Bob Hope: Memories of World War II (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): Hope personally wrote a few chapters in the pop-culture history of World War II. His legendary tours to entertain GIs were so regular and extensive that people came to expect news coverage about them along with regular wartime news.
Hope's trips began in 1941 while the United States was still at peace. After Pearl Harbor, Hope went to Europe, North Africa, the South Pacific, and elsewhere to boost morale among the fighting men during World War II.
This special recaps those trips by using footage not shown before - yes, there are clips you haven't seen - and by sharing memories with people who were with him over half a century ago: his wife, Dolores Hope; singer Frances Langford; and dancer Patty Thomas.
Rain of Ruin: The Bombing of Nagasaki (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): This documentary deals with the second of the two Japanese cities that had atomic bombs dropped on them. It's a subject not treated as often as Hiroshima, and the program focuses especially on the three calamitous days between the bombing of Hiroshima and that of Nagasaki.
Testimony has been gathered from eyewitnesses on both sides, including the crew of the bomber, Nagasaki residents who were then children, and some archival footage that has never before been broadcast.
Politics and military strategy are explored as the program poses some questions that still trouble many observers: Certain Japanese leaders were anxious to surrender after the Hiroshima attack, but why were they unable to do so in time to stop the second atomic bombing?
Why, for that matter, was Nagasaki the target, when Kokura was originally supposed to be the target? And why did the Soviet Union jump into the Pacific war on the very day Nagasaki was bombed?
Please check local listings for these programs.