WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world was in its fifth year of war, when on June 6, 1944, western Allied forces crossed the English Channel and stormed the German defenses across the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France. Invading by land, sea and air, the broad attack was code named Operation Overlord, but the world knows it as D-Day, and it is said to be the beginning of the end of World War II. Ranking as the greatest amphibious landing in military history, the invasion allowed the Allies to advance into France. As a result, by August 1944, Western Europe was liberated from the Nazi German occupation, and World War II would be over the following year.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the pivotal battle at Normandy, National Geographic is celebrating with a week of powerful programming devoted to World War II. Beginning Monday, June 3, at 9/8c, the D-Day Marathon will feature premieres of original specials including Drain the Oceans: Secrets of D-Day, Hitler’s Last Stand: Lost Battalion, Eyewitness: D-Day and The King Who Fooled Hitler as well as encore presentations from National Geographic’s programming archives.
In addition to providing unprecedented access to archival material, National Geographic’s original special The King Who Fooled Hitler presents never-before-seen documents, including secret letters from King George VI himself, correspondence and diary entries, along with new interviews giving fresh insight into the infamous D-Day deception that outsmarted Hitler.
All specials will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages on National Geographic. Full details of the programming event are below.
Original D-Day Marathon Specials Include:
DRAIN THE OCEANS: SECRETS OF D-DAY
Monday, June 3, at 9/8c
World War II saw the greatest-ever loss of ships and submarines at sea, and beneath the oceans lies a hidden graveyard of those vessels that has its own story to tell. Using the latest sonar technology, National Geographic goes on a unique expedition to map the sunken Allied vessels off the Normandy Coast, revealing stunning images from beneath the waves, and uncovers extraordinary, secret technology that was deployed by both the Allies and the Nazis in the battle for western Europe.
HITLER’S LAST STAND: LOST BATTALION
Monday, June 3, at 10/9c
On June 6, 1944, the Allies finally land troops in Normandy to open the western front. But after the surprise of the D-Day landings and Allied advances, Nazi loyalists dig in, determined to keep a merciless grip on the towns, strongholds and fortresses of occupied Europe to defend the Third Reich. These are the stories of desperate battles waged on the edge of defeat — not just for victory but for survival.
Tuesday, June 4, at 9/8c
One famous day. Five heroes. Five key turning points that changed the course of World War II during the D-Day landings, told through the eyes of the people who made a difference. Using rarely seen archive footage, dramatic reconstruction and written accounts from eyewitnesses and personal testimony from five heroes, this is D-Day as never seen before.
THE KING WHO FOOLED HITLER
Wednesday, June 5, at 9/8c
This landmark film unearths exclusive new documents — secret letters, correspondence and diary entries — about D-Day that shed new light about the deception that fooled Hitler. In a tale of double agents and decoys, the investigation reveals for the first time the identity of the most secret agent of them all: King George VI. It also uncovers how the queen and future Queen Elizabeth II were enlisted in the ruse, and how the royal household managed to lose one of Britain’s greatest secrets of World War II.
Additional Programming Includes:
D-DAY SACRIFICE: BATTLE FOR FREEDOM
Monday, June 3, at 8/7c
In the spring of 1944, the Allies rolled the dice and chanced the whole fate of World War II on a single day. On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, National Geographic revisits the Allied forces’ June 6, 1944, Normandy landings and the ensuing 100 days leading up to the liberation of Paris from the Nazis.
AFTER HITLER: SPOILS OF WAR
Tuesday, June 4, at 8/7c
May 8, 1945: World War II has finally ended and the world is celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany, but the celebration is short lived. A shattered Europe has to rebuild, heal its wounds and deal with the fallout from an interminable and barbarous conflict while sketching the outlines of its future. For many civilians, the aftermath of the war is even more brutal than the conflict itself.
HITLER YOUTH: NAZI CHILD SOLDIERS
Tuesday, June 4, at 10/9c
In 1930s Germany, the Nazi Party created the Hitler Youth to indoctrinate children and adolescents with Nazi ideology and prepare them to become a child army for Hitler. The first program traces the rise of the movement through to the war. The second program starts at the height of World War II and traces the story of the Hitler Youth as they face defeat.
INSIDE WWII: BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Wednesday, June 5, at 7/6c
Day by day. Hour by hour. Second by second. This is the story of last century’s bloodiest conflict told in a concise and compelling three-hour special. Including personal accounts, strategic analysis and rare footage, the special provides a new and intimate perspective on the experience of war.
Across three nights, beginning Wednesday, June 5, at 10/9c
High-tech superguns. Weapons of mass destruction. In the quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. These weapons changed the face of modern warfare forever. Witness the hidden remains of Hitler’s most ambitious projects and hear the stories of the engineering geniuses who designed them.
MAKING A DICTATOR
Back-to-back nights, beginning Wednesday, June 5, at 11/10c
A growing threat to democracies appears in the force of dictatorships. Dictators like Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Mobutu Sese Seko and Fidel Castro found their way to power through similar methods. The special examines the brutal methods and common practices implemented by each dictatorship, along with the ways in which the dictators corrupted the countries they claimed to improve.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.