Dan Snow's History Hit

By History Hit

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Subscribers: 4301
Reviews: 89

Tom T
 Jan 2, 2022
Great range of subjects

Mike
 Dec 10, 2021
Absolutely love Dan Snow's Podcast. His enthusiasm and passion come through so clearly.... Fascinating

Trevor Bateman
 Dec 9, 2021
Excellent content and variety. Couldn't recommend it enough.

Harry
 Oct 25, 2021
Great listening


 Sep 19, 2021

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
Nuremberg: The Trial of Major War Criminals
00:23:08

Carried out in Nuremberg, Germany, between 1945 and 1949, the Nuremberg trials were held for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. The most widely-known of those trials was the Trial of Major War Criminals, held from November 20, 1945, to October 1, 1946. Judges from the Allied powers of Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, presided over the hearing of 22 defendants, who included Nazi Party officials and high-ranking military officers along with German industrialists, lawyers and doctors, were indicted on such charges as crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.


Sir John Tusa, broadcaster and writer, joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss what led to the Nuremberg trials, the intricate details of the Trial of Major War Criminals, outcomes for subsequently convicted war criminals such as Hermann Göring, and the lasting impact of these trials.


This episode is dedicated to the late Ann Tusa, who co-authored with husband John, 'The Nuremberg Trial'.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 28, 2022
The Boy Who Survived Auschwitz
00:26:11

Thomas Geve was just 15 years old when he was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp on 11 April 1945. It was the third concentration camp he had survived. During the 22 months he was imprisoned, he was forced to observe first-hand the inhumane world of Nazi concentration camps. On his eventual release, Thomas felt compelled to capture daily life in the death camps in more than eighty profoundly moving drawings. He detailed this dark period of history with remarkable accuracy.


Despite the unspeakable events he experienced, Thomas decided to become an active witness and tell the truth about life in the camps. He has spoken to audiences from around the world and joins Dan on the podcast for Holocaust Memorial Day. They discuss Thomas’ rare living testimony, how as a child he had the unique ability to document the details around him, and his book ‘The Boy Who Drew Auschwitz: A Powerful True Story of Hope and Survival’.


Thomas’ daughter Yifat, also kindly shares with Dan the lasting impact of her father’s experiences.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 27, 2022
Endurance22: The Search for Shackleton's Shipwreck - New Season Coming to Dan Snow's History Hit!!
00:01:35

Have you heard? History Hit is going to the Antarctic!


Dan is joining an incredible expedition to locate the missing shipwreck of Ernest Shackleton’s vessel that was crushed by the ice and sank during his 1914 attempt to cross Antarctica. If they find the Endurance, it'll be the greatest underwater discovery since the Titanic. Over the coming weeks, we'll be releasing an exclusive series into your regular podcast feed that tells the incredible tale of the Endurance expedition- how Shackleton and his men survived months stranded on the ice with no contact with the outside world and how they made their daring escape. It will follow Dan in real-time as he and the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust set up an ice camp of their own down in the Weddell Sea and search for the lost Endurance. With podcasts recorded in the Antarctic, listeners will be the first to hear about the breakthroughs and challenges of navigating an Antarctic expedition as told through interviews with his crew-mates, reporting from the ice and personal diary entries from Dan. 


Coverage starts on 7th of February 2022- lookout for Endurance22 podcasts coming soon!


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 26, 2022
Munich - The Edge of War: Reappraising Chamberlain
00:34:29

Join James from the Warfare Podcast, as he chats to the writer and cast of the new film 'Munich - the Edge of War'. Set in 1938, the movie follows Chamberlain's attempts to appease Hitler, desperate to avoid another Great War. Joining James is author Robert Harris, along with lead actors George Mackay and Jannis Niewöhner. Together they discuss the historical significance of Chamberlain and Hitler's relationship, Munich's role in contemporary politics, and the pressures of having to learn German in a week. Munich – The Edge of War is in select cinemas now and on Netflix from January 21st.


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Jan 26, 2022
The Gilded Age
00:22:59

The Gilded Age was a time in American history when the economy grew at its fastest rate in history. This had wide-reaching cultural and social effects, including a broadening tier of self-made millionaires, the rapid growth of the working class and a burgeoning black middle class.


It is against this backdrop of rapid change that Julian Fellows, creator of Downton Abbey, sets his new drama. We sat down with the show's historical advisor, Dr Erica Dunbar to help us understand the opportunities, challenges and tensions of this time.


​​The Gilded Age is available in the UK on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from 25 January. For US audiences, it is available on HBO from the same date.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 25, 2022
Champagne Riots
00:22:08

Rebecca Gibb is a Master of Wine. A ninja who can sniff out a Merlot from a Margaux at 50 paces. In this archive episode, she talks to Dan about the riots that tore through the region of Champagne just before the First World War as the small wine growers rose up against the power of the big Champagne brands. This story has it all: invasive species, globalisation, climate crisis, superbrands, booze and artisanal production.


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Jan 24, 2022
1942: Churchill's Real Darkest Hour
00:30:01

Most people think that Britain's worst moment of the war was in 1940 when the nation stood up against the threat of German invasion. Yet, eighty years ago, Britain stood at the brink of defeat. In 1942, a string of military disasters engulfed Britain in rapid succession, including the collapse in Malaya; the biggest surrender in British history at Singapore and the passing of three large German warships through the Straits of Dover in broad daylight.


Taylor Downing, historian, writer and broadcaster, joins Dan on the podcast to draw the startling parallels between events in 1942 and today. They discuss just how unpopular Churchill became in 1942 against the backdrop of a new low of public morale, the two votes attacking his leadership in the Commons and the emergence of a serious political rival. As people began to claim that Churchill was not up to the job and that his leadership was failing badly, it was 1942 that was in fact Britain’s real darkest hour.


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Jan 23, 2022
Roe v. Wade: America's Landmark Ruling
00:33:58

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law banning abortion, effectively legalising the procedure nationwide. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.


Roe v. Wade, involved the case of Norma McCorvey “Jane Roe”, who in 1969, wanted an abortion but lived in Texas, where abortion was illegal except when necessary to save the mother's life. Her attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in U.S. federal court against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas's abortion laws were unconstitutional.


Linda Greenhouse has reported on and written about the Supreme Court for The New York Times for more than four decades, earning numerous accolades, including a Pulitzer Prize. Currently, Linda writes an opinion column on the court and teaches at Yale Law School - today, she joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss the legality of abortion prior to the 19th century, the details of the court ruling, and the legacy and current challenges to Roe v. Wade, which continues to divide Americans today.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 21, 2022
Who Was Joan of Arc?
00:49:50

Joan of Arc is a name that’s instantly recognisable to most. A controversial figure in her own day, she has remained so ever since, often being adopted as a talisman of French nationalism.


But how much do we really know—or understand—about the young woman who ignited France’s fightback against England during the Hundred Years’ War, but who paid the ultimate price at the age of just 19? To get to the heart of the real ‘Maid of Orléans’, Matt Lewis from the Gone Medieval podcast is joined in this episode by Dr Hannah Skoda, a Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at the University of Oxford.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 20, 2022
The Child Soldiers of WWI
00:25:37

After the outbreak of the First World War, boys as young as twelve were caught up in a national wave of patriotism and, in huge numbers, volunteered to serve. The press, recruiting offices and the Government all contributed to the enlistment of hundreds of thousands of underage soldiers in both Britain and the Empire. Having falsified their ages upon joining up, many broke down under the strain and were returned home, while others fought on and were even awarded medals for gallantry.


Richard van Emden, who has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written twelve books on the subject, joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss the unknown stories of boys who served in the bloodiest battles of the war, fighting at Ypres, the Somme and on Gallipoli.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 19, 2022
28 Years on Death Row
00:36:07

Anthony Ray Hinton is an Alabama was held on death row after being wrongly convicted of the murders of two restaurant managers, John Davidson and Thomas Wayne Vasona, in Birmingham, Alabama on February 25 and July 2, 1985. In 2014 he was released after winning a new trial which demonstrated that the forensic evidence used against him during his original conviction was totally flawed. Since his exoneration and release Anthony has become an activist, writer, and author. In this episode, Anthony takes Dan around the streets of Birmingham, Alabama and they explore some of the most iconic locations of the civil rights movement. They also discuss his experiences as a death row inmate and the vital importance of forgiveness.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 18, 2022
Korean War: The Veterans Of Imjin River
01:01:38

Fought between the 22nd-25th of April 1951, the battle of Imjin River was part of a Chinese counter-offensive after United Nations forces had recaptured Seoul in March 1951. The assault on ‘Gloster Hill’ was led by General Peng Dehuai who commanded a force of 300,000 troops attacking over a 40-mile sector. The 29th Independent Infantry Brigade Group, under the command of Brigadier Tom Brodie, of the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, was responsible for defending a 15-kilometre section of the front, over which General Peng Dehuai sent three divisions of his force. What resulted was the bloodiest battle that involved British troops in modern history since the Second World War.


