They say that our history is written by the victors, that each war conflict has marked the passing of time at its convenience. But what about those who are left speechless, who documents their stories?
The documentary genre is experiencing a second golden age thanks to streaming . In fact, platforms like Hulu allow you to watch most of their documentaries totally free, just in exchange for a user registration. The Internet is full of free and legal material , ready to share without restrictions. From small amateur shorts with handheld camera to industrial classics..
Catalog of documentaries for all audiences
Let's start in Spanish. Radio Televisión Española has an important film library, an archive that they are releasing little by little but that always gives us real gems . It is his section for documentaries we have from the umpteenth viral medium-length film on armed conflicts to retrospectives on the Civil War. Content from all eras classified by categories, sometimes in HD quality and available at any time.
Ditto with National Geographic Spain, one of the historically most popular portals with the best technical invoice..
If we continue in the language of Cervantes, from Ciberdocumentales we have a wide portfolio of works on war, the military world and history in general.
Another website with a vast amount of material is MiraDocumentales. Stories about Fascism in an analytical key or an X-ray of the terrible events in Nanking - one of the muted massacres in our history, a heinous holocaust perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese army on the Chinese people from the end of 1937 to February 1938-. We can find very varied content, almost always linked to other media..
The prestigious Arte channel has, eventually, very relevant historical material. They even dedicate cycles to more than interesting authors , like this In depth dedicated to Ken Loach. From its section "History" you can find some pieces. Its programming is worth noting: it is an interesting cultural bastion.
And we should not ignore Free Documentaries, a small oasis that offers what it promises and with a clean and tidy navigation system.
Crossing the borders
If we leave the Spanish language, the content multiplies exponentially. Only with Archive.org, the palace of time where, if we stick to the figures of its search engine, we find more than 2,500 documentaries to its credit. In addition, here there is exclusive material, interviews with survivors, radio broadcasts on historical conflicts or retrospectives with archive material provided by private collections. Free of copyrights.
Exactly like OpenCulture, a website that has a generous database , with links to university essays, podcasts, and audios like this rigorous channel on wars and international relations.
And, without a doubt, Al Jazeera, a television portal that offers its web programming to the whole world. It does not give the opportunity to indicate translated subtitles - as YouTube does allow - but some of its documents are crucial to understanding many of the social and cultural events in the Middle East.
Speaking of YouTube, the channel The QuickSand Foundation deserves special mention, not only for its value as an archive but also for making known a lot of exclusive material belonging to public newspaper libraries.
The home of knowledge
No, we are not going to talk about Wikipedia, although its success as a tool to disseminate and contrast events must be recognized , not to be supported as a crutch of total validity. We have compiled some of the best container websites for English-speaking war documentaries. There they go.
We started with one of the best: British Pathé compiled a file called WW1 - The Definitive Collection. An amazing archive and a true history lesson.
Documentary Wire does not ask us for a password or create a web profile. Instead, we can upload our own documentaries. And yes, there are about 30 documentaries about the attacks on the Twin Towers of September 11.
RTD is an invaluable channel. Under his humble appearance he hides documents like this special one dedicated to the Chechen dentist Khassan Baiyev, who became a surgeon at the cost of war, one of those anonymous figures essential to write history.
Documentary Addict is one of the oldest websites. With 26 categories and more than 5,000 documentaries available , it has a very clean design ideal for pecking at different works. It also includes the classic 'RANDOM' button to simply discover works of any kind. From the Military and War tab you can find a classic, but it also has a discussion forum where you can discover treasures.
Snag Films. Without creating an account, we will have more than 10,000 free pieces at our fingertips . Lots of material including movies, shorts and, of course, many documentaries. The cinephile lives not only from conflicts.
WatchDocumentary is another top-notch website with material of all kinds. Collect great documentaries, including that Vice piece called Renegade Jewish Settlers.
DocumentaryStorm and DocumentaryHeaven are, that, paradise. From the tag 'war' we can enjoy its thousands of free documentaries. Both have a list of the 100 best films of the moment , in addition to their different categories. Allows you to subscribe to your RSS feed to receive news.
Films For Action currently has around 800 free documentaries to stream. Like DocumentaryHeaven, it allows you to subscribe, even create a preference list of its 40 genres .
The Documentary Network is a website that has grown steadily and currently has more than 1,000 documentaries . You can also keep up to date from your RSS feed. One of the particular characteristics of this website is in your browser, where we can see the works by duration:
- Short film if its length is better at 10 minutes.
- Medium, 11 to 30 minutes
- And long, more than 30 minutes.
And we could: Documentary24, with a wide section on amateur material, without any censorship; Free Movies Cinema, available in high definition and where you can find very, very old pieces; PopCornFlix, a website for addicts to the most incendiary material; Documentary Tube, one of the most complete portals - it has dozens of tags - ideal for getting lost by clicking on the 'Randomize' button and letting the system decide for us; FreeDocumentaries, which offers high-octane material that has no place on other websites; o Documentary-Log.
Sometimes the less known a website is, the better material you can find. DocLog is an example: there is no tag named "WAR" here but you can access that material from the "HISTORY" tag. And of course, much of his material is religious. Isn't religion the napalm of much of history's wars?
The Internet has given us the opportunity to listen to all those small, underground voices . To the survivors, but also to the memory of the fallen through relatives and comrades. So now you know: binge on cultural material, 100% legal and without paying a penny.