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This docuseries takes a close look at some of the most well-known military skirmishes and the men who directed them. The series dissects the strategies and personalities behind the most entertaining of armed conflicts in a way that's sure to please military history buffs.

HISTORY Vault
1 Season, 51 Episodes
April 9, 2012
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Military Leaders Full Episode Guide

  • After invading and occupying other countries one by one, Hitler sets his sights on Britain and orders a massive air invasion.

  • Four years after the French Revolution, the fledgling French Republic is vulnerable to attack. Young Napoleon Bonaparte leads his men against the Austrian army.

  • The skilled Lombard king Liutprand faces both Roman and Frankish attacks as he vies for supremacy on the crowded Italian peninsula - a sacred land torn between political, religious, and barbarian powers.

  • When the USS Maine mysteriously blows up in Cuba's Havana Harbor, President McKinley declares war against Spain. Young Lieutenant Colonel Teddy Roosevelt leads his troops in a frontal assault up San Juan Hill.

  • General Norman Schwarzkopf is the hot-tempered commander at the center of Operation Desert Storm tasked with driving Hussein out of Kuwait. The desert terrain is tough, the enemy is ruthless, and White House orders are impossible.

  • From the Nazi Blitzkrieg in 1939 to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, the Axis tide rolled unchecked -- until a series of battles that spelled doom for Hitler and his allies.

  • Angered by the Gold Rush and railroad construction, the Sioux tribes rebel. General George Custer charges a major Sioux village, but Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull lead their people in a fierce resistance.

  • Egypt's President Nasser, frustrated with Israel's 1956 victory at the Suez Canal, decides to fight back. But on June 5, 1967, Israeli Minister of Defense Dayan strikes first and a surprise raid decimates Egypt's air force.

  • Everyone knows the public archive footage of Hitler, but most of it is silent. What was he saying? What did he sound like when he was having a conversation rather than shouting his beliefs to his followers?

  • When King Edward the Confessor dies without an heir, his brother-in-law Harold becomes king. But the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy across the English Channel challenges Harold's succession.

  • Nomadic horsemen led by Attila the Hun race across Europe, cross the Rhine, and ravage Gaul. Former enemies band together against "the Scourge of God" under the leadership of the noble Aetius.

  • The Communists launch a massive attack against major cities and military bases. General Westmoreland makes a difficult decision to move U.S. troops from "house to house, street to street," fighting the enemy up close.

  • Supported by Stalin, North Korean dictator Kim Sun launches an invasion into South Korea and quickly occupies the region. Outraged, U.S. president Harry Truman orders General MacArthur to take action.

  • Explore the relationship between Hitler and his personal physician, Dr. Theodore Morell. How did amphetamine abuse, Parkinson's Disease, and tertiary syphilis impact the dictator's state of mind?

  • Anxious to overturn George Washington's victories, Burgoyne comes up with a devious plan: Isolate New York, split the colonies, and divide the Revolution.

  • The first days of World War II were marked by speedy advances and stunning victories by the German Armies, including a brutally effective new form of mechanized warfare: the Blitzkreig.

  • Join Terry Schappert as he experiences the rudimentary weaponry, guerrilla fighting tactics, and psychological warfare that made the Barbarians unlikely victors over the Romans at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

  • Nazi armies sweep through the Soviet Union seeking oil reserves, but at Stalingrad, the Germans face brutal weather, starvation conditions, and a fiercely determined resistance.

  • A legendary leader said to be half man, half monster, Merovius descends upon Gaul, setting the stage for his sons' conquest over both Roman and Visigoth armies with savage destruction.

  • Follow a team of historical detectives as they use evidence from recent excavations, scientific studies, and historical documents to piece together clues about how the Soviet Union looked during Josef Stalin's rule.

  • Learn about the vast psychological and physical foundation that supported Joseph Stalin in his rise to become a terrifying personification of evil in the 20th century.

  • The Vandals infiltrate the Roman borders in northern Gaul and sweep into Spain, making their name synonymous with lawless destruction, looting, and terror.

