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Unsung Heroes of World War II: Europe

Look beyond the epic battles and military strategy to meet some of the ordinary people who made an extraordinary impact on World War II.
Unsung Heroes of World War II: Europe is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 75.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! She is a very good storyteller. Interesting topics.
Date published: 2022-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Tales This is a very fine program about unknown figures who played a role in World War II's European Theater. Some had a material effect on the war's outcome. Others less so. All displayed fortitude and courage: some physical courage, some moral courage, some both. The talks are well organized and delivered in an engaging manner. None of the stories are about citizens of the USSR, an unfortunate omission since the Soviets did the heavy lifting in the struggle against Nazi Germany.
Date published: 2022-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another superb WWII entry I believe my husband and I have watched all, or at least most of the Wondrium lecture series about World War II, those about the fighting of the war, and those about individuals. They never disappoint. This particular series is a tribute to the millions of unsung heroes in Europe, men and women, powerful people and ordinary people. Historian Olson's delivery is clear and compelling. I wasn't familiar with her work before, but she is a master story teller and I'm eager to sample some of her books. We would happily watch another course by her, if one were developed.
Date published: 2021-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unsung Heroes of World War II My wife and I relished each and every lecture of the series, learning new information with every installment.
Date published: 2021-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Obscure People Who Were Essential Professor Olson did a terrific job of illuminating and bringing forward vital unknowns who immensely aided the Allies' effort. Good storyteller as she must be, she also saved her best, most poignant lecture for last.
Date published: 2021-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unsung Heroes of World War 11: Europe Dear Lynne Olson, Thank you for this insightful series in particular #12 about the three Dutch sisters who cared for the British paratrooper. This lecture was very heartwarming more especially as my father served with the Canadian forces in Nijmegen, Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Hilversum, The Hague, Amsterdam and Soestdyk. I enjoyed all of your lectures very much.
Date published: 2021-11-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Problems with the video/Audio I have MANY of the Great Courses (probably more that 50 total), but I am seeing an increasingly more frequent problem with the video and audio natch-up with the streaming videos. I am on my 7th lecture in the Unsung Heroes of WWII series, and EVERYONE of the programs so far has ended up having a problem with the syncronization of the audio and video portions of the course. #6 was particularly bad. I do rowing while watching, so I have the words of the lecture come on-screen so in case there is too much noise around me, I can still read the words. Every one of the lectures in this series, in the series of the Pacific in WWII, and a gardening series has ended up with a problem of sync-ing the words with the actual talking. Every episode has had a problem where the written words of one frame, get "stuck", and then I have two sets of words overlaying each other, so I can't really read the words. Most of the time I can "fix" the situation by reversing the talk by 10 seconds (available on the controls of the series), but that means I have to stop my work-out to correct the situation. I used to be a big fan of the Great Courses, but am becoming increasingly frustrated by these techincal problems. I just bought another course a few day ago (Ukulele) and if it continues with the problems, it may be the last course I buy.
Date published: 2021-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating stuff I am a big fan of Lynne Olson. She did not disappoint.
Date published: 2021-11-21
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Overview

Look beyond the epic battles and military strategy to meet some of the ordinary people who made an extraordinary impact on World War II.

About

Lynne Olson
Lynne Olson

We will investigate the lives of those who did their best to defeat tyranny and restore freedom in their own countries and around the world.

Lynne Olson is a historian and New York Times best-selling author of eight books, most of which focus on World War II. She earned degrees in Political Science and Journalism at the University of Arizona (with Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude honors), followed by a master’s degree in Literature at American University.

 

After graduation, Professor Olson worked as a journalist for 10 years. She worked with the Associated Press as a national feature writer in New York, a foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau, and a political reporter in Washington DC. She then joined the Washington bureau of The Baltimore Sun, where she covered national politics and eventually the White House. She later taught for six years at American University.

 

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright has called Professor Olson “our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.” Her books include Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network against Hitler; Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War; Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight over World War II, 1939–1941; and Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

By This Professor

Unsung Heroes of World War II: Europe
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Unsung Heroes of World War II: Europe

Trailer

Andrée de Jongh and the Resistance

01: Andrée de Jongh and the Resistance

When the Germans began their lightning-quick invasions across Europe, many ordinary citizens were stunned. Others, however, stood up to fight back. In this first lecture, meet Dedee de Jongh, a 23-year-old nurse who built an escape line through Belgium and France to rescue stranded British airmen. Witness her courage and ingenuity.

