The Documentary series Turning Point traces the early lives of four of the 20th century’s most famous leaders and encapsulates exactly how & when they reached the critical turning point in their lives.
The future of young Stalin, Hitler, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Churchill appeared set – then fate brought them to a turning point and sent them down a different path, changing their world forever.
Episode 1 – Josef Stalin
Seemingly fated to a life as a priest and a romantic poet. His life took a turn and he would become the murderous dictator of millions of his own people.
The man known as Josef Stalin was born into poverty in a provincial backwater town in central Georgia. His father was a violent alcoholic whilst his mother made sacrifices towards his education. His childhood is marred by various accidents and a connection to the violent gang life. During his teenage years he was an excellent student at the Orthodox Seminary. A choirboy heading towards the priesthood with a growing reputation as a romantic poet. Before reaching a ‘Turning Point’ courtesy of the infamous Karl Marx and and changing his name to Josef Stalin, a dictator of Russia.
Episode 2 – Winston Churchill
The British Lion who owes it all to tabloid journalism – his own!
Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, 1874. The heir to a fortune and born into a famous family, his pathway seemed destined for a golden childhood and a glittering career. This was not the case, after a trying childhood and losing his father Churchill decided to follow his footsteps into politics. Running for a seat in parliament and losing. Churchill sailed for South Africa to report on the Boer War as a newspaper correspondent. After being captured by the Boers and sent to a POW camp. But this low point in the young man’s life proves to be the Turning Point. Churchill makes a daring escape, writes a dashing and vivid account of it and becomes the political leader and man of wisdom that he is remembered for today.
Episode 3 – Kaiser Wilhelm II
He suffered a physically and psychologically traumatic childhood. But his parents hoped he would be the peacemaker to unite all Europe. Instead he would lead Germany into WW1.
Born on 24th January 1859 with dire consequences, Princess Vicky faced with a traumatic birth and her infant son with permanent damage on his arm and neck. Wilhelm’s mother doesn’t accept him and these physical impairments made their relationship problematic. Every barbarity that a primitive and ignorant medical profession can contrive is inflicted on the boy causing irreversible psychological damage. His parents tried to groom their son to be the peaceful uniter of all Europe and a supporter of the British Empire, but Wilhelm’s complex relationship with his mother leads to his rejection of everything they value. His time spent at a Prussian officer training academy becomes the final turning point for Wilhelm. When he takes the German throne its war not peace in Europe that Kaiser Wilhelm II has in mind.
Episode 4 – Adolf Hitler
Beware crushing the hopes and dreams of a young, aspiring artist. What happened for Adolf Hitler to embrace a far darker vision and lead the world into war?
Hitler lived through a troubling childhood with an obscure paternal ancestry involving illegitimacy and hereditary mental illnesses and his beloved mother painfully dying of cancer at an early age. Despite his hardships young Adolf left his Austrian hometown of Linz for Vienna, with money in the bank and a gentleman’s wardrobe in his suitcase with dreams of becoming a great artist. Rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, left homeless and completely out of money Adolf’s artistic dreams are dashed and options limited. WWI will become his turning point. Hitler is lying blinded in a hospital when Germany surrenders, infuriating Hitler. This leads him towards his path of virulent racist anti-Semitic ideas and a thirst for a German victory.