Prime-time program - Colorized
French broadcaster: France 3 (France Télévisions)

The film takes us around the entire world, as no region was spared : the free countries, such as those occupied by Axis forces, as well as Italy, Germany and Japan. Seen from the skies, the war is revealed in a new light. It began in 1937 when Guernica and the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Shanghai were devastated by bombs and ended in August 1945 when the Americans dropped the first atomic on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not a tale of invasion and great battles, but an account of a clearly-defined programme of destruction, an incendiary science that was continually re-invented and perfected through the global conflict. It is this little-known war that we shall recount. The story of an insane race for power and destruction, which drained the wealth of nations, mobilized the most brilliant scientific minds, and left a world in ruins. Of a world suddenly darkened by the frightful shadows of deadly bombers and of cities devastated by flames, populations decimated and terrorized. In this new form of warfare, the first victims were civilians. The world that emerged from WWII would be changed for ever. Overcome by its own technology, humanity would now be confronted with its ability to destroy itself. 

A film directed by Emmanuel Blanchard and Fabrice Salinié
Text : Emmanuel Blanchard
Editing : Fabrice Salinié
Historical advisor: Patrick Facon
Graphic design : Ivan Grangeon
With the voice of Didier Bezace
Original music: Arthur Simonini and Jérôme Echenoz (Editions Victoria / Cie des Phares & Balises)

A Compagnie des Phares et Balises production
With the participation of France Télévisions,
And Planète +, RTBF, Al Arabiya News Channels, FOXTEL Networks, LCI RDI, RSI, POLSAT, RTVS.
With the support of the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animé, Ministry of Defence - General Secretariat for Administration Directorate of Memory, Heritage and Archives, PROCIREP - Société des Producteurs and ANGOA.

© Cie des Phares & Balises - 2016


Terre(s) d'Histoire Award at FIGRA (Paris 2017)