Battles Of Grim And Glory: Churchill, Eisenhower & The Tuskegee Airmen On WLRN-TV Tonight!

Feb 3, 2014

You can find some of the best war documentaries on television every Tuesday night on WLRN - TV, starting at 8:00 p.m.

 Secrets of the Dead: Churchill’s Deadly Decision (8:00 pm)

Sir Winston Churchill

July 3, 1940. After only 54 days into office, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered his Navy to take control of French ships or destroy them. You will learn what led to this unprecedented and controversial attack.  Follow the series of events that saw France being overrun by the Nazis in a matter of weeks, Roosevelt fearing that Britain would fall, and Churchill needing a way to prove otherwise.

Secrets of the Dead: Churchill’s Deadly Decision reveals the darkest side of Britain’s Finest Hour. Some call his decision a turning point in the war, others call it a terrible betrayal and a war crime. This is the story of what Churchill did next, and why; and how 1,300 French sailors died as a result in what the French still call ‘our Pearl Harbor’. In the words of French survivors, some of whom still regard Churchill as a war criminal, and one of the British sailors who opened fire on his former allies, this is the forgotten story of Churchill’s deadliest decision – to sink the French Fleet.

Eisenhower’s Secret War: The Lure of the Presidency (9:00 pm)

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tonight, you will watch the first hour of Eisenhower’s Secret War which chronicles the movement to draft Eisenhower — then NATO commander in Europe — as the Republican candidate for president in 1952.

This two-part documentary series examines Dwight D. Eisenhower's unwavering commitment — both public and covert — to peaceful co-existence with the USSR in the tumultuous and uneasy Cold War years.  Based on recent research by established scholars and writers, you will be provided with a fresh understanding of how Eisenhower's national security policies and tactics kept a divided world at peace during the 1950s and in the ensuing decades.

Don’t miss the second hour, "Building Weapons, Talking Peace,” next Tuesday, February 11, which recounts President Eisenhower's battles against the Soviet Union in the escalating arms race.

Eisenhower’s Secret War is hosted by Evan Thomas, journalist and author of the critically acclaimed book Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World.

Fly Boys: Western Pennsylvania’s Tuskegee Airmen (10:00 pm)

Tuskegee Airmen At Moton Field

This one hour documentary tells the story of struggle and the ultimate triumph of the brave African-American soldiers who served their country during World War II. They lived in a country where racial prejudice and discrimination ruled, where they were judged by the color of their skin, and where opportunities were limited for them. In spite of it all, they wanted to show their patriotism to their country by fighting the enemy during World War II.

Watch as this story unfolds with the "Tuskegee Airmen" program, a controversial military initiative designed to measure African-Americans' competence for flying the engines of war. It was a controversial experiment at the time because African-Americans were excluded from the Air Corps because it was believed that they lacked intelligence and courage to fly into battle.  More than 40 men from western Pennsylvania served as Tuskegee Airmen, and some of their stories are told in this gripping documentary.

Colonel Herbert E. Carter of Tuskegee, Alabama served in combat as a Tuskegee Airman in Italy and North Africa during the war. He is quoted in the documentary and said, “I’ve often said that long before Martin Luther King’s effort, the Tuskegee Airmen set the tone and a pace that had much to do with America facing up to the fact that a man is a man is a man. That you have to accept him for his individual capabilities and qualifications, not the pigmentation of his skin, his race, his creed or his color.”

Hear the stories of the men who lived through the experience as well as from family members who remember them. Plus, some white pilots tell how they owe their survival to the heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen.