The Second World War was a war in which massive armies advanced, confronting whole populations with impossible choices. The manufacture of weapons transformed industry and the workforce; area bombing campaigns reduced cities to rubble; sieges doomed populations to starvation; racial policies sponsored campaigns of genocide.

Told through archive footage and expert interviews, we learn how WWII shattered the boundaries between home-front and battlefield. Episode one explores the portents of total war to come; in Manchuria, China, Abyssinia and Spain. In episode two, we see a world mobilising for total war. Episode three turns to invasion, occupation and resistance as nation after nation fell to advancing armies. Episode four examines total war from the sky, charting the evolution of strategic bombing campaigns that reduced cities to rubble. In episode five, we see how total war enabled the Holocaust and also examine how the fear of a fifth column encouraged the internment of civilians in allied nations. Finally, episode six reflects on the aftermath of total war.