Generation War (German: Unsere MÃ¼tter, unsere VÃ¤ter, literally “Our mothers, our fathers”) is a German World War II TV miniseries in three parts. It was commissioned by public broadcasting organization ZDF, produced by the UFA subsidiary TeamWorx, and first aired in Germany and Austria in March 2013. The series tells the story of five German friends, aged around 20, on their different paths through Nazi Germany and World War II: as Wehrmacht soldiers on the Eastern Front, a war nurse, an aspiring singer, and a Jewish tailor. The narrative spans over four years starting in 1941 Berlin, when the friends meet up for a last time before embarking on their journeys, enthusiastically vowing to meet up again the following Christmas. The story’s conclusion is set in a time shortly after the end of the war in 1945.
When the series first aired in Germany, each episode garnered around 7 million viewers. Generation War has generated much controversy. The Economist stated that hardly any German TV drama ever caused that much public debate. The film’s portrayal of its main characters as non-zealots, spirited young people forced to confront unpleasant realities and make agonizing choices, has been criticized as ahistorical; James Delingpole describes a leading character (Friedhelm) as “a 21st-century German parachuted into a period where he wouldn’t have survived more than a few seconds”. Critics have acknowledged the film to be well crafted, intense and unsparing in its depiction of combat on the eastern front. However, aspects such as the portrayal of the Polish anti-Nazi resistance as anti-semites, the scant depiction of Nazi Germany’s objective to purge the Reich of Jews, and the blurring of differences between non-German victims and German perpetrators have been deplored by others.