Taken from the 2021 Gloucester History Festival, Dan is joined by two battle veterans of the 1951 Korean War battle, Tommy Clough and Brian Hamblett. Tommy served as a gunner with the Royal Artillery which was attached to the Gloster, Brian served in the British military in Infantry manning machine guns in his platoon - both were Chinese prisoners of war for more than two years. They join Dan to explore the battle of the Imjin River on what was its 70th anniversary.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 17, 2022
Eugenics with Adam Rutherford
00:32:23

Eugenics has been used in attempts throughout history, and across continents, to gain power and assert control.


In this episode, we trace Eugenics from its intellectual origins in Victorian Britain to the actual policies put into action to control populations birthrates in Nazi Germany and 20th Century America.


Dan is joined by broadcaster and geneticist Adam Rutherford who helps him understand this complicated legacy as well as what the troubling future of gene editing has to hold.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 16, 2022
Tudor True Crime
00:40:54

The true-crime genre - stories of actual murders and other crimes that are then fictionalised - is not a new phenomenon. More than four centuries ago, a series of plays based on real life cases appeared on the London stage. It was a short-lived craze generated by the insatiable early modern appetite for the "three Ms" - melodrama, moralizing and misogyny. In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to author Charles Nicholl about the little known phenomenon of Elizabethan true crime, which even influenced the works of William Shakespeare.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 14, 2022
George Washington: The First President
00:21:48

George. Where did it all go wrong? George Washington could have had a comfortable career as a loyal member of His Majesty's Virginia militia and colonial grandee. But no, he had to go and roll the dice. In this episode, Dan speaks to historian Alexis Coe about her biography of Washington. She has a fresh take on the first President, but no less scholarly for that. Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, caused an international incident, and never backed down - even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 13, 2022
The Rule of Laws
00:25:52

The laws now enforced throughout the world are almost all modelled on systems developed in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During two hundred years of colonial rule, Europeans exported their laws everywhere they could. But not quite as revolutionary as we may think, they weren't filling a void: in many places, they displaced traditions that were already ancient when Vasco Da Gama first arrived in India. Even the Romans were inspired by earlier precedents.


Fernanda Pirie, Professor of the Anthropology of Law at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford and author of ‘The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World,’ joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss where it all began, and what law has been and done over the course of human history.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 12, 2022
Digging for Britain with Professor Alice Roberts
00:26:55

2021 was a bumper year for archaeological discoveries across Britain. In this episode, we go on a whistlestop tour of some of the most notable finds — from an immaculately preserved Roman mosaic found on a working farm, to the puzzling ruin of a Norman church discovered by HS2 engineers.


Dan is joined by author and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts, who got to see many of these discoveries first hand and meet the people who found them during the filming of the latest series of Digging For Britain.

If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 11, 2022
Was the League of Nations Doomed to Fail?
00:20:38

102 years ago on the 10th of January 1920, the League of Nations was formed out of the Treaty of Versailles. Its aim was to maintain peace after the First World War. With 58 member states by the 1930s, it had successes e against drug traffickers and slave traders, settling border disputes and returning prisoners of war. But much of the treaty was designed to punish Germany after WWI, creating an environment of disillusionment that enabled Nazi ideology to thrive. Across the rest of Europe, it was working up against economic depression, rising nationalism and a lack of support from the two great nations of Russia and the United States. Its ultimate demise began with Hitler's declaration of war in 1939. 


Was it too utopian and doomed to fail? In this episode Mats Berdal, Professor of Security and Development at Kings College London, joins Dan to discuss the legacy of the League of Nations, its importance in establishing the Geneva Protocol (prohibition of gas warfare), laying the foundations of the UN and the challenges that led to its ultimate failure.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 10, 2022
Obama and Merkel: The Extraordinary Partnership
00:25:34

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are two of the world’s most influential leaders, together at the centre of some of the biggest controversies and most impressive advancements of our time. Taking office at the height of the 2008 global recession, Obama was keenly aware of the fractured relationship between the US and Europe, while Merkel was initially sceptical of the charismatic newcomer who had captivated her country. Despite their partnership having been the subject of both scrutiny and admiration, few know the full story.


Upon Merkel’s departure from office after 16 years last month, Dan is joined by Claudia Clark, author of ‘Dear Barack: The Extraordinary Partnership of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel’. They discuss Merkel and her administration, where the partnership between Obama and Merkel began, the historically significant parallel trajectories that marked the highs and lows of their extraordinary alliance, and the continued influence of their legacy on global politics.


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Jan 09, 2022
1921 Census: Revealed
00:28:58

For the first time, the 1921 Census of England & Wales is now publicly available, only online at the family history website, Findmypast. More detailed than any previous British census taken up to that point, it provides us with a remarkable, once-in-a-generation snapshot of a country that had been transformed after the First World War. In this episode, we are joined by guests Audrey Collins, from The National Archives, and Myko Clelland, from Findmypast. They explain what the records show about how families, communities and workplaces were reshaped by the war, as well as share stories buried deep within the Census that reveal so much about how our ancestors lived a hundred years ago.


Are you interested in exploring your own family history? After years spent digitising and transcribing this unique record of your recent history, the 1921 Census is now available exclusively online with Findmypast. Start exploring now at findmypast.co.uk


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 07, 2022
Democratic Decline
00:36:32

The 6th of January marks one year since the United States Capitol attack of 2021, whereby a mob of supporters of Republican President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol Building. On today’s anniversary, what can we learn from prehistory to the present, about democratic decay, corruption and cronyism?


Dr. Brian Klaas, UCL Associate Professor in Global Politics, Washington Post Columnist, and author of ‘Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us’ is today’s guest on the podcast. So, are tyrants made or born? If you were thrust into a position of power, would new temptations to line your pockets gnaw away at you until you gave in? As one of the world's leading and most effective commentators of democratic decline, Brian joins Dan to answer these questions.


They discuss the rise of hierarchy in prehistoric times, how cognitive biases from our Stone Age minds continue to cause us to select the wrong leaders and what we can learn about King Leopold II of Belgium about whether power or systems, corrupt.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 06, 2022
Sitting Bull: the Life and Death of a Native American Chief
00:51:09

Sitting Bull, best known for his initiative and victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn, is a greatly revered Native American Chief. But he was more than a fierce leader of his people. Bestowed the name ‘Sitting Bull’ at only 14 by his father, he showed characteristics of courage, perseverance, and intelligence beyond his years - traits that would come to define him, and the relationship between Native Americans and the US government for generations. In this episode, James from the Warfare Podcast is joined by Professor Jeff Olster, who specialises in the impact of the United States on Native Americans between the 18th to 20th centuries. Together they discuss who Sitting Bull was, the journey that led him to Little Bighorn, and the injustices inflicted upon the Native American people by the US Government.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 05, 2022
Treasures of Ancient Egypt
00:21:45

Ramesses the Great, ego in the ancient world and Tutankhamun's sacred underwear. These are all covered in today's episode with Dr Campbell Price about the treasures that will be housed in the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, set to open later this year. 


Dr Campbell Price is the Chair of Trustees for the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK’s leading charity supporting archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt. He's also the curator of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 04, 2022
Tutankhamun: Life, Legacy and Discovery
00:29:32

Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered by Howard Carter almost 100 years ago, and two years later they opened up the stone sarcophagus that held the golden coffin containing the mummy of Tutankhamun. In this archive episode from 2019, Dan gets Dr Tarek Al Awady to take him around the exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery which examined some of the treasures taken from his tomb, many of which were on tour for the first time. Dan and Dr Al Awady discuss Tutankhamun's life and his legacy.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Jan 03, 2022
Climate Catastrophe in the 17th century
00:34:39

Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides - the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were both unprecedented and widespread. A global crisis extended from England to Japan, and from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa. North and South America, too, suffered turbulence. Changes in the prevailing weather patterns, longer and harsher winters, and cooler and wetter summers - disrupted growing seasons, causing dearth, malnutrition, and disease, along with more deaths and fewer births. Some contemporaries estimated that one-third of the world died.


