This was not the stock, newsreel or propaganda footage that the world had become all too familiar with seeing. This was provocative footage filmed by those who witnessed the war first-hand. This was the footage deemed ‘unfit’ for civilians to see.  Until now. This Veterans Day, Smithsonian Channel premieres an epic presentation that will forever change the way we look at the Second World War, APOCALYPSE: THE SECOND WORLD WAR, a six-part, six -hour series narrated by acting icon Martin Sheen. Comprised of extraordinary footage that has been restored, colorized and transferred to stunning high definition, the series will air over six consecutive nights beginning Tuesday, November 11 at 8pm ET/PT.

As the French evacuated Paris in June 1940, amateur filmmakers documented the exodus as thousands of soon to be refugees lined the roads with their families and possessions. As the British sifted through the rubble, ordinary citizens grabbed cameras to capture first-hand what it meant to stand up to Hitler during the Blitz.  When the Nazi army slogged through the mud and snow of Soviet Russia on the way to Moscow, soldiers used 8mm cameras to film war as they experienced it.

At the end of the war, this and other “Top Secret” footage of the war’s devastation was stashed away and forgotten. Now, thanks to the efforts of a few private collectors and archivists, these forgotten films have been rediscovered, restored and featured in Apocalypse: The Second World War.

Apocalypse: The Second World War recounts the battles and atrocities of the most destructive war in history, one that took the lives of millions.  The restoration of the footage and its colorization were supervised by historical consultants to ensure accuracy.  Researchers pulled and edited over 600 hours of footage from archives throughout the world.

 “Smithsonian Channel is proud to be the exclusive U.S. home to this groundbreaking depiction of World War II,” said David Royle, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, Smithsonian Channel. “The filmmakers’ remarkable discovery of unseen footage, the vivid storytelling and attention to historical detail is exactly the type of programming that we are looking to bring to our audience.”

Apocalypse: The Second World War executive producer for Smithsonian Channel is Joy Galane. The series was directed by Isabelle Clarke, Jean-Louis Guillaud, and Henri de Turenne. It is written by the historian Daniel Costelle and produced by CC&C Louis Vaudeville and France 2 in association with Smithsonian Channel.