Dan Snow's History Hit

By History Hit

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Subscribers: 4157
Reviews: 85


 Sep 19, 2021

WL
 Aug 25, 2021
been listening to it for years - always listen to a few each week

Stephen Mayer
 Aug 18, 2021
This is by far the best history podcast available because of the amount of high quality and variety of content.

Michael S
 Jul 20, 2021
Fascinating podcast, history in small installments, great to have such a variety of topics

tony D
 Jun 18, 2021
great history podcast

Description

History! The most exciting and important things that have ever happened on the planet! Featuring reports from the weird and wonderful places around the world where history has been made and interviews with some of the best historians writing today. Dan also covers some of the major anniversaries as they pass by and explores the deep history behind today's headlines - giving you the context to understand what is going on today.


Episode Date
Operation Barbarossa: The Lost Diaries
00:27:27

Operation Barbarossa saw a clash of arms between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union of unprecedented scale and savagery, but what was it really like to serve on the front lines of the Eastern Front? The historian Rob Schäfer has given History Hit exclusive access to the diaries of Lt. Friedrich Sander, a Panzer officer and one of the 3 million German troops involved in Operation Barbarossa. The diaries are brutal in their honesty openly describing the atrocities Sander was involved in and his opinions about Jews and the Soviet population. They also describe the horror of combat and his doubts about the cause, in whose name, he fights. In this episode, Rob describes how he came into possession of the diaries and why they offer such a unique insight into the mindset of someone fighting for the Wehrmacht. 


At the end of this podcast, you will also hear extracts from the audiobook History Hit recently released based on Lt. Sander's diaries read by Stephen Erdman. Listen to The Barbarossa Diaries.


History Hit has also created what we believe to be the most historically accurate Operation Barbarossa documentary ever made with accurate footage and sound effects from the period which bring this titanic struggle to life. Watch part one of Barbarossa: The Lost Diaries.

 

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Oct 16, 2021
The Haitian Revolution
00:33:32

In 1791 the slaves of the French colony of Sant-Domingue rose up against their colonial masters and after a long and bloody struggle, defeated them to found the state of Haiti. Led by charismatic leaders such as Toussaint Louverture it was the only example of a successful slave revolution and the state that was founded was one free of slavery. It was a conflict that sucked in several competing empires and was defining moment in the history of the Atlantic World. Marlene Daut, Professor of African Diaspora Studies at the University of Virginia, joins Dan for this fascinating episode of the podcast. They explore the slave economy and the terrible conditions that led to the uprising, how the French Revolution acted as an inspiration for the revolutionaries, how the slaves were able to emerge victorious, and the consequences of this monumental moment in history.

 

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Oct 14, 2021
The Battle of Hastings
00:55:42

On 14 October 1066 the armies of William, the Duke of Normandy, and the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson clashed near Hastings in one of the most famous battles in history and one that would decide the fate of the English throne. We all know the outcome but how and why did the battle take place? To answer this question Dan returns with another explainer episode to put the battle in its proper context and explain how William was able to defeat Harold on that bloody day in 1066 to become King. You'll also hear clips from the archive as Historian Marc Morris and Professor Virginia Davis help set the scene for one of the most dramatic events in English history.

 

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Oct 13, 2021
Lady Jane Grey
00:50:11

On a cold February morning in 1554, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for high treason. Named as King Edward VI as his successor, Queen Jane had reigned for just 13 tumultuous days before being imprisoned in the Tower, condemned and executed. In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to author and historian Nicola Tallis who reveals the moving, human story of an intelligent, independent and courageous young woman, forced onto the English throne by the great power players in the Tudor court.  

 

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Oct 12, 2021
Maurice Hilleman: Vaccine Creator
00:21:56

Dr Maurice Hilleman was a leading American microbiologist who specialised in vaccinology and immunology. He discovered nine vaccines that are routinely recommended for children today, rendering formerly devastating diseases practically forgotten. Considered by many to be the father of modern vaccines, Hilleman was directly involved in the development of most of the vaccines available today, including those for measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, pneumococcus, meningococcus and Haemophilus influenza B. His vaccines are estimated to save nearly 8 million lives a year. Despite Hilleman's many fundamental breakthroughs leading to arguably more lives saved than any other scientist in history, he has never been a household name.


Dan is joined by vaccine researcher, Paul A. Offit, who befriended Hilleman and, during the great man’s last months, interviewed him extensively about his life and career. Paul and Dan discuss Hilleman’s motivations and work ethic, his beginnings in working for the U.S. Military, the impact of ‘pro-disease’ activists and the genius behind the foundations for immunology.

 

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Oct 11, 2021
Jack the Ripper Retold
00:27:05

In 1888 a series of brutal killings took place in Whitechapel, London which might be the most famous unsolved murders of all time. The case and the killer attracted a worldwide media frenzy like never before and the perpetrator nicknamed Jack the Ripper has gone down in infamy. But an obsession to identify the killer both then and now has meant that the victims of these terrible crimes have been largely forgotten. Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly all met their end at the hands of this monstrous killer and their lives deserve to be remembered.


Joining Dan to try and help put the victims back at the centre of this case is Hallie Rubenhold host of the new podcast Bad Women: Ripper Retold. Hallie has worked to explore in-depth the lives of the Ripper's victims and the issues that contributed to their deaths, such as homelessness, addiction, domestic violence, and prostitution.

 

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Oct 10, 2021
Operation Jubilee: Disaster at Dieppe
00:26:55

In August 1942 the Allies launched a daring raid across the Channel to capture the port town of Dieppe and hold it for 24 hours. It ended in disaster and death with nearly two-thirds of the attackers killed, wounded or captured. In the aftermath, commanders were quick to try and justify the carnage claiming that the raid was necessary to learn lessons in advance of future large scale amphibious operations in Europe and to show the Soviets that the Western Allies were serious about opening a second front. But, as you'll hear in this podcast, this was a calamity that was all too predictable. Dan is joined by Patrick Bishop, author of Operation Jubilee - Dieppe, 1942: The Folly and the Sacrifice, to explore what went wrong during the ill-fated mission, whether any lessons were learned and the hard truth about the myths that surround Operation Jubilee.

 

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Oct 09, 2021
Gangsters, Pimps & Prostitutes: London's West End
00:26:11

London's West End attracts people from across the world to its many theatres, restaurants and famous nightlife but how did this centre of pleasure come to be? Originally on the fringe of London from its very inception, it was the playground of the rich seeking to let their hair down. Many of these entertainments were far from wholesome though with freakshows, drink, drugs and sex rife amongst its theatres, music halls and clubs. There have been many attempts to control this hedonism most of which have failed miserably and even the World War's of the Twentieth Century couldn't stop the party. In this episode, Dan is joined by London historian Stephen Hoare to explore the evolution of Piccadilly and the West End. 

 

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Oct 07, 2021
Al Qaeda
00:46:48

Their attacks of 11 September 2001 sparked a War on Terror which echoes loudly to this day, but where did Al Qaeda come from, how did their ideologies form and what role do they play in the world today? For this episode of the Warfare podcast, James spoke to Dr Afzal Ashraf, an expert in Al Qaeda's ideology and violent religious extremism. Dr Ashraf spent over 30 years in the UK Armed Forces as a senior officer and is a Senior Government Advisor. 

 

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Oct 06, 2021
Britain and the Slave Trade
00:25:24

Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Britain was a key player in the transportation of millions of enslaved Africans to the colonies. Their labour in often brutal conditions was a vital component in enriching Britain and turning it into a global superpower. The business of slavery did not just make plantation owners and other elites wealthy though, in fact, its reach touched every aspect and stratum of British society. From the money to found schools, to welsh cloth makers, publicans, chocolate makers to Sir Isaac Newton and the scientific revolution Britain truly was a slave society, even if those slaves were thousands of miles away in the Americas or the Caribbean. To explore the hidden history of slavery Dan is joined by Moya Lothian-McLean, a journalist and presenter of the fantastic Human Resources podcast which examines this issue. Moya and Dan discuss the role of slavery in British economics and society and also her very personal connection to this story as the descendent of both Black African Slaves and White slave owners or overseers.

 

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Oct 05, 2021
The Winter of Discontent
00:26:08

In the bitter winter of 1978-1979 petrol ran short, panic buying was rife, rubbish piled up in the streets and bodies went unburied as a wave of industrial action swept the UK; but what lessons might be learned as we face our own shortages of food and fuel? The disruption was in fact relatively short-lived but the Winter of Discontent has left a deep imprint on British social and political culture which we can still feel today. Historian Alwyn Turner joins the podcast to explain what caused this state of emergency, what lessons it could teach us now, its impact on the political landscape and why the 1970's weren't quite as grim as many remember.

 

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Oct 04, 2021
William Wallace
00:42:13

William Wallace is a legendary figure in Scottish history as one of the leaders of the First War of Scottish Independence. He led the Scots to a famous victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge before being defeated at the Battle of Falkirk and was eventually betrayed meeting a gruesome end in London in 1305. Dan is joined by Professor Tony Pollard for this episode to talk about one of the most famous and mythologised characters in Scottish history. They discuss the truth behind William Wallace, where he came from, his successes and failures and how he emerged as one of the key figures in the Scottish fight for freedom.

 

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Oct 03, 2021
James Holland on The Sherwood Rangers: Legendary Tank Regiment
00:39:17

Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry was one of the best tank regiments of the Second World War and was at the speartip of the British Army from the North Africa campaign to Northern Europe right up to the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. They saw an incredible amount of action as one of the first British units ashore on D-Day and were also the first British unit to fight on German soil in 1944. The regiment's story is also one of remarkable transformation reflecting the rapidly changing face of war. They started the war as a cavalry unit still mounted on chargers and ended it as the tank regiment as which they are perhaps best known. In this episode of the podcast, Dan is joined by the Legendary James Holland whose new book, Brothers in Arms: A Legendary Tank Regiment's Bloody War from D-Day to VE Day, charts the story of the regiment throughout this titanic conflict. James and Dan discuss the path of the regiment to become an armoured unit, the incredible bravery and stoicism of its men in the face of death and injury and what it was like to fight in a tank in Northern Europe during the Second World War.

 

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Oct 02, 2021
Æthelred the Unready
00:36:05

His 38 years as king make him one of the longest-ruling monarchs in English history, and yet he is remembered as unsuccessful, naive and overly harsh on his opponents. In this episode from our sibling podcast Gone Medieval, Levi Roach discusses the rule of Æthelred the Unready. Was he as much of a failure as his nickname suggests? And what does that nickname actually mean? Levi, from the University of Exeter, is the author of 'Æthelred the Unready'.  

 

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Sep 30, 2021
Bond, The Secret Service & Exporting Britain's Influence
00:24:34

James Bond is a character that has come to define a certain kind of Britishness but what, if any, role does 007 play in the real world of intelligence? Professor Christopher Andrew, the official historian of MI5, joins the podcast today and in his opinion, James Bond has been a surprisingly valuable asset to British intelligence over the last five decades. Indeed, the Bond brand has helped our security services to punch above their weight across the globe. Christopher and Dan also discuss the origins of the UK's security services, their ever-evolving role since their inception and whether Bond bears any resemblance to actual spying.

 

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Sep 29, 2021
James Bond
00:25:11

James Bond is one of the most successful films and book franchises of all time and with the arrival of a new addition to the canon it seemed the perfect time to explore the history of this iconic character. To do this Dan is joined Matt Gourley who is a James bond superfan and host of the brilliant James Bonding podcast. They explore the origins of the character, how the films offer a reflection of society during different periods, some of the more troubling aspects of the character, Dan's family links to 007 and who is the ultimate Bond.

 

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Sep 28, 2021
The Last Witches of England
00:32:36

In 1682 three women, Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles and Susannah Edwards, from the town of Bideford were tried and hanged as witches. They were convicted on flimsy evidence, including an incident where a magpie, supposedly a symbol of the devil, had spooked the wife of a local merchant. Indeed, the authorities at the time cynically allowed the trial to go ahead to avoid invoking the ire of the local population. The three women would be the last people to be executed for witchcraft in England and their deaths are an illustration of the swirling religious, political, class and social tensions of the seventeenth century. John Callow joins Dan for this episode of the podcast to tell the tale of the Bideford Witches and their fate. They discuss why accusations of witchcraft were so prevalent in this period, why women were the primary targets and what changed legally and socially in the following years that meant that these were the last women executed for witchcraft.

 

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Sep 27, 2021
Sir Ranulph Fiennes on Shackleton
00:46:27

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is possibly the most famous living explorer but he believes that the greatest ever polar explorer is Sir Ernest Shackleton. Although Shackleton's expeditions largely ended in failure and disaster his inspirational leadership, bravery and temperament have all been a key source of inspiration for Sir Ranulph during his many adventures. In this episode, Sir Ranulph joins Dan to talk about the incredible journey Shackleton and his men made to save themselves after the loss of their ship the Endurance to the Antarctic ice. Sir Ranulph also uses his similar experiences in the 'polar hell' of the antarctic to give a unique insight into Shackleton's life and work. He also guides Dan through his own life and what it takes to plan and execute a successful mission in the most extreme environment on Earth.

 

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Sep 26, 2021
Duke of Windsor: The Nazi King?
00:23:44

When Edward VIII abdicated the throne in December 1936 his desire to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson was cited as the main cause but did his sympathy with Nazi Germany also play its part? Today's guest on the podcast author Andrew Lownie believes so and he goes as far as to say that Edward was actively intriguing with the Nazis to engineer his return as king should Britain be defeated. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor had made a well-publicized trip to Nazi Germany in 1937 and even met with Hitler. During the war, Edward was appointed as Governor of the Bahamas in order to keep him as far away as possible from the European theatre and to minimize the risk of him becoming a centre for Nazi intrigue. Andrew has scoured archives across the world and brings new evidence as to how deep the Duke of Windsor's ties with the Third Reich went.

 

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Sep 25, 2021
The Rise of Hannibal
01:05:57

He was one of the greatest enemies the Romans ever faced. An excellent general and a larger-than-life figure, he led an army across the alps and dealt a series of crushing defeats upon the Romans on Italian soil. His achievements have become a thing of legend and his name has become immortalised. He was Hannibal Barca. Hannibal rests amongst antiquity's greatest generals, but how did he rise to become such a stellar commander, leading his men to incredible victories against the then dominant powerhouse in the Mediterranean? In this episode from our sibling podcast The Ancients, Dr Louis Rawlings, Dr Adrian Goldsworthy and Dr Eve MacDonald explore the impressive ascent of the Carthaginian general to the status of one of the most famous military leaders in antiquity.

 

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Sep 24, 2021
Child Survivors of the Holocaust
00:26:53

The Holocaust was perhaps the most infamous and traumatic event of the Twentieth century and it seared itself into the consciousness of the world but some survivors find themselves in the strange position of having no memory of the events which they lived through. As the years pass, our connection with the Holocaust fades with the passing of each survivor. Indeed many of the surviving witnesses to the Holocaust were children many of whom were too young to remember or understand what went on. This has often been a painful, bewildering experience and for many of these child survivors, it has led to a lifelong quest to seek understanding of and connection with the communities and family members they lost. Dr Rebecca Clifford, herself related to a childhood survivor, joins Dan to explain the research she has been conducting into the lives of childhood Holocaust survivors. She and Dan explore some of their stories, the huge impact the trauma has had on their lives, whether it's possible to find closure, Rebecca's own personal journey through this subject and how to make sense of our lives when we do not know where we come from.

 

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Sep 23, 2021
A History of Sex for Sale
00:32:12

Sometimes referred to as the world's oldest profession sex workers have been part of human society for as long as recorded history, but how have societies viewed them through the ages? In the episode, Dan is joined by Dr Kate Lister to find out how the treatment of sex workers has changed, whether the Victorians were really prudes, what you might find in a Roman brothel, fleshy thighs and how conditions for sex workers could be improved today.


Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University. Kate primarily researches the literary history of sex work and curates the online research project, Whores of Yore, an interdisciplinary digital archive for the study of historical sexuality. Her new book Harlots, Whores & Hackabouts: A History of Sex for Sale is published in October. 


Warning! This episode contains adult themes and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

 

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Sep 22, 2021
History of the Taliban
00:24:34

In August 2021 the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan for the second time capturing Kabul and ousting the American backed regime, but where do they come from and what does their return to power mean for the region? To find out more about the history of the Taliban and the impact of them re-conquering Afghanistan Dan is joined by Pakistani journalist and author Ahmed Rashid. Ahmed was the first journalist to meet the Taliban in 1994 and has spent much of his career writing about them and their rise to power. He brings his unique perspective about this much-feared group and to the podcast and explores with Dan their history, path to victory, governing style and the implications of their takeover both for the people of Afghanistan and for neighbouring countries.

 

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Sep 21, 2021
Twelve Caesars with Mary Beard
00:51:15

The title of Caesar has echoed down the ages as the pinnacle of absolute power and perhaps even tyranny. A single man at the head of a nation or empire with untouchable power. But how powerful were they really and why are they seen as an example to follow when many of the men who became Caesar met a bloody end? Dan is joined by the legendary classicist Mary Beard to explore the history of the first twelve Caesars. They discuss how these autocratic rulers have been portrayed throughout history, how the Roman Empire was really ruled and how their legacy still lives with us today.

 

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Sep 20, 2021
The Harlem Hellfighters of World War One
00:25:40

During World War One the 369th Infantry Regiment of the US Army gained a fearsome reputation. One of the most effective fighting units they spent more time in the frontline and suffered more casualties than any other American regiment. Given the nickname Men of Bronze by the French and the Hell-fighters by the Germans they were feared and respected in equal measure. The men of the 369th preferred, at the time, to be called the Black Rattlers and what set them apart from other units was that they were one of the first African-American regiments to serve with the American Expeditionary Forces. As African-Americans, these brave men were often denied the respect they deserved at home as America went through a period of intense racism and racial upheaval. In fact, it was only in August 2021 that the regiment was recognised for its extraordinary service when it was finally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Dan is joined by James Taub Public Program Specialist at The National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas to explore the history of the Harlem Hellfighters. They discuss the racism black soldiers experience in the US Army at the time, the experiences of the Hellfighters in Europe, their reputation as fearsome soldiers and the cultural impact they had in France.

 

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Sep 19, 2021
The Frontiers of Science & History with A.C. Grayling
00:26:33

A. C. Grayling is one of the foremost minds of his generation and his new book explores some of the biggest questions that face humanity. What do we know, how do we know it and what is left to find out? In this wide-ranging conversation, he and Dan attempt to tackle some of these important questions. They discuss the incredible progress humanity has made in the last century, how history informs and helps us understand our world and how much there is still to learn about our ancient past and beyond.

 

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Sep 18, 2021
Henry VIII's Break with Rome
00:30:34

King Henry VIII was deeply religious and started out as a staunch supporter of the Pope and the Roman Catholic church. But everything changed when Henry's need to produce a male successor led to his wanting to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. In this first of an occasional series of Explainer podcasts, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb offers everything you ever wanted to know about one of the most famous and far-reaching episodes in British history.

 

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Sep 17, 2021
Hunting Stolen Nazi Art
00:44:56

As the Nazi war machine rampaged across Europe it did not just take territory and resources from its conquests but also many thousands of pieces of art and other antiquities. Stolen from both galleries and individual victims of Nazi crimes allied troops discovered hidden caches of priceless artworks throughout Europe. As the war had proceeded it had been recognised that these cultural treasures needed protection from the fighting and where necessary rescuing and returning to their rightful owners. This job fell the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA) often known as "Monuments Men". Around 400 strong this team of dedicated art historians and museum staff risked their lives on the frontlines in order to save some of the world's most precious cultural heritage. 


To help tell the story of these brave men and women Dan is joined by Robert Edsel founder of the Monuments Men Foundation. Robert guides us through the formation of the MFAA, its role during and after the war and the ongoing going work by his foundation to continue their legacy and reunite works of art that remain missing with their rightful owners.


In the second half of the podcast, Dan speaks to Eric 'Randy' Schoenberg an American lawyer and genealogist, based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in legal cases related to the recovery of looted or stolen artworks, particularly those by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. Randy successfully sued the Austrian government on behalf of his client Maria Altmann and reclaiming five Gustav Klimt paintings that had been taken during the war. He talks about how he came to specialize in this aspect of the law, the case itself and the impact the return of the paintings had on both Maria's family and him. 

 

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Sep 16, 2021
The Battle of Britain
01:55:55

15 September marks Battle of Britain Day when the Luftwaffe sought a final decisive final battle over the skies of Britain with the RAF. In a day of costly fighting, nearly 60 German aircraft were shot down and over 100 aircrew lost. From this point onwards the Luftwaffe, unable to sustain such heavy casualties, would only attack at night and it became clear to German High Command that air superiority over Britain was out of reach. Two days later Hitler indefinitely postponed Operation Sealion the planned invasion of the British Isles effectively ending the invasion threat. To mark this anniversary we have gone back into our archive and dug out a very special podcast with Wing Commander Thomas Neil. Tom, who sadly passed away in 2018, was one of the few to whom so many owed so much, and he talks to Dan about his experiences in the Battle of Britain.

 

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Sep 15, 2021
The Last Hanging in Cardiff Prison
00:27:14

In September 1952 Mahmood Hussein Mattan became the last to be hanged at Cardiff Prison, but Mahmood had in fact been framed by the police and 45 years later his conviction was quashed. Mahmood had been a merchant seaman who had ended up settling in Cardiff and marrying a Welsh woman called Laura Williams. They lived in the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff and had three children but in 1950 had separated. Mahmood had had a number of encounters with the police and had committed some minor offences such as small thefts. His vocal distrust of the police had made him unpopular with the local force though and when Lily Volpert, a Cardiff shopkeeper, was found murdered and her shop robbed they quickly turned to Mahmood. Despite a lack of any firm evidence linking him to the crime, he became the prime suspect. Poorly represented in court and facing a hostile jury he was convicted in July 1952 and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried out three months later, but the case never truly went away. His family kept the fight alive for 45 years until 1998 when his case was the first to be reviewed by the newly created Criminal Cases Review Commission. His conviction was quickly quashed and his families fight for justice was finally over.


To discuss Mahmood's case author Nadifa Mohamed joins Dan for this episode of the podcast. Her novel The Fortune Men, which has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, is based on the case and she immersed herself in the case, Mahmoud's life and the history of Cardiff's multicultural Tiger Bay area to bring this story of injustice to life.

