Sworn To Secrecy: Secrets of War (aka Secrets of War) is a 65-hour documentary television series about military history and the secrets of war of the Twentieth Century. The Series premiered on The History Channel in September 1998 where it prevailed in the 8 o'clock Sunday evening slot for over two years.
Narrated by Charlton Heston, the Series details facts and information derived from rare archival footage, formerly classified documents and messages, coupled with interviews with experts, authors and eyewitnesses from all over the world.
The Series has been imitated but never equaled in quality, historical accuracy or critical stature. The New York Times devoted an entire television section to the Series. Much like The World at War for Laurence Olivier, Sworn To Secrecy now stands as the single largest body of work in Charlton Heston’s narrative career.
The Series was originally conceived as a 26-hour production. The first 13 hours concentrated on World War II and the vast amount of unknown history kept secret by the British Official Secrets Act and finally revealed from 1975 through the 1990s. The second 13 hours focused on other conflicts of the Twentieth Century. After the success of the first season, Documedia proceeded to expand the Series comprehensively to address other wars, battles and intrigues, including many color present-day shows on topics as diverse as chemical weapons and spy planes, and theme-oriented episodes like prisoners of war and code breakers.
The Series interviewed key participants in all of the important conflicts of the Twentieth Century, including prominent authors with unique perspectives of the clandestine aspects of war. The creators of Sworn To Secrecy worked with the top spies of the era: former Directors of the CIA James Woolsey, Richard Helms and Dr. James Schlesinger; former Chairmen of the KGB Generals Vladimir Semichastny and Alexander Shelepin; as well as former Directors of the MOSSAD Meir Amit and Isser Harel.
As Sworn To Secrecy gained notoriety, other VIPs who usually avoided commenting on the topics explored by the Series participated in this unique documentary production, including: Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, Dan Quayle, John H. Sununu, James A. Baker III, Jack Valenti, Howard K. Smith, John K. Singlaub, David Eisenhower, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Senator John McCain. Each one hour episode tells a strong, specific and factual story, backed up by interviews, rare footage, 3D graphics, on-location shooting, historical retracing shots and extensive reenactments.
Sworn To Secrecy is among many documentary series of its kind, used in the classrooms of the United States Naval Academy and United States Air Force Academy, and the only military series that American Forces Network (formerly the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) licenses for American Service men and women on military bases and ships worldwide.