The Best Episodes of Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States
Last Updated: May 26, 2019
Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States, also known as The Untold History of the United States,is a 2012 documentary series directed, produced, and narrated by Oliver Stone. Oliver Stone and American University historian Peter J. Kuznick, began working on the project in 2008. Stone, Kuznick and British screenwriter Matt Graham co-wrote the script. The documentary miniseries for Showtime had a working title Oliver Stone's Secret History of America. It covers "the reasons behind the Cold War with the Soviet Union, U.S. President Harry Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, and changes in America's global role since the fall of Communism." Stone is the director and narrator of all ten episodes. The series is a re-examination of some of the under-reported and darkest parts of American modern history using little known documents and newly uncovered archival material. The series looks beyond official versions of events to the deeper causes and implications and explores how events from the past still have resonant themes for the present day. Stone said: "From the outset I've looked at this project as a legacy to my children, and a way to understand the times I've lived through. I hope it can contribute to a more global insight into our American history."
#1 - Chapter 10 - Bush & Obama: Age of Terror
Season 1 - Episode 10
In the Season 1 finale, the war on terrorism and the presidential administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama are examined.
#2 - Chapter 9 - Bush & Clinton: American Triumphalism - New World Order
Season 1 - Episode 9
George W. Bush's doctrine of endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the continued cannibalization of the U.S. economy. Squandered chances given by the end of the Cold War. A new USA, the National Security Fortress.
#3 - Chapter 8 - Reagan, Gorbachev & Third World: Rise of the Right
Season 1 - Episode 8
Ronald Reagan succeeds Jimmy Carter; Reagan and the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev powwow; and Reagan's legacy is examined.
#4 - Chapter 6 - JFK: To the Brink
Season 1 - Episode 6
JFK and the Bay of Pigs; on the brink of total war during Cuban Missile Crisis; early Vietnam; JFK's attempts at peace with Khrushchev; JFK assassinated. Directed and narrated by Oliver Stone.
#5 - Chapter 3 - The Bomb
Season 1 - Episode 3
The strategies behind the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan are explored as well as the new mythology that emerged from the war. The bombing haunted the Soviets and mistrust towards the Allies grew quickly.
#6 - Chapter 7 - Johnson, Nixon & Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune
Season 1 - Episode 7
The war in Vietnam reaches a turning point; President Nixon's involvement in Watergate comes to light.
#7 - Chapter 1 - World War Two
Season 1 - Episode 1
The crucial years of the Second World War. Stone, on the one hand, denounces the steadfastness of Allied forces in the face of the rise of Nazi-fascist regimes and the Americans' choice to use atomic weapons at the end of the conflict, on the other. He celebrates the sacrifice of the Soviet people who succeeded in curbing Hitler's advance, allowing the Allied forces to win the war.
#8 - Chapter 2 - Roosevelt, Truman & Wallace
Season 1 - Episode 2
Highlights from the historical upset of Harry Truman replacing Henry Wallace as Roosevelt's Vice President. Exploration of the relationship between the US and the Soviet Union and the beginnings of the Cold War.
#9 - Chapter 5 - The 50s: Eisenhower, the Bomb & the Third World
Season 1 - Episode 5
Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles replace Truman. Stalin dies but relations with the Soviet Union turn colder. The H-bomb and the doctrine of nuclear annihilation are explored, as are the Korean War and U.S. rearmament. McCarthyism grows and so does the ruthlessness of U.S. policy towards a Third World. Eisenhower emerges as a game changer.
#10 - Chapter 4 - The Cold War - 1945-1950
Season 1 - Episode 4
The equation changes: specific month-by-month causes of the Cold War emerge and it is not entirely clear who started it. Highlights include Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, the civil war in Greece and the Red Scare that prompts the rise of Joseph McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee and the FBI.