  • The brutal Saxons take advantage of a tyrant king's foolish invitation and make their way deep into an island ripe for conquest, facing the Christians in battle for power and land.

  • During WWII, the tiny island of Iwo Jima acted as an advance Japanese airbase. Seen as a critical stepping-stone to the attack on mainland Japan, it was part of the bloodiest and most heroic chapter in U.S. Marine Corps history.

  • The Huns' best-known leader, Atilla, is called "the Scourge of God." Under his leadership the Huns bring parts of the Roman Empire to the verge of destruction.

  • Liberated from exile, Napoleon raises an army and attacks Belgium in 1815. A master of the "divide and conquer" strategy, he plans to attack a vital communication point between the English and Prussian armies.

  • Examine the invasion of nomadic warriors that overwhelmed the Ottoman Empire.

  • The German Army was modern, well-trained, and well-led. By comparison the Red Army was inexperienced and ill-equipped. So how did the Russians win the bloodbath at Stalingrad?

  • In a sneak attack, German forces storm Ardennes, where Allied forces are spread thin. It's up to General Eisenhower to keep the Germans from breaking through.

  • In October 1944, Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey and Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita presided over the largest clash of naval arms in history as U.S. troops moved to recapture the Philippines' Leyte Gulf from Japan.

  • An examination of the paranoia, cold-bloodedness, and sadism of two of the 20th century's most brutal dictators and mass murderers: Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

  • Arguably America's greatest general since George Washington, General Robert E. Lee gambled his army and the future of the Confederacy in one epic battle during three bloodiest days in American history.

  • Explore how the legendary commander leads his armies into India, where he faces one of the most difficult tactical challenges in military history.

  • The Ancient Greeks laid a foundation that has supported nearly 3000 years of European history, from philosophers and Olympian gods to great conquering armies and the beginnings of democracy.

  • New research allows us to journey back to the 13th-century world of William Wallace. Traveling down secret pathways beneath Scotland, rediscover a surprisingly sophisticated culture that Wallace died to protect.

  • Hannibal's merciless attacks on Roman soil dealt a near-fatal blow to the soon-to-be Empire. Sworn by his father to a blood oath against the Romans, Hannibal of Carthage does the unthinkable.

  • In 1991, five months after Iraq invaded Kuwait, a U.N.-sanctioned coalition retaliated with an air offensive and Operation Desert Storm, pitting "Stormin' Norman" against the "Butcher of Baghdad."

  • General William Tecumseh Sherman's legacy was built during a five-week campaign of terror known as "total war." Learn how Sherman's March led to Confederate surrender.

  • Examine the strategies of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps and General Bernard Law Montgomery's Eighth Army during their desert campaign in North Africa and Tunisia during World War II.

  • During WWII, a vast complex of bunkers was constructed under the streets of London. Using cutting-edge technology, explore this lost world -- an entire subterranean city built to keep the British government running.

  • A personal look at two iconic leaders of the Civil War. Surprising details reveal the bold choices and almost godlike power Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee summoned on decisive battlefields like Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

  • British General Charles, Lord Cornwallis was considered one of Britain's finest field officers until the American Revolution put his beliefs -- and his most deeply held loyalties -- to the test.

  • On an icy, unforgiving Christmas night in 1776, General George Washington leads his troops across the treacherous Delaware River -- a bold decision that will become a turning point in the American Revolution.

  • Genghis Khaan and his Mongol Horde created the largest land empire in recorded history and they did it in less than seventy years. How were they able to achieve military dominance on such a grand scale?

  • In arguably the most important battle of World War II, Allied Commander Eisenhower faced German Field Marshal Rundstedt on the beaches of Normandy, knowing that victory would be crucial to the outcome of the war.

  • Centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, France stood on the edge of utter disaster. From the ashes emerged one of the greatest military strategists in history: Napoleon.

  • Maverick historian David Eisenbach uncovers the secrets of World War II's greatest combat general, George S. Patton, from his dyslexia to his status as an international contraband smuggler.

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