Geoffrey Parker, distinguished University Professor and Andreas Dorpalen Professor of European History join Dan on the podcast to discuss the sequence of political, economic and social crises that stretched across the 1600s. They discuss the link between climate change and worldwide catastrophe 350 years ago, and the contemporary implications: are we at all prepared today for the catastrophes that climate change could bring tomorrow?


Geoffrey is the author of ‘Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century'.


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Jan 02, 2022
Sex in the Middle Ages
00:23:34

Please note that this episode contains conversation about sex that you might not want to listen to in the presence of children.


What did medieval people really think about sex, and were those thoughts all that different from ours today?

 

The medieval humoral system of medicine suggested that it was possible to die from having too much-or too little-sex, while the Roman Catholic Church taught that virginity was the ideal state. Holy men and women committed themselves to lifelong abstinence in the name of religion. Everyone was forced to conform to restrictive rules about sex and could be harshly punished for getting it wrong. More familiarly, medieval people faced challenges in finding a suitable partner and also struggled with many of the same social issues that we face today. 


Dan is joined by Katherine Harvey, Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London and author of ‘The Fires of Lust: Sex in the Middle Ages’. Katherine holds a PhD in Medieval History from King’s College London and has published widely on medieval topics, including sexuality, gender, emotions and the body. Join Dan and Katherine as they discuss sex through the ages, as relating to general attitudes, frequency, religion and marriage. 


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 31, 2021
Inside The Great Cathedrals of Europe
00:22:39

A trip to Paris wouldn't be the same without taking a moment to gaze up at the great looming towers of the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral with its watchful gargoyles on every corner. Today, celebrated journalist Simon Jenkins joins Dan to discuss 'humankind's greatest creation'; the cathedral. Simon has travelled across Europe - from Chartres to York, Cologne to Florence, Toledo to Moscow and Stockholm to Seville - to illuminate old stalwarts and highlight new discoveries. They compare favourites and share which ones they think are overrated. Simon's new book is called 'Europe's 100 Best Cathedrals'.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 30, 2021
The Origins Of Scotland
00:41:27

The Medieval period saw the advancement of many countries, evolving to the provinces in Europe that we know today; Scotland is no different. In this episode, Cat Jarman from the Gone Medieval podcast is joined by Dr. Adrian Maldonado, an Archeologist and Glenmorangie Research Fellow at National Museums Scotland. With the birth of kingdoms such as Alba, Strathclyde, Galloway, and the Norse Earldom of Orkney, what can the artefacts and materials tell us about the emergence of Scotland? Adrian Maldonado is the author of 'Crucible of Nations: Scotland from Viking-age to Medieval kingdom', published by NMSE - Publishing Ltd.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 29, 2021
The 1914 Christmas Truce (Part 2)
00:47:22

Part Two of our episodes 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. In 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 episode was first released on 24th December 2020.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 28, 2021
The 1914 Christmas Truce (Part 1)
00:38:34

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 that 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 episode was first released on 23rd December 2020.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 27, 2021
Storytime with the Snows: Boudica
00:35:40

In a special episode of the podcast, Dan's children join him for a lively retelling of Boudica and the violent uprising that tore Roman Britain apart- a classic bedtime story in the Snow household. Merry Christmas from Dan and his family! 


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 25, 2021
Christmas Carols: A Musical History
00:24:44

Traditionally sung at Christmas itself or during the surrounding Christmas holiday season, it is thought that carols existed to keep up people’s spirits, along with dances, plays and feasts since before the fourteenth century. Whether religious or not, the singing of Christmas carols is a tradition enjoyed by many every year, but do we know why?


Author of ‘Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir,’ composer and choirmaster Andrew Gant joins Dan for this carol-filled episode of the podcast. Andrew and Dan discuss why we sing Christmas carols and how they came to hold the magic enjoyed by so many. Accompany Dan and Andrew in the festive spirit as delve into the history of one of our best-loved musical traditions and the surprising stories behind a handful of well-known seasonal songs.


Audio courtesy of Signum Records


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Dec 24, 2021
Dan Explores Dickensian London!
00:48:48

Just as Scrooge wandered London's streets on a cold Christmas night, Dan Snow follows the ghosts of Charles Dickens' past to discover the city that inspired his greatest works. With London-born tour guide David Charnick, they slip down hidden alleyways to find the old debtor's prison that the Dicken's family once called home; a place that haunted a young Charles for the rest of his life. They overlook the Thames to tell the tales of Victorian scavengers who searched the murky waters for bodies to turn over for profit. They find the old counting houses and graveyards that inspired the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge. They walk down the very street that Bob Cratchit 'went down a slide on Cornhill twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas-eve'. With David's masterful guidance and atmospheric readings, this immersive episode takes you to the fireside of a London coaching inn as the sun sets outside on a late December afternoon. 


A warning: this episode contains references to historical suicides. 


Dickens' extracts are read by Robyn Wilson. 'Roger de Coverley' and 'Durang's Hornpipe' performed by Vivian and Phil Williams. You can join David for a variety of historical London tours here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/david-charnick-footprints-of-london-7320403619


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 23, 2021
King Herod
00:56:11

Thanks largely to his feature in the Gospel of Matthew, King Herod ‘the Great’ of Judaea is one of the infamous figures from the whole of history. So what do we know about this ancient near eastern ruler, who in his lifetime had contacts with a series of ‘goliath’ figures from the ancient Mediterranean World: from Caesar to Cleopatra and from Marc Antony to Augustus. To talk about King Herod, with a particular focus on the material and meaning of his monumental tomb at Herodium, Tristan was re-joined by Holy Land archaeologist Dr Jodi Magness. A wonderful speaker, Jodi has previously been on the podcast to talk all about the Siege of Masada and Jewish burial at the time of Jesus.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 22, 2021
The Parthenon Marbles
00:37:01

The permanent home of the Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, has been the subject of a heated, decades-long debate. Currently housed in the British Museum, Greece has been proactively campaigning for their return since the 1980s. But, how did this controversy start and why did the marbles end up in London, to begin with?


In this episode, we find out with the help of Nick Malkoutzis and Georgia Nakou, two Greek journalists and contributors to Macropolis (www.macropolis.gr). You can also hear more from Nick and Georgia on the English-language podcast about greek politics and society, The Agora.


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds


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Dec 21, 2021
God's Changing Body Through History
00:32:24

While many traditions regard God to be incorporeal, some three thousand years ago in the Southwest Asian lands, a group of people worshipped a complex pantheon of deities, led by a father god called El. El had seventy children, who were gods in their own right. One of them was a deity, known as Yahweh. Yahweh had a body, a wife, offspring and colleagues. He fought monsters and mortals. He gorged on food and wine, wrote books, and took walks and naps. But he would become something far larger and far more abstract: the God of the great monotheistic religions.


Author of ‘God: An Anatomy’ and Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter, Francesca Stavrakopoulou is today’s guest on the podcast. Examining God’s body, from his head to his hands, feet and genitals, Francesca and Dan discuss how the Western idea of God developed, the places and artefacts that shaped our view of this singular God and the ancient religions and societies of the biblical world and not only the origins of our oldest monotheistic religions, but also the origins of Western culture.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 20, 2021
The Battle of Agincourt Explained
00:32:56

The Battle of Agincourt looms large in the English historical and cultural imagination, this explainer wades through the mythology to help listeners really understand this infamous battle.


From almost the moment the battle finished the myth of Agincourt was being spun. Henry V milked the victory for all its worth to secure his reign and it has continued to play a prominent role in the British psyche ever since inspiring both Shakespeare and Churchill amongst others. It was however a crushing English victory with much of the nobility of Northern France being killed on that muddy field that day. It is all the more remarkable as Henry's army had been worn down by previous battles and ravaged by dysentery with thousands dying in miserable agony. In this episode, Dan returns with another of his explainers to explore the background, the campaign, the battle itself and its aftermath. 


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 19, 2021
The Unlikely Fate of the Wright Brothers
00:30:06

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. The Wright Brothers took the world's first engine-powered flight. It didn't take long for countries around the world to realise that the Wright flying machine had the potential to revolutionise warfare and soon everybody wanted flying machines of their own. But the US didn't have the advantage; Historian and TV Consultant Gavin Mortimer tells Dan that after that first flight, the Wright Brothers spent more time in court trying to protect their patent and ground other aviators than they did in their workshop. Not only did it make them largely despised by their contemporaries, they quickly fell behind in the race to master the air.


For more about those dramatic days of pioneering aviation, Gavin's book is called 'Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Changing American Aviation'


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.

 

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Dec 17, 2021
Black Tudors: England's Other Countrymen
00:48:54

Our image of the Tudor era remains overwhelmingly white. But the black presence in England was much greater than has previously been recognised, and Tudor conceptions of race were far more complex than we have been led to believe. In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Onyeka Nubia whose original research shows that Tudors from many walks of life regularly interacted with people of African descent, both at home and abroad - findings that cast a new light on the Tudor age and our own attitudes towards race relations in history.  

 

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Dec 16, 2021
Uncovered: South America's Biggest Slave Uprising
00:28:46

On February 27 1763, thousands of enslaved people in the Dutch colony of Berbice—in present-day Guyana—launched a huge uprising against their oppressors. Surrounded by jungle and savannah, the revolutionaries—many of them African-born—effectively controlled the colony for a year as they resisted European attempts to overthrow them. In the end, the Dutch prevailed because of one unique advantage—their ability to call upon soldiers and supplies from neighbouring colonies as well as from Europe. This little-known revolution was the biggest in South America’s long and dark period of enslavement, one that almost changed the face of the Americas. Yet the efforts of the mutineers have largely been overlooked—until now. To shine a light on the uprising that came so close to success, Dan is joined by Marjoleine Kars who is professor of history at the University of Maryland in the US. Marjoleine is the author of Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast, which helped uncover the workings of this little-known yet crucial rebellion. The book has won multiple awards, including the Cundhill History Prize, and has been described as an astonishing work of original history.

 

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Dec 15, 2021
Inside Downing Street with Gavin Barwell
00:29:22

British politician Gavin Barwell served as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May from June 2017 to July 2019, one of the most turbulent periods in recent British political history.


As the Prime Minister’s senior political adviser, Barwell was at May's side as she navigated tumultuous Brexit negotiations, met Donald Trump, learnt about the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, met Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer to broker a cross-party Brexit agreement - and ultimately made the decision to stand down as Prime Minister.


Joining Dan on the podcast, Gavin poignantly reveals a historical first-hand account of how government operates during times of crises, resignations and general elections. Taking us beyond the corridors of power, they discuss the prominence of political advisors, the shifting of power and the decision-making that goes on behind closed doors at 10 Downing Street.


Gavin is the author of Chief of Staff: Notes from Downing Street

 

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Dec 14, 2021
Hitler's American Gamble
00:24:44

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 remains etched in public memory as the turning point of WW2. But in fact, it was Hitler’s declaration of war on the United States – four days later on December 11, 1941 – that changed everything. 


In this episode, Professor of International Relations at Cambridge University Brendan Simms tells Dan the story of those five unsettling days. Churchill did not sleep “the sleep of the saved and thankful” after the attack, as he later claimed. Japan’s leaders were unsure whether Hitler would honour a private commitment to declare war. Roosevelt knew that many Americans didn’t want their country to entangle itself in a conflict with the Third Reich as well as Japan. In the end, it was Hitler’s decision that ended the uncertainty, bringing the US into the European war and transforming world history. You can read more in 'Hitler's American Gamble', the new book by Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman. 


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds

 

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Dec 13, 2021
The Secrets of WW2's Women Soldiers
00:31:29

The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in 1938 it saw many thousands of women take on a huge range of vital roles in the war effort which had never before been open to them. This included manning anti-aircraft stations, searchlights, plotting rooms and many more. This could be dangerous work and over 700 women were killed during the conflict. Some women also faced dangers closer to home including the behaviour of some of the men they served with. Sadly, the contribution of these women and the risks they endured has often been overlooked. To shine a light on their courage and service Dan is joined by historian, broadcaster and writer Tessa Dunlop and Grace Taylor, a 97 year-old former ATS ‘Gunner Girl’. Tessa Dunlop is the author of the book: Army Girls: The secrets and stories of military service from the final few women who fought in World War II. Tessa and Grace discuss with Dan the reality of women serving on the front line, how allowing women to more fully participate in the war effort marked a radical social departure and Grace's experience as a member of the ATS. 

 

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Dec 12, 2021
Battle of Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory
00:28:36

2 December is a special date for those fascinated by Napoleon Bonaparte. Not only is this the date he crowned himself Emperor of France in 1804, but also the date of his greatest victory a year later, the Battle of Austerlitz. James Rogers from the Warfare podcast is joined by world-leading historian Andrew Roberts to dissect the conditions, tactics and aftermath of Napoleon's greatest battle. If you’re enjoying this podcast and looking for more fascinating Warfare content then subscribe to our Warfare Wednesday newsletter here. Passages read by Matt Lewis Music: Not My Taste (a) - Doug B Rossi, Tony Phillips Majesty (a) - Bradley Andrew Segal, Haim Mazar Force of Nature (a) - John Christopher Lucas Lemke.

 

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Dec 10, 2021
Moscow 1941: Hitler's Nemesis with Jonathan Dimbleby
00:34:03

While the allies reeled from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and Hitler's declaration of war on the United States, a ferocious battle was also raging across the icy steppes of Russia in early December 1941. Hitler had launched his invasion of the Soviet Union in June of that year - Operation Barbarossa- the largest and deadliest in modern history. The German army was no match for the sheer number of soldiers sent by Stalin or the brutal conditions of a Russian winter. By the time Hitler's army reached the gates of Moscow on the 2nd of December, millions from both sides had died. 


In June this year, Dan was joined by historian and veteran broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby to discuss the beginning of Operation Barbarossa and the German offensive. Jonathan joins Dan once more to, this time, look at Stalin's response, what was going on in the city during the Battle of Moscow and why the Soviets ultimately succeeded in defeating the Germans. 


You can listen to the first part here: https://podfollow.com/dan-snows-history-hit/episode/e1cf197bb81f0354bac4f8d2e8c19b27be871511/view


Please vote for us! Dan Snow's History Hit has been nominated for a Podbible award in the 'informative' category: https://bit.ly/3pykkds

 

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Dec 09, 2021
Inside North Korea
00:42:24

With closed borders, a totalitarian regime, electricity blackouts and widespread poverty, North Korea is a brutal place to survive; even looking at a foreign media outlet can get a North Korean citizen sent to a concentration camp. So why, in 2011 did leader Kim Jong Il allow Jean Lee, a celebrated American journalist to set up a news bureau in Pyongyang?


In today's episode, Jean is Dan's guide to North Korea. She tells him about her extraordinary experiences living and working in North Korea as the AP bureau chief. She delves into the history of the Korean peninsula, the Korean War and what made North Korea the country it is today- including the mythology of the Kim dynasty and the famine of the 1990s. 


She also talks about her hit podcast on the BBC World Service - The Lazarus Heist- that tells the dramatic story of an elite group of North Korean cyber hackers who not only infiltrated Sony pictures in 2014 but also attempted a one-billion-dollar heist at the Bangladesh bank two years later.

 

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Dec 08, 2021
Pearl Harbor: 80th Anniversary
00:53:22

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched a surprise military strike upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. Just before 8 a.m., the base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft as fighters, level, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers descended on the base in two waves. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the United States, and Congress declared war against Japan. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The previously reluctant U.S. entered the Second World War.


Join Dan as he walks through the details of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, explainer style. Later in the episode, Dan welcomes Michael “Mickey” Ganitch, Pearl Harbor survivor to the podcast. Mickey served on the USS Pennsylvania and was on-board when the Japanese attacked, he served the rest of the war on the USS Pennsylvania, including when she was torpedoed just before the Japanese surrender. Now 102-years-old, Mickey continues to share his story.


A special thanks to Mickey and Barbara Ganitch, as well as the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States for the detail that we were able to include in this episode.


Please vote for Dan Snow's History Hit in the 'informative' category at this year's Podbible awards - POD BIBLE POLL WINNERS 2021 – VOTE NOW!

 

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Dec 07, 2021
Barbados: The World's Newest Republic
00:25:25

November 30 2021, Bridgetown, fifty-five years since Barbados’ 1966 Independence, the Royal Standard flag representing the Queen was lowered and Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the president of Barbados. The handover ceremony marked the birth of the world’s newest republic.


The most easterly of the Caribbean Islands, Barbados was inhabited by its indigenous peoples prior to the European colonisation of the Americas in the 16th century. Under the command of Captain John Powell, the first English ship arrived in Barbados in May 1625 and its men took possession of the island in the name of King James I. During this period, Barbados became an English and later British colony that served as a plantation economy, dependent on the labour of enslaved Africans on the island's sugar plantations.


Dan is joined by Guy Hewitt, who served as the High Commissioner of Barbados in London from 2014 to 2018. They discuss the detailed history of Barbados, the significance of the Slave Trade until its formal abolition in 1834, the impact of the Commonwealth, subsequent Barbadian-British relations, and why now sees the end to the 396-year-reign of the British Monarchy over the Island country.

 

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Dec 06, 2021
Band of Brothers
00:28:08

HBO's Band of Brothers remains one of the greatest mini-series ever made. 20 years after the award-winning series debuted, Dan speaks to Robin Laing who played Edward 'Babe' Heffron about life on set, how they created an entire frozen forest inside an air hanger during a sweltering August and his close relationship with the real Babe Heffron. They're joined by writer John Orloff who tells them about being approached by Tom Hanks and writing two of the most crucial episodes in the series: 'Day of Days' that see's the paratrooper regiment drop into occupied Normandy and 'Why We Fight' about the Lansberg concentration camp. A must-listen for any Band of Brothers fan!


Dan Snow's History Hit is up for a 2021 Pod Bible award! Vote for us to win best informative podcast here: https://podbiblemag.com/pod-bible-poll-winners-2021-vote/. Thank you from Dan and the History Hit team!

 

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Dec 05, 2021
The Hundred Years' War
00:39:48

Over 100 years of conflict, two warring nations, five monarchs on either side and countless casualties in a dispute over claims to the throne: in this episode, Gone Medieval's Matt Lewis unravels the numbers. He takes us through the biggest turning points of the Hundred Years’ War chronologically and gives us some insight into the personalities involved on the English and French sides.  

 

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Dec 03, 2021
Discovered! Rare Celtic Coins in the New Forest
00:32:12

In a special episode of the podcast, Dan and his team hit the road after receiving a call about the discovery of a hoard of rare Iron Age coins, at a secret location in the New Forest. At the St Barbe Museum in Lymington, Dan speaks to the detectorists who made the discovery of a lifetime and to Professor Emeritus Tony King about what these coins and their unusual imagery tell us about Britain's Celtic ancestors and civilization before the Romans arrived. 


It's important for the local community that such a discovery can stay in the area. St Barbe Museum + Art Gallery in Lymington are appealing for help to secure and exhibit this exciting hoard of Celtic Coins in the museum. Support their Celtic Countdown where all donations will be match funded. One donation, twice the impact. https://bit.ly/3D1kgb2

 

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Dec 02, 2021
Ridley Scott on Gucci, Gladiator and the Blitz
00:21:51

Please note that this episode contains the use of explicit language right from the very beginning.  


Ridley Scott, a prolific director and producer, is responsible for some of the most critically acclaimed films of all time. While "Alien" (1979) and "Blade Runner" (1982), are regarded as significantly influential sci-fi films, "Gladiator" (2000) and "Black Hawk Down" (2001), to name just a few, highlight his dedication to epic historical dramas.


Drawing from more recent history upon the release of his latest film, House of Gucci, Ridley joins Dan on this special episode of the podcast. Against the backdrop of the true-crime tale, the historic appeal of the Gucci business through the 60s, 70s and 80s and the personal history of the dynasty of the Gucci family, Ridley shares his approach to portraying Italy through opera. Ridley and Dan discuss the secrets of Ridley’s directorial process in relation to historical accuracy, the significance of his inspired relationship with history, what periods he is drawn to portraying and why World War II is particularly important to him. Ridley also shares with Dan what he is working on next.

 

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Dec 01, 2021
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Churchill's Birthday
00:42:17

Actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger joins Dan in conversation on today's podcast about Winston Churchill, who was born on this day in 1874. They talk about Arnie's admiration for the former British Prime Minister as a leader and a thinker, how he modelled his own governorship on Churchill while in office from 2003-2011, and how he ended up in California in the first place. 

 

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Nov 30, 2021
Winston Churchill
00:39:35

Winston Churchill was many things a writer, politician, journalist, painter but the defining aspect of his career was as a war leader. Warfare infused his life from its very beginning due to his relation to the Duke of Marlborough and a childhood re-enacting the Battle of Waterloo in the ground of Blenheim Palace. As a young man, he saw conflict at first hand both as a soldier and a reporter in Cuba, India, Sudan and South Africa. In the political wilderness following the disaster of Gallipoli during the First World War, he undertook service on the Western Front. These experiences were what made Churchill uniquely qualified as Prime Minister in 1940 to lead Britain through its great ever military crisis and onto victory in the Second World War. Joining Dan to discuss how the military experiences of his formative years shaped him for the difficult military decisions he took in office is Anthony Tucker-Jones. Anthony is a former defence intelligence officer, widely published military expert and author of the upcoming book: Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945. They examine Churchill's military career, his role as commander in chief and the decisions he took both good and bad.

 

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Nov 29, 2021
The Complicated Legacy of F W de Klerk
00:28:12

The result of his complicated legacy, the death of South Africa's last apartheid president, F W de Klerk, on November 11 2021 generated a flood of differing assessments. De Klerk wrote himself into the history of South Africa on February 2 1990, when he announced the unbanning of the African National Party (ANC) and other liberation movements, as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. While this set South Africa on the path of reform, De Klerk’s failure to break free of apartheid thinking was evident throughout the years that would follow.


To arrive at a rounded, fact-based understanding of De Klerk’s place in history, Dan is joined by “Mac” Maharaj. Mac has been involved in the freedom struggle since 1952. After serving a twelve-year sentence on Robben Island from 1965-1976, he was appointed secretary of the department charged with organising the ANC within South Africa. Mac served alongside De Klerk in the first democratic cabinet, led by Mandela. As joint secretary of the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum and the Transitional Executive Council, Mac was directly involved in the negotiations that produced the transition from apartheid to democracy.


Mac is the co-author of the upcoming Breakthrough: The Struggles and Secret Talks that Brought Apartheid SA to the Negotiating Table

 

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Nov 28, 2021
The Rise of the Praetorian Guard
01:04:57

From Gladiator to Rome Total War to Star Wars, today the Praetorians are one of the most distinctive military units of Imperial Rome. It was their job to protect the Roman Emperor and his household, a task for which they hold a somewhat ‘chequered’ record (especially when we focus in on the Praetorian Prefects). But what do we know about this unit’s origins? How did this powerful force become protectors of the Emperor and his household? What other functions did they serve? And how did they differ from the standard Roman legions in their structure? To talk through the rise of the Praetorian Guard, with a specific focus on the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, Tristan caught up with historian Lindsay Powell at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex for the Ancients Podcast. Lindsay is the author of several books about the Early Roman Imperial Period. His latest book, Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome, is out now.

 

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Nov 26, 2021
The British Spy who Saved Jews from Hitler
00:27:15

Thomas Kendrick was at the very centre of British Intelligence operations throughout the first half of the twentieth century. He combined a public face of an English gentleman whilst privately masterminding MI6's spy networks throughout Europe. Perhaps his finest hour came in the run-up to the Second World War when stationed in Vienna as a British passport officer he issued thousands of visas and passports to Austrian Jews enabling an estimated 10,000 people to escape the coming Holocaust. Betrayed by a double agent in 1938 he survived an assassination attempt and was arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated before being expelled from Austria and returning to Britain. Once the Second World War broke out headed one of the most important intelligence operations of the war. Senior Nazi generals who had become POWs were installed in luxurious accommodation and allowed to speak freely whilst all the while being monitored on hidden microphones. The information they unwittingly revealed undoubtedly shortened the war and saved many thousands of lives. Historian Helen Fry returns to the podcast to tell Dan all about this extraordinary story that she has been researching for her new book Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6.

 

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Nov 25, 2021
From the Punjab to the Western Front
00:23:04

Over a million Indian soldiers served during the First World War, but many of the records of the soldiers who fought valiantly for the Allied cause had been lost - hiding their stories from history. Until now. Discovered in a basement of a museum in Lahore, Pakistan, where they had been left unread for 97 years, these newly recovered documents have allowed historians to put the men of the Indian Army back into the story of the allied war effort.


