HISTORY’s Memorial Day series paints the World Wars as one, not two, devastating events

Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner, the History Channel’s new six-hour event series “The World Wars” seeks to not only dig deep into the background of the first and second World Wars, but change audience perceptions about the thirty-year period that changed the course of human history.

“What we are trying to show is that World War one and two were actually one war, people usually think of these two wars as completely different things. The leaders of the second World War were soldiers in the first,” executive producer Stephen David told FOX411. “They are completely linked and led right from one to the other. You see the likes of Hitler at age 25, you see him in WW1. All those experiences added up to what he became.”

History will premiere the six-hour special event series, “The World Wars,” on three consecutive nights beginning Memorial Day, detailing three decades – from 1914 through to 1945 – of devastating combat through the eyes of the men who fought for freedom with the weight and fate of humankind of their shoulders – men such as Roosevelt, Hitler, Patton, Mussolini, Churchill, DeGaulle and MacArthur.

“One of the most surprising things about the series was the influence that these people’s experiences in WW1 had in shaping the rest of the world into WW2, and for young people watching this, they look and can see how it is very similar to what is happening in the world today,” David noted. “You can look at these people and decide who you want to be.”

The event series also features an array of high-powered interviews including Senator John McCain, General Colin Powell, British Prime Minister John Major, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

“You often hear that phrase ‘history repeats itself,’ which is true here. These people who have really studied these figures and study the past and try to learn from it,” David continued.

And there is perhaps no better occasion than Memorial Day to remind all Americans of the sacrifices so many have made over the years for our nation’s freedom.

“During that thirty-year period there was 100 million people killed. That has never been the case in the history of the world… You realize what these people gave and continue to give by serving their country. You’re asking somebody to die for you,” David said, adding that the special is somewhat reminiscent of Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage.” “It shows a guy in the Civil War and what he goes through to become brave. The fact is he is so scared in the beginning that he runs and you realize that someone who is truly brave – it is not that they don’t have fear. They have the fear, but they do it anyway.”

“The World Wars” kicks off on HISTORY beginning Memorial Day at 9PM ET/PT, continuing Tuesday, May 27 at 9PM ET/PT and concluding Wednesday, May 28 at 9PM ET/PT. Later this summer, the three-part series will also premiere on H2 and in more than 160 countries across the globe.

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