 

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Sep 14, 2021
Viking Legend: Ragnar Lothbrok
00:24:03

Ragnor Lothbrook is a legendary Viking figure who straddled the line between myth and reality. His adventures and deeds appear in the Viking sagas, but there is little hard evidence for his existence and according to the different sagas he dies on multiple different occasions and in a variety of grisly ways. His sons including Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Björn Ironside, Ubbe and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye are undoubtedly real historical figures and themselves lived extraordinary lives. Was Ragnar really their father though or were these men trying to harness the power of legend by claiming descent from this great figure? To help explore that question Dan is joined by historian and author Justin Pollard. Amongst many other exciting projects, Justin was the historical advisor on the hit show Vikings which brought the story of Ragnar Lothbrok into the popular consciousness. Just and Dan discuss what evidence there is for the existence of Ragnar Lothbrok, the lives of his sons and how he goes about creating historical drama.

 

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Sep 13, 2021
9/11: The Legacy
00:29:30

The tragic events of 9/11 left thousands dead and injured and the impact of that loss is still being felt twenty years later by the families. It was also a day of extraordinary escapes as thousands more fled the twin towers after the planes hit. In this podcast, we both remember those people who died and also hear an extraordinary story of survival. 


Dan is first joined by Jonathan Egan who lost his father, Michael, and aunt, Christine, during the attacks on 9/11. Whilst Jonathan is a New Yorker his father and aunt were from Hull, England. Michael and Christine were on the 100th floor of the South Tower when the plane struck and as his aunt attempted to escape his father made one last phone call home to say goodbye to his family. Jonathan tells Dan about his memories of that terrible day, how he dealt with his loss and the impact it has had on him and his family.


Secondly, in an extract from our sibling podcast, Warfare Joe Dittmar shares with James his story of surviving 9/11. On the morning of 11 September 2001, he was in a meeting on the 105th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the plane struck. He was one of the only people to escape the tower from above the point of impact after locating the only remaining intact stairwell. Listen to the full interview with Joe here.

 

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Sep 12, 2021
9/11: The Fire Commissioner at Ground Zero
00:29:48

On the morning of September 11th, 2001 terrorists flew planes into both the World Trade Centre towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington with a further plane crashing in Pennsylvania as the passengers onboard attempted to wrest control of the aircraft from the hijackers. This atrocity utterly changed the world leaving thousands dead and injured and launched the War on Terror. 


Many people can remember where they were on that fateful day and for some, it was on the frontline of the attack. Thomas Von Essen was one of those people. A career firefighter in September 2001 he was the commissioner for the New York Fire Department. As commissioner, He played a key role in helping the city's fire chiefs attempt to coordinate their response to the planes hitting the towers. Although thousands sadly perished that day, thousands more were rescued by the selfless heroism of New York's firefighters and emergency services personnel. But, many of those emergency responders paid the ultimate price for their bravery. Tom and Dan speak about his memories of that morning, the pain of losing so many friends and colleagues, the pride he has in the commitment shown by his men and how some have turned the legacy of 9/11 into a cause for good.

 

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Sep 11, 2021
The Blitz: An Alternative History
00:45:35

Between September 1940 and May 1941, the German Luftwaffe relentlessly pounded British cities with bombs in an attempt to force the British to surrender. Ultimately whilst killing thousands and causing extensive damage the bombing offensive failed. The morale of the British public was largely undimmed and war production was never seriously impacted. The Blitz has become a key part of the British national psyche with many celebrating the 'Blitz spirit' with people coming together and helping one another during the crisis. But, as with much of history, the reality was much messier and complex. Spivs and looters profited from the chaos, people explored new ideas and sexualities, and there were new opportunities for women. In this interview taken from our archive, Joshua Levine author of The Secret History of the Blitz discusses the myths and realities of the Blitz and the social and political changes it brought about.

 

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Sep 10, 2021
America's Secret President
00:23:57

In October 1919 President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke leaving him paralyzed and partially blind. In the face of this crisis of leadership the First Lady, Edith Wilson stepped in to conceal the extent of his illness. Edith acted as his gatekeeper deciding whom Woodrow Wilson saw, what material he read and even taking decisions on his behalf and firing people. Her influence was so great that some people have described her as America’s secret first female President.


To help tell Edith's story and explore why she did what she did Dan is joined by Gonzalo Cordova and Travis Helwig. Gonzalo and Travis are the writers of the fantastic new narrative podcast Edith! from Crooked Media and QCODE. They discuss how they came to write the show, having to blur the lines between fact and fiction, the many intrigues that surrounded Edith Wilson and whether she really was the first female President. 

 

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Sep 09, 2021
Trident: Does the Nuclear Deterrent Work?
00:52:45

With the release of the nuclear submarine TV series, Vigil, Dr Nick Ritchie, Senior Lecturer at the University of York and the UK’s leading expert on Trident, joins James for this episode of our sibling podcast Warfare. Nick gives us a step-by-step history on the multilayered missile system, which is said to act as deterrence. Earlier this year, Boris Johnson’s government agreed to increase the amount of nuclear weapons in the UK by around 40%, and it’s still unknown where the warheads would be stored if Scotland secure a second referendum and vote to leave the union. Hear why the UK first got nuclear weapons, whether they actually work as a deterrence, and find out the many challenges which lie ahead.


Nick’s book, A Nuclear Weapons-Free World?: Britain, Trident and the Challenges Ahead, is available now.

 

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Sep 08, 2021
The Normans
00:21:32

The Norman conquest of England in 1066 was one of the great milestones of English history but there were in fact many Norman invasions and their influence reached from Northern Europe through the Mediterranean and into the Middle East and North Africa. They were a phenomenon emerging in the tenth century but had disappeared by the middle of the thirteenth century. In the brief period though their influence was massive creating new kingdoms, re-shaping societies and leaving behind impressive architectural, linguistic and cultural influences. In this episode, Dan speaks to historian Trevor Rowley author of The Normans: The Conquest of Christendom about their origins, how and why they spread so far, what their legacy is and why their influence was so short-lived.

 

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Sep 07, 2021
A New History of the Middle Ages with Dan Jones
00:36:08

Do the 21st Century and the Middle Ages really share that much in common? Climate change, pandemics, technological disruption, interconnected global trade and networks may all seem like modern phenomena but according to historian and author Dan Jones, they were very part of the Middles Ages as well. Examining a millennium of history Dan Jones guides History Hit's Dan Snow through a re-examination of the Middle Ages challenging the Eurocentric view of the period and questioning whether historians and history can ever be truly objective.

 

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Sep 06, 2021
Winston Churchill: From Failures to Finest Hour
00:30:34

Churchill is one of the great figures of history and this totemic figure is often cited as one of the greatest British figures of all time. However, whilst his achievement during the dark days of the Second World War is unquestionable, much of the rest of his career had much more to do with failure than success. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, journalist and author of Churchill's Shadow: An Astonishing Life and a Dangerous Legacy, joins Dan for this episode of the podcast. They discuss Geoffrey's radical reappraisal of Churchill's life and work and the myth that continues to shape our view of one of the most complex figures of the 20th Century.

 

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Sep 05, 2021
The Unheard Tapes of Bomber Command
00:37:58

Over 55,500 men died flying with Bomber Command during World War Two; more than the number who serve in the Royal Air Force today. Flying at night over occupied Europe and battling German night fighters, anti-aircraft fire and mid-air collisions, they showed astonishing courage and resilience in the face of what often seemed to be insurmountable odds. On 25 July 1943, Flight Lieutenant Stevens flew in one of the deadliest bombing raids on Essen. The moment he returned home, he made a recording of himself reliving the events of that night. Here, for the first time, we bring together the voice of the 21-year-old and his present-day 96-year-old self, conversing across the years. With original recordings interwoven with a fascinating interview, Dan presents a vivid insight into the life and bravery of this remarkable man and the extraordinary men he flew with.

 

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Sep 04, 2021
The Start of WWII
00:53:11

On September 1 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland followed two days later by France and the United Kingdom declaring war on Germany and beginning the Second World War. This was the opening act in what would be the most devastating clash in human history. By its end Europe and much of Asia lay in ruins, tens of millions of people had been killed, wounded or displaced and the world order had been irrevocably altered. But, how did it start? In this episode, Dan delivers one of his monologues on how and why the Second World War came about. He examines both the immediate triggers and the big substructural forces that impelled humanity into another devastating conflict that continues to shape our world today.

 

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Sep 03, 2021
Digging Medieval Battlefields
00:41:05

How different is battlefield archaeology compared to other disciplines? Do local legends ever help track down evidence in a field? And why are potato fields in particular sometimes problematic for archaeologists? In this episode of History Hit's Gone Medieval podcast Sam Wilson, a specialist in battlefield and conflict archaeology, joins Matt Lewis to talk through his specialist work and explain more about some of his incredible discoveries.

 

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Sep 02, 2021
Are Mandatory Vaccines New?
00:21:22

Vaccines have become a subject of great controversy in recent months but the requirement to have them is far from new. Almost since the earliest examples of inoculation and vaccination, they have been a requirement for different parts of society. Dan is joined by Dr Lindsay Chervinsky, a historian of Early America, the presidency, and the government to explore how vaccinations have been used throughout the history of the United States. From George Washington inoculating the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, through the 1905 Supreme Court ruling mandating vaccines in the interest of public health and right up to the controversies of the modern-day.  

 

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Sep 01, 2021
John Simpson: Six Decades of Warzones
00:28:02

Over six decades John Simpson has been on the frontline of reporting bringing news from some of the most dangerous places on the planet to the television screens of millions of people. His work has opened the public's eyes to the terrible cost of conflict across the globe. Along the way, John has been arrested, harassed, beaten up, threatened and nearly killed on a number of occasions. He joins Dan on this podcast to talk about his life, his career, the therapy of writing, why he keeps working and how his new novel Our Friends in Beijing has been inspired by his experiences reporting in China.

 

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Aug 31, 2021
The Secret History of the SBS
00:40:05

The SBS was formed out of the Commandos during the Second World War to help counter Nazi domination of Europe. This small unit made up of regulars as well as maverick volunteers took on some of the most dangerous missions of the Second World War. Most famously Operation Frankton, where a small team who became known as the 'Cockleshell Heroes' attacked Axis shipping in Bordeaux harbour. But perhaps their biggest contribution to the war effort came in the run-up to D-Day where SBS reconnoitred the landing beaches in Normandy bringing back vital information that helped shape Operation Overlord and undoubtedly save many lives. 


Saul David is the author of SBS - Silent Warriors: The Authorised Wartime History and had exclusive access to the SBS archives. He talks to Dan about how the unit came into operation, the oversized role they played in the war effort and the audacious missions the men of the SBS undertook during the war.

 

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Aug 30, 2021
Britain's Economy: How We Got Here
00:31:33

The industrial revolution began in Britain and became one of the most extraordinary economic miracles in human history but the next two centuries have seen many booms and busts and have been more to do with improvisation than planning. But, how should we think about Britain's economy, how did we get to where we are today and is Britain an overachiever or underachiever economically? 


To help answer these questions and drill down into details of our economic history Dan is joined by Duncan Weldon. Duncan is economics correspondent of the Economist and has recently published his new book Two Hundred Years of Muddling Through: The surprising story of Britain's economy from boom to bust and back again.

 

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Aug 29, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr
00:34:27

On 28 August 1963 Martin Luther King Jr delivered his 'I have a dream' speech stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people. The speech and King's life have been an inspiration to millions of people both in the United States and around the world in the fight for civil rights and equality. In this episode of the podcast, Dan is joined by Charles Woods, III, from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. They discuss Martin Luther King's life, struggles, successes and the enduring power of the words he delivered that day.

 

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Aug 28, 2021
The Invasion of Poland in World War Two
00:39:44

In this episode from the archive, Roger Moorhouse discusses the Polish campaign of 1939 comprehensively, separating the myths from reality and outlining the abject horrors that the Poles suffered under the twin occupation of the Nazis and the Soviets. 

 

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Aug 27, 2021
The Shortest War in History
00:23:48

On 27 August 1896, the British Empire went to war with the Zanzibar Sultanate for approximately 38 minutes! It is the shortest war in history. It came about after the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and his replacement by Sultan Khalid bin Barghash who favoured German interests in the region. With the commencement of hostilities, British warships bombarded the Sultan's palace cause extensive damage and over 500 casualties. Despite its brevity, the conflict is important as it marked the beginning of a major shift in the power dynamic between the industrialized West and the soon to be colonized world. To set the Anglo-Zanzibar war in its proper context Dan is joined by Dr Erik Gilbert from Arkansas State University. Erik explains what happened in those fateful minutes at the end of the nineteenth century, the importance of technology in the conflict and how it signalled the start of the Scramble for Africa. 

 

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Aug 26, 2021
WW2: The Great Imperial War
00:28:15

Most consider the Second World War to have been fought between 1939-1945 but, as you'll hear in this podcast, Richard Overy believes that the conflict was much broader than this. The Second World War was in fact the last gasp of global imperialism with Italy, Germany and Japan all seeking to build new empires through violent military means and at a terrible cost to the world. The defeat of the Axis powers in 1945 left the world in ruins and saw the end of territorial empires and marked a new era in global power. Rochard brings a new and fascinating approach to the context of the Second World War.

 

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Aug 25, 2021
Ancient Afghanistan: The Land of a Thousand Cities
00:50:40

Stretched along the north of the Hindu Kush mountain range and the south of the Oxus river, the history of the ancient region of Bactria envelops some of the most intriguing periods of the ancient world. The land, which now straddles parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, can be tracked through the Bronze Ages, the Persian Empire and the rule of Alexander the Great, Greco-Bactrian rule and the rule of the Kushites. To guide us through this history, Tristan from our sibling podcast The Ancients spoke to David Adams, the Australian photojournalist and documentary filmmaker. David has personally explored many of the archaeological sites of Bactria, he shares his experiences and explains how the evidence shows the impact of climate change on the societies who lived there.

 

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Aug 24, 2021
The Fall of the Soviet Union
00:29:12

In August 1991 there was an attempted coup in the Soviet Union as communist hard-liners sought to re-establish the dominance of Soviet rule in Russia and its satellite states. The coup attempt collapsed after three days and it eventually led to the collapse of communism. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary on 24 August and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR suspended the activities of the party on 29 August. Following this, later former soviet states declared their independence which has radically reshaped the world in the decades since. To help understand the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences Dan is joined by historian and holocaust survivor Peter Kenez. 

 

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Aug 23, 2021
National Security in Trump's White House
00:35:31

H. R. McMaster is both a soldier and a scholar and has served at the highest level in government as National Security Advisor to President Trump. He served in the US Army for more than 30 years achieving the rank of lieutenant general, he saw combat during the first Gulf War and later was a counterinsurgency advisor to General David Petraeus. He has a PhD from the University of North Carolina and examining the failures of leadership during the Vietnam War and he is now a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joins Dan on today's podcast to bring his experience and knowledge from decades of public service to bear on some of the most challenging questions of our age. He and Dan discuss the failures of the Vietnam and Afghan wars, how to fight a successful insurgency campaign, the meaning of leadership and what it was like to work for Donald Trump. 

 

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Aug 22, 2021
The Witches of Lorraine
00:42:10

Between 1570 and 1630, there was intense persecution and thousands of executions of suspected witches in Lorraine, a small duchy on the borders of France and the Holy Roman Empire. In some cases, suspicious citizens waited decades to report their neighbours as witches. But why did they take so long to use the law to eliminate the supposedly dangerous figures who lived amongst them?


Robin Briggs - Emeritus Fellow at All Souls College Oxford - has delved into perhaps the richest surviving archive of witchcraft trials to be found in Europe. In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, he talks to Professor Suzannah Lipscomb about his conclusion that witchcraft was actually perceived as having strong therapeutic possibilities: once a person was identified as the cause of a sickness, they could be induced to take it off again. 

 

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Aug 21, 2021
80th Anniversary of the First Arctic Convoy
00:26:31

As the Soviet Union reeled from the shock of the German invasion in 1941 it asked for aid from Britain and its allies and the arctic convoys was a key part of the response. Desperate to keep the Soviets in the war and fighting the Nazi war machine Winston Churchill agreed to deliver massive amounts of material aid. Massive naval and merchant fleet operations carried material through the frigid waters north of Norway from Britain to Murmansk. This was an extremely perilous journey though and one that Churchill described as “the worst in the world”. The weather was frequently abysmal with ships covered in ice or totally exposed by the midnight sun, the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine had almost constant access to the convoy route and some of Germany's most powerful surface units, as well as submarines, lay in wait for the convoys. But, despite the difficulties and setbacks, the bravery of the merchantmen and their naval counterparts enabled many millions of tonnes of vital war supplies to be delivered to the Soviet Union and help keep its war effort alive. Dan is joined by Nick Hewitt, Head of Collections and Research at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, to remember the vital work of the Arctic Convoys.

 

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Aug 20, 2021
What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?
00:25:54

History is vital for contextualising current events but as Professor Paul Miller argues in today's episode of the podcast it cannot tell us all we need to know about the present especially in the case of Afghanistan. Professor Miller has dedicated much of his working life to Afghanistan. He is an Afghan veteran, he worked for the CIA as an intelligence analyst and served on the National Security Committee for both President Bush and President Obama. He is currently Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He brings Dan up to speed on events in Afghanistan, why the country fell to the Taliban so quickly, why historical comparisons are not always as useful as they first seem and how a very different outcome might have been achieved.

 

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Aug 19, 2021
Afghanistan: History Repeating Itself?
00:29:14

The collapse of the Afghan army and government and takeover by the Taliban has evoked many historical comparisons, but how valid are they? To find out Dan is joined by author, historian and friend of the podcast William Dalrymple to delve into the deeper history of Afghanistan. In particular, William and Dan discuss the First Afghan War which ended in one of the great catastrophes of British imperial history. In early 1842 a British force was slaughtered or died of exposure as they attempted to retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. This defeat for the British remains a powerful symbol in Afghanistan even today. William explains what happened that terrible winter and how the events of Afghanistan's colonial past still influence its people and politics.

 

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Aug 18, 2021
The Rise of Oliver Cromwell
00:29:05

Oliver Cromwell is the only English commoner to become head of state and is one of the most remarkable and controversial figures in history. Energised by his Puritan beliefs he came to dominate the movement to remove Charles I and would come to be Lord Protector ruling the British Isles from 1653 until his death in 1658. As a military commander, he was a natural leader but also absolutely ruthless. Without formal military training before the Civil War, became arguably the best cavalry commander of his generation. His conquest and pacification of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, in particular, was brutal and remains controversial. Professor Ronald Hutton from Bristol University is Dan's guest on today's episode of the podcast. Ronald has recently published The Making of Oliver Cromwell making him the perfect person to give us an insight into this complicated and impressive figure.

 

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Aug 17, 2021
Bonnie Prince Charlie
00:47:00

In August 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie led a rebellion that brought the Jacobite cause closer to seizing the throne than almost any other. He had landed with only a handful of his most trusted supporters but a mixture of gold, charisma and old loyalties soon brought a large number of followers to his side as they attempted to overthrow the British crown. The rebellion grew in momentum with early successes on the battlefield and marched south reaching as far as Derby before turning back north. However, the noose around the Bonny Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebels was tightening and in April 1746 they were decisively defeated by superior British forces at the Battle of Culloden. Guiding Dan through the 1745 uprising is Professor Murray Pittock from the University of Glasgow. Murray provides a comprehensive overview of what the Jacobites wanted, the events of the revolt and the fate of its leader Bonnie Prince Charlie.

 

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Aug 16, 2021
The Jewish Commandos Who Helped Defeat the Nazis
00:23:36

During the Second World War, a special commando unit was formed in Britain from Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and other parts of occupied Europe. Many of the men who joined this unit had lost their families, their homes and, as you'll hear, had relatives imprisoned in concentration camps. Trained in advanced combat and counterintelligence they fought with a special zeal often volunteering for the most dangerous assignments. The risks these men took was enormous. If they were captured by the Nazis and had their true identities been discovered then their fate would certainly have been death. Leah Garrett is a professor at Hunter College and has recently published X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos Who Helped Defeat the Nazis. She explains how this unusual unit came to be formed, the often oversized impact they had on the battlefield and some of the incredible individual stories of heroism of the men of X Troop.

 

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Aug 15, 2021
The Fall of the Aztec Empire
00:42:45

In August 1521 after a last stand on the steps of their temple buildings, the Aztec defenders of Tenochtitlan surrendered to the Spanish forces of Hernán Cortés and his Mesoamerican allies. In the aftermath of the battle, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was sacked. The Aztec empire was a large and sophisticated one stretching at its height from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico. To talk about the fall of the Aztec Empire Dan is joined by Matthew Restall Director of Latin American Studies at Penn State University. Matthew has written extensively about the Spanish conquest of south and Central America. In this fascinating interview, he challenges some of the commonly held views on how Cortés was able to achieve this feat, how the fall of Tenochtitlan was not the end of the war and the myth of Spanish superiority.

 

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Aug 14, 2021
Escaping the Berlin Wall
00:27:49

There were many attempts to escape over and under the Berlin Wall but Tunnel 29 was highly unusual for tunnelling into East Berlin rather than out to the West. Led by Joachim Rudolph, who had himself escaped to West Berlin in 1961, a group of students and refugees tunnelled into the eastern half of the city in an attempt to rescue friends and relatives. This was an extremely perilous mission with the risk of death ever present from the tunnel collapsing or the Stasi discovering their work. Even more bizarrely the whole endeavour was funded and documented by an American film crew as NBC bidding to win the ratings war back in the USA. To tell this heroic tale Dan is joined by broadcast journalist Helena Merriman. Helen presented and produced Tunnel 29 for the BBC and has written a book, Tunnel 29: The True Story of an Extraordinary Escape Beneath the Berlin Wall, all about this incredible escape.

 

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Aug 13, 2021
Gallipoli: What Led to Britain's WW1 Disaster?
00:53:51

What does the price of wheat and global food supplies have to do with one of the greatest disasters in the history of warfare? Why was the decision made to send thousands of Allied troops in an attempt to free up the most heavily defended waterway in the world, the Dardanelles Straits? Historian and award-winning author Nicholas A Lambert joins James from our sibling podcast Warfare to talk us through the lead-up to Britain’s worst defeat in World War One, the catastrophic Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Find out why Prime Minister Henry Asquith and his senior advisers ordered the attacks in the first place and the failed operation’s legacy. Nicholas’ book, The War Lords and The Gallipoli Disaster, is available now.

