Idea pitch for my (hopefully) exciting final project.

I wanted to do something for my final project that relates to what I study, which is World War II.  I am particularly interested in the Eastern Front, the war between Germany and the Soviet Union.  This particular part of the conflict is not something that many Americans know very much about, however, taken by itself without the larger backdrop of the rest of the war, this conflict would still be the largest war ever fought throughout all of recorded history.  Because of this, I want to create an overview of the Eastern Front, something which will give viewers a broad outline and some insight into the conflict.

The video will cover the main events and broad trajectory of the war, with some time to go into a few specific examples and give a flavor for the nature of the conflict which was so different from the war in Western Europe.  There are a bunch of different things I want to bring into the video, there is archival footage that I can use and photos as well.  The Battle of Kursk in particular, considered the greatest tank battle ever, has limited footage, but some will be useful.  I’m going to see if I can find some interviews at the LOC, but I am not hopeful that they exist.   I have a series of podcasts that deal specifically with this portion of the war that will give some scene, color and great sound bytes.  There are documentaries I will try to take scenes from and even a Hollywood movie, Enemy at the Gates which depicts the Battle of Stalingrad, I want to use the beginning battle sequence which is a pretty decent depiction of urban warfare, and also depicts the Soviet soldiers shooting their own from behind, something which was a big part of this war.  I hope to create some graphics to use that will underscore some of the statistics in a visual way.  My group last week suggested making some c comparisons to help illustrate some points and allow viewers to absorb the story, making in personal.  Another thing that was a great suggestion from my group was to pose an alternate ending, as in, what if some particular thing had (or hadn’t) happened, how would that have shaped the outcome of the war, of the post-war.  I’ll use some generic pictures of the Russian winter to give an idea of that aspect of the conflict, and underscore it with some patriotic Russian and German music.

Another aspect that I want to try to add if I have the time, which given the scope of what I’m already trying to accomplish will be a tall order, but I would like to try and highlight the lack of awareness about this theatre of war in the US.  There was a book published soon after the war by Life Magazine that is a pictorial history of the war, only they didn’t have any pictures of the Eastern Front, so Life used a series of paintings, which is revealing about the level of interest from the US.  My group last week gave me the idea of looking through a series of US history text books and having a graphic that shows how little each talks about this part of the war.

At any rate, I have a lot of ideas for what to add into the video, and in my mind it looks great, I hope that I can tell a coherent story with the short format.  And I’m also hopeful that I can figure out the technology to put this together….  For the script in a few weeks I want to challenge myself to do at least part of it in a storyboard format which is something that I am unfamiliar with and will be difficult for me to figure out.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
3 Responses
  1. cwarburton says:

    This sounds like a really interesting idea. When I was looking for sound clips on Beatpik I came across one that used one of Winston Chuchill’s speeches set to song (the way I explain it, it sounds like it might be cheesy, but it’s not). When I heard it, I thought it would make a good soundtrack to a politically-oriented WWII story.

  2. lparks says:

    I love your topic. I’m also overly infatuated with the Second World War (my area of expertise being the home front and the Marines in the Pacific), and I agree that the Eastern Front isn’t studied nearly enough. The thing that worries me is that you might be trying to cover too much information. Since, like you said, it was such a huge conflict, it seems like this would be like trying to cover the entire Civil War in one 8 minute video. Because we specialize so much in our interest areas, we forget how much basic information we have to tell people just so they’ll understand what was going on before we can get to the cool details. Maybe you could split the idea and do one or the other? Like, either give the overview and highlight how it’s been ignored in American history classes, or zero in on the specific examples. It almost seems like you could do the entire video just on the Battle of Stalingrad.

    If you do want to go the route of comparing textbooks, I have 7 or 8 different 11th grade US history books from different publishers that I could bring some time if you want to look at them before class. Another thing to look at for the same reason are the AP U.S. History test guides published by Barron’s, Princeton Review, Kaplan, etc. There are four or five different versions, which you can find in the public libraries in the 973.076 section.

  3. Andrea Odiorne says:

    Okay, I’ll share some probably, misconceptions, about Russia, the Eastern Front and WWII. I always liked the story about how when Germany invaded The Soviet Union, Stalin was so surprised that he hid in his office and wouldn’t talk to anyone, so nobody knew what to do. He just couldn’t believe that Hitler would break his word. Is that a myth?

    I didn’t know people were shot from behind regularly. Didn’t Stalin’s son get shot in the back? Running away? From prison, I just looked it up, but I thought he ran from battle. Does anyone else just vaguely remember that Stalin’s son was a coward?

    Russia won the war right? Just like they beat Napoleon. Something about the Triumphal arches and marching through them again? Russia might have quit, but they never lost. Not in Europe at least. Their own Eastern Front, though…now there is the proof of their weakness.

    There’s a lot about the cold. I’m somehow skeptical about the significance of the weather. There are a lot of fuzzy things going on there. At least for me. I grew up during the sunset of the Cold War. Rocky beat the Russian. Then, the fall of the Berlin Wall and all. Gorby was no Stalin. It was time to rethink some things.

    From what I know of history documentaries, there is a ton of footage on WWII. You might want to look to Russia for Eastern Front films. (The Russians are pretty good filmmakers, if I may stereotype). I think Burnt by the Sun II came out a few years ago, but I haven’t seen it. It’s apparently an epic WWII movie, Russian style.

    So, this is a long comment, but what I meant to say is that I am more drawn to exploring what is remembered and forgotten, how and why, than specific war strategies. At the same time, war films have lots of flying debris, nat sound bursts and maps, which lend themselves to strategic interpretations. Well, most of the time.