I have many favorite episodes, notably the 8th (North Africa campaign), the 9th (Stalingrad), the 11th (Russia's rise), the 13th (Italy) and the 14th (Burma). But every episode is a solid presentation of both ideas and events.
There are two quotes that I consider memorable from the series, and both from the 11th episode. The first, a writer expressing the attitude of the Russians towards the Germans:
"One can bear anything, the plague, hunger and death, but one cannot bear the Germans. One cannot bear these fish-eyed oafs contemptuously snorting at everything Russian. We cannot live as long as these grey-green slugs are alive. Today there are no books, today there are no stars in the sky, today there is only one thought: kill the Germans. Kill them all, and dig them into the earth. Then we can go to sleep. Then we can think again of life, and books, and girls, and happiness. We shall kill them all. But we must do it quickly or they will desecrate the whole of Russia and torture to death millions more people."
The other is a poem, as spoken by a Russian soldier to his love:
"Wait for me, and I’ll return. Only wait ... very hard. Wait as you are filled with sorrow as you watch the yellow rain. Wait when the winds sweep the snowdrifts. Wait in the sweltering heat. Wait when others have stopped waiting, forgetting their yesterdays. Wait even when from afar no letters come to you. Wait even when others are tired of waiting. Wait even when my mother and son think I am no more. And when friends sit around the fire drinking to my memory, wait, and do not hurry to drink to my memory too. Wait, for I’ll return, defying every death. And let those who do not wait say that I was lucky. They never will understand that in the midst of death, you, with your waiting, saved me. Only you and I will know how I survived. It’s because you waited, as no one else did."
These are both spoken by the most consummate of performers, and unquestionably the best voice ever offered a documentary: Sir Laurence Olivier. His presentation (though of course you never see him) is exquisite, lively ... and unimaginably touching at points.
Sir Jeremy Isaacs, who is nearly invisible as the producer of the series, founded BBC Channel 4. I have great respect for him, for his contribution to culture and to the BBC.
The entirety of the show can be watched from this site. The service is finicky and annoying, but I've just watched it all the way through so I can tell you every episode works. If you haven't seen it, set aside the necessary time; turn off your television and watch what a 1973 documentary can offer.