Sunday, May 31, 2015

Visualizing The Human Cost of World War II

Source: The Fall Of WWII
We were hoping to have this post ready for Memorial Day last Monday, but with one week of school left, final exams, report cards, etc., the time just vanished. The data visualization used to tell the story in The Fallen Of World War II is an interactive documentary showing the human cost of war. It was written, directed, coded, and narrated by Neil Halloran. The film is a timeline of events that allows viewers to pause the narration to interact with the data.

Source: The Fallen Of WWII
The documentary focuses on the casualties and the pivotal moments in the course of the war when there was a dramatic shift in the numbers. It counts both military and civilian deaths. It blends the use of icons and charts with actual black and white photographs to show the human side of the war, creating a narration that is both a visualization as much as a story.

Source: The Fallen Of WWII
The narrator informs the viewer at the appropriate time to stop the video to interact with the charts. It occurs somewhere in the middle of this 15-minute data visualization, and again just before the end of the film. While it may seem long compared to many motion graphics and explainer videos, it is well worth the watch. We can see how our students would be mesmerized by the continuous tale recounting the huge number of victims of World War II.

It is definitely one for any history teacher’s toolkit. It is a powerful reminder of the tragedy that war inflicts on people.

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