26 min
The Tory Rebels Who Helped Save England

02: The Tory Rebels Who Helped Save England

In hindsight, it may appear inevitable that Winston Churchill would take command of the British and lead them into victory. At the time, however, it seemed unthinkable that the powerful Neville Chamberlain would step down. See how a few brave politicians orchestrated one of the most striking political transitions in history.

30 min
Victor de Laveleye and V for Victory

03: Victor de Laveleye and V for Victory

History is filled with ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. As an Olympic athlete, Victor de Laveleye was not your ordinary man, yet there was no reason to think he would come up with one of the most popular symbols in the war, helping to buoy spirits and wage psychological warfare against the Germans. Uncover the story of the V for Victory campaign.

30 min
Wilhelmina and Haakon: Royalty Fight Back

04: Wilhelmina and Haakon: Royalty Fight Back

When the Germans invaded the Netherlands and Norway, Adolph Hitler wanted to secure not only the land, but also the leadership of these nations. In this lecture, Professor Olson shows you the wrenching decisions and harrowing escapes of Queen Wilhelmina and King Haakon—and how these royal figures fought the war from Britain.

30 min
Polish Pilots and the Battle of Britain

05: Polish Pilots and the Battle of Britain

The RAF’s air battle to defend Britain from Germany in 1940 is one of the most iconic—and dangerous—periods in the war. Few people know that roughly 20% of the RAF was comprised of non-British pilots. Here, witness the stunning courage and successful maneuvers of Polish fighter pilots who saved the day.

31 min
Wendell Willkie: “A Godsend to This Country”

06: Wendell Willkie: “A Godsend to This Country”

It might seem impossible, today, to discover a politician willing to sabotage his own presidential campaign for the good of the country, but that is exactly what Wendell Willkie did in his 1940 run against President Roosevelt. See why he went against his own party and supported FDR’s plans to help Britain.

32 min
The Earl of Suffolk and Heavy Water

07: The Earl of Suffolk and Heavy Water

Despite his comically aristocratic name, Charles Henry George Howard, the 20th Earl of Suffolk, was a swashbuckling, unshaven, dark-haired Englishman who seemed unlikely to be responsible for the future of the free world. See how he smuggled French scientists to England and foiled Nazi efforts to obtain a nuclear bomb.

32 min
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade: Spymaster

08: Marie-Madeleine Fourcade: Spymaster

For years, the official history books suggested there were no women leaders of the Resistance in France, and even today the role of women is often underplayed. The story of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade blows this theory out of the water. Meet this extraordinary woman and see how she led a massive spy ring throughout France.

30 min
John Winant and the Special Relationship

09: John Winant and the Special Relationship

Winston Churchill allegedly once said that you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have exhausted every other option. Until John Winant became the Ambassador to Great Britain in March 1941, the British were distraught by the Americans’ lack of support. Trace the beginning of the special relationship between these two countries.

31 min
Marian Rejewski and Breaking Enigma

10: Marian Rejewski and Breaking Enigma

The story behind the story is often more interesting than the dominant narrative. You likely have heard of the British codebreakers at Bletchley Park, whose Enigma machine helped win the war. Here, meet several Polish mathematicians who developed a prototype Enigma machine and broke much of the German code years before Bletchley Park.

29 min
Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51 Mustang

11: Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51 Mustang

After being turned down to be a fighter in the Army Air Force, Tommy Hitchcock—a famous American polo player—was recruited by Ambassador Winant to support the British RAF. There, he worked on designs for the P-51 Mustang, a fighter plane that went on to become one of the most important weapons of the war effort.

30 min
The Dutch Sisters Who Saved a General

12: The Dutch Sisters Who Saved a General

In September 1944, while France and Belgium were celebrating their liberation, Holland was filled with desolation and death. When Brigadier General John Hackett was trapped behind enemy lines, he found salvation in the home of a trio of middle-aged Dutch sisters who nursed him back to health.

29 min