To explain the significance of the records that have been found, Dan is joined by Amandeep Madra OBE. Amandeep is the co-author of five books about Indian history, Chair of the UK Punjab Heritage Association and has worked with the University of Greenwich to digitise the files. Amandeep and Dan discuss what the records contain and how they were discovered, some of the stories they have revealed and how this new information is allowing families across the world to shed light on the vital contribution and sacrifice made by their ancestors to the allied victory during the First World War.

 

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Nov 24, 2021
The British Monarchy
00:34:56

The British Monarchy is a thread that has run throughout the history of Britain but over the centuries it has been a constantly evolving institution. From the warrior kings of early England steeped in violence to the largely symbolic constitutional monarch of today, Tracy Borman helps Dan chart how the monarchy has changed and what roles it continues to play. They discuss the best and worst of British Monarchs, why women seem to be better suited for this gargantuan job, her personal favourite ruler and what future kings and queens can learn from their predecessors. 


Tracy Borman is an author, historian and broadcaster. Her latest book is called Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy.

 

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Nov 23, 2021
The Assassination of JFK: Explained
00:29:01

Everyone who was alive at the time remembers the day President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas on the 22 November 1963. On this anniversary Dan gives a moment-by-moment account of the day that shocked the world and speaks to Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post journalist and leading authority on the subject. They discuss the aftermath of the assassination and what the public was never told by the White House and the CIA. To this day, Jefferson is still fighting for the release of all of the classified documents about the JFK assassination, many of which are still being withheld. Archive courtesy of NBC. 'Measured Paces' and 'Unanswered Questions' composed by Kevin Macleod. 

 

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Nov 22, 2021
Greg Jenner: Ask a Historian
00:34:22

When and why did we start keeping hamsters as pets? When was sign language first used in the UK? If you were planning a bank heist, which historical figures would you call on? These are just some of the burning historical questions that public historian and podcaster, Greg Jenner, is tackling in his new book, Ask A Historian: 50 Surprising Answers to Things You Always Wanted to Know.In this episode, Greg joins Dan to explain the motivations behind the book, how he sees the role of public history in society as well as reveal some of the more surprising questions he was asked.

 

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Nov 21, 2021
Searching for the Lost of World War One
00:34:38

At the end of the World War One, around one million citizens of the British Empire had been lost, and the whereabouts of about half of these was unknown. Families could be waiting weeks, months or years to hear whether their loved ones were imprisoned, wounded, missing or dead, if they heard at all. This was the task of the searchers. In the years following the war, these volunteer investigators conducted 5 million interviews, finding answers for around 400 thousand families. Robert Sackville-West is on our sibling podcast, Warfare, to bring us the stories of those looking for news of their fathers, brothers and sons, and the evolution of the search to this day. Robert’s book ‘The Searchers: The Quest for the Lost of the First World War’ is out now.

 

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Nov 19, 2021
The Magic Circle & Hoaxes in History
00:27:25

Hoaxes and magic were widespread in 18th century Britain. From a woman who claimed to birth rabbits, to a man who said he’d climb into a bottle in front of a live audience, many of the claims sound laughably unbelievable to us today. But at the time, these sorts of hoaxes were widely influential, even drawing in celebrities of the day such as Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Swift. This episode, Dan is joined by joined by historian and magician, Ian Keable, who details some of the most bamboozling hoaxes of the 18th century and why the public fell for them. Ian's book,The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in Eighteenth-Century England, is out now.

 

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Nov 18, 2021
When the World's Armies Came to Salisbury Plain
00:34:37

During World War One, Britain and its empire mobilised soldiers on a hitherto unprecedented scale. That required a huge logistical effort to feed, equip, house and train them. No place reflects these efforts better than Salisbury Plains. Now mainly sleepy villages and farmland, these plains were once home to tens of thousands of men and women who descended on the camps to prepare for war. In this episode historian Margaret McKenzie, who spent the last 30 years studying the camps, takes Dan on a tour of the site helping understand the scale of what once stood there. Margaret sadly passed away a few weeks ago, so this episode is dedicated to her and all those who served at the camps with which she became so familiar through her research.

 

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Nov 17, 2021
We Didn't Start the Fire: Dien Bien Phu
00:36:13

This episode of the podcast comes from a show called ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ which is a modern history podcast inspired by the lyrics of the legend that is Billy Joel. In this episode, Dan chats with the wonderful Katie Puckrik and Tom Fordyce about the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which took place in 1954 in Vietnam. If any place on Earth symbolises the end of the European Empire, it’s here.


If you want more of those episodes, go and look up the rest of the series right now. They’ve got loads of great episodes from Nixon, Eisenhower and Stalin to Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe. There’s a new episode out every Monday, so go and search for ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ and follow or subscribe now.

 

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Nov 16, 2021
Our Love Affair with History
00:26:03

From the great battles such as Dunkirk, historical titans such Alexander the Great and historical oddities such as Henry VIII's enemas Dan speaks to author and historian Dominic Sandbrook about what it is that sparks a passion for history. They also discuss the challenges of writing and podcasting about history and Dominic's new series of books Adventures in Time which aim to bring the past alive for twenty-first century children, allowing them to discover the thrills and spills of history within a page-turning narrative.

 

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Nov 15, 2021
Stories of War with Max Hastings
00:32:52

As the country remembers the sacrifice made by those men and women who have given their lives and health in serving the nation Dan is joined by Sir Max Hastings to examine the ever-changing face of warfare. His new book Soldiers: Great Stories of War and Peace examines not just the heroism of those who have fought wars over the centuries but also the suffering and squalor that conflict brings. Sir Max also reflects on his own experiences as a battlefield reporter in Vietnam and the Falklands, the effect those experiences had on him and why battlefields continue to fascinate him and the public.


Warning! This episode contains strong language and may not be suitable for children. 

 

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Nov 14, 2021
How Catherine of Aragon Learnt to be Queen
00:59:14

The Spanish infanta Catalina of Aragon was raised to be a Queen, betrothed at the age of three to the heir apparent of the English throne, Arthur Prince of Wales. Eight years after Arthur's death, she became the first of Henry VIII's six wives. Catalina's mother - Queen Isabella I of Castile - was the most influential person in her life. Witness at an early age the expulsion of Jews, the defeat of the Moors in Spain, and the triumphal return of Christopher Columbus, Catherine grew up to be an intelligent, highly literate, multi-lingual woman, devoted to her Catholic faith, and a popular, charismatic Queen. In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb discovers more about the early life of Catherine with two leading experts: Dr Theresa Earenfight, Professor of History at Seattle University and author of a forthcoming biography of Catherine, and Emma Cahill Marron, whose dissertation is focused on the Queen's role as a patron of the arts in Tudor England. 

 

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Nov 12, 2021
WW1 and its Aftermath with Sebastian Faulks
00:24:56

Sebastian Faulks is a novelist who really needs no introduction, perhaps most famous for his novel Birdsong, he has written powerfully and poignantly about the impact of war on the human spirit. In this episode of the podcast, he joins Dan to talk about his newest novel Snow Country. Set in Austria in the aftermath of the First World War the novel serves as a perfect starting place to discuss how wars are remembered by those who took part and those whose lives were shaped by them. They explore how the experiences of veterans differed depending on whether they had experienced victory or defeat and how this influenced his decision to set the novel in Austria. They also discuss How Sebastian came to be fascinated by the First World War, why he chose to write about this period and the important role that fiction can play in connecting the general public to history.

 

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Nov 11, 2021
Did Immigration Really Cause the Fall of Rome?
00:39:55

Boris Johnson recently stated that the fall of Rome was caused by 'uncontrolled migration' and the image of a mighty empire bought to its knees by hordes of barbarians from the east is certainly a powerful one. It is, however, not true and for many historians, even the idea of the "fall" of the empire is considered dubious. In the west, the empire dissolved into successor states that continued many elements of Roman bureaucracy and societal order. In the east, the empire became the Byzantine Empire and continued to rule up until 1453. The empire certainly did change but for a variety of reasons including the changing nature of power, new groups settling within its borders, environmental changes and conflicts both external and internal. Joining Dan to discuss this mighty subject and shed some light on the reality of the fall of Rome is Mark Humphries, Professor of Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology at Swansea University. 

 

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Nov 10, 2021
The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall
00:53:46

The Berlin Wall was an icon of the Cold War and a physical embodiment of the divide between East and West. Its rise and fall was a microcosm of the conflict and its fall marked the beginning of a new post-Cold War world.


Today on the podcast Dan is joined by two eyewitnesses to the wall to hear first-hand its physical and psychological impact. First Dan speaks to Sir Robert Corbett. His military career was book-ended by the wall as his first command as a young officer in the Irish Guards was in Berlin during the 1960s and one of his last major commands before retiring was as the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin. He describes the tension and challenges of operating in Berlin and the ever-present possibility of conflict between the two sides. He also provides an eye-opening account of how the euphoric moment of the wall coming down was also a moment of grave danger and could have led to serious violence without his careful diplomacy.


Secondly, Dan is joined by Margit Hosseini. She grew up in the city and witnessed events of the 1950s and 60s as the wall went up before leaving to live in London. She remembers her experiences of what it was like to be surrounded by the wall as it went up and to witness family's, including her own, be divided by its ominous presence.

 

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Nov 09, 2021
Colonel Gaddafi and Libya
00:32:33

Even after his overthrow and bloody death in 2011, Colonel Gaddafi still looms large over Libya but there is much more to the history of this important and often misunderstood country. It is the 16th largest country on Earth, its capital Tripoli is closer to London than Athens is and Britain's relationship with the country goes back to the 17th century and beyond. Over the centuries Libya has been an important trading partner and has been a battlefield across which Commonwealth forces battled during the Second World War. To set the Libya story in its proper historical context Dan is joined on the podcast by Rupert Wieloch. Rupert was a Senior British Military Commander during the Arab Spring and is the author of the upcoming book: Liberating Libya: British Diplomacy and War in the Desert. They discuss the relationship between Britain and Libya, why and how Colonel Gaddafi came to rule, how he was brought down and what the future holds for Libya. 

 

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Nov 08, 2021
Bar Kokhba: Hadrian's Worst Nightmare
00:40:12

In AD132 began the bloody struggle over who would rule a nation. The clash of two ancient cultures was fought between two strong-willed leaders, Hadrian, the cosmopolitan ruler of the vast Roman Empire, and Shim’on, a Jewish military leader who some believed to be the ‘King Messiah’.


During the ‘Second Jewish War’ – the highly motivated Jewish militia sorely tested the highly trained professional Roman army. The rebels withstood the Roman onslaught for three-and-a-half years (AD132–136) and established an independent nation, headed by Shim’on as its president. The outcome of that David and Goliath contest was of great consequence, both for the people of Judaea and for Judaism itself.


Having journeyed across three continents to establish the facts, historical detective Lindsay Powell draws on archaeology, art, coins, inscriptions, militaria, as well as secular and religious documents, to detail the people and events at a crucial time in world history.


Author of Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome, Lindsay joins Dan to discuss who Shim’on (known today as ‘Bar Kokhba’) was, how Hadrian, the Roman emperor who built the famous Wall in northern Britain, responded to the challenge and how, in later ages, ‘Bar Kokhba’ became a hero for the Jews in the Diaspora.

 

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Nov 07, 2021
The Gunpowder Plot
00:44:45

On 5 November 1605, an audacious plan to decapitate the British state was foiled when Guy Fawkes and nearly a ton of gunpowder were discovered in an undercroft beneath the House of Lords. The plan was to blow up King James I and the majority of the nation's religious and political leadership during the State Opening of Parliament and incite a Catholic uprising across the country. It was hatched by a group of disillusioned Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, in a bid to end Catholic persecution and install a monarchy friendly to what they believed to be the true faith. With the discovery of Guy Fawkes, the plot was foiled and many of its participants met bloody ends at the hands of the vengeful authorities. On the anniversary of the plot, better known as Guy Fawkes Night, Dan explains how and why the conspiracy came about, why it failed, what the impact of the plot was and why it has become so embedded in Britain's national identity.

 

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Nov 05, 2021
The Vikings Who Beat Columbus to America
00:23:41

Five centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot in America, the Vikings had already crossed the Atlantic. Using new dating techniques, scientists studying timber buildings at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Canada’s Newfoundland, have established the Norse settled in AD 1021, 471 years before Columbus’s first voyage. While it’s already known the Vikings landed in North America, exactly when they settled has remained an estimate, until now. Cat Jarman, world-leading Vikings expert and host of History Hit's sister podcast, Gone Medieval, joins Dan to speak to archaeologist Birgitta Wallace about this breakthrough research. Discover how a long-ago Solar storm provided vital information for the study, the significance of the date, and what's left to be discovered in the future. You can read more about the evidence here.

 

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Nov 04, 2021
WWII's Battle for London
00:34:58

At the start of the Second World War London was one of the largest and most important cities in the world, a centre of industry, finance and the heart of Britain's empire. It was also an irresistible target for the Luftwaffe and between 1940 and 1945 London would be mercilessly attacked by German aircraft and V-weapons. Thousands were killed and wounded and many parts of the city were left devastated by the bombing but ultimately the Nazi attempt to cut the head off the imperial snake failed. Today's guest on the podcast is historian Jerry White, Author of the upcoming book: The Battle of London, 1939-1945 - Endurance, Heroism and Frailty Under Fire. He and Dan discuss why London was so important to both sides in the conflict, the fears of the British public and government, the effect the bombing had on the British war effort and how the city was defended.

 

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Nov 03, 2021
The History of Money
00:30:46

It is said that money makes the world goes round and has done for millennia, but what exactly is money and where does it come from? To find out Dan is joined by Jacob Goldstein, American journalist, writer, podcast host and author of: Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing. They explore the concept and form of money from the first coins in the ancient world through the many booms and busts to the invention of stock exchanges, central banks and into the digitised world of today. Through this, we see that money is an ever-evolving concept and Dan and Jacob look at how it may continue to change into the future.

 

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Nov 02, 2021
Why We're Wrong About George III
00:37:16

George III ruled through an extraordinary period of revolutionary change, political upheaval, gigantic war and scientific, industrial and technological revolution. However, he is now most famous for being the king who lost America and for his mental illness. These two events are undoubtedly important parts of his reign but is George III perhaps the most underrated monarch in British History? To find out Dan spoke to historian Andrew Roberts biographer of Churchill, Napoleon and now George III. They examined the American Declaration of Independence to see whether George really was as tyrannical as it claims, what the reality of George's mental illness was and why he deserves to be remembered as one of Britain's great kings. 

 

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Nov 01, 2021
Ghost Stories: The History
00:25:10

Ghosts have inspired, fascinated and frightened us for centuries. The belief in the existence of an afterlife, as well as manifestations of the spirits of the dead, is widespread, dating all the way back to pre-literate cultures. Whether we personally ‘believe’ in them or not, we have an awareness of ghosts and the mythologies surrounding them.


Dr Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, has embarked on an ancient ghost hunt, scouring to unlock the secrets of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians to breathe new life into the first ghost stories ever written. Responsible for the world's largest collection of cuneiform clay tablets, the oldest known form of writing which dates back to 3400BC, Irving gives us a full picture of the ancient Mesopotamian ghost experience. As one of only a handful of people left in the world that can read this ancient language, Irving has uncovered an extraordinarily rich seam of ancient spirit wisdom which has remained hidden for nearly 4000 years.


Author of the upcoming The First Ghosts, Irving joins Dan to explore what ghosts are, why the idea of them remains so powerful despite the lack of concrete evidence and how a belief in ghosts emerges as a key feature of humanity from its beginning.

 

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Oct 30, 2021
The Lost Tomb of Alexander the Great
00:55:12

In his lifetime King Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, forged one of the largest empires in ancient history. But it was what happened to Alexander following his demise – his ‘life after death’ - which resulted in one of the great archaeological mysteries of the ancient Mediterranean. Following his death, aged just 32, his corpse became of prime importance for his former subordinates – a talismanic symbol of legitimacy during the tumultuous period that was the Wars of the Successors. Later still, the body and tomb of this great conqueror – placed right in the centre of ancient Alexandria – retained its importance. From Ptolemaic pharaohs to Roman emperors, Alexander’s tomb became a place of holy pilgrimage for many seeking power and prestige. For several centuries the tomb of this Macedonian ruler was one of the great attractions of the ancient Mediterranean. That was, however, until the end of the 4th century when all mention of this building, and the precious corpse housed within, disappeared. So what happened to Alexander’s tomb? And where might Alexander’s body be buried today? To talk through several theories surrounding one of ancient history’s great archaeological mysteries, Tristan from The Ancients chatted to Dr Chris Naunton.

