Sveriges 100 mest populära podcasts

Dan Snow's History Hit

Dan Snow's History Hit

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.

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Dresden Survivor: Remembering Victor Gregg

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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2021-10-18
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Operation Barbarossa: The Lost Diaries

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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2021-10-17
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The Haitian Revolution

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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2021-10-15
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The Battle of Hastings

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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2021-10-14
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Lady Jane Grey

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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2021-10-13
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Maurice Hilleman: Vaccine Creator

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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2021-10-12
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Jack the Ripper Retold

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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2021-10-11
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Operation Jubilee: Disaster at Dieppe

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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2021-10-10
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Gangsters, Pimps & Prostitutes: London's West End

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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2021-10-08
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Al Qaeda

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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2021-10-07
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Britain and the Slave Trade

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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2021-10-06
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The Winter of Discontent

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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2021-10-05
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William Wallace

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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2021-10-04
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James Holland on The Sherwood Rangers: Legendary Tank Regiment

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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2021-10-03
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Æthelred the Unready

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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2021-10-01
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Bond, The Secret Service & Exporting Britain's Influence

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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2021-09-30
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James Bond

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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2021-09-29
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The Last Witches of England

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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2021-09-28
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Sir Ranulph Fiennes on Shackleton

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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2021-09-27
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Duke of Windsor: The Nazi King?

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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2021-09-26
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The Rise of Hannibal

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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2021-09-24
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Child Survivors of the Holocaust

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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2021-09-23
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A History of Sex for Sale

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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2021-09-22
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History of the Taliban

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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2021-09-21
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Twelve Caesars with Mary Beard

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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2021-09-20
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The Harlem Hellfighters of World War One

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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2021-09-19
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The Frontiers of Science & History with A.C. Grayling

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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2021-09-18
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Henry VIII's Break with Rome

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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2021-09-17
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Hunting Stolen Nazi Art

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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2021-09-16
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The Battle of Britain

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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2021-09-15
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The Last Hanging in Cardiff Prison

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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2021-09-14
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Viking Legend: Ragnar Lothbrok

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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2021-09-13
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9/11: The Legacy

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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2021-09-12
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9/11: The Fire Commissioner at Ground Zero

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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2021-09-11
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The Blitz: An Alternative History

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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2021-09-10
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America's Secret President

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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2021-09-09
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Trident: Does the Nuclear Deterrent Work?

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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2021-09-08
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The Normans

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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2021-09-07
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A New History of the Middle Ages with Dan Jones

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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2021-09-06
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Winston Churchill: From Failures to Finest Hour

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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2021-09-05
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The Unheard Tapes of Bomber Command

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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2021-09-04
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The Start of WWII

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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2021-09-03
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Digging Medieval Battlefields

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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2021-09-02
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Are Mandatory Vaccines New?

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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2021-09-01
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John Simpson: Six Decades of Warzones

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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2021-08-31
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The Secret History of the SBS

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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2021-08-30
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Britain's Economy: How We Got Here

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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2021-08-29
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Martin Luther King Jr

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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2021-08-28
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The Invasion of Poland in World War Two

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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2021-08-27
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The Shortest War in History

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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2021-08-26
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