Country of origin
First episode date
Number of episodes
No. of seasons
1999 – 1999
Final episode date
Number of seasons
History, The Miracle of Berlin, Die Deutschen, Great Crimes and Trials, Born to Kill?
100 Jahre – Der Countdown (English - 100 Years - The Countdown) is a German documentary television series produced from Zolcer TV. It was first broadcast in 1999 on ZDF. The host of the series is Guido Knopp. The documentaries are usually focusing on a single event in a given year. The total length of the series was about 15 ½ hours. The series was first broadcast on the last 100 days of 1999, one episode after each of the daily news cast ZDF Heute-Journal. Since New Year's Eve 1999 the full length of "100 Jahre" is broadcast several times a year by Phoenix.
Each of the ten-minute episodes would begin with the title. It first shows the Earth from space. The look increasingly converging, highlighted by the title tune, playing outstanding citations of this century. Those were:
"Three, Two, One" - Apollo 11 countdown
"I Have a Dream" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Do you want total war?" - Joseph Goebbels
"We choose freedom!" - Konrad Adenauer
"I am a Berliner" - John F. Kennedy
"The wall must go!" - Willy Brandt
"We are the people!" - Monday demonstrations in East Germany
After the opening credits, three events of the year are briefly show before again following a brief intro. In this we see the Earth again before the featured year is displayed and the view through the closed hallmark of the second-ranked 9 on the respective continent zooms. Now begins the actual sequence that is about the last-mentioned event. This is used as a hook for a more detailed consideration of the topic, not limited only to the year. Several of the previously mentioned issues are addressed briefly in other episodes.
The individual effects are rotated so that when taken by itself conclusive, and the knowledge from previous episodes is not necessarily required. For example, in the wake of falling to his knees in Warsaw (1970) again reported a lot about the Warsaw ghetto, with The Boy from Warsaw (1943) already has its own consequence.
No known episode was made for 1902, 1904, 1905, 1908, 1910, 1915, 1921, 1931, 1935, 1950, 1952, 1957, 1971, 1973, 1984 and 1996. Even the year of 1999 is no longer mentioned. The years 1922, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1954, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1986 and 1991, however, had two episodes, and for 1953, three.
With the zoom on the continents, it is usually to Europe, followed by North America and Asia. South America was rarely shown, only twice (1960 - Operation Eichmann, 1982 - The Falklands War); Antarctica and Australia are not shown at all.
The documentary is divided into ten chapters:
Chapter 1: World on the Move
Chapter 2: Trench Warfare
Chapter 3: Crazy Years
Chapter 4: Hitler in power
Chapter 5: Total war
Chapter 6: New Beginning
Chapter 7: Cold War
Chapter 8: Changing World
Chapter 9: Reversing years
Chapter 10: Changing World
The series has been released on DVD. The contributions marked with * are not included on the DVD release.