 

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Aug 12, 2021
England's Great Viking Battle
00:25:03

On 11 August 991 one of the most important anglo-Viking battles took place near Maldon in Essex. This clash was immortalised in one of the finest examples of early English poetry that tells the story of a heroic defeat in the face of the ferocious Viking invaders. To remember both the battle itself and the poem Dan is joined by Professor Levi Roach from the University of Exeter. They discuss what led to the battle, the tactics used by both sides, why the Vikings won, the consequences of the English defeat and why we should probably take the heroic tales told in the poem with a pinch of salt!

 

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Aug 11, 2021
Royal Mistresses
00:42:01

The role of the royal mistress may, on the face of it, seem a simple position but in reality, there was a lot more to being a royal mistress than it might seem. Throughout the courts of Europe, the role of the royal mistress was often a semi formalised one and gave these women extraordinary influence and power. Joining Dan to discuss the importance of the mistress is Dr Linda Kiernan Knowles Adjunct Assistant Professor in History at Trinity College Dublin. They look particularly at the courts of Charles II and Louis XIV and how their respective mistresses controlled access to power, took part in political intrigue and caused great controversy both inside and outside of court.

 

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Aug 10, 2021
The Bombing of Nagasaki
00:23:39

The second atomic strike on the city of Nagasaki is less well known than the one a few days earlier on Hiroshima, but was it more influential in forcing the Japanese to surrender? To find out who exactly ordered it and why Dan talked to Harvard's Frederik Logevall. He discusses the debates that rage between historians as to whether Nagasaki was necessary and how much pressure there was for a third bomb. On the anniversary of the strike, it is a conversation with powerful contemporary echoes.

 

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Aug 09, 2021
The Ultimate Cold War Spy Story
00:53:21

A Soviet double agent at the top of his game, a deadly game of cat and mouse with the KGB and one of the most daring escapes of the Cold War from the very heart of Moscow. In this archive episode, Dan talks to author Ben Macintyre about the life of Oleg Gordievsky and what might be the ultimate Cold War Spy story. Appalled by the brutality of the Soviet regime Gordievsky was recruited by MI6 whilst stationed in Copenhagen during the 1970s. For more than ten years he fed precious secrets to western intelligence agencies whilst rising up the ranks of the KGB eventually become the London station chief. Having been suddenly recalled to Moscow and following his drugging and interrogation it was time for Gordievsky to escape and so operation Operation Pimlico was launched.

 

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Aug 07, 2021
The Origins of English
00:38:34

Approximately 1.35 billion people use it, either as a first or second language, so English and the way that we speak it has a daily impact on huge numbers of people. But how did the English language develop? In this episode from our sibling podcast Gone Medieval, Cat Jarman spoke to Eleanor Rye, an Associate Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of York. Using the present-day language, place names and dialects as evidence, Ellie shows us how English was impacted by a series of migrations.  

 

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Aug 07, 2021
The Birth of the Internet
00:29:20

In the last 30 years, the internet has utterly changed the world in which we live and is now as vital as electricity in our daily lives. August 6, 1991, is the date given when the first website went live. Published by Tim Berners Lee at CERN it was a moment that would change the world but, as you'll hear in this podcast, that date is in fact not true. To explain what really happened and explore the history of the world wide web, how it works and the vitally important geopolitical issues that surround it Dan is joined by Dame Wendy Hall. Wendy is Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and has recently published Four Internets: Data, Geopolitics, and the Governance of Cyberspace. Wendy was very much involved in the 1990s as the web was being created and knows the pioneers who launched this groundbreaking technology so is the perfect guest to help remember the birth of the internet.

 

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Aug 06, 2021
Canada Confronts Its Past
00:29:43

The discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former Canadian residential schools have has led to a crisis of identity for the country as it comes to terms with the trauma of the past. For many, these discoveries fit into a pattern of discrimination and demographic replacement with the arrival of European settlers which could be described as genocide. In this episode, Dan speaks to Tracey Bear and Jim Miller about what happened to the indigenous people of Canada at the schools and what this means for modern Canadians if their country is, in fact, the product of Genocide?


Tracy Bear Nehiyaw iskwêw is a Cree woman from Montreal Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan and the Director of the Indigenous Women’s Resilience Project. She is one of the key authors of Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. You can learn more about the course here.


Jim Miller is a historian at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Miller is a nationally recognized historian who has studied the relationship between Canada's indigenous population and colonial settlers for decades including on the subjects of residential schools, so-called Indian treaties and law as it pertains to the indigenous people of Canada.

 

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Aug 05, 2021
How WWI Began
00:46:10

On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany and entered the First World War. This was a conflict of unparalleled savagery with industrialized slaughter on a scale that the world had never seen before. To commemorate this important anniversary Dan guides us through what led Europe and the world to choose war in 1914. He explores some of the many different reasons for war from the miscalculations and misguided beliefs of European leaders to the structural causes such as the role of capitalism and imperialism that helped bring about the conflict. As well as unpacking the causes of the war he also looks at its consequences which we are still living with today.  

 

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Aug 04, 2021
Britain's Forgotten Olympic Heroes
00:39:48

The Olympics are a sporting event like no other and in this episode, we celebrate two great British Olympians of the past Anita Neil and Hugh 'Jumbo' Edwards. These are two very different athletes from completely different backgrounds, but each highlights the Olympic spirit at its finest. 


Firstly, Dan speaks to a British Olympic pioneer Anita Neil who was the first black woman to represent Great Britain at the games. Anita was an extraordinary sprinter who represented Great Britain at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and the 1972 games in Munich. Anita and Dan discuss he journey to the Olympics, her experiences there and the struggles she faced trying to compete at the highest level.


Then Dan speaks to Gavin Jamieson about the extraordinary life of Hugh 'Jumbo' Edwards. A legend in the sport of rowing he competed in the Oxford Cambridge boat race, won three races at the Henley Regatta and then went on to the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932 where he won two Olympic gold medals in the space of an hour; a record that stills stands today. During the Second World War, he joined the RAF and was a decorated pilot in Bomber Command and later in life became an innovative rowing coach.


Listen to our recent episode examing the history of the Olympics with Professor Martin Polley here

 

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Aug 03, 2021
The Fall and Rise of India's Royal Families
00:26:58

One aspect of India's independence that is often overlooked is the role of India's princely states; the Maharajas. During the Raj, these states had been semi-autonomous and not actually part of the British Empire. They did however rule with the permission of the British Government and were really puppet sovereign figures. However, when India got its independence after the Second World War these state's became a problem that had to be resolved for the new Indian state. 


John Zubrzycki, author of The House of Jaipur: The Inside Story of India's Most Glamorous Royal Family, is an expert on what happened to these royal families. He joins the podcast today to explain the structure of these royal states, their relationships with each other and how they were brought into the republic of India sometimes using force. In particular, he tells the story of the Royal House of Jaipur and Maharaja Man Singh II and his wife Maharani Gayatri Devi who was India’s mid-century golden couple rubbing shoulders with the Windsor's and the Kennedy's. This is a story of the end of empire, political fights, wealth, fashion and celebrity. 

 

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Aug 02, 2021
The Spanish Armada
00:52:45

In 1588 the English Navy defeated one of the greatest fleets ever assembled; the Spanish Armada. A week of running battles in the English Channel culminated in a major clash off the coast of the town of Gravelines (now in France) where the English used fire ships to score a crushing naval victory against the Spanish fleet. This is one of the most famous naval clashes in history but how was the Armada beaten? 


Dan tells the story of this titanic naval clash where superior English seamanship, new ship designs and new ideas about fighting at sea paved the way for victory. He also explores the misconceptions about the role the weather played in the fighting; and whether in fact, it benefitted the Spanish possibly preventing an even greater disaster for them. Victory over the Armada became a founding myth of the Royal Navy and would inspire seafarers, naval commanders and political leaders for generations to come.


Earlier this week Alexander Samson joined the podcast for the first of two podcasts about the armada and the relationship between England and Spain. You can listen to that episode here.

 

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Aug 01, 2021
Decoding the Roman Dead
00:44:44

Often known as ‘Britain’s first town’, Colchester is a city rich in ancient history and on 24 July 2021, a new exhibition will open at the Colchester Museum revealing more about some of its earliest Roman occupants. Called ‘Decoding the Roman Dead’, the exhibition focuses on cremations found in the area around Colchester dating to almost 2,000 years ago. Thanks to new scientific methods, the team have been able to analyse these burnt remains and find out some astonishing details about who these people were. From gender to pathology to where in the Roman Empire these people came from. To talk all about the new exhibition, and to shine a light on the wealth of information archaeologists can learn from ancient cremations, Tristan from our Sibling podcast The Ancients chatted to Dr Carolina Lima and Dr Glynn Davis. Carolina and Glynn are two of the curators of the exhibition.


To find out more, visit their website: https://colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/dtrd/

 

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Jul 31, 2021
Liverpool's Historic Docks
00:24:59

Just 17 years after Liverpool’s historic waterfront was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city was stripped of its prestigious status.

The UN's heritage body said it made the decision because of “irreversible” damage to the city’s cultural value after years of development, including a planned £500m stadium for Everton football club. Historian and Liverpool local, Mike Royden, joins Dan on the podcast to talk us through the history of the city and its iconic waterfront, with its collection of quays, warehouses and grand shipping institutions built in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. They discuss how Liverpool grew to be one of the England’s busiest and richest ports, the affects of the Blitz, and what the future may look like for the area.

 

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Jul 30, 2021
England and Spain's Battle for Global Supremacy
00:35:20

This week in 1588 the Spanish Armada fought running battles in the Channel with the English Navy. It was sent by King Phillip of Spain who ruled half the world to crush Elizabeth Tudor the woman who ruled half an Island but would end in defeat and disaster for the Spanish. The background to this conflict was the growing Anglo-Spanish rivalry that had sprung up ever since the discovery of the New World and the English desire to obtain a slice of the huge wealth, power and influence that could be gained there. The reformation also played its part in pitting protestant England against Spain's Catholics. In the first of two programmes to remember the Armada Dan is joined by Alexander Samson who is a Reader in Early Modern Studies at University College London and has a special interest in Spanish history. Alexander and Dan discuss how this rivalry between England and Spain developed, how the two countries have a centuries-old trading connection, and why the Spanish Armada was far from the only armada!

 

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Jul 29, 2021
The Real Thomas Cromwell
00:26:03

On this day in 1540, Thomas Cromwell was executed. On the same day Henry VIII married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. To mark the anniversary we've found an episode from the archives with author, historian and curator at Historic Royal Palaces, Tracy Borman.

Cromwell was a man who rose to be the most powerful member of Henry VIII's court, his Lord Privy Seal, Principal Secretary and Chancellor. He was a driving force behind the English Reformation and constitutional changes that emphasised the centrality of Parliament, but his current mighty reputation depends on the fictional trilogy of the genius novelist Hilary Mantel. In this episode, hear Dan and Tracy discuss the real Thomas Cromwell.

Tracy's book, Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant, is available now.

 

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Jul 28, 2021
The Fight to Save Archaeology
00:26:16

Archaeology is not just about digging, it’s about understanding the human experience of existence. 

In the space of a few weeks there have been many sad developments in archaeology in the UK. Sheffield University announced the closure of its world-renowned archaeology department, shortly before Liverpool’s waterfront was stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage status, which preceded the news that Stonehenge is also at risk. In this episode, Dan is joining the fight to save archaeology. He chats with TV presenter, archaeological scientist and lecturer at Newcastle University, Chloe Duckworth and Executive Director of the Council for British Archaeology, Neil Redfern, about the importance of the discipline. They discuss why archaeology matters, why it’s a good subject to study, and, in a world facing issues like a global pandemic and climate change, why put funding into digging up the past?


For more information on how you can campaign to save archaeology in the UK, head to: www.dig4arch.co.uk

 

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Jul 27, 2021
Pathfinders: Bomber Command's Elite
00:27:00

The Pathfinders were ordinary men and women who transformed the efficiency of the Allies' air campaign over mainland Europe and helped deliver victory over Nazi Germany. Journalist and bestselling author Will Iredale joins Dan on the podcast to tell the incredible story of the team who transformed RAF Bomber Command. Find out how the air force was created, how bombing accuracy was improved, and how Pathfinders put their lives at risk to carry out the raids.

Will’s book, The Pathfinders: The Elite RAF Force that Turned the Tide of WWII, is out now and includes exclusive interviews with remaining survivors, personal diaries, previously classified records and never-before seen photographs.

 

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Jul 26, 2021
What is Going on With Democracy?
00:43:25

Democracy is in crisis around the world. Dr Robert Saunders, from Queen Mary University of London, is back on the podcast to discuss why it is under threat. From the changing media landscape, to technological advances and questionable electoral systems, hear why we are facing this global shift and what the future may hold. Are authoritarian regimes dealing with the world’s problems better? How have politicians changed over the years? And how do we refresh our democracies? Robert is currently researching a new history of democracy in Britain.

 

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Jul 25, 2021
The Woman Who Flew Spitfires in WW2
00:36:32

Mary Ellis was a pioneering and courageous aviator who flew hundreds of fighters and bombers to Britain’s frontline airfields. She was one of the first women to fly Spitfires, heavy bombers and jet aircraft, blazing a trail for female pilots with her passion and skill. Mary sadly passed away aged 101 on this day three years ago, a short time after this interview with Dan was recorded. Hear Mary reminisce on the incredible feats she undertook as a spitfire pilot during World War Two in this fascinating interview from the History Hit archives.

 

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Jul 24, 2021
The Olympic Games
00:34:24

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are finally here, after being delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Ancient Greece to when it was reborn in 1896, the tournament has nearly 3,000 years of history. Sports historian, Professor Martin Polley from De Monfort University, joins Dan on the podcast to tell the, sometimes surprising, story of the competition. How did it become the international sporting event it is today? How have the games affected global politics and diplomacy? And how is Shakespeare connected to its history?

 

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Jul 23, 2021
Rival Queens: Elizabeth I and Catherine de' Medici
00:45:50

The relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de' Medici - the two most powerful Queens of their time - is one of the most intriguing and captivating stories of the 16th century. 


In this edition of our sibling podcast Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Estelle Paranque about her new book Blood, Fire and Gold, which explores how these two formidable women wielded and negotiated power, and were united only in their dislike of Mary, Queen of Scots.

 

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Jul 22, 2021
The Rise of Stalin
00:29:51

How did a young boy from Georgia become a merciless politician who shaped the Soviet Empire in his own brutal image? Historian and bestselling author, Simon Sebag Montifiore, is back on the podcast to talk to Dan about the rise of Joseph Stalin, a man who caused the death and suffering of tens of millions under his regime of terror. Find out how Stalin climbed to the top of Soviet politics to emerge as Lenin’s heir, and hear how his extreme insecurity and paranoia shaped the way he ruled. 

 

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Jul 21, 2021
How Timekeeping Changed the World
00:25:19

Accurate timekeeping is at the very root of all of the technological advances in the modern world, but how did it all begin? From Roman sundials to medieval water-clocks, people of all cultures have made and used clocks for thousands of years. Dan speaks to horologist, historian and former curator of timekeeping at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, David Rooney, about the importance of time, and what clocks can tell us about the history of human civilisation. David’s book, About Time: A History of Civilisation in Twelve Clocks, is out now.

 

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Jul 20, 2021
Dancing Mania
00:29:40

In the summer of 1518, one of the most bizarre afflictions in history struck the city of Strasburg; dancing mania. This epidemic of dancing spread, almost like a plague, through the population with many hundreds of people dancing wildly and seemingly uncontrollably often to the point of collapse and even death. Perhaps, even stranger is that the outbreak in Strasbourg is far from the only recorded incidence of this phenomenon. But what caused it? To help delve into this fascinating subject Dan is joined by Dr John Waller, Associate Professor of the History of Medicine and author of A Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518. John explains the atmosphere of fear and tension in Strasbourg in which the dancing mania took hold and how the power of superstition and belief can take the human mind and body in almost unbelievable directions.

 

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Jul 19, 2021
Robin Hood
00:21:27

Robin Hood is one of the most famous legends of British history, but did he exist and if so who was he? Gareth Morgan, Learning Development Officer at Nottingham Castle, is just the man to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to this archetypal hero who robbed the rich to give to the poor. Gareth helps Dan discover some of the real-life figures which might have inspired Robin, what the story means both now and then and why it still remains so popular. They also talk about Robin's home Sherwood Forest, which may not be quite what many imagine it to be, and the newly renovated Nottingham Castle home of Robin's arch-nemesis the Sheriff of Nottingham.

 

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Jul 18, 2021
Saladin and the Crusades
00:25:30

Saladin was one of the greatest Sultans of the middle ages, and the first sultan of Egypt and Syria. He famously defeated the Crusader army at the Battle of Hattin, and recaptured Jerusalem. The Christian armies of the west never recaptured the Holy City. Saladin's legacy still holds resonance across the middle-east today. In 1917, a French General supposedly marched up to Saladin's tomb in Damascus, kicked it and announced, "We're back," a story that would shape Arabic perceptions of the west in decades to come. In this archive episode, Dan is joined by Professor Jonathan Phillips an expert in the history of the crusades and the author of a biography of Saladin.

 

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Jul 17, 2021
Why the Statues Are Coming Down
00:26:17

Recent years have seen a spate of statue removals from the toppling of Confederate statues in the United States, the tearing down of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol and recently the removal of statues of Queen Victoria in Canada. Some have been taken down in an orderly manner and others torn down or defaced by activists. For some, the removal of statues is a powerful symbol of the desire for social justice and for remembering the wrongs of the past. For others, the removal of monuments is an attempt to erase history. It is certainly a subject that evokes very strong feelings.


The historian Alex von Tunzelmann is today's guest on the podcast. She is the perfect person to help unpick this emotive topic having just written a book on the subject called Fallen Idols: Twelve Statues That Made History. Dan and Alex discuss how and why statues are erected in the first place; how this is far from a new phenomenon; how, perhaps, we should deal with controversial statues and whether statues have had their day?

 

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Jul 16, 2021
Mythbusting Medieval Buildings
00:56:05

From spiral stairs to tunnels leading to pubs and brothels, to witch markings; join us as we find out the truth about medieval buildings. Matt Lewis, from our sibling podcast Gone Medieval, is accompanied by archaeologist and architectural historian James Wright to debunk the myths.

 

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Jul 15, 2021
The Peasants' Revolt
00:30:52

In 1381 England was rocked by one of the most widespread popular uprisings of the medieval period; the Peasants' Revolt. Beginning in Essex in response to the overreaching demands of a local government official but unrest spread like wildfire across the south of England. Soon the rebels faced down the King, stormed the Tower of London, executed royal advisors, threatened the royal family and destroyed John of Gaunt's Palace. This was an uprising unprecedented in its scale and ferocity in England and its effects were felt for many years afterwards. 


Today's podcast guests Adrian Bell and Helen Lacey who are part of The People of 1381 Project made up of a group of academics and historians taking a fresh look at the evidence surrounding the Peasants' Revolt. They take Dan through the revolt and the demands of the rebels and what new discoveries they have made about where it was happening and who was involved.  

 

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Jul 14, 2021
World War Two Showdown in the Mediterranean
00:32:27

By the summer of 1942 Malta had been under siege by Axis forces for over a year and the situation on the island was bleak with food and fuel almost exhausted. This vital allied foothold in the Mediterranean had to be held at all cost in order to prevent the collapse of the allied effort in North Africa where Rommel's forces were finding much success. In a desperate bid to prevent the loss of Malta, Winston Churchill ordered that a convoy like no other be dispatched to run the air and sea gauntlet in the Mediterranean. In August 1942 4 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 7 light cruisers, 32 destroyers, 11 submarines and a host of smaller vessels and aircraft accompanied 14 merchant ships as they attempted to battle their way to the beleaguered island fortress. The legendary Max Hastings joins Dan to tell the story of the incredible bravery and tenacity of the men who took part in Operation Pedestal.

 

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Jul 13, 2021
Captain Cook 250 Years On
00:26:24

250 years ago today Captain James arrived back from one of the most remarkable voyages of exploration in the history of the world. The expedition took Cook and his crew through the Pacific making contact with the numerous island communities of that ocean and perhaps most famously being the first Europeans to make landfall on Australia. Whilst undoubtedly an act of skilful seamanship, this expedition would begin a process of colonisation that would have devastating consequences for indigenous communities and cultures throughout the Pacific region. In this episode, Dan is joined by the writer, historian and podcaster Peter Moore who has recently published his new book Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World. This makes him the perfect person to explain the purpose of the expedition, its successes and failures and to give us an insight into what was going on aboard HMS Endeavour. 

 

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Jul 12, 2021
The Irish War of Independence
00:37:12

11 July 1921 the truce that bought the Irish War of Independence came into effect. The negotiations that brought about the end of hostilities, between Irish representatives led by Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins and the British Government led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and would eventually lead to the breakaway of the 26 counties that make up the Republic of Ireland in early 1922. The peace was brought about as all sides in the conflict reached exhaustion but had they failed it could have lead to a significant escalation in the violence as the British Government attempted to pacify Ireland. Historian, author and podcaster Fin Dwyer joins Dan for this episode of the podcast. Fin takes Dan through the events of 100 years ago; the violence in Ireland, the divided opinions and loyalties on all sides, the end of the war and the beginning of negotiations. 

 

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Jul 11, 2021
A History of Tennis
00:25:41

In this archive episode, David Berry joined Dan on the pod to discuss the history of tennis. From the birth of modern tennis in Victorian Britain to the present day, they talk about struggles around sexuality, gender, race and class that have transformed the nature of tennis and sport itself.

 

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Jul 10, 2021
How Coffee and Tobacco Captivated Britain
00:41:05

When tobacco arrived in Britain in the 1560s, it was hailed as a "holy herb", a miracle cure to improve health and a catalyst for wit and creativity. The coming of coffee - "black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love" - in the mid-17th century, led to the establishment of coffee houses where debates flourished and innovations were born that helped to shape the modern world.


In this episode from our sibling podcast Not Just the Tudors, Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Matthew Green - author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time - about how nicotine and caffeine changed the British way of life.

 

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Jul 09, 2021
England and Italy. The History.
00:42:10

The history of Italy and England stretches back thousands of years well before Italy and England even existed as nations. As the two will meet in the European Championship final this Sunday it seemed like the perfect time to explore the shared history of these two people. From the Romans to the medieval period, the Renaissance, and through to the tumult of the 20th Century. Dan is joined by Francesco da Mosto and Valentina Caldari to explore what draws Italy and England together and to predict who will triumph in the European Championship final.

