Synopsis: It’s May 1945. The Reich that was intended to last a millennium has collapsed after a decade of depravity and abuse. In the United States, Europe, and the Soviet Union, the playing field has been redrawn. Oppressed people cast off the chains of brutality. Borders are redefined. Beyond the ruins, the world must reinvent itself. Relying solely on contemporaneous archival material to illustrate the monumental moment in time when the Axis army surrendered, the new documentary SURRENDER gives history a deeply human face and voice that conveys the raw emotion and real-time perspective faced by the entire human race all those years ago.
SURRENDER captures the saga that unfolded during the final episodes of World War II and the first steps into a new world: from the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944 to VE Day on May 8, 1945, ending the war in Europe. Using colorized and sound-designed archives remastered in HD, the documentary transports viewers into those crucial months when the fate of entire populations was disrupted.
Between chaotic times and new hopes, stories of everyday experiences are told by ordinary men and women, soldiers and civilians from all countries involved, caught up in these defining moments. As five years of war drew to a close, violence became concentrated, distilled and harsher than ever, but there were islands of humanity in the ocean of horror. People everywhere turned away from despair to face new, better horizons. Personal stories of those who were there for the war’s end are brought back to life through letters, personal diaries and accounts reported by newspapers and radio broadcasts of the times, their untold stories describing fear and hope, anguish and joy. The men and women featured in SURRENDER come from all the countries involved and include: BBC war correspondent Robert Reid, who covered daily events in Germany; U.S. soldier Theodore Paluch, who fought on the frontline at the Battle of the Bulge; and Elena Rjevskaia of the USSR, who worked as an interpreter and took part in the discovery and identification of the bodies of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and Joseph Goebbels.
SURRENDER is distributed by Terranoa, with Isabelle Graziadey as head of sales and acquisitions in Paris, France main office and represented in North America by Laetitia Giansily-Doyle. The two-part series is produced by Roche Productions and TF1 with Dominique Tibi as executive producer and Jean-François Delassus as director. For American Heroes Channel, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President, Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Life Channel and Discovery Family Channel.