 

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Oct 28, 2021
The Truth About Hollywood Cowboys
00:22:15

At the end of the American Civil War, thousands of African Americans ventured west to the frontier in a bid to achieve freedom and escape the prejudice they faced. Many of these frontiersmen became cowboys with up to 25 per cent of cowboys were in fact black. Whilst Westerns became big business in Hollywood this fact was largely been ignored by major film studios. Why is this? To find out Dan is joined for today's podcast by Tony Warner, a historian who runs Black History Walks in London and an expert on Black Westerns including the new Netflix film The Harder They Fall. He and Dan discuss the history of Black Westerns during the segregation era, the amazing real-life individuals that have inspired these films, the role of black cowboys on the frontier and why they have largely been ignored by history and Hollywood. 

 

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Oct 27, 2021
Tank Standoff at Checkpoint Charlie
00:24:58

For 16 hours between the 27 to 28 October 1961, the world held its breath as Soviet and US tanks faced each other down at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and came very close to turning the Cold War hot. However, one of the most dramatic and dangerous showdowns of the cold war has been largely overshadowed by the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later which saw the two superpowers go head to head once more. To discuss how it was that tanks came to be deployed ready for battle at one of the most sensitive locations along the Iron Curtain Dan is joined by Iain MacGregor, author of Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth. Iain and Dan discuss how the confrontation was brought about by a trip to the opera, the political miscalculations that led the world to the brink of war and how the crisis was averted. 

 

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Oct 26, 2021
Richard III vs Henry VII
00:36:41

We all think we know the story of Richard III and Henry VII, or do we? Richard III is often portrayed as a child-murdering usurper whose reign was brought to a bloody end by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth. It was a grudge match to decide who would become King of England, but how true is this story really? In this episode, we'll find out as we ask the big questions about Richard III and Henry VII. Did Richard kill the princes in the tower? Were the motives of Henry's supporters' honest ones? Who was the better king and why did they both end up so unpopular? And, how did these two men end up fighting each other for the crown? 


Representing Richard III is Matt Lewis presenter of Gone Medieval, Chair of the Richard III Society and author of numerous books on Richard and the Wars of the Roses. Matt takes on Nathen Amin author of Henry VII and the Tudor Pretenders: Simnel, Warbeck And Warwick who represents Henry VII. They answer the big questions about these two controversial Monarchs and as you'll hear they might have more in common than you might think.

 

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Oct 25, 2021
Sharpe is Back! Bernard Cornwell
00:24:17

Watch out loyal servants of Napoleon, Sharpe is back! In this episode, Dan sits down with legendary author Bernard Cornwell to discuss the return of his most famous and loved character. Dan asks Bernard all the big questions and discovers how Sharpe originated from adversity, where his love of the Napoleonic period came from, what he thought of the TV adaptation and what else lies in store for his venerable hero.

 

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Oct 24, 2021
Tuskegee Airmen: A WW2 Pilot's Story
00:44:55

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in American military history. They faced discrimination and segregation at home but in the skies of Europe, they became one of the most successful and feared fighter units as they escorted bombers on raids in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany.


As Dan discovers in this episode just becoming a Tuskegee Airmen was a dangerous business and several pilots were killed on training exercises in the USA. Two pilots went down over the waters of the Port Huron region during WWII. Flight Officer Nathaniel Rayburn died on Dec. 12, 1943, when he crashed into the St. Clair River near Algonac. Second Lt. Frank Moody died on April 11, 1944, when his plane crashed into Lake Huron. In this episode, we hear about a fascinating project to recover the wreckage of one of these downed planes and erect a memorial to honour those pilots who gave their lives whilst training to become Tuskegee Airmen. Dan speaks to Wayne Lusardi, State Underwater Archaeologist for Michigan and Erik Denson, Lead Instructor with Diving With a Purpose, about their important archaeological work.


You will also hear from Col Harry Stewart Jr one of the last surviving Tuskegee airmen. They discuss his experiences of dogfights in the skies over Europe during World War Two, the discrimination he and his colleagues faced, the progress that he has seen in his lifetime and what it was like to get back into the cockpit of a P-51 Mustang after 70 years.

 

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Oct 23, 2021
Britain's Overlooked Hero: From the Trenches to the Blitz
00:19:35

Serving on the front lines of the First World War, the homefront of the Second World War and as a community leader throughout his life, George Arthur Roberts was a truly inspirational figure. Yet, his amazing story is little known. After the outbreak of the First World War broke out he travelled from Trinidad to the UK and eventually joined the Middlesex Regiment. He saw considerable action at the Battle of Loos, the Dardanelles campaign and the Somme where his wounds forced him out of the war. A man of considerable bravery and a keen cricketer George was known for picking up and throwing enemy grenades back into their trenches. Too old to fight in the Second World War he became a firefighter serving in Southwark, London. In 1944 he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work in the fire service and the community. That community work was equally impressive as whilst in the fire service he founded the Discussion and Education groups of the fire service. He was also one of the founder members of the League of Coloured Peoples, an influential civil rights organisation that looked after Britain's black community.


To say that he is an inspirational figure is an understatement and joining dan to talk about his extraordinary life Dan is joined by his great-granddaughter, Samantha Harding. She and Dan discuss the events of George's life, Samantha's own story of discovery as she uncovered his life and the vital legacy that figures such as George can have today.

 

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Oct 21, 2021
The Battle of Trafalgar
01:07:05

On 21 October 1805, A British fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson met the combined might of the French and Spanish fleets off the coast of Spain. Outnumbered, Nelson used innovative tactics to break up the allied fleet and ensure success but at great cost to his men and of course himself. It was a truly crushing defeat for the Franco-Spanish forces though. With the majority of their ships destroyed or captured it confirmed Britain's naval supremacy for decades to come. In this dramatic telling of one of the most famous battles in naval history, Dan brings to life the men, the commanders, the ships, and the tactics that enabled the British fleet to emerge as victors.

 

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Oct 20, 2021
How Brutish Were Our Ancestors?
00:42:58

Was life for our ancient ancestors brutish and short or did they exist as noble savages free and living in harmony with nature and each other? Many of our assumptions about ancient societies stem from renaissance theories about how society should be organized and what civilisation is. Dan is joined by David Wengrow, Professor of Comparative Archaeology at University College London and co-author of The Dawn of Everything to challenge some of these assumptions and show that they were founded on critiques of European society. David shines a light on the great variety of ancient civilisations, the different models of society they offer and how that might influence us today.

 

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Oct 19, 2021
How Alcohol Built the British Empire
00:30:42

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as the British Empire expanded across the globe an almost ubiquitous but often underappreciated commodity went with it; alcohol. The distillation, sale and drinking of booze played an essential role in trade, seafaring and colonial societies. But for many indigenous communities this came at a terrible price as, previously unfamiliar, distilled spirits wreaked havoc on their communities and reinforced the racial ideologies that legitimised imperialism. It is a more complicated story than this though and for some indigenous communities, alcohol was not ruinous instead becoming a vital source of income that enabled them to survive and in some instances flourish. For this episode, Dan is joined by Dr Deborah Toner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Leicester and author of Alcohol in the Age of Industry, Empire, and War, to uncover the central role that alcohol played in creating the British Empire.

 

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Oct 18, 2021
Dresden Survivor: Remembering Victor Gregg
00:23:41

On 12 October 2021 World War Two veteran Victor Gregg passed away peacefully in his sleep just before his 102 birthday. He was part of a unique generation that with the passing of the years is sadly disappearing all too fast. Victor joined the army in 1937 and served and India and Palestine before the war. During the Second World War, he fought in the Western Desert before joining the Parachute Regiment. He was taken prisoner as the Allies retreated during the Battle of Arnhem, and was taken as a POW to Dresden, where he was alive during the Dresden firebombing. In this episode, we pay tribute to him by replaying the last interview at the time of his 100th birthday. He spoke to Dan about what he learned over his extraordinary life, his wartime experiences, and the profound impact they had upon how he saw the world.


You can also watch Out of the Inferno: Surviving Dresden, where on the 73rd anniversary of the firebombing of Dresden, Dan accompanied Victor, as he returned to the city for a historic meeting with Irene Uhlendorf, who was just 4 years old on the night of the bombing. Together they are able to talk about the horrors of that night and the effect that it has had on the rest of their lives.

 

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Oct 17, 2021
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