 

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Jul 08, 2021
The Japanese Americans Who Fought in WWII
00:21:51

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, Japanese Americans were put in a terrible position in the USA. Many tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were interned in cruel conditions being classified as enemy aliens and held in suspicion of being agents for Japan. Despite this many thousands of young men, mostly second-generation Japanese Americans volunteered for service in the American Military. They served in all branches of the US military but the 442nd Infantry Regiment was formed almost exclusively from men of Japanese descent. This unit fought with distinction in Europe in the late stages of the Second World War and is the most highly decorated military unit of its size in American military history. Daniel James Brown is today's podcast guest and he has recently authored Facing The Mountain: The Forgotten Heroes of World War II all about this oft-forgotten aspect of the conflict. He and Dan discuss how the 422nd came into being, the experiences of some of the men of the unit, the prejudice faced by its soldiers, and the legacy of the Purple Heart Battalion.

 

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Jul 07, 2021
Assyria and the Birth of Writing
00:28:07

It is often the case that it is assumed that it was in ancient Greece and the eastern Mediterranean that was host to the foundation of European politics, culture, economics and engineering. But in fact, the development of sophisticated civilisations, writing cultures, complex technologies and sciences occurred over millennia in the fertile crescent in the ancient civilisations of Assyria, Sumer, Babylon and the Akkadian Empire. These are the crucible of our world today to champion this often-underappreciated part of human history Moudhy Al-Rashid an Assyriologist from Oxford University. She takes Dan through the history of this vitally important region, how and why writing developed, and why she thinks this part of history has often been neglected. 

 

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Jul 06, 2021
Ethel Rosenberg: Super Spy or Innocent Victim?
00:29:55

In June 1953 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, an American married couple with two young sons, were executed having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. Julius was undoubtedly a spy but Ethel may well not have been. The evidence against her was shaky and was based on what has turned out to be a false statement given by her own brother. The trial was controversial at the time and remains so today and joining Dan to talk about the Rosenbergs is Anne Sebba. Anne is a lecturer, writer and journalist who has written a new biography of Ethel Rosenberg. She takes us through Ethel's life and trial and makes the case as to why, she believes, Ethel was not a spy and should not have been executed. 

 

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Jul 05, 2021
D. H. Lawrence and the Lady Chatterley Trial
00:21:51

D.H. Lawrence is best known for his work Lady Chatterley's Lover and the obscenity trial relating to the book's publication in the early 1960s. But Lawrence is in fact one of the most important British writers of the 20th century and there is much more to his work and story than Lady Chatterley. He was one of the first successful novelists from a working-class background, he wrote a number of other successful novels including The Rainbow and Women in Love as well as short stories, travelogues, poetry, history and even a school textbook. He was also a complicated and sometimes difficult character and a thorn in the side of the British writing establishment. To tell us about his all too short life Dan is joined by Frances Wilson who has recently written the first biography of Lawrence by a female author in thirty years.

 

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Jul 04, 2021
The Truth About King Arthur
00:53:27

The legend of King Arthur has been reworked many times, but is there any historical truth behind the tales? Dr Miles Russell believes there is and in this episode, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, he highlights how elements of King Arthur’s story is derived from five key ancient figures. From British warlords that opposed the arrival of Julius Caesar to Roman emperors of Later Antiquity, Miles explores these individuals in ‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain: The Historical Truth Behind the Myths’.

 

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Jul 03, 2021
The Battle of the Somme
00:30:33

105 years ago the battle of the Somme raged on into its second day. 60,000 British casualties we recorded on its first day and by its close in November 1916 over a million men had been killed or wounded. It is the bloodiest battle in British military history and in Germany, the battle was described as the bloody field grave of the German army. It has become a byword for futile slaughter; but is that reputation deserved?


In this archive episode, Paul Reed a military historian, author and battlefield guide joins the podcast. Paul has immense knowledge of both the First and Second World Wars and guides Dan through the opening day of the battle on the 1 July and the following bloody weeks and months of conflict.

 

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Jul 02, 2021
100 years of the Chinese Communist Party
00:26:54

100 years ago the Chinese Communist Party was founded and across the span of that century has become one of the most powerful organisations on the planet. Today, it is an economic powerhouse and a superpower challenger to the United States. Its origins were humble though with just a few members at its foundation. Indeed, the official anniversary date of 1 July was chosen by Chairman Mao years later as the real date remains a mystery. China saw an epic struggle through the 20th century both with external enemies and between its own people with the CCP emerging victorious in 1949. Following the communist victory, there were decades of Mao's rule which became increasingly erratic and led to the death of many millions during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural revolution. Following Mao's death, the country changed tack and started to move towards the China that we know today economically and politically. To help make sense of this tumultuous 100 years and where China stands today on the world stage Dan is joined by Richard McGregor a journalist and author and formerly the Beijing and Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times.

 

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Jul 01, 2021
The Voyage That Changed the Way We Eat
00:28:46

In February 1882 the SS Dunedin departed New Zealand on a voyage that would revolutionise the way we eat and kickstart the globalisation of the world's food supply chain. Aboard were thousands of mutton, lamb and pig carcasses as well as 250 kegs of butter, hare, pheasant, turkey, chicken and 2226 sheep tongues. This cargo would be kept fresh in the ship's hold using a Bell-Coleman compression refrigeration machine and would mark the first time fresh goods had ever been transported over such a distance. However, the journey was far from plain sailing though as you will hear in this episode.


To tell the Dunedin's story and to celebrate the new digitisation project by Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Heritage & Education Centre Dan is joined by Charlotte Ward and Max Wilson from the Foundation. 


The Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Heritage & Education Centre, the custodians to an archive collection of maritime, engineering, scientific, technological, social and economic history that stretches back to 1760. Their ship plan and survey report collection numbers a colossal 1.25 million records, for vessels as diverse as the Mauretania, Fullagar and Cutty Sark! It consists of survey reports, ship plans, certificates, correspondence and the weird and wonderfully unexpected. Currently, there are more than 600k of these records online and available for viewing right now by visiting their website hec.lrfoundation.org.uk.

 

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Jun 30, 2021
Marginalised in the Middle Ages with Eleanor Janega
00:29:07

Much of Medieval history focuses on the kings, queens, bishops, and the nobility of the period, but what do we know about those people on the margins of society? Like today the elite made up only a small percentage of the population and the vast majority of the population of medieval Europe were peasants or craftspeople. There were other groups who were forced to the very edge of society such as sex workers, leppers, jews and immigrants. But as Elena Janega, today's guest on the podcast, has discovered there is a surprising amount to be discovered about these marginalised groups. What she has found calls into question many of our assumptions and preconceptions about life in the middle ages.


Eleanor Janega is a medieval historian specialising in social history. She is a lecturer at the London School of Economics, hosts the 'Going Medieval' series on History Hit TV and runs a popular blog of the same name on intersections between medieval history and pop culture.

 

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Jun 29, 2021
Sarajevo 1914: Assassination of the Archduke
00:32:55

Europe in 1914 was a tinderbox of imperial tensions and the spark that would light the conflagration would be the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But there is much more to this story than simply the murder of two royals on the street of Sarajevo. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was an often misunderstood figure seemingly hard and old fashioned. But in private he was a dedicated family man and husband who had married for love against the wishes of the Emporer and he and Sophie had endured snubs and humiliation at court because of it. He had travelled the world and hoped to reform the Austrian-Hungarian empire he was supposed to one day rule. Sue Woolmans, historian and author of The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World, joins the podcast to discuss the real Franz Ferdinand. She guides Dan through the life of Franz Ferdinand and the incompetence, bad luck and chance on the day that would lead to the death of the Archduke and begin a century of conflict.

 

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Jun 28, 2021
Berlin and the Dawn of the Cold War
00:24:55

In the aftermath of World War II, amongst the shattered ruins of Berlin a new conflict was born, the Cold War. With the common purpose of defeating Nazi Germany gone the allied powers were soon no longer allies. Berlin had been divided before the end of the war at the Yalta Conference between the British, French, United States and Soviets. However, Berlin was deep in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany and Stalin wished to wrest control of it from the other allied powers. The situation became so tense that it almost sparked another world war and the allies remained steadfast in their determination to hold onto their sectors of the city. This culminated in the Berlin Airlift where many thousands of tons of supplies were flown into the city daily to defy the Soviet blockade and keep its residents from starvation. The fantastic historian and writer Giles Milton is today's guest to discuss his new book Checkmate in Berlin which explores the history of Berlin in the immediate post-war period. Giles and Dan discuss how tensions between the former allies flared, the flourishing black market in Berlin at the time, how the British and Americans were able to pull off the extraordinary feat of the airlift and its consequences.

 

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Jun 27, 2021
From Airman to Attorney General: RAF Navigator Johnny Smythe
00:36:39

Beginning with his birth in 1915 in Sierra Leone, the life of John Henry Smythe OBE MBE is almost unbelievable. From becoming a navigator in the RAF during the Second World War, to being held captive in a German POW camp, to being the Senior Officer making key decisions about the futures of the people aboard HMT Empire Windrush and becoming Attorney General for Sierra Leone; the twists and turns in this story are incredible. James from our sibling podcast Warfare was joined by John’s son, Eddy, and the BBC’s Tim Stokes to hear this account of life during and after the Second World War, in which we even get a glimpse of JFK. 


Listen out for Eddy’s song, written in memory of his father, at the end of the episode. You can find the music video here.


Tim’s article can be found here.

 

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Jun 26, 2021
Hunting the Viking Great Heathen Army
00:31:49

In 865 AD Britain was invaded by the Great Heathen Army an alliance of Scandanavian warriors determined to conquer the kingdoms of East Anglia, Northumbria, Merica and Wessex. Over the next few years, all of those kingdoms would fall to the Viking forces with the exception of Wessex. In May 878 Alfred the Great defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Edington. However, despite this defeat, the Vikings did not leave, but rather reached an agreement with Alfred allowing them to retain control of much of the north and east of England in what would become known as the Danelaw. Professor Cat Jarman joins Dan as they travel across the country exploring the key sites of the Viking conquest and looking to discover what may still be to discover about the Great Heathen Army.

 

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Jun 25, 2021
History of Freemasonry
00:21:17

John Dickie joins Dan from the History Hit Archive to discuss the international story of an organisation that now has 6 million members across the globe. Tracing the origins from local fraternities of stonemasons at the turn of the fifteenth century, John takes Dan on the freemasons' journey from Britain to America, Australia, Italy and India. Find out exactly what the freemasons are, how they have been perceived, and why they seem to attract so many conspiracy theories. 

 

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Jun 24, 2021
The World According to Obama Official Ben Rhodes
00:29:56

Ben Rhodes has served at the very pinnacle of politics in his role as deputy national security adviser in Barack Obama's Whitehouse and seen what it takes to run a democracy and take the tough decisions that are needed. But since leaving the Oval Office the world has seen a slide towards populism, nationalism and even authoritarianism. But how can this descent into dangerous political waters be stopped? After leaving politics Ben spent three years travelling the world speaking to leaders, activists and dissidents across dozens of countries. His new book After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made documents those journeys and he speaks to Dan about what he discovered, the truths we have to face about our societies and how the United States can set an example for the world.

 

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Jun 23, 2021
Operation Barbarossa
00:43:50

On 22 June 1941 Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa the biggest military operation in human history. More than 3 million men of the Axis poured into the Soviet Union beginning a conflict, that even within the context of the Second World War, was unprecedented in both its scale and savagery. Operation Barbarossa began with unparalleled success for the Wehrmacht and its allies with millions of Soviet soldiers killed and captured in the opening months of this titanic struggle. But by the winter of 1941 and against all the odds the German war machine had been halted outside the gates of Moscow marking the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime. To better understand this enormous operation Dan is joined by the author and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby who has written a new book Barbarossa: How Hitler Lost the War. They discuss why Barbarossa was launched, the inhuman nature of the fighting and the horrific treatment of civilians and particularly the Jews, whether Barbarossa could have ever been successful and looking at the more human side behind the almost unbelievable scale of the fighting.

 

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Jun 22, 2021
Tragedy at the Scottish Crannog Centre
00:21:14

From the Neolithic period to the early 18th century Crannogs were a feature of Scottish, Welsh and Irish lakes and estuaries enabling a unique way of life. These unusual dwellings consisted of an artificial island constructed over and in the water. The Scottish Crannog Cente on Loch Tay had a wonderful reconstruction of a crannog however just over a week ago it was very sadly destroyed by fire in just a few minutes. Fran Houston, the curator at the Scottish Crannog Centre, is today's guest on the podcast. She explains what happened in the fire but also the history of crannogs, what they were used for, why they were present in our landscapes for so long and their plans to build not just one but three new crannogs!


You can out more information about the Scottish Crannog Centre by clicking here and you can make a donation to help with the rebuilding of their crannog via their JustGiving page.

 

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Jun 21, 2021
Black American Struggle: Riot or Revolution?
00:23:26

The 1960s and early 1970s saw civil unrest and violence in the United States on a scale not seen since the civil war between black residents and the police but was this simply rioting or a revolution? Dan is joined by Elizabeth Hinton associate professor of history, African American studies, and law at Yale University and Yale Law School. She ​argues in her new book America on Fire that rather than being a series of criminal acts, as it was often portrayed, this violence was more akin to an uprising against an unjust and overreaching state. Elizabeth and Dan discuss the causes and consequences of these uprisings including the militarization of the police and the failure to address the fundamental social injustices which were the root causes of the unrest. This is a fascinating episode that addresses vital issues that remain extremely current.

 

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Jun 20, 2021
Mary, Queen of Scots
00:50:06

Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to the news headlines when the rosary she carried to her execution in 1587, was recently stolen from Arundel Castle. It's the latest chapter in the enduring story of this highly romanticised figure.


Mary reigned over Scotland for just over 24 years between December 1542 until her forced abdication. Considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many Catholics, Mary was seen as a threat to Queen Elizabeth I. In this episode from our sibling podcast Not Just the Tudors, Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Professor Kate Williams about Mary's tragic life, her disastrous marriages and the plots against Elizabeth that resulted in her execution.

 

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Jun 19, 2021
Voices of Waterloo
00:42:49

206 years ago today, 60,000 men were slaughtered in the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon Bonaparte's French army was finally defeated by an almighty coalition of troops from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau, led by the Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal von Blücher. In this archive episode Zack White, who set up Voices of the Battlefield, an oral history project featuring 41 readings of eyewitness testimony from the campaign, joins the podcast. Dan and Zack discuss the battle and hear accounts, ranging from a 10 year old triangle player remembering the chaos of the battlefield to Wellington's own remorse at the horrific bloodshed ], of what happened that fateful day.


If you want even more Waterloo content you can listen to The Battle of Waterloo with Peter Snow or watch History Hit's film Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory about Napoleon's greatest victory ten years earlier.

 

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Jun 18, 2021
Churchill's Daughters: The Privilege and the Pain
00:23:24

Winston Churchill's daughters Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary are often overshadowed by their father's extraordinary fame but they also lived fascinating lives and were often present at many of the seismic moments of history. Their lives were far from easy though. Marigold died at the age of two, Diana would suffer mental health problems and eventually committed suicide and Sarah wrestled with alcoholism. This is a story of a family at the very heart of political and social life and a story about what it's like to grow up as a child of greatness.


To help tell this story Rachel Trethewey, author of The Churchill Girls: The Story of Winston's Daughters, is today's guest on the podcast and she discusses their upbringing, their relationship with their parents, the role the daughters played in supporting Winston's career and what they each aspired to do with their own lives

 

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Jun 17, 2021
The Curious History of Postcards
00:20:46

For many people sending a postcard is an enjoyable part of any seaside trip but rather than just being a novelty they were once a vital form of communication and often the quickest way to contact your friends and relatives. Dan is joined by Chris Taft and Georgina Tomlinson from the postal museum where a new exhibition marking 151 years of the British postcard is being launched (it was meant to be the 150th exhibition last year!). Chris and Georgina talk us through the surprising history of postcards from their inception and rise to prominence, to the coded messages sometimes contained on them and the link home they provided not just for holidaymakers but for soldiers on the frontlines as well.

 

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Jun 16, 2021
Everything You Need to Know about the Anglo-Saxons
00:36:08

The Anglo-Saxon period is vital for the formation of England and the UK as we know it but is a difficult era to fully understand. The departure of the Romans left a power vacuum that was filled by warlords with violence, foreign invasion, occupation and religious strife being endemic. But out of this turbulent period the foundation of what we now call England came into being. Dan is joined by Marc Morris one of the most distinguished medieval historians in the world and author of a new book called The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England. Marc guides us through these difficult centuries separating truth from legend and illuminating this dark period in history.

 

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Jun 15, 2021
The Heiress, the Kidnap, and the Making of London
00:30:39

After the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 London was on its knees with its population decimated and the heart of the city burnt out, but from the ashes, it would rise phoenix-like to become one of the world's dominant economic and cultural centres. Dan is joined by author Leo Hollis for a walking tour of London and they visit the key locations in London's flourishing after the tragedies of the 17th century. Along the way, they discuss how London was rebuilt, where the money came from to do it and the architectural ambitions of those involved. They also explore the life of Mary Davies, a relatively little known and tragic figure, who's life is absolutely central to the rebirth of the city. The land she inherited after the death of her father to the plague came to form what is today some of the most valuable real estate in the world. But this inheritance was a curse for her involving becoming a child bride, being kidnapped, declared mad and much shady dealing along the way.

 

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Jun 14, 2021
Gordon Brown on How To Save the World
00:28:22

Gordon Brown stood at the pinnacle of UK politics for 13 years first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and the as Prime Minister but it is as a private citizen that he now seeks to set out and help solve some of the world's most pressing problems. In this episode, Dan speaks to Gordon Brown about his time as prime minister; the power he wielded and the limitations of even the highest political office. They also, discuss the global issues that humanity needs to address and Gordon's firm belief in the power of internationalism and the dangers of failing to work together. 

 

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Jun 13, 2021
The Euros
00:27:51

England holds the slightly unwanted title for the most appearances in the Euros without ever reaching a final, so why the excitement when it comes back around every four years?


Football journalist and podcaster Tom Fordyce joins Dan to chat about the history of the Euros, memorable moments, and what the future might have in store for the competition, which first took place in 1960.


They discuss World Cup comparisons, standout penalties throughout the years, underdogs and more.

 

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Jun 12, 2021
Alexander the Great’s Corpse and the Greatest Heist in History
00:31:54

Alexander the Great is one of the most famous generals and empire builders in history, but the story of his death is almost as remarkable as his life. Tristan Hughes host of the History Hit podcast The Ancients, and Alexander the Great superfan, joins Dan to tell the almost unbelievable tale of what happened after Alexander died. It is a titanic struggle for power and control over his empire that involves war, body snatching, extremely slow carriage chases and a thousand soldiers being eaten alive by crocodiles in the Nile.

 

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Jun 11, 2021
The Mary Rose and Her Ethnically Diverse Crew
00:20:16

The Mary Rose, a Tudor warship in Henry VIII's navy, sank in the Solent on 19 July 1545 with the loss of most of her 415 strong crew. Recent developments in marine archaeology have enabled researchers to bring to light fascinating new evidence about the diversity of the crew. Dr Alex Hildred, the head of research at the Mary Rose Trust, is back on the podcast to discuss the cutting edge technology used, and the implications of this new discovery.

 

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Jun 10, 2021
The Crusades with Dan Jones
00:49:56

The two Dans are back. And this time, they're talking all things crusades. In this rerun episode, Dan Jones provides his namesake host with a thrilling background to the series of holy wars that have come to define Medieval Europe.

 

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Jun 09, 2021
Stalin's War
00:35:49

The Second World War is often depicted as a straight battle between good and evil but it was perhaps less straightforward than that. Whilst the Nazi regime was undoubtedly barbarous and deserved its fate the consequences of victory were not always the positive they are portrayed to be. Indeed for much of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the end of the war leads to decades of military occupation and repression under the Soviet Regime. That regime was led by one man; Stalin. Dan is joined by Sean McMeekin, author of Stalin's War, who argues that it was Stalin who really shaped the conflict in order to achieve his own geopolitical aims.

 

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Jun 08, 2021
The History of Head Transplants
00:22:12

The superpower rivalry of the Cold War had many different fronts, space, the rice paddy fields of south-east Asia and even the operating theatre. The desire to push the envelope of human ingenuity led Dr Robert J. White to conduct a series of successful head transplants on monkies during the 1970s with the eventual aim of performing the procedure on a human patient. Dr Brandy Schillace, the author of Mr Humble and Dr Butcher, is today's guest on the podcast and she tells the almost unbelievable story of how close we came to seeing human head transplants take place. 

 

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Jun 07, 2021
New D-Day Shipwrecks Discovered
00:30:26

D-Day on 6 June 1944 saw the largest amphibious landing in history take place as more than 150,000 allied troops stormed five assault beaches in Normandy, attempting to break through Hitler's Atlantic Wall. ⁠One of the unsung heroes of that operation were the landing craft and their crews. Without whom there could have been no initial landing and that beachhead that created could not have been maintained. Landing Craft Tank were the backbone of the operation to put the Allies back on continental Europe. They brought thousands of tanks, vehicles and tons of supplies ashore on the beaches and allowing the men fighting inland to continue to push forward against stiff German resistance. In this episode of the podcast, Dan speaks with historian Stephen Fisher about his exciting new project which has led to the identification of two Landing Craft Tank that were sunk in Poole Harbour after the war as a breakwater. They discuss the role of these ships, their development, the often perilous conditions they faced in The Channel and how Stephen came to discover the identities of these vessels. 


For more D-day content, such as the new film D-Day: Secrets of the Solent, subscribe to historyhit.tv. For a limited time, you can receive 50% off your first six months as a History Hit subscriber using the code dday.

 

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Jun 06, 2021
The Profumo Affair
00:19:17

It was the scandal that shook the British political world to its core leading to ministerial resignations and helping to bring down a prime minister and cause the defeat of the Conservative party at the next general election. When John Profumo resigned as Minister for War after being exposed lying to parliament about his affair with the model Christine Keeler. The scandal sent shockwaves through the British press, people and establishment and was one of the defining scandals of the 1960s. Historian Richard Davenport-Hines joins Dan to discuss the events of the Profumo affair, what it says about society at the time and the impact of the scandal.


