997 BBC documentary film series that examines Adolf Hitler and the Nazis' rise to power, their zenith, their decline and fall, and the consequences of their reign. It featured archive footage and interviews with eyewitnesses and was shown in six episodes.[1]


The series was written and produced by Laurence Rees. The historical and script consultant was Prof. Sir Ian Kershaw, who also appears briefly in the "Chaos and Consent" episode. The series was narrated by actor Samuel West. The music used over the opening credits is "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras", the second movement of Brahms' A German Requiem.


The Nazis: A Warning from History ranked 93rd in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 based on votes by industry professionals.

Companion book[edit]

  • Rees, Laurence (11 September 1997). The Nazis: A Warning from History. BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-38704-6.


No. Title Original transmission date
1"Helped into Power"10 September 1997 (1997-09-10)
How the Nazi party was formed and Adolf Hitler was able to rise to power. Interviewees include former Nazi party members and their opponents.
2"Chaos and Consent"17 September 1997 (1997-09-17)
Examines how the Nazis consolidated power and how extreme and radical policies were formed and implemented, using the example of the euthanasia policy of Philipp Bouhler. The help given to the Gestapo by ordinary citizens is also explored and other events covered include Kristallnacht and remilitarisation. Interviewees include former Nazi officials, an army officer, a Jewish man and an inmate of an early concentration camp.
3"The Wrong War"24 September 1997 (1997-09-24)
Traces the path to war with Great Britain and the alliance with the Soviet Union. Interviewees include former Nazi officials and diplomats.
4"The Wild East"1 October 1997 (1997-10-01)
Examines Nazi rule and 'ethnic cleansing' in occupied Poland under Hans Frank, Albert Forster and Arthur Greiser. Interviewees include a Polish man who was subject to 'Germanisation', an ethnic German who was resettled in Poland and a former Nazi official.
5"The Road to Treblinka"8 October 1997 (1997-10-08)
An account of mass killings in occupied territories after the invasion of the Soviet Union. Interviewees include a former member of an execution squad and a survivor of Treblinka extermination camp.
6"Fighting to the End"15 October 1997 (1997-10-15)
Explores why Germany fought on when military defeat was inevitable. Interviewees include German soldiers and civilians.


  1. ^ BBC (1997), The Nazis - A Warning From History. TV Mini-Series. Selected episodes available at YouTube. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

External links[edit]