Season 17, Episode 2 The Fight

First Aired: October 18, 2004

“The Fight” recalls the June 1938 heavyweight title bout between Joe Louis and the German Max Schmeling, and assesses its political and social ramifications. “It was going to pit whole nations and whole ideologies against each other,” says narrator Courtney B. Vance. Producer-director Barak Goodman (“Scottsboro---An American Tragedy”) also explores Louis's place in America's racial divide as well as the genial Schmeling's ties to Hitler. They were ambiguous (Vance calls both fighters “reluctant symbols of their people”). Still, when Schmeling went down, “It was almost as though we had defeated the Nazis there and then,” says trainer Steve Acunto.

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  • Premiered: October 4, 1988
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: This much-honored PBS documentary series explores American history, one topic or person at a time. Its Peabody Award winners include profiles of FDR and Malcolm X, and such diverse topics as Nixon's 1972 trip to China, the controversy surrounding `Citizen… (more)

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