Subscribe to history this weekend using the code dday and receive 50% of your subscription for the first six months. Once subscribed you'll be able to listen to the History Hit's first audiobook The Profumo Affair: Lord Denning's Report

 

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Jun 05, 2021
The Beauty and Violence of the Renaissance
00:27:58

The Renaissance was a time of radical change in Europe with an explosion in the production of art, new methods of waging war, Europeans discovering the new world, the printing press and religious strife with reformation. At the centre of all this tumult was Italy which was made up of competing princely states squabbling and fighting for cultural as well political supremacy. Ultimately it is this period that would come to shape what we know as the Western World. To help better understand this enthralling period Dan is joined by the author Catherine Fletcher to explore the politics, art, warfare and the amazing characters that make up what we think of as the Rennaissance


The History Hit Book Club is the new way to enjoy reading books that spark rich conversations about history. Every month we’ll carefully select a history book to read and discuss with like-minded members. If you would like to join the new History Hit Bookclub and to find out the full terms and conditions click here.

 

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Jun 04, 2021
Disaster Before D-Day: Exercise Tiger
00:41:09

The D-Day landings of June 6 1944 were the largest amphibious landing in the history of warfare, and are famed as a major turning point towards Allied victory. But they weren’t without planning and practice. In late April 1944, the Allies launched one of their trial runs, Exercise Tiger, off Slapton Sands in Devon. The aim was a closely choreographed landing, the result was a disaster. In this episode from our sibling podcast Warfare hear Dr Harry Bennett from the University of Plymouth discussing the players in this trial run, and how it became the Battle of Lyme Bay.


Watch The Lincolnshire Buffalo: With Dan Snow where Dan was given exclusive access to the WWII Buffalo LVT recently dug up in Crowland, Lincolnshire.

 

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Jun 03, 2021
The Bank That Sacked Its Customers
00:30:20

When we think of investment banking we think of high-risk trades, profit at any cost and big bonuses but there is an institution that sees it differently; Brown Brothers Harriman. Brown Brothers was founded in 1818 and is one of the oldest banks in the US. It has maintained its cautious ethos ever since and in a world of unforeseen but actually quite foreseen catastrophes it begs the question as to what do you want your banks and companies to be like. chasing 100x profits or slow and steady? Zachary Karabell joins Dan for the story of the bank that sacked its customers, in the 80s, which bears the institutional memory of ships cargoes lost, financial collapses, pandemics and busts. 

 

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Jun 02, 2021
Democracy
00:47:36

In this episode taken from our back catalogue Professor Paul Cartledge the concept which is the foundation stone of our political culture: democracy. Paul Cartledge is Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus University of Cambridge and author of many books, including, Democracy: A Life.

 

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Jun 01, 2021
Tulsa Race Massacre
00:30:57

On May 31 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, was torn apart by one of the worst instances of racialised violence in American history. In a period of great racial tension, the white population in Tulsa went on a rampage through the black neighbourhoods in the city killing innocent people, looting African-American businesses and burning whole blocks to the ground. They had been stirred up by a fake news story that wrongly accused a local black man of assaulting a young white woman in a lift. This wave of violence left many homeless, more than a thousand people were injured and over three hundred people were killed. However, this event has been little known as it was covered up with attempts being made to expunge it from the historical record. Thankfully, those attempts failed and knowledge of this horrific incident has been kept alive by the community, journalists and historians. One of those historians is Scott Elsworth who joins Dan in this episode to shed light on what happened in Tulsa on that terrible day and the ongoing work to deal with the painful legacy of these events. 

 

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May 31, 2021
Joan of Arc
00:35:18

On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake at the age of 19. It is safe to say that few teenagers have had as big an impact on Anglo-French history as Joan of Arc. Joining the podcast to talk about this remarkable figure is the author and historian Juliet Barker making her podcast debut! She guides Dan through Joan's rise from an ordinary peasant to the figurehead of the French army, her remarkable strength of character her faith, her military role and ultimately her capture, trial and execution. 

 

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May 30, 2021
Israel and Palestine: An Israeli Perspective with Benny Morris
00:24:53

The conflict between Israeli's and Palestinians is one that inflames strong emotions and opinions on all sides, but can a solution be found or is it an intractable one? In this episode of our series examing the Israel-Palestine struggle from different points of view, Dan is joined by historian Benny Morris for an Israeli perspective on the conflict that has wracked the region since the foundation of the Jewish state, the nature of Zionism, the demographics of the conflict and the many challenges to finding a solution to the conflict.


You can also listen to previous episodes in our series looking at the Israel-Palestine conflict A Palestinian View with Yara Hawari and A Jewish Perspective with Daniel Finkelstein

 

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May 29, 2021
The Mystery of the Ninth Legion
00:39:41

The legions of Rome were the nucleus of Rome’s military might for centuries. From campaigning in northern Scotland to the Persian Gulf, these devastating battalions extended and cemented Roman power. Yet of these legions there was one whose end is shrouded in mystery: the Ninth Legion. So what might have happened to this legion? Joining Tristan, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, is Dr Simon Elliott to talk through the theories surrounding the Ninth's disappearance. Simon has recently written a book all about the Ninth's disappearance, and in this podcast, he takes us through the various theories and evidence surrounding this mystery.

 

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May 28, 2021
Sinking the Bismarck
00:46:18

In May 1941 Nazi Germany's most powerful warship and pride of the Kriegsmarine the Bismarck slipped out of harbour and made its way to hunt Allied merchant shipping in the Atlantic. Operation Rheinubung would be its first and last mission. Alerted to her presence and desperate to protect its Atlantic trade routes, the admiralty of the Royal Navy sent her best battleships, including the mighty HMS Hood to intercept the German sortie and sink Bismarck. This fateful encounter would lead to the obliteration of HMS Hood just minutes after engaging the Bismarck when a shell detonated one of her magazines. The rapid destruction of HMS Hood, which had been the pride of the Royal Navy, and mauling of the accompanying HMS Prince of Wales sealed Bismarck's fate. The Royal Navy launched an all-out effort to sink the mighty battleship at almost any cost. In this episode of the podcast, Dan with the help of archive interviews from veterans of the battle tells the story of this titanic clash of arms in the Atlantic.


If you would like more content on the story of the Bismarck then watch History Hit's dramatic new documentary Hunt the Bismarck.

 

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May 27, 2021
Mary Anning: Palaeontology's Forgotten Pioneer
00:19:26

Born in Lyme Regis in 1799, Mary Anning was a pioneering palaeontologist and fossil collector whose story continues to inspire so many scientists to this day. The Jurassic Coast on the south coast of England is one of the richest locations for fossil hunting in the UK, if not in the world. During the early 19th century Mary Anning, and her brother Joseph, made a living discovering and selling fossils to tourists and scientists alike. Although uneducated and poor Mary's knowledge and skills became much sought after by palaeontologists of the period and she made some remarkable discoveries particularly around fossilised dinosaur poo! Despite her contribution to science Mary, as a woman and Dissenter, was often not given the credit she deserved in her lifetime. In this episode, Emma Bernard Curator of Palaeobiology, Natural History Museum, joins Dan to celebrate the life and achievements of this pioneering fossil hunter.


You can also watch History Hit's new film Mary Anning: The Forgotten Fossil Hunter

 

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May 26, 2021
Hunting the Bismarck
00:46:32

In May 1941, the Royal Navy pursued Nazi Germany's largest battleship, the Bismarck, in the greatest chase story in the history of naval warfare. Bismarck represented the single most important threat to the Royal Navy and the vital Atlantic convoys they sought to protect; her armoured protection had earned her the reputation of being unsinkable. Join Dan for this archive episode as the historian Angus Konstam takes him through a blow by blow account of Operation Rheinübung and the sinking of Bismarck.


Also, watch the brand new History Hit documentary Sink the Bismark

 

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May 25, 2021
The UK’s Top Diplomat on the State of the World
00:52:11

Sir Jeremy Greenstock served as a diplomat from the 1960s to the well into the 21st century and is someone who has been in the room when some of the most momentous events of recent history have occurred. He served in British embassies all over the world, he was UK ambassador to the United Nations between 1998 and 2003 and was pivotal in the negotiations leading up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003. In the aftermath of that invasion, he was to Iraq as Special Envoy helping to coordinate and shape the reconstruction of the country. This is a fascinating conversation about the role of diplomats, about the world, Iraq, wielding power and ultimately about personalities.

 

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May 24, 2021
Martin Luther: Scourge of the Papacy
00:29:41

Martin Luther is one of the most extraordinary and consequential men of the last 500 years but was also a man keenly aware of his image and went to considerable efforts to craft how the world saw him. This affected how he was viewed both in his own life and centuries later in ours. Dan is joined by Oxford University's Regius Professor of History Lyndal Roper; she is one of the world's foremost experts on Luther and has recently published Living I Was Your Plague: Martin Luther's World and Legacy which explores this aspect of the man who shook Western Christendom to its very core. 

 

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May 23, 2021
Eurovision
00:26:52

Eurovision is an annual extravaganza of European music and culture but what is its history and what role does it play? To help explore this subject Dan is joined by two men steeped in Eurviosion; TV and podcast critic Scotty Byran and Radio 1 DJ and Eurovision commentator Scott Mills. They describe what Eurovision means to them, some of the history of the competition, how the rest of Europe treat it much more seriously than the UK, why it still stands out in the era of streaming and, most importantly, which songs you should look out for this year.

 

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May 22, 2021
Israel and Palestine: A Jewish Perspective with Daniel Finkelstein
00:20:47

As part of our season of programmes looking at the Arab-Israeli conflict Lord Daniel Finklestein joins the podcast to discuss his perspective as a member of the Jewish diaspora. Daniel is a journalist and member of the House of Lords and in this episode, he shares with Dan his family's history before, during and after the holocaust and why this dark period of history is so important in shaping the current situation in Israel.


Listen to the previous episode in our series of programmes about the Israel-Palestine conflict: Israel and Palestine: A Palestinian View

 

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May 21, 2021
The Amelia Earhart Mystery with Amelia Rose Earhart
00:18:16

On the morning of May 20, 1932, 34-year-old Earhart set off from Newfoundland, Canada in her bid to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. 15 hours later she landed in terrible weather in Northern Ireland having completed this momentous feat. In this archive episode, Dan is joined by Amelia Rose Earhart to discuss the life, numerous flying achievements and mysterious disappearance of her namesake and inspiration.


Amelia Rose Earhart is an American private pilot and reporter for an NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado. Amelia is also an around the world pilot and keynote speaker.

 

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May 20, 2021
Anne Boleyn Special Part 1: Life and Afterlives
00:51:28

In the first of two special podcasts, from our sibling podcast Not Just the Tudors, to mark the 485th anniversary of Anne Boleyn's death, Suzannah Lipscomb is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the enduring fascination with Anne's life and demise.


Exploring the different perceptions of Anne and her re-creation through her many afterlives are authors Claire Ridgway and Natalie Grueninger, historian Dr. Stephanie Russo and art historian Roland Hui.


The second part of this Anne Boleyn special will be available wherever you get your podcasts on Thursday, May 20.

 

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May 19, 2021
Gone Medieval
00:22:49

Dan is joined by the wonderful Cat Jarman who, along with Matt Lewis, will be presenting History Hit's brand new podcast Gone Medieval. They discuss the medieval period, the new podcast, Dan and Cat's recent road trip and the exciting new Viking site that has been discovered. Plus there is a sample for the brilliant new podcast Gone Medieval.

 

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May 18, 2021
The Western Front
00:29:40

The Western Front in the First World War is a story of aristocratic generals sending ordinary men over the top to their deaths in futile frontal attacks against entrenched positions. Or is it? In this episode, Dan interviews the brilliant historian Nick Lloyd, author of The Western Front who tells a much more nuanced account of the Western Front. They talk about the myths and legends of these campaigns, the great leaps forward in technology between 1914-1918; and how the men in command, and those on the front line, desperately tried to grapple with the complexities of this unprecedently brutal war. 

 

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May 17, 2021
Israel and Palestine: A Palestinian View with Yara Hawari
00:34:45

History is essential to understanding the world around us and this couldn't be more true than in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The recent flare-up of violence in Israel-Palestine has shown that without knowing the history stretching back thousands of years it is impossible to make sense of why these two peoples, the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, claim this land as their own. In this first of a series of programmes exploring this struggle from both sides Dr Yara Hawari joins the podcast to discuss the more recent history from the ending of the British Mandate in 1948 to the present day. 


Dr Yara Hawari is an academic, writer and political analyst. She finished her PhD in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter in 2018. She has since worked as Senior Analyst for Al Shabaka- a Palestinian think tank. She is also currently working on her first novella which will be published in October.

 

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May 16, 2021
Malcolm Gladwell
00:18:22

Malcolm Gladwell has sold millions of books and more recently become a podcasting titan and he joins Dan to talk about his most recent project The Bomber Mafia. The Bomber Mafia is about a group of military officers who came up with and transformed the concept of strategic bombing during the Second World War and after. In this episode, Dan and Malcolm talk about one of the leading proponents of airpower General Curtis LeMay who implemented a devastating bombing campaign against Japan during the Second World War. They also discuss what subjects which inspire Malcolm's curiosity and his love of audio storytelling. 

 

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May 15, 2021
War Crimes and Innocence in Iraq
00:30:34

Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 British troops in Basra were confronted with a chaotic situation as looting and rioting took hold of the city and society collapsed. As the British soldiers attempted to deal with this situation, for which they were neither trained nor equipped, a young Iraqi man drowned in one of the many canals found in southern Iraq. 


Joe McCleary and three other soldiers were accused of war crimes relating to the death of the young Iraqi man and subsequently arrested. After years of struggle and four different investigations, they were found innocent of all charges. In this episode, we'll be speaking to Will Yates, author of War Trials which tells the story of the men involved. We'll also hear from Joe McCleary about his experiences and the damage done to his mental health, prospects and family by the investigations following that tragic day in Iraq.


A group of service personnel and veterans falsely accused of war crimes in Iraq are currently crowdfunding to bring legal action against the Ministry of Defence. More information and the opportunity to donate to their campaign can be found here.

 

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May 14, 2021
Ian Fleming & The Birth of Bond
00:29:33

A suave secret agent and fictional character turned household name and multi-billion dollar franchise: we all know James Bond. But what about the man behind him? In this episode, from. our sibling podcast Warfare hear about the people and places that inspired Ian Fleming as he wrote the stories of 007. Professor Klaus Dodds researches geopolitics and security, ice studies and the international governance of the Antarctic and the Arctic at Royal Holloway, but he is also an expert on Fleming and Bond. Listen as he discusses the influence of Fleming’s childhood, of his experiences during the Second World War and of his family's exploits.

 

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May 13, 2021
Motherhood, Working and Pandemics
00:21:11

Being a working mother is now an entirely normal part of life but this was certainly not always the case and was often seen as a social ill in the past. Helen McCarthy, author of Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood, joins Dan to help chart how the role of women in the workforce has changed over time and what impact the last year in lockdown has had on women, work, education and the structures of family's as a whole. 

 

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May 12, 2021
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on Hemmingway
00:33:59

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick are two of the most talented and inspiring history filmmakers on earth. Their works include the seminal The Civil War, Baseball and The Vietnam War all of which have been rightly celebrated around the world. Their latest project examines the life and work of Ernest Hemingway and gives an insight into the relationships and character of this complex and often difficult man. They discuss with Dan their film making process, what makes a good documentary series and what Hemingway's life can teach us about masculinity.

 

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May 11, 2021
Napoleon Bonaparte: Rise to Power
00:39:12

In this archive episode, Dan talks to Adam Zamoyski, a historian who has written a biography of Napoleon, about the early life and rise to power of one of the most remarkable men in history.

 

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May 10, 2021
Greatest Heist in History: The Crown Jewels and Thomas Blood
00:30:33

On the 9 May 1671, Thomas Blood led his co-conspirators in a daring bid to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Through a combination of trickery, guile and violence he was able to make off with Charles II's crown and some of the most important treasures in the kingdom. To help tell this astonishing tale, Sebastian Edwards, Deputy chief curator at Tower of London joins the podcast to explain how Blood nearly got away with the greatest heist of the 17th century.

 

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May 09, 2021
Life at Bletchley Park with Betty Webb
00:30:23

Betty Webb was heavily involved with the work going on at Bletchley Park. While she was not part of the code-breaking team, her work was invaluable to the success of Bletchley, and Dan talks to her about her life and wartime experiences.

 

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May 08, 2021
The Sinking of the Lusitania
00:23:55

On 7 May 1915, the ocean liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland with more than half the passengers and crew being killed. Some of those lost were Americans and the sinking hardened opinion in the United States against Germany and marked the beginning of the process which led to the USA entering the First World War on the side of the allies. To mark the anniversary of the sinking Stephen Payne joins the podcast. Stephen is a British naval architect and worked on designing passenger ships for over 40 years and is an expert both in their construction and their history. He and Dan discuss the circumstances of the sinking, whether there was any justification for it and the effect it had on public opinion and naval policy.

 

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May 07, 2021
Roman Prisoners of War
00:39:46

We know all about the battles of the Roman Empire: the opposing sides, their weapons and incentives. But if history is written by the winners, what happened if you lost? In this episode, Dr Jo Ball, battlefield archaeologist at the University of Liverpool, helps to fill in this gap. Jo takes us through the options of the victorious army; to release, kill or capture; and then discusses the treatment of those who fell into this last category. Listen as in this episode from our sibling podcast The Ancients Tristan and Jo explore the experiences of prisoners of war in Ancient Rome, how this might differ if those taken were also Roman, and how we know anything about them at all.

 

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May 06, 2021
A Scandalous Duchess
00:25:10

Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston was a duchess who attracted scandal, a duchess who divided opinion, a duchess who refused to give up agency or accept her place in 18th century society and she was loathed and loved in equal measure. Maid of honour to Augusta, Princess of Wales, for over 20 years and an important figure in Hanoverian court and her exploits delighted and scandalised the press and the people. A first clandestine marriage to an Earl was followed by a second a second bigamous marriage to a duke almost bought her downfall. After a humiliating trial in Westminster Hall, she embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe, being welcomed by the Pope and Catherine the Great along the way. Author and journalist Catherine Ostler joins Dan to discuss one of the most intriguing, flawed and complex women of the 18th century.

 

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May 05, 2021
Pre-historic Britain in Seven Burials with Alice Roberts
00:28:28

How much can a burial really tell us about our ancient past? Professor Alice Roberts is today's guest and, as her new book Ancestors demonstrates, old bones can speak to us across the centuries. Using new ancient DNA analysis techniques archaeologists are now able to uncover an unprecedented level of detail about the lives of our ancestors. Where they came from, what they ate, how they lived, what killed them and what their burials really mean. This is the story of unlocking the past of ancient Britain.

 

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May 04, 2021
The Apollo Program with Kevin Fong
00:30:27

Getting to the moon was no easy feat, no matter how confident Kennedy may have sounded in his famous 1961 speech. NASA built a team from the ground up, and there were plenty of moments where it seemed as if they weren't going to make it. Fong tells stories of just how close they came, and how risky it was. After all, it was hard to feel safe when a pen could go straight through the module. Kevin Fong is incredible. As Dan fawns in the podcast, he's part of the NHS emergency response team for major fatality incidents like terror attacks, he's an anaesthetist, he's a lecturer in physiology at UCL and an expert in space medicine.

 

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May 03, 2021
Amend: The Fight for America
00:18:31

Take a deep dive into the remaking of the American Constitution and the 14th amendment created in the wake of the American Civil War. The 14th amendment formed a key part of addressing citizenship rights and equal protection under the law, particularly for former slaves. Comedian, writer and actor Larry Wilmore is executive producer and one of the stars of the six-part series Amend: The Fight For America which examines why the 14th amendment mattered at the time and continues to be of vital importance to American society today.

 

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May 02, 2021
The Death of Hitler
00:21:09

Did Hitler shoot himself in the Führerbunker, or did he slip past the Soviets and escape to South America? There have been innumerable documentaries, newspaper articles and Twitter threads written by conspiracy theorists to back up the case for escape. Luke Daly Groves has made it his mission to take on the conspiracy theorists, and smash their arguments using the historical method. With the help of recently declassified MI5 files, previously unpublished sketches of Hitler's bunker and eyewitness accounts from intelligence officers, this made for a fascinating discussion. Enjoy. Warning: some strong language.

 

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May 01, 2021
Captain Cook: The Aboriginal Perspective
00:23:16

Captain Cook has been celebrated, wrongly, as the first European to discover Australia but many now believe it is time to reappraise his legacy particularly in light of the devastating effect it had on the native Aboriginal people of Australia. Professor John Maynard is a Worimi man and Director of Aboriginal History at The Wollotuka Institute. He joins the podcast to explain what Cook's landing at Botany Bay meant for the Aboriginal people at the time and right through the generations to today and into the future. He believes it's time that we had an honest reckoning with Cook's legacy and that this is essential for reconciliation and creating a better way forward.

 

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Apr 30, 2021
Not Just the Tudors
00:32:14

When thinking about the 16th century the Tudor dynasty often comes to the fore, but the was so much more to this extraordinary period to be explored. In celebration of the launch of her new History Hit podcast, Professor Suzannah Lipscombe joins Dan to discuss all things Not Just the Tudors. This new podcast will look right across the 16th century including the Renaissance, the Aztecs, Henry VIII's wardrobe, werewolves and much, much more. 

 

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Apr 29, 2021
The Battle of Okinawa
00:44:53

The last major confrontation of the Second World War and the largest amphibious assault of the Pacific theatre, the Battle of Okinawa ended in Allied victory but with massive casualties on both sides. To take us through the battle James welcomed Saul David onto our sibling podcast Warfare. Saul is a professor of Military History at the University of Buckingham and author of Crucible of Hell. He and James explore the use of kamikaze pilots by the Japanese and of the Atomic bomb by the United States.

 

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Apr 28, 2021
Blood and Iron: The German Empire
00:32:35

German unification in 1871 immediately altered the balance of power in Europe and across the world, but what did its existence and expansion in the 19th and early 20th-century really mean? Katja Hoyer joins Dan in this follow-up episode to The Second Reich which examined the formation of Germany. This time round Katja and Dan tackle the internal politics of the Second Reich, the role of the Kaiser, German expansionism and colonialism and how the legacy of the German Empire can still be felt today.


If you want to listen to our podcast with the creators of the Oscar-winning film Colette the please click here.

 

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Apr 27, 2021
Chernobyl: Memories of a Survivor
00:21:10

On April 26th 1986 reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded sending a vast plume of radioactive material into the atmosphere, but what was it like for ordinary people nearby? It was the worst nuclear accident to that point in history and the catastrophic response to that meltdown and the mishandling of the messages around the accident helped to hasten the end of the Soviet Union itself. In this episode, Dan is joined by Sophia Moskalenko who was ten at the time and living in Kyiv around 60 miles from the site of the accident. She movingly describes her life before the explosion, the trauma of the events afterwards and the long term effect on her mental and physical wellbeing.

