Documentary film maven David L. Wolper returns to the scene with a ten-part series profiling 50 international icons of the 20th century. In part four, he presents five World War II leaders. The most notorious of the bunch is Adolf Hitler, the founder of the German Nazi Party and chancellor of the Third Reich, who forced his country into an absolute dictatorship while leading the persecution and extermination of millions of Jews and other minorities during the war. Joseph Stalin, Lenin's successor to Communist rule in the U.S.S.R., was a ruthless ruler who led campaigns that displaced millions of peasants and forced his country to the forefront of industrial power in the world. He rallied his underpowered military to victory in the war and then imposed Communist rule over most of the countries liberated by the Soviet armies. Winston Churchill was an accomplished writer (The Second World War, Nobel Prize for literature in 1953) and British politician, who as prime minister courageously led Great Britain through World War II. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Churchill's counterpart in America, initiated the New Deal in an effort to increase employment, introduce relief programs, and assist in agricultural and industrial recovery from the Great Depression; he also led the country into World War II as the only president elected to three terms. Roosevelt's military commander, Dwight Eisenhower, launched the invasion of Normandy and essentially ended the war with the defeat of Germany in 1945. While a war hero, Eisenhower was elected president in 1953 but soon fell from grace with the American public during the subsequent Korean War debacle, severe racial unrest in America, and the advent of the Cold War with Cuba and the Soviet Union.
~ Sarah Block, Rovi