 

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Apr 26, 2021
The Last Nuremberg Prosecutor
00:22:10

Ben Ferencz at 102 years old is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials and a direct witness to the horrors of the Nazi death camps. Ben was born in Transylvania before emigrating to the United States with his family as a child to escape antisemitic persecution. He trained at Harvard Law School graduating in 1943 and served in the US army in the campaign to liberate western Europe. In 1945 at the end of the war he was assigned to a team charged with collecting evidence of war crimes during which he visited the death camps and saw first hand the appalling conditions there. He then became a prosecutor during the Nuremberg war crimes trials where his work focussed on the prosecution of the Einsatzgruppen death squads. His experiences during the war have led him to be a passionate, lifelong campaigner advocating for the international rule of law and helped found the international criminal courts in The Hague. In this episode, he shares his life experiences and how we all need to find ways to resolve our differences peacefully if we want to continue to see humanity flourish.

 

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Apr 25, 2021
Cellini: Bad Boy of the Renaissance
00:27:49

Benvenuto Cellini was the bad boy of the Renaissance! His life was a story of murders, violence, war, the sack of cities, sodomy, imprisonment, religious conversion, prodigious artistic talent and writing one of the greatest artistic autobiographies of all time. Jerry Brotton, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, has recently made a superb series for the BBC called The Essay, Blood and Bronze which charts the sometimes mad life of Cellini. He joins Dan to discuss Cellini's life, work and the mystery of a recently discovered Cellini painting.

 

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Apr 24, 2021
Football, Money and the European Super League
00:33:48

The attempt to create a new European Super League might have been short-lived with the attempt to form a breakaway competition collapsing in the face of widespread protests and denunciations from fans, but what led to this point? In this episode, Dan is joined by Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian Football Weekly and author of Inverting the Pyramid. Jonathan takes us from the origins of the sport over a hundred years ago through to the big business of the modern game. This historical perspective helps to shed light on what might have caused clubs to try and break away.

 

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Apr 23, 2021
Shakespeare's Shoreditch Theatre with Heather Knight
00:24:11

In this archive episode, Dan visits the site of The Theatre, the 16th-century playhouse where some of Shakespeare's works were first performed, to investigate the archaeology with Heather Knight, Senior Archaeologist from the Museum of London Archaeology.

 

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Apr 22, 2021
Lessons from the Antonine Plague
00:32:58

A plague which affects people from across society, the mass exodus from city centres and numerous opinions on how best to stay well ... all familiar to people today, but also to the people of the 2nd century AD. In this fascinating chat with Dr Nick Summerton, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, we explore the causes and effects of the Antonine Plague, the guides to healthy living from Galen, Marcus Aurelius and Aristides, and whether there are overlaps with the current situation. Nick is a practicing doctor and is the author of ‘Greco-Roman Medicine and What it Can Teach Us Today', published by Pen & Sword.

 

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Apr 21, 2021
Lady Mary and the First Inoculation
00:24:54

In the 18th century, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an aristocrat, courtier, brilliant beauty, intellectual, wife to the ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and a sufferer from smallpox. It was during her time in Constantinople that she witnessed a procedure that would alter the course of her life; inoculation. Having inoculated her children she brought the practice back to Britain where she inoculated the offspring of the high and mighty including the daughters of the royal family. Jo Willet, TV producer and author of The Pioneering Life of Mary Wortley Montagu, joins Dan to explore the fascinating life of the 18th Century ‘It Girl’ turned public health pioneer.


Over the weekend there was a mix up with two of our episodes. If you want to go back and listen to the brilliant Diarmaid Ferriter discussing Irish independence then please click here.

 

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Apr 20, 2021
Prisoners of Geography
00:20:18

Five years ago Tim Marshall wrote the international best selling book Prisoners of Geography which examined how our politics, demographics, our economies and societies are determined by geography. Tim was diplomatic editor at Sky News and has also worked for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio. He has reported from 40 countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. He used his expertise and understanding in international affairs to look at the deep history of this planet both in Prisoners of Geography and in his latest book The Power of Geography where he explores further how our world is shaped by its geography.

 

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Apr 19, 2021
300 years of British Prime Ministers: Part 3
00:49:32

In the third episode of our series chronicling the history of British Prime Ministers we travel from one of the Most famous occupants of the office, Winston Churchill, right through to the current incumbent Boris Johnson and everyone in-between. For that Dan is joined by Iain Dale a well known broadcaster, podcaster, author and editor of the recent book The Prime Ministers. They discuss, amongst other things, the Second World War, the creation of the NHS, the, economic reforms of the 1980's, Brexit and how the office of Prime Minister has changed through the second half of the twentieth century to today.

 

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Apr 18, 2021
Irish Independence
00:27:43

On 18th April 1949, the Republic of Ireland Act came into effect which saw Ireland become a republic and leave the Commonwealth. 2021 also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Irish War of independence. To help mark these important dates Diarmaid Ferriter, one of Ireland’s best-known historians and Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin, joins Dan on the podcast. They examine the importance of these big anniversaries for Ireland not just in the past, but also in the present with Brexit and the possibility of Scottish independence on the horizon.

 

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Apr 16, 2021
JFK's Darkest Hour: The Cuban Missile Crisis
00:25:46

In October 1962 the world came very close to annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the autumn of 1962, a U2 reconnaissance aircraft produced clear evidence that the Soviet Union and the Cuban authorities were building medium-range ballistic missile facilities on the island of Cuba and only around 100 miles from the coast of Florida. The resulting confrontation between the USA under JFK and the Soviet Union led by Nikita Khrushchev lasted just over a month and it's often considered to be the closest that the Cold War came to escalating to full-scale nuclear war. Serhii Plokhy, author of Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis, is Dan's guest on the podcast today. Serhii's research, using new archive material, has shown that during the crisis we came even closer than previously thought to the Cold War going hot.

 

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Apr 16, 2021
Life and Death in Medieval England
00:31:58

We often hear about the kings and queens of medieval England, but what was life like for the ordinary person? From knights to peasants to barbers, Dan Snow joins Dr Eleanor Janega to explore the many lives - and deaths - you could expect to find in Medieval England. This episode is taken from a youtube live event from our partner channel Timeline.


If you want to watch Eleanor's brilliant programme Going Medieval: Those Who Work for History Hit then click here.

 

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Apr 15, 2021
British Seapower in the 1900s
00:41:11

During the changes and troubles of the 20th century, officials in Britain faced a huge question: how could they maintain imperial power? Dr Louis Halewood has been researching the troubles faced by British policymakers, and the efforts to maintain dominance with their dominions and allies as Pax Britannica came to a close. In this episode from our sibling podcast Warfare he speaks to James from the University of Plymouth about the development of British naval power, and explores the role of the United States in this emerging world.

 

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Apr 14, 2021
The End of Sex Disqualification?
00:20:16

The First World War saw unprecedented numbers of women enter the workplace and help pave the way for women to be given greater rights and responsibilities in their careers, or did it? The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 was, on paper, a social revolution opening the doors to professions that previously women had been barred by law from entering. The reality was very different though and instead of being treated as equals they continued to experience discrimination and barriers to pursuing the careers they wanted and were qualified for. In this episode of the podcast, Dan is joined by Jane Robinson author of Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders to discuss some of the fascinating stories of the female pioneers trying to live, work and establish themselves in careers that had traditionally been closed to them.

 

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Apr 13, 2021
Yuri Gagarin: The First Human to Leave Our Planet
00:29:19

On April 12th 1961 the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching the first man into space; Yuri Gagarin. Strapped to the top of a gigantic ICBM Gagarin was blasted into space as the result of a highly secretive programme. This completely surprised those on the other side of the Iron Curtain and caused considerably fear in the West. However, this momentous achievement was in fact a stab in the dark for the Soviets. Lacking the funding and technology of their American adversaries it almost came to ruin on a number of occasions as we shall find out in this podcast. Dan is joined by Stephen Walker who is a brilliant storyteller, director and author of Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space to tell the thrilling story of the first human in space.

 

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Apr 12, 2021
300 years of British Prime Ministers: Part 2
00:56:58

Continuing our series looking at British Prime Ministers this episode tackles the period following the Battle of Waterloo all the way up to Winston Churchill. The brilliant Robert Saunders joins us to guide us through the nineteenth century and to discuss some of the most remarkable parliamentarians in history including Peel, Gladstone and Lloyd George. Robert is a Reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London. He specialises in modern British history, from the early 19th century to the present, focusing particularly on political history and the history of ideas. 


Listen to 300 years of British Prime Ministers: Part 1

 

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Apr 11, 2021
Prince Philip
00:31:43

Abandoned by his parents, exiled from his home, a veteran of Second World War battles, an author, the founder of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this is the story of Prince Philip as you have never heard it before.


He was the longest-serving consort to a reigning British Monarch in history and the oldest-ever male member of the British Royal Family. Born in Corfu, Greece, in 1921 his family escaped a revolution soon after his birth eventually settling in Paris. He was educated in Scotland and after school went on to join the Royal Navy where he served with distinction on British warships during World War Two. He married Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and became a royal consort in 1952 after Elizabeth Ascended to the throne. As consort, he completed over 22,000 solo royal engagements and thousands more alongside Queen Elizabeth for whom he provided unshakeable support. He was a keen sportsman, helped to found the Worldwide Fund for Wildlife, was a patron of many charities and a sponsor of British Engineers and designers. Prince Philip was sometimes portrayed as insensitive and cold and he became known for his sometimes bizarre quips, but what was the real man like? 


We talk to one of Britain’s best-known broadcasters, Gyles Brandreth, a personal friend of Prince Philip, and a leading historian of the royal family to mark the long life and career of the Queen’s husband. We'll also hear from renowned historian Sally Beddell Smith, author of bestselling biographies of Queen Elizabeth II.

 

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Apr 09, 2021
The Xiongnu: History's First Nomadic Empire?
00:36:26

Between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD, the Xiongnu inhabited the area surrounding Mongolia. They influenced the later Hun Empire, and had connections with Ancient China and Persia, but what do we know about them? Bryan Miller has been investigating the society, hierarchy and expansion of the Xiongnu, and in this episode from our sibling podcast The Ancients he shares his findings from the archaeology and historical documents with Tristan. You can listen to the full episode here.

 

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Apr 09, 2021
What Britain Did to Nigeria
00:27:33

When we think of the British Empire we often think of India, Pakistan, Singapore, Burma or perhaps South Africa but an often underrepresented part of the colonial picture is that of west Africa and specifically Nigeria. Now the most populous country in Africa Nigeria was created out of a diverse set of peoples and territories to suit the needs of the colonial administration. Max Siollun, author of What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule, joins Dan to discuss the history of the British colonial project in Nigeria. Many of the themes will be familiar with the exploitation of resources, colonial violence and racism. They also explore how the ripples of the colonial rule continue to be felt in Nigeria shaping its society and politics to this day.

 

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Apr 08, 2021
Catherine the Great
00:33:28

Catherine the Great came from minor German nobility to become Empress of Russia and one of the most extraordinary women of the eighteenth century. Dan is joined today on the podcast by Hilde Hoogenboom, translator of Catherine the Great’s Memoirs https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/25280/the-memoirs-of-catherine-the-great-by-catherine-the-great/. Hilde is a literary historian who has delved deep into the archive material about Catherine, much of it written by Catherine herself, which details her thoughts about constitutions and how governments should be run. Hilda also helps bust some of the myths around Catherine's life and reign, in particular, the misogynistic rumours about her sex life which have persisted long after the end of her reign.

 

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Apr 07, 2021
30 Years since the Kurdish Uprising
00:27:47

In the aftermath of the First Gulf War, groups rose up against Saddam Hussein's regime in a bid to win independence from Baghdad with devastating results for those involved and in particular for the Kurds of Northern Iraq. The Iraqi army responded with deadly force leading to the displacement of millions and the creation of an enormous refugee crisis in Northern Iraq. By April of 1991 and led by the British government a coalition had been put together and launched Operation Haven. This involved coalition forces entering Northern Iraq and creating a safe zone that would allow Kurdish refugees to return home. In this episode, Dan is joined by General Andy Salmona who was one of the Royal Marines who spearheaded Operation Haven and protected the refugees from Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist forces. He is also joined by Nawroz is a Kurdish folk singer and former Peshmerga fighter whose singing voice is so powerful that it was considered a weapon of war and made him a wanted man. Nawroz and Andy now work together on projects promoting peace and international fraternity and this podcast was a chance for them to relay their experiences in Iraq 30 years ago and explain why their work together is so important.

 

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Apr 06, 2021
Will This Be the New Roaring 20s?
00:22:35

Our impressions of the Roaring 20s are a time of economic growth, social change and in some cases wild debauchery, but were the Roaring 20s really a thing and what were they really like? As lockdown restriction ease are we due another similar period a hundred years later? Professor Sarah Churchwell joins Dan on the podcast with the exciting possibility that we might all be in store for another period of wild socialising, but only when it's safe to do so!

 

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Apr 05, 2021
300 years of British Prime Ministers: Part 1
00:50:12

We're heading back to the Eighteenth century as 300 years ago Sir Robert Walpole became the first prime minister. In this first episode of our Prime Minister's season, Dan is Joined by Dr Hannah Grieg for a whirlwind tour of the eighteenth century's many Prime Ministers. From Sir Robert Walpole through William Pitt the younger through to Lord Liverpool they discuss the creation of the office, prime ministerial control of the House of Commons, conflicts with the king and how politics has changed from continuity to constant change.

 

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Apr 04, 2021
Violence Against Women in Victorian London
00:32:40

In the 1880s and 1890s Whitechapel, in London, become notorious for its violence especially towards women but what lessons can be drawn from this period for today? In this thought-provoking episode, Dan is joined by Dr Julia Laite for a walk around Whitechapel to explore some of the locations where these terrible crimes took place and the stories of the women involved. Julia shares her thoughts on why women at the time were so vulnerable to violent crime and how things have changed since the late Victorian period.

 

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Apr 03, 2021
The Truth About Easter
00:27:02

In one of the most popular episodes from our archive, Dan is joined by Francesca Stavrakopoulou to discuss the history and myths that surround Easter. Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible & Ancient Religion at Exeter University. Her research is primarily focused on ancient Israelite and Judahite religions, and portrayals of the religious past in the Hebrew Bible. She is interested in biblical traditions and religious practices most at odds with Western cultural preferences.

 

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Apr 02, 2021
Hitler's Atlantic Wall
00:21:12

The Atlantic Wall is one of the biggest construction projects in history a line of formidable defences stretching from the Pyrenees to the Norwegian Arctic but how effective was it? Dan speaks to James Rogers, host of our sibling podcast Warfare, about his recent History Hit documentary In Defence of the Reich: Hitler's Atlantic Wall. They discuss how and why the Atlantic Wall was built, Hitler's obsession with it, how effective it was and whether it could have ever been successful against an allied invasion.

 

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Apr 01, 2021
Music and Humans
00:23:21

Today we take music for granted but humans have a unique relationship with the musical form which reaches back far into our ancient past. In this episode Dan is joined by Michael Spitzer, Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool and author of The Musical Human, to discuss the history of music. From the first ancient Greek melody we have been able to recreate; to the first scraps of music notations that are yet to be deciphered and what music has meant for our evolution as a species and how we interact with each other.

 

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Mar 31, 2021
Operation Jubilee: A Pinch Raid at Dieppe?
00:32:10

On 19 August 1942, a six thousand strong combined Allied landing force took part in a raid on Dieppe, Northern France. Sixty-seven percent of these became casualties. The raid has gone down in history as a catastrophe conceived by Lord Mountbatten. With the help of 100,000 pages of classified British military files, however, David O’Keefe has uncovered a pinch mission undertaken at Dieppe, concealed by the raid, to steal one of the new German 4-rotor Enigma code machines. In this first of two episodes from our sibling podcast Warfare, David tells James about the main raid, undertaken in the majority by his fellow Canadians, and explains the evidence which supports the theory that this was a pinch raid, not just by opportunity, but by design.


Listen to part two of this podcast: The Enigma of Dieppe

 

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Mar 30, 2021
The Man Who Dropped the First Bomb on Iraq
00:24:01

30 years ago Maj. Gen. Greg "the beast" Feest dropped a bomb from his F-117 stealth bomber destroying an Iraqi command bunker which began the air war that would lead to the allied victory in the First Gulf War. He talks to Dan about this sortie and other experiences from over 800 hours of combat flying hours and his illustrious career in the USAF which led him to be head of safety including taking charge of its nuclear arsenal. Now retired, he also airs his robust views on how military power should be used and how politicians should get out of the military's way if they want to achieve success on the battlefield.

 

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Mar 29, 2021
Boudica: Britain's Warrior Queen
00:33:02

This episode from our sibling podcast The Ancients is all about that hero of British folklore; Boudica. Her leadership of the Iceni in an uprising against the forces of the Roman Empire in around 60 AD is echoed around school classrooms. But what evidence do we have for her actions, appearance and eventual defeat? Caitlin Gillespie is the author of ‘Boudica: Warrior Woman of Roman Britain.’ In this first of two episodes, she speaks to Tristan about the sources that have helped us to find out more about this legendary woman.


Part 2: Boudica: Through Roman Eyes

 

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Mar 28, 2021
Icelandic Volcanoes and Us
00:17:45

This explosive episode is all about the effects of Icelandic volcanoes on us all. In 1783 a massive eruption of Lakagígar volcano nearly forced the abandonment of Iceland as 15 cubic kilometres of lava was blown into the air. The greatest single amount ever recorded. The effects of this eruption caused enormous death and destruction in Iceland but also led to the failure of crops across northern Europe causing the deaths of 25,000 Britains and helping to cause the French revolution. Whilst this latest eruption seems rather tame by comparison it gave Dan the perfect excuse to speak to Páll Einarsson, who works at the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, about the history of Iceland's volcanoes and how their presence continues to be felt both in Iceland and around the world.

 

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Mar 27, 2021
The Suez Canal
00:27:58

The creation of the Suez Canal was the culmination of a dream stretching back to the pharaohs of connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, but why is it so important? Right now with the canal is blocked and more closely resembles a traffic jam rather than the vital trade artery connecting the trade and the Mediterranean basin with that of the Indian Ocean and Asia it is. The canal reduces the journey between the Arabian Sea and the North Atlantic by around 5000 miles saving the massive modern cargo vessels hundreds of thousands of dollars and tons of fuel by avoiding the long route around the Cape of Good Hope. This massive shortening of the route was even more vital in the days of sail and steam. On this podcast, Dan is joined by Zachary Karabel, author of Parting the desert: the creation of the Suez Canal; who discusses the history and construction of the canal, its lavish opening and how its existence led to imperialist expansion. Dan also talks to Kate Jamieson a maritime historian and part of the Operations team at MNG Maritime about the current implications of the closure.

 

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Mar 26, 2021
Greek War of Independence
00:24:26

200 years ago the banner was raised which marked the beginning of the Greek War of Independence that would lead to their freedom from the Ottoman Empire. It was also a globally significant war as it is one of the first examples of a people fired up with nationalist sentiment rising up against a big transnational empire. It would act as an inspiration for nationalist movements across the world leading eventually to the destruction of those empires around the world. The Greek cause was championed around the world by the Greek diaspora and classicists and volunteers, including Lord Byron, flocked to join the Greek cause. Eventually, after several years of struggle the Great Powers intervened to ensure that Greece obtained its independence. Paschalis Kitromilides, editor of The Greek Revolution: A Critical Dictionary, joins Dan to talk about the war, its significance within Greece and the wider world and how the shockwaves sent out by the Greek Revolution are still being felt throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

 

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Mar 25, 2021
Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities with Bettany Hughes
00:31:28

In this episode from the back catalogue, Dr Bettany Hughes joins Dan to talk about her history of Istanbul which sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Dr. Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her speciality is ancient and medieval history and culture. A Scholar at Oxford University she has taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and lectured at Cornell, Bristol, UCL, Maastricht, Utrecht and Manchester. She is a Tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education and a Research Fellow of King's College London. Her new book is entitled Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities.

 

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Mar 24, 2021
One Normal Family, 300 Years of History
00:23:16

Every family has a history and delving into the history of one ordinary French family over three centuries provides a remarkable picture of deep social and economic changes. Accounts of the lives of the rich and powerful families of history are commonplace. We have all read about the Kennedy's, the Windsors or the Habsburgs but what about an ordinary family? Dan is joined by Emma Rothschild, Professor of History at Harvard University and herself a scion of the Rothschild family, who has set out to prove that any family, however ordinary can be just as fascinating. She chose at random Marie Aymard, an illiterate widow, who lived in the provincial town of Angoulême in southwestern France in 1764 and traced her family's history down five generations and it's quite a ride! This episode charts the history of the family, why Emma chose this subject matter and acts as a reminder that families are intriguing and complicated with an infinite number of different outcomes.

 

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Mar 23, 2021
French Resistance Super Spy
00:20:50

Today's podcast is about French Resistance spies! Dan is joined by the author Roland Phillips who has uncovered the story of Mathilde Carré who was codenamed agent Victoire and nicknamed La Chatte & who spied for both the French Resistance & the Nazis. In this episode, Roland takes us through a fascinating tale of love, betrayal, espionage, patriotism and cynicism during the Second World War.

 

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Mar 22, 2021
Napoleon: Captive on Saint Helena
00:25:58

Saint Helena is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Nearly a thousand mile from the nearest piece of land, this recently created volcanic effusion is a wonder of geography and biodiversity. But it's also got a remarkable history. Napoleon was sent there after Waterloo. It was the safest place the British government could think of to imprison the most dangerous man in the world. In this episode, Dan goes to Napoleon's house, meets the remarkable man who has restored it and finds out about the last painful years of the Emperor's life. You can watch the documentary Dan made over on History Hit TV and find out more about the sites of Saint Helena on our website.

 

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Mar 21, 2021
The Census
00:21:35

Here in the UK, it's census time! Today, I'm joined on the podcast by one of the nations favourite family historians Dr Michala Hulme who certainly knows her way around a historical census. The first census was back in 1801 so we now have over 200 years of census information. We discuss why the census was first created, how the census can give us a real insight into how people lived their lives and how the census has changed and evolved over time. Please fill out your census as it provides vital information not just for the government, but most importantly for future historians to understand what was going on.

 

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Mar 20, 2021
The War in the East: Part 1 with Bill Frankland
00:42:53

In this episode taken from our archive, I talk to Dr Bill Frankland (19 March 1912 – 2 April 2020), a veteran of World War Two who lived through a Japanese prisoner of war camp and who also made important contributions to our understanding of allergies.


You can listen to part 2 of this podcast here.

 

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Mar 19, 2021
Another History of Ideas with David Runciman
00:42:06

Today, I am joined once again by Professor David Runciman to talk about the second series of his brilliant History of Ideas podcast. The series looks at some of the most important political thinkers of all time and tells us about their lives, their theories and why their thinking still matters. We discuss the series and look at the philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, Frederick Douglass, Friedrich Nietzsche and Rosa Luxemburg amongst others. It seems that these giant minds we wrestling with many of the same questions that we have today. How do we get better politics and who allowed these lunatics to run society?

 

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Mar 18, 2021
St Patrick's Day
00:24:07

We all have a story about St Patrick's Day and our guest on the podcast today, Adrian Mulligan has a few. Adrian is an Associate Professor of Geography at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. We had a fascinating talk about the origins of St Patrick's day, Irish Nationalism, how it has become a global phenomenon, the Irish American experience and how it's celebration has been influenced by the Irish diaspora. Enjoy this wonderful episode and happy St Patrick's Day!

 

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Mar 17, 2021
The My Lai Massacre
00:31:32

On the 16th March 1968, the My Lai Massacre occurred in South Vietnam. 350-500 men, women, children and babies were brutally killed by US troops during a counterinsurgency operation. It was the worst war crime perpetrated by US forces during the Vietnam War. 


To try and find out what made those men snap and commit those terrible crimes I spoke to Erik Villard a Historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort McNair, DC. He talks us through the events of that fateful day, why he believes it took place and how these shocking events continue to influence US military operations today.

 

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Mar 16, 2021
The Ides of March
00:47:56

Today's podcast is an episode taken from our sibling podcast The Ancients. In 4 BC, the Ides of March took on a new significance. Previously observed as the first full moon of the new year, the 15 March is today remembered as the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar. In this episode, Dr Emma Southon talks Tristan through the events leading up to the Caesar’s assassination: was he forewarned with omens in the days preceding his death? Who was involved in the plot and why did they want to kill him? Did Caesar really say 'et tu Brute?' And what of the more important 'other' Brutus? Emma tells the story of this momentous day.


Quick note: Caesar wasn't technically killed in the Senate House. He was killed in the senate meeting room, which at that time was held in the Curia of Pompey.


We also follow the theory that it was upon seeing Decimus Brutus, not Marcus Brutus, that Caesar gave up and stopped resisting his assassins. The debate continues!

 

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Mar 15, 2021
Written Constitutions with Linda Colley
00:29:29

On the podcast today we have the legendary Linda Colley to talk all about her new book examining the phenomenon of written constitutions. From Corsica in 1755 onwards via the United States and into the modern world constitutions represent an attempt by people to write down and codify the laws that govern a state. We discuss how these important documents are, and continue to be, a powerful symbol of statehood; how they represent the cultures and literature of the time and how their increasing importance from the eighteenth century onwards is intimately connected with the gigantic new forms of warfare that arise in the period.

 

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Mar 14, 2021
Vikings in America
00:22:51

The Vikings were one of the great exploring peoples of the past. They travelled east along the rivers to the Silk Road, they explored west across the seas to the United Kingdom, they settled Iceland and Greenland and famously reached North America. L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada has been identified as a Viking site, but it seems that this was only a staging post for longer journey's but where they were headed beyond this point we don't know. This leaves open the tantalising possibility of finding further Viking settlement in North America. Gordon Campbell, Emeritus Professor and Fellow in Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester joins me on the podcast to discuss the Viking relationship with North America and whether we might one day find a missing settlement.

 

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Mar 12, 2021
History of Homelessness
00:20:45

Throughout history homelessness has been given many names vagrancy, vagabonding, tramping. Indeed, homeless people have been seen in different lights. Sometimes portrayed as romantic heroes maintaining their freedom to roam and refusing to accept the yoke of a capitalist, settled society but also as an existential threat to order and property. I spoke to Professor of Contemporary British History Nick Crowson in this episode of the podcast who has spent much of his career studying homelessness. We explored how homelessness has been seen throughout history, his efforts to find out more about the individuals involved, how the homeless are labelled by the legal system here in the UK and how the 1824 Vagrancy Act remains in force.

 

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Mar 11, 2021
When We Nearly Nuked the Moon
00:33:00

Vince Houghton joins me on the podcast today to talk about some of the weirdest and craziest ideas put forward during the twentieth century. We're talking exploding bats, sonic cats, aircraft carriers made of icebergs and detonating a nuclear missile on the moon just to show that you could do it! This is a really fun episode and as you'll hear many of these ideas came closer to becoming reality than you might think. 


Vince Houghton is the historian and curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. He also is the host and creative director of the Museum's podcast, SpyCast, which reaches a national and international audience of over 2.5 million listeners each year.

 

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Mar 10, 2021
Michael Palin: Erebus and Terror
00:42:11

In this archive episode, Dan Snow wrangles with a Python! He talks to comedy legend Michael Palin about his book, Erebus The Story of a Ship. The book tells the devastating true story of the Franklin expeditions to find the Northwest Passage, and how their history only slowly came to light.

 

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Mar 09, 2021
On This Day She
00:32:05

To help celebrate International Women's Day I am joined on the podcast by Tania Hershman, Ailsa Holland and Jo Bell founders of On This Day She. Women have often been deliberately written out of history with their accomplishments been credited to men. On This Day She sets out to redress this imbalance and give voice to women, from all different backgrounds, that have been left out of history. It includes the good, the bad and everything in-between with both well-known women as well as those you may never have heard of. It's a fascinating and brilliant project that shines a light on the contribution women have made to history and in this episode, we talk all about their new On This Day book.


Find their work @OnThisDayShe

 

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Mar 08, 2021
Eddie the Eagle
00:21:22

I am joined by an absolute legend on the podcast today; Eddie the Eagle. He became an overnight sensation during the 1988 Winter Olympics as the first person to represent Great Britain in ski jumping since 1928. Although he finished last in both the 70 metres and the 90 metres he became a worldwide phenomenon due to his positive attitude and the extraordinary story of how he reached the games. He is one of the most zen people I have had the pleasure of interviewing and is just as happy plastering as appearing in the public eye. In this episode, we talk all about his Olympic adventure and Eddie shares with us some of his life wisdom.

 

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Mar 07, 2021
The British Landscape: 12,000 years of history
00:41:06

Nicholas Crane is a geographer, explorer, writer and broadcaster. He has written and presented four notable television series for BBC Two: Coast, Great British Journeys, Map Man and Town. The Making Of The British Landscape: From the Ice Age to the Present is out now.

 

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Mar 06, 2021
The Renaissance
00:20:51

Today on the podcast we're going to talk all about the Renaissance. We have all heard of it as a reawakening, a rebirth of European culture but what truly was it and why was it so important and are we going through our own renaissance now? I wanted to really get under the skin of the Renaissance and find out what exactly happened in Italy in the 15th and 16th century. Joining me to do just that is Mary Hollingsworth who has written a book called Princes of the Renaissance about the people who became the artistic patrons in that period.

 

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Mar 05, 2021
What's Going on in Myanmar?
00:26:02

Myanmar is currently experiencing one of its worst-ever periods of violence and civil unrest as the population protests against the recent military coup. Many protesters have been killed and injured and Aung San Suu Kyi is once again under house arrest. To help explain what is happening in Myanmar and put the events into context I am joined on the podcast by the filmmaker Alex Bescoby, who has spent much of his adult life working and living in Myanmar. We explore this complex issue and how the current unrest is related to its history, colonialism, the country's partition in 1947 as well as the subsequent coups, revolutions and more recently genocide that has followed.

 

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Mar 04, 2021
Cheddar Man: Science and the Skeleton
00:26:58

Today's episode is from our brilliant sibling podcast The Ancients. Cheddar Man is the oldest almost complete skeleton of a Homo sapien ever found in Britain and, for this fantastic episode, Tristan spoke to the scientist who has drilled a (very small) hole in him. Dr Selina Brace is a biologist who works with ancient and degraded DNA. At the Natural History Museum in London, where Cheddar Man currently resides, Selina and her team have been able to examine this iconic skeleton’s genetic makeup and deduce from it more information about the evolution of our species, as well as the lifestyles and even appearances of Homo sapiens moving from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic era.

 

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Mar 03, 2021
French Resistance Heroine Heading to the Oscars?
00:22:31

Joining me on the podcast today are Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchino to discuss their film Colette: The french resistance fighter confronting fascism which has been shortlisted for the Oscars 2021 in the Documentary Short category. The documentary tells the story of Colette Marin-Catherine who was part of the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France in the Second World War. 90-year-old Colette Marin-Catherine confronts her past by visiting for the first time the German concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora where her brother, also a resistance member, was killed. The trip opens old wounds and provides powerful lessons for us all even after the passing of so many years. Alice and Anthony talk about the process of meeting and working with Colette and what the project meant to them as filmmakers.


I would thoroughly recommend you watch this powerful piece of work and you can do so by clicking this link: http://theguardian.com/colette

 

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Mar 02, 2021
Queens of Jerusalem
00:23:02

In today's episode of the podcast, I am joined by Katherine Pangonis a historian specialising in the medieval world of the Mediterranean and Middle East. She has recently written a fantastic book about the powerful women who dared to rule in the Crusader States of Outremer following the First Crusade; something that was largely absent from other states of the period. We talk about how and why the phenomenon occurred, the rule of Queen Melisende and her granddaughter Queen Sibylla, the influence of these rulers on Eleanor of Aquitaine and how these powerful women have largely been ignored by history.

 

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Mar 01, 2021
The Gulf War: 30 Years On
00:38:01

On this day thirty years ago a ceasefire was declared bringing ground operations in the first Gulf War to an end. An overwhelmingly powerful coalition force had stormed across the desert driving Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait and concluding the ground campaign after only 100 hours of fighting. To commemorate this anniversary I am joined on the podcast by General Sir Rupert Smith who commanded the UK 1st Armoured Division during the conflict. We talk about his role during the war, the challenges of command and what we should understand about the changing nature of combat in the modern world.


General Sir Rupert Smith joined the army in the 1960s and served on deployments across the world including Africa, Arabia, the Caribbean, Europe, Malaysia and Northern Ireland where he was decorated for gallantry. In October 1990 he was promoted to Major-General and assumed commanded of the 1st Armoured Division as it was being deployed to the Gulf in anticipation of the war. This was the largest British armoured force deployed in action since the Second World War. After the Gulf War Sir Rupert went on to serve with distinction in Bosnia and wrote a book called The Utility of Force which remains essential reading in military circles.

 

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Feb 28, 2021
Lockdown Learning: The 19th Century Medical Revolution
00:31:03

The 19th century saw the world in the grip of the industrial revolution, a firepower revolution on the battlefield and a communications revolution with the telegram. But there was another revolution happening at the same time; the medical revolution. This led to giant strides forward being made in the fields of public health, surgery and pharmaceuticals. Monica Walker, Curator at Old Operating Theatre Museum in London, joins me for Lockdown Learning this week to talk me through jus what happened in the 19th century to take medicine into a completely different realm.


Many thanks again to Simon Beale for creating this downloadable worksheet for students: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GQW0ql9LsuvQDB5PozNuZtIsepir5ByH/view

 

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Feb 26, 2021
The Doolittle Raid
00:25:51

Today, we're talking about one of the great stories of American military history; The Doolittle Raid. In 1942 after the humiliation assault on Pearl Harbour and determined to show that America still had offensive capabilities the charismatic figure of James Doolittle came to President Rosevelt with the proposal to fly army bombers off aircraft carriers and attack Tokyo the capital of the Japanese Empire. Michel Paradis, the author of Last Mission to Tokyo, joins me not only to discuss the mission itself but also the fascinating story of the fight for justice for the Doolittle crews captured, tortured and killed by the Japanese.

 

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Feb 25, 2021
Anti-government Violence in America
00:21:04

Leah Sottile joins me today to talk all about domestic terrorism and anti-government groups in the USA. In particular, we talk about the armed standoff between law enforcement and a group of ranchers led by Cliven Bundy in 2014 over the issue of grazing rights on public land. We examine what happened, why this case matters, how it is directly linked to the stoming of the Capitol and what it is about the history of the USA that motivates these groups.


Leah Sottile is a freelance journalist and writer based in Oregon and the host of the podcast Two Minutes Past Nine, produced with BBC Radio 4, and the series "Bundyville," made in collaboration with Longreads and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

 

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Feb 24, 2021
Remembering the Alamo with W. F. Strong
00:46:42

In this episode taken from our archive, I headed out to Texas in 2016 to discuss the Battle of the Alamo and what its legacy means for modern Texas. I met with W. F. Strong, a famed historian of Texas, to wander around the city of San Antonio and get a deeper understanding of one of America's most famous battles.

 

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Feb 23, 2021
John of Gaunt: THE Royal Ancestor
00:32:56

Helen Carr joins me today to discuss John of Gaunt: son of Edward III, younger brother to the Black Prince, uncle of Richard II and father of Henry IV. Not only was he the key intersecting ancestor around which the Plantagenet family split, but his other children also give us the Tudor dynasty. He is THE royal ancestor and one that many of us can trace our family trees back to. In this fascinating episode, Helen discusses his royal aspirations, his attempted conquest of parts of Spain, his role in the Peasants' Revolt and his experiences of the Black Death.

 

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Feb 22, 2021
In Conversation with David Baddiel
00:49:36

In this episode taken from our archive, David Baddiel talks to Dan about the Second World War, Trump's Mussolini-isms, and why Jim Callaghan makes comedy difficult.

 

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Feb 21, 2021
Brexit History Showdown with Robert Tombs
00:30:05

Five years after the announcement of the Brexit referendum I am joined on the podcast by Robert Tombs, author of The Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe, for a Brexit history showdown. In this thought-provoking conversation Robert, a fantastic historian absolutely steeped in European history sets out why he believes it was in the best interests of the UK to leave the European project.

 

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Feb 20, 2021
Vikings: River Kings
00:25:51

Today, I am joined by Cat Jarman bio-archaeologist and author of a new book all about how the Vikings spread east, often utilising the rivers of central and Eastern Europe, all the way into central Asia. These travels enabled them through trade, violence and settlement to plug themselves into that superhighway of the time, the Silk Road.

 

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Feb 19, 2021
Frostquake
00:21:43

In the winter of 1962-63, the UK experienced a different kind of lockdown as freezing temperatures and ten weeks of snow kept people trapped at home in one of the coldest winters on record. Today, I'm joined by Juliet Nicolson who was eight years old at the time and has written a book all about that bitterly cold winter. She argues that the big freeze not only reflected the threat of the cold war but also beneath the frozen surface new ideas were beginning to stir which would lead to the massive cultural and societal shifts of the 1960s.

 

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Feb 18, 2021
Besieging Masada
00:39:26

Dramatically placed on a plateau with drops of 400m to the east and 90m to the west, Masada translates from Hebrew as fortress. It became just that when Herod the Great built a magnificent palace complex upon it between 37 and 31 BC, the remains of which are in fantastic shape today. But the site isn’t only notable for its connection to the bible-famed King of Judaea. Masada was also the stronghold of some of the survivors of a Jewish revolt and, in response, the locus of a Roman siege in the early 70s AD. For this first of two parts, Tristan, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, spoke to Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina. Jodi co-directed the 1995 excavations of the Roman siege works at Masada, and in this episode, she tells Tristan about the archaeological findings at the site, many of which are still visible to the untrained eye.


Jodi is the author of 'Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth'.


Part 2, which focuses on the fall of Masada, the myths and the siege's legacy, is available here.

 

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Feb 17, 2021
Love Lives: From Cinderella to Frozen
00:24:34

We cover all the big topics on the podcast including weapons of mass destruction, climate change, great power rivalry and the struggle for democracy and many others, but today's podcast is all about the biggest subject of them all. Love.


Carol Dyhouse, Professor (Emeritus) of History at the University of Sussex, joins me to talk all about how portrayals of love in popular culture and in particular Disney princesses have influenced how people view love, romance and marriage and how those views have changed since the 1950s.

 

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Feb 16, 2021
Hitler and Stalin
00:26:12

I am joined by Laurence Rees, the best selling author, who has met more people that had direct contact with both Hitler and Stalin than any other historian. In this episode, we delve into the differences and similarities of these two terrifying, brutal and ruthless megalomaniacs who did more than anyone else to shape the Twentieth Century and the world we live in today.

 

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Feb 15, 2021
Living Through the Dresden Firebombing with Victor Gregg
00:44:41

Victor Gregg is a veteran of World War Two and the Dresden Bombings, and travelled with Dan to visit Dresden a couple of years ago for a documentary. In this episode, taken from our archive, Victor talks about what it was like to be in Dresden during the bombings, and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he suffered as a result of his wartime experiences.

 

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Feb 13, 2021
Lockdown Learning: The Rise of USA
00:31:50

For Lockdown Learning this week I am joined by Dr Fabian Hilfrich, head of American History at Edinburgh University. He takes us through from the late 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th century when America rose to challenge the old European powers on the world stage. We cover subjects such as American imperialism, industrial development and wealth distribution, the impact of immigration, how America viewed itself on the world stage and the evolution of the constitution during this period.


Many thanks again to Simon Beale for creating this downloadable worksheet for students: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DOC7Qj3kxZ3iboMwIQ4xsCfYV0QZGLVZ/view

 

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Feb 12, 2021
The 18th Century Precedent for Trump's Impeachment
00:30:04

As the impeachment trial of Donald Trump got underway in the USA the 18th-century case of Warren Hastings, the former Governor-General of Bengal was cited as a precedent for someone being impeached after they had left office. But what happened to bring about Hastings' impeachment and why does this case matter now? I'm joined by best selling author, an expert on the East India Company and a rock star of 18th-century history William Dalrymple to find out.

 

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Feb 11, 2021
Empire with Sathnam Sanghera
00:26:19

Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera joins me on the podcast to talk about his latest book Empireland which examines how much of what we think of as Britain and British is owed to our imperial past. We compare notes on our own family's relationships to the British Empire imperial, me being British-Canadian and Sathnam being of Punjabi descent, and discuss how imperial history should be thought about and taught today.

 

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Feb 10, 2021
Historical Novels with Ken Follett
00:21:00

Today, I am joined by best-selling author Ken Follett to discuss his latest book The Evening and the Morning. We also talk about his love of history and the historical research involved with writing one of his novels, his method and how authors have to sometimes use creative license to fill in some of the underwear shaped gaps left in the historical record. This episode was recorded before the US election last year and Ken, a former journalist, also touches on his concerns for his previous occupation with the proliferation of fake news. 

 

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Feb 09, 2021
China 1949: Year of Revolution
00:33:45

In 1949 Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party to victory in the long and bloody Chinese Civil War. The impact of this victory was felt not just within China itself, but globally throughout the Cold War and into the modern era. Today, the legacy of 1949 still resonates shaping the political and ideological landscape of China and how it perceives itself on the world stage. Graham Hutchings joins me to discuss the fateful events of 1949 and their impact and the looming possibility of conflict over the island of Taiwan.


Graham Hutchings is an Associate at the University of Oxford's China Centre and an Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham, UK. Having previously been Principal at Oxford Analytica and China Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph from 1987 to 1998 he is an expert on Chinese history, and the author of Modern China: A Companion to a Rising Power (2000). His latest book China 1949: Year of Revolution Hardcover is available now from Bloomsbury Press.

 

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Feb 08, 2021
Sutton Hoo
00:34:46

The release of The Dig has brought the story of the Sutton Hoo dig to the forefront of people’s minds of late. The real hero of that story though is not the people involved but rather the stunning archaeology discovered in Suffolk as the Second World War loomed. Sue Brunning joins me on the podcast to talk all thing Sutton Hoo. The history of the excavation, who might have been buried at the heart of it and what it tells us about Early Medieval England. 


Sue is an archaeologist specialising in Early Medieval material culture and is the curator of Early Medieval Europe Collections at the British Museum where many of the artefacts from Sutton Hoo are housed. 

 

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Feb 07, 2021
Emily Davison with Kate Willoughby
00:28:22

In this episode, originally released in 2018, Dan talks to actor, activist, and "part-time suffragette" Kate Willoughby about Emily Davison, the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, and what still needs to be done.

 

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Feb 06, 2021
Lockdown Learning: Interwar Europe
00:26:26

For this episode of Lockdown Learning Professor Richard Toye joined me on the podcast to talk about the interwar period and answer the key questions of what caused the Second World War. We spoke about why the Treaty of Versailles was so harsh on Germany, why the League of Nations failed and the impact of the Wall Street Crash on global politics and how all these combined to help bring about the World War Two. 


Many thanks again to Simon Beale for creating this downloadable worksheet for students: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cpEzgAYEOgleTRvh-J-tyz2k4MLUCTc8/view?usp=sharing

 

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Feb 05, 2021
The History of Social Media with Kara Swisher
00:26:34

Facebook was founded on the 4th of February 2004 and began as a tool to stay in touch with friends and family, but has ended up being a place where you can plan insurrectionist movements and anti-vax rallies. Today I am joined by American tech journalist Kara Swisher to talk about Facebook, social media and the history of tech and what the future holds for the industry.


Kara has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and is currently an opinion writer for The New York Times. She also co-founded the Recode conference. If you would like to hear more from Kara then she presents the Sway Podcast with the New York Times about power and influence. She also co-hosts Pivot with NYU Professor Scott Galloway offering sharp, unfiltered insights into the biggest stories in tech, business, and politics.

 

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Feb 04, 2021
The AIDS pandemic
00:22:24

In this episode of the podcast, I’m joined by Tash Walker and Adam Zmith, hosts of The Log Books podcast, to discuss the Aids pandemic of the 1980s and 1990s and the lessons that might be drawn for dealing with COVID-19.


We talk about the role of the media in creating negative press around HIV/AIDS and the direct impact that had on Thatcher's Government decision to bring in Section 28. We also discuss the role of many lesbians in supporting those with HIV and dying of AIDS - an area that is often overlooked.


If you would like more information on The Log Books podcast then please check out their website at https://www.thelogbooks.org/

 

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Feb 03, 2021
Edges of Empire: Rome's Northernmost Town
00:23:58

Roughly two miles south of Hadrian’s Wall lie the remains of Roman Corbridge, the northernmost town of the Roman Empire. The site’s archaeology is unique. The remains highlight what was once a bustling town. As its centre was the high street. Covered walkways, street-side shops and an ornate fountain are just a few of the structures that we know were present along this central road, now known as the Stanegate. Metres away, however, you have the remains of very different structures surviving. Military buildings, ‘mini forts’ that were slotted into Corbridge’s bustling town landscape, when the legionaries returned here in the 2nd century. Though not on Hadrian’s Wall itself, this ancient cosmopolitan town had strong economic connections with those manning this frontier. It is a must-see site for anyone planning to visit Hadrian’s Wall.

A few months back, I was fortunate enough to visit Corbridge and be shown around the site by English Heritage curator Dr Frances McIntosh.


The full tour / documentary can be viewed on History Hit TV. Hadrian’s Wall: Settlement and Supply: https://access.historyhit.com/videos/settlement-and-supply


The site of Corbridge Roman Town is owned by English Heritage https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/corbridge-roman-town-hadrians-wall/

 

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Feb 02, 2021
How the Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery
00:32:42

Historian Michael Taylor joined me on the podcast to discuss the resistance of the British establishment to the ending of the slave trade.

 

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Feb 01, 2021
Elvis: Destined to Die Young
00:23:49

Sally Hoedel joined me on the podcast to talk about the turbulent life and career of Elvis Presley, King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

 

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Jan 31, 2021
Lockdown Learning: Russian Revolution
00:31:34

Helen Rappaport, a specialist in Russian history, joined me on the podcast for the third episode of our lockdown learning series to talk about the Russian Revolution. We run through some key moments in the fall of the Romanovs.

Many thanks to Simon Beale for creating this downloadable pdf worksheet for students:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K9b4wZUKbagxobWBPlCOs3ZUuiLmzOj3/view

 

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Jan 29, 2021
Pirates
00:27:48

Rebecca Simon joined me on the podcast to talk about the Golden Age of Piracy within the British-Atlantic world.

 

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Jan 28, 2021
Survivors of Genocide
00:46:31

For Holocaust Memorial Day Dan talks to people who have experienced and survived genocide. Four guests from four different parts of the world. Sophie Masereka, Ruth Barnett, Kemal Pervanic, Sokphal Din all share their traumatic experiences. All of them lost their loved ones. All of them are brave enough to speak out, driven by the belief that memorialisation and education may stop the next genocide. 

 

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Jan 27, 2021
How the Irish Shaped Britain with Fergal Keane
00:25:10

Fergal Keane joined me on the podcast to talk about the profound influence the Irish have had on Britain over many centuries.

 

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Jan 26, 2021
Liberalism with Ian Dunt
00:32:06

In this episode, I was joined by journalist Ian Dunt, a well known a commentator on politics and on Brexit. Ian is host of the 'Oh God What Now' podcast and editor of politics.co.uk. We discuss his recent book which makes an impassioned defence of liberalism and tells its story, from its birth in the fight against absolute monarchy to the modern-day resistance against the new populism.

 

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Jan 25, 2021
Cold War Submarine Warrior
00:21:11

Eric Thompson has had his finger literally on the nuclear button. He joined the Royal Navy submarine service in the early days of the Cold War. He served on WW2 era ships and submarine before ending his career as a senior officer on Britain's state of the art nuclear submarines. Each one armed with inter continental ballistic missiles with nuclear tips. He took Dan to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport to show him around one of the finest preserved submarines in the world, HMS Alliance. He told Dan how they kept the beer cold and why his main concern at sea was the toilet.


To watch an extended version of this interview, please check out our documentary now available at historyhit.tv. It's still January, so the code 'january' gets you a month for free and the next three months for 80% off the subscription of $/£ 5.99 per month.

 

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Jan 24, 2021
Lucy Worsley on Queen Victoria
00:24:09

BAFTA winning historian and Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces Lucy Worsley takes Dan on a tour of Kensington Palace, one of the principle royal residences since 1689, and the childhood home of Queen Victoria. 


 

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Jan 23, 2021
Lockdown Learning: The Middle Ages
00:24:24

In this week's Lockdown Learning episode, I was delighted to be joined by medieval historian Marc Morris. We discuss broad themes relating to the Middle Ages - what were they and which periods did they come in between. We ask whether many of the clichés about the Middle Ages are accurate.


Many thanks again to Simon Beale, who's put together a worksheet for students to fill out while listening to the episode. You can download it here:


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dwbcPc4qmHIfuIQImt4nfp1cPWfJSoFd/view?usp=sharing

 

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Jan 22, 2021
Rediscovering Amazon Civilisations
00:17:17

Ella Al-Shamahi, explorer, paleoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic, joined me on the podcast to talk about Amazon Civilisations.

 

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Jan 21, 2021
Marissa Roth, Photojournalist
00:24:25

Marissa Roth, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, joins me on the podcast to talk about her pictures of the 1992 LA riots and lifetime of war photography, especially dealing with women in war.

 

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Jan 20, 2021
Indonesian Cave Art: A Dramatic New Discovery
00:44:48

It’s a paradox for the ages, breaking news about people who lived and died thousands of years ago. This discovery is no different, because Adam Brumm and his team in Sulawesi have released their discovery of the oldest known art. The paintings on the Indonesian island are over 45,500 years old, and feature three pigs alongside the stencilled outlines of the hands of their prehistoric painter. Listen as Adam tells Tristan about his research on this beautiful island, how the pigs were discovered and what they can tell us about early people.

 

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Jan 19, 2021
The Second Reich
00:38:01

On 18 January 1871 as the Siege of Paris raged a couple of miles away King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of the German empire in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. It was the most dramatic possible beginning to a new imperial project in the heart of Europe. The German Empire was instantly a major power on the continent and quickly developed global ambitions. Dan talked to Katja Hoyer about the events leading up to its founding and what it meant for German and the world. 

 

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Jan 18, 2021
Impeaching the President
00:26:21

He's made history. Donald Trump has become the only President in US history to be impeached not once but twice. Three years ago Dan talked to Joshua Matz, an attorney and constitutional scholar in Washington DC and author of "To End a Presidency." He explained to Dan the history of impeachment and discussed how it works in practice. Not long after we all got a practical demonstration of impeachment and Joshua Matz played a key role. He served among the counsel for the impeachment and trial of President Trump. Following Trump's second impeachment we decided to re-release this podcast. Some of it has aged, but it has aged pretty well! 

 

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Jan 17, 2021
Lockdown Learning: The Tudors
00:36:45

We're very pleased to bring you this special 'Lockdown Learning' episode of the podcast, featuring the brilliant Dr Anna Whitelock on the Tudor period. Anna is Director of the London Centre for Public History and Heritage and head of history at Royal Holloway, she's written extensively on the Tudors and in this episode she gives us a general view right across the period.


Thank you also to Simon Beale, a history teacher in our community, who has put together the accompanying worksheet, you can download the PDF here: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1E4XPAhTiIRHnQsqEC6fqkEJSVk81ZWZO/view?usp=sharing

 

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Jan 15, 2021
Treason in America
00:25:57

Constitutional law and legal history scholar Carlton Larson talked to Dan during Christmas about treason in the American legal system. How is it defined in the US constitution and how has it been used by prosecutors over the centuries? The chat took place before the insurrection at the Capitol but we thought we would broadcast it anyway. We believe it has become even more relevant given the events of the last week.

 

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Jan 14, 2021
LGBTQ+ History: With the team from the Logbooks Podcast
00:23:33

Tash Walker and Adam Zmith join me to talk about The Log Books Podcast, a history of LGBTQ+ life in the UK.

 

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Jan 13, 2021
When the Brits Burnt the Capitol, with Peter Snow
00:33:41

In 1814 a British expeditionary force landed in Maryland, marched on Washington, brushed aside an American army and stormed into the US capital. The British looted and burnt the Capitol, then moved on to the White House, ate President Madison's dinner and then torched the White House. Even members of the British force described it as 'barbaric.' Two hundred years later Peter Snow, Dan's dad, wrote an account of the raid. He seemed like the obvious guy to talk to as The Capitol was once again attacked this year. 

 

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Jan 12, 2021
Bitcoin and Crypto: A History
00:33:49

Jamie Bartlett joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of the Bitcoin.

 

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Jan 11, 2021
Goose Green: A Veteran Remembers
00:51:52

John Geddes joined the Parachute Regiment as a teenager in the late 1970s. Within a couple of years he was plunged into the Falklands War and the bloodiest battle the British Army had fought since the Korean War. In this podcast John talks to Dan about his experience in the army, his memories of the Battle of Goose Green and subsequent Falklands actions. His recollections are remarkable and sometimes harrowing. 

 

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Jan 10, 2021
2008 Financial Crash with Adam Tooze
00:31:26

Dan speaks to economic historian Adam Tooze for the tenth anniversary of Lehman Brothers' collapse in this special podcast.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Jan 09, 2021
Insurrection in America
00:33:52

As an armed mob broke into the US Capitol, Dan talked long into the night to his friend and star blogger known only as the Angry Staff Officer. He is a serving officer in the US military and is unable to use his own name for broadcasting. During the course of a long conversation they talked about the American constitutional experiment, the history of insurrection in America, the battle of Gettysburg, the meaning of the word militia and, yes, Star Wars.

 

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Jan 08, 2021
How Ancient Egypt Stayed Egyptian
00:56:48

The length of time between the rule of Cleopatra and the erection of the Pyramids is the same as that between now and the birth of Jesus Christ. With that in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that some periods of Ancient Egypt fall beneath the radar. The Late Period of Ancient Egypt, however, is not without drama. These final centuries are characterised by repeated invasions and leadership by foreign rulers. Chris Naunton is an Egyptologist, writer and broadcaster. He spoke to Tristan about the influence of external forces on Ancient Egyptian society from the Third Intermediate Period through the Late Period. This included Libyan, Assyrian, Persian and, notably, an Ancients’ favourite, the Macedonian Alexander the Great.

 

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Jan 07, 2021
The Inquisition
00:22:23

Jessica Dalton joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of the Inquisition. We discussed the Roman Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, and how religion and politics have clashed and intertwined in Europe since the fifteenth century.


 

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Jan 06, 2021
The Partition of Ireland
00:36:40

Patricia Clavin, Niamh Gallagher and Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid joined me on the pod to discuss the history of the partition of Ireland.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Jan 05, 2021
The Tudor Crown Discovered in a Field?
00:23:17

Metal detectorist Kevin Duckett made a remarkable discovery in a field in Northamptonshire. At first he thought it was a bit of squashed tin foil. In fact it was a two-and-a-half inch jewel which experts believe could once have sat atop the Tudor crown of England. To entangle this mystery Leanda de Lisle comes back on the podcast to explain to Dan how this jewel made its way from royal diadem to a muddy field.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Jan 04, 2021
History Legends: Mary Beard
00:43:39

This episode is the third of our History Legends podcasts, featuring Mary Beard.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Jan 03, 2021
History of Gaming
00:25:47

Tristan Donovan joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of gaming.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Jan 02, 2021
Andy McNab on the SAS
01:38:22

From the day he was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital in London, Andy McNab has led an extraordinary life. As a teenage delinquent, Andy McNab kicked against society. As a young soldier he waged war against the IRA in the streets and fields of South Armagh. As a member of 22 SAS he was at the centre of covert operations for nine years – on five continents. During the Gulf War he commanded Bravo Two Zero, a patrol that, in the words of his commanding officer, 'will remain in regimental history for ever'. Awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal (MM) during his military career, McNab was the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier when he finally left the SAS. Since then Andy McNab has become one of the world’s best-selling writers, drawing on his insider knowledge and experience. As well as several non-fiction bestsellers including Bravo Two Zero, the biggest selling British work of military history, he is the author of the best-selling Nick Stone and Tom Buckingham thrillers. He has also written a number of books for children. Besides his writing work, he lectures to security and intelligence agencies in both the USA and UK, works in the film industry advising Hollywood on everything from covert procedure to training civilian actors to act like soldiers. He continues to be a spokesperson and fundraiser for both military and literacy charities.

 

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Jan 01, 2021
Best of 2020 Part Two
01:11:22

Part Two: a compilation of the best podcasts of 2020.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 31, 2020
St Paul's, the Blitz and THAT photo
00:46:21

80 years ago today the Second Great Fire of London was unleashed by sustained German bombing during one of the fiercest nights of the Blitz. On this podcast Dan goes on a tour around the City of London with Clive Harris looking at how Luftwaffe bombs reshaped the city. Dan also talks to Dr Tom Allbeson, a Lecturer at Cardiff University, about how the iconic photo of St Paul's was taken and how it became a symbol of Britain's war effort.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 29, 2020
History Legends: Eric Foner
00:30:51

Eric Foner joined me on the podcast to talk about Reconstruction, the attempt to reimagine the American Republic following the Civil War.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 28, 2020
Dan's Dickensian Christmas
00:43:00

Dan Snow is treated to a range of Dickensian Christmas delights courtesy of historian Pen Vogler, from mince pies to Charles Dickens' favourite punch.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 27, 2020
History Legends: Michael Wood
00:39:35

Michael Wood joined me on the podcast to talk about his career as a historian.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 26, 2020
Best of 2020 Part One
00:26:16

A compilation of the best podcasts of 2020. Part one highlights historians talking about history.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 25, 2020
The 1914 Christmas Truce (part 2)
00:47:48

Part Two of our special podcast mini series on the famous Christmas Truce. On Christmas Eve 1914 many sectors of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent. Troops from all sides put down their weapons and sang carols, exchanged gifts and buried their dead in No Man's Land. The following day the truce continued in many, but not all areas, and troops gathered in crowds between the lines. there may even have been a bit of a kick about. On this episode three distinguished historians, Peter Hart, Taff Gillingham and Rob Schaefer tell us about the events of the truce itself. We also hear extracts of letters and diaries from the men involved, including some broadcast here for the first time in English. This is the story of the Christmas Truce. It accompanies our most ambitious TV project yet on History Hit TV where with the help of specialist extras we dramatise the events of that Christmas in 1914.

 

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Dec 24, 2020
The 1914 Christmas Truce (part 1)
00:40:48

On Christmas Eve 1914 many sectors of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent. Troops from all sides put down their weapons and sang carols, exchanged gifts and buried their dead in No Man's Land. The following day the truce continued in many, but not all areas, and troops gathered in crowds between the lines. there may even have been a bit of a kick about. This is part 1 of a two part Christmas podcast which explores the truce with three distinguished historians, Peter Hart, Taff Gillingham and Rob Schaefer. We also hear extracts of letters and diaries from the men involved, including some broadcast here for the first time in English. This is the story of the Christmas Truce. It accompanies our most ambitious TV project yet on History Hit TV where with the help of specialist extras we dramatise the events of that Christmas in 1914. 

 

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Dec 23, 2020
When Parliament Cancelled Christmas
00:29:12

On 19 December 1644 the English Parliament banned Christmas. EXACTLY 376 years later to the day, Boris Johnson announced that this year the celebration of Christmas would be radically curtailed due to the upsurge in Covid infections. This might be the only thing that Boris Johnson and the 17th Century Puritans have in common. On this podcast Dan meets Dr Rebecca Warren, an expert on the religious history of the 17th Century to find out about the banning of Christmas. Why it happened, and just how stringent was the enforcement? 


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 22, 2020
Hannibal: Crossing the Alps
00:29:01

In 218 BCE, Hannibal Barca's Carthaginian army, accompanied by horses and elephants, completed one of the most audacious military marches of ancient Mediterranean history. Setting off from southeast Spain, on their way they overcame a number of hostile Celtic tribes and traversed two major mountain ranges: the Pyrenees and then, most famously, the Alps. Battered and bruised Hannibal and his men eventually descended from the Alpine passes and arrived in Northern Italy at the end of 218 BC, where they soon clashed with the Roman legions awaiting them near the River Trebbia. This battle, fought on a snowy plain in freezing conditions, was the climax of the 218 BC campaign and the first of Hannibal's great victories against Rome.


From the outbreak of the Second Punic War to the Battle of the River Trebbia, in this two-part podcast Dr Louis Rawlings, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at Cardiff University, dives into the events of 218 BC and the incredible leadership of Hannibal. In this first episode, Tristan and Louis discuss the background to Hannibal Barca's march to Italy, before focusing in on one of the greatest adventure stories from antiquity: Hannibal's crossing of the Alps.

 

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Dec 21, 2020
Soviet Spy in the Cotswolds with Ben Macintyre
00:27:07

Ben Macintyre joined me on the podcast to talk about Ursula Kuczynski, one of the greatest spies of the 20th Century.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 20, 2020
History Hit Presents 'The Christmas Truce'
00:02:39

The Christmas Truce was one of the most miraculous episodes in the history of warfare, and History Hit have a major new podcast and film dropping next week. Watch this space…  


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 19, 2020
Britain's Black Power Movement
00:24:17

Leila Hassan Howe and Amanda Kirton joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of the Black Power movement in Britain.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 19, 2020
The Violence of the Suffragettes
00:25:21

Today we remember the suffragettes as a peaceful movement, but in the years before the First World War, the WSPU launched one of the most shocking terrorist campaigns the British mainland has ever seen. Dan talks to Fern Riddell about Kitty Marion, one of the most militant suffragettes, and her struggles.

 

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Dec 18, 2020
Sicily '43
00:23:57

James Holland joined me on the podcast to discuss the allied invasion of Sicily on the 10th July 1943.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 17, 2020
Ethiopia: All You Need to Know
00:23:02

Richard Reid joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of Ethiopia.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 16, 2020
How Dogs Became Man's Best Friend
00:16:21

Mike Loades joined me on the podcast to talk about the history of dogs, and they are intertwined with human history.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 14, 2020
Adolf Hitler: The War Years
00:56:21

At the beginning of 1940 Germany was at the pinnacle of its power. By May 1945 Hitler was dead and Germany had suffered a disastrous defeat. Hitler had failed to achieve his aim of making Germany a super power and had left her people to cope with the endless shame of the Holocaust. In this episode, I'm joined by Professor Frank McDonough, internationally renowned expert on the Third Reich, as well as actor Paul McGann, to discuss this dramatic change of fortune.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 13, 2020
How Slavery Built Modern Britain
00:22:14

Padraic Scanlan joined me on the podcast to talk about how Britain rose to global power on the backs of enslaved workers. Modern Britain has inherited the legacies and contradictions of a liberal empire built on slavery. Modern capitalism and liberalism emphasise 'freedom' - for individuals and for markets - but are built on human bondage.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 12, 2020
Disinformation and the White Helmets in Syria
00:19:02

Chloe Hadjimatheou joined me on the podcast to talk about the death of James Le Mesurier, the man who co-founded the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defence force who filmed themselves pulling survivors and bodies from the rubble of bombed out buildings.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 11, 2020
Spartacus: Life or Legend?
00:47:39

‘I’m Spartacus!’ In the field of epic film making, the 1960 historical drama ‘Spartacus’, is legendary. Directed by Stanley Kibrick, adapted from the Howard Fast novel by Red Scare blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, and starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov and Jean Simmons; it is a classic. But how much of the plot has emerged from the true story of a Thracian gladiator and slave who escaped his Roman captors and led an unsuccessful but impressive rebellion against their oppressors? How much of the film’s message was formed by the personalities involved in its creation, and the context in which it was made. In her own words, Dr Fiona Radford devoted years of her life to the man with the most memorable chin cleft in the world - Kirk Douglas, specifically as Spartacus. Her thesis traced the production history of this film, examining in particular the effect that the turbulent process had on the portrayal of female characters. Having taught at Macquarie University, ANU and the University of Sydney, she currently teaches history at secondary school level, and her conversation with Tristan in this episode is an eye-opener to 1950s film making as well as the legend of Spartacus.

 

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Dec 10, 2020
Big Data and History
00:28:05

Dan Hoyer and Peter Turchin joined me on the podcast to talk about the new transdisciplinary field of Cliodynamics, which uses the tools of complexity science and cultural evolution to study the dynamics of historical empires and modern nation-states.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 09, 2020
Mary Queen of Scots with Kate Williams
00:56:06

Dan Snow and Kate Williams talk about the rise and fall of Mary Queen of Scots.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 08, 2020
Diary of an MP's Wife
00:11:38

Sasha Swire joined me on the podcast to talk about her diary, written during the Cameron years. Her husband was an MP and junior minister at the time.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 07, 2020
Charles Dickens
00:37:27

In today's episode, I was joined by John Mullan, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He has published extensively on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, and is a wealth of knowledge on all things Dickens. We discuss the man himself and his writings, and the unique Victorian context in which inspired the great novelist.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 06, 2020
Ghost Hunter!
00:15:49

Kate Summerscale has written one of the Sunday Time books of the year exploring the world of poltergeists and ghosts in the build up to the Second World War. She came on the podcast to tell us all about Nandor Fodor – a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research in London. From New York to Croydon he used all the gadgets of modern technology to record, X-ray, tape and photograph ghosts.

 

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Dec 04, 2020
Sylvia Pankhurst
00:24:35

Rachel Holmes joined me on the podcast to discuss the life of British suffragette and socialist Sylvia Pankhurst. Sylvia found her voice fighting militantly for votes for women. The vote was just the beginning of her lifelong defence of human rights, from her early warnings of the rise of fascism in Europe, to her campaigning against racism and championing of the liberation struggles in Africa and India. Sylvia's adventures in America, Soviet Russia, Scandinavia, Europe and East Africa made her a true internationalist. She was one of the great minds of the modern era, engaging with political giants, including Churchill, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, George Bernard Shaw, W.E.B. Du Bois and Haile Selassie.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 03, 2020
The Nuremberg Trials: 75th Anniversary
00:19:35

Tom Bower joined me on the podcast to discuss the history and legacy of the Nuremberg Trials.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 02, 2020
Rebel Anthropologists Who Challenged Everything
00:22:58

Charles King joined me on the podcast to talk about a group of cultural anthropologist who fundamentally transformed conceptions of 'normality' in the early twentieth century. We talked in particular about the work of Margaret Mead.


Subscribe to History Hit and you'll get access to hundreds of history documentaries, as well as every single episode of this podcast from the beginning (400 extra episodes). We're running live podcasts on Zoom, we've got weekly quizzes where you can win prizes, and exclusive subscriber only articles. It's the ultimate history package. Just go to historyhit.tv to subscribe. Use code 'pod1' at checkout for your first month free and the following month for just £/€/$1.

 

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Dec 01, 2020
Was Winston Churchill Racist?
00:19:29