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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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The Doolittle Raid

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

 

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2021-02-25
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Anti-government Violence in America

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

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

 

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2021-02-24
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Remembering the Alamo with W. F. Strong

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

 

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2021-02-23
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John of Gaunt: THE Royal Ancestor

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

 

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2021-02-22
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In Conversation with David Baddiel

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

 

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2021-02-21
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Brexit History Showdown with Robert Tombs

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

 

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2021-02-20
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Vikings: River Kings

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

 

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2021-02-19
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Frostquake

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

 

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2021-02-18
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Besieging Masada

Dramatically placed on a plateau with drops of 400m to the east and 90m to the west, Masada translates from Hebrew as fortress. It became just that when Herod the Great built a magnificent palace complex upon it between 37 and 31 BC, the remains of which are in fantastic shape today. But the site isn?t only notable for its connection to the bible-famed King of Judaea. Masada was also the stronghold of some of the survivors of a Jewish revolt and, in response, the locus of a Roman siege in the early 70s AD. For this first of two parts, Tristan, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, spoke to Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina. Jodi co-directed the 1995 excavations of the Roman siege works at Masada, and in this episode, she tells Tristan about the archaeological findings at the site, many of which are still visible to the untrained eye.

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

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

 

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2021-02-17
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Love Lives: From Cinderella to Frozen

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

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

 

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2021-02-16
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Hitler and Stalin

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

 

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2021-02-15
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Fallout: The Secret History of Nuclear Testing

How do you test a weapon of mass destruction? A weapon whose potential you can only estimate. Since 1945, countries with nuclear capabilities have been coming up with solutions to this problem, but they are not without pitfalls. Traces of the fallout from nuclear testing are found across the world, and testing has directly impacted a plethora of communities. From the original inhabitants of the chosen test sites, to the veterans who worked with the weapons, nuclear fallout has had a variety of different effects. Dr Becky Alexis-Martin is a lecturer in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. She spoke with James from our sibling podcast The World Wars about the communities affected by nuclear weapons testing, the topic of her most recent book: Disarming Doomsday: The Human Impact of Nuclear Weapons Since Hiroshima.

 

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2021-02-14
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Living Through the Dresden Firebombing with Victor Gregg

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

 

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2021-02-13
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Lockdown Learning: The Rise of USA

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

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

 

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2021-02-12
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The 18th Century Precedent for Trump's Impeachment

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

 

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2021-02-11
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Empire with Sathnam Sanghera

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

 

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2021-02-10
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Historical Novels with Ken Follett

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

 

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2021-02-09
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China 1949: Year of Revolution

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

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

 

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2021-02-08
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Sutton Hoo

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

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

 

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2021-02-07
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Emily Davison with Kate Willoughby

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

 

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2021-02-06
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Lockdown Learning: Interwar Europe

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

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

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

 

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2021-02-05
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The History of Social Media with Kara Swisher

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

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

 

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2021-02-04
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The AIDS pandemic

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

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

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

 

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2021-02-03
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Edges of Empire: Rome's Northernmost Town

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

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

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

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

 

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2021-02-02
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How the Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery

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

 

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2021-02-01
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Elvis: Destined to Die Young

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

 

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2021-01-31
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Persecuted Under the Nazis: Black and Roma Peoples

For International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, James spoke to Professor Eve Rosenhaft about the experiences of Black and Roma peoples during the Third Reich. Eve is a historian at the University of Liverpool. She has been looking into how the persecution of these groups occured under the Nazis; how much of it was a continuation of existing prejudices, and who prompted its escalation.

 

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2021-01-30
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Lockdown Learning: Russian Revolution

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

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

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

 

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2021-01-29
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Pirates

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

 

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2021-01-28
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Survivors of Genocide

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

 

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2021-01-27
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How the Irish Shaped Britain with Fergal Keane

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

 

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2021-01-26
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Liberalism with Ian Dunt

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

 

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2021-01-25
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Cold War Submarine Warrior

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

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

 

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2021-01-24
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Lucy Worsley on Queen Victoria

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

 

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2021-01-23
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Lockdown Learning: The Middle Ages

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

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

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

 

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2021-01-22
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Rediscovering Amazon Civilisations

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

 

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2021-01-21
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Marissa Roth, Photojournalist

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

 

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2021-01-20
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Indonesian Cave Art: A Dramatic New Discovery

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

 

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2021-01-19
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The Second Reich

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

 

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2021-01-18
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Impeaching the President

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

 

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2021-01-17
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Toxic: A History of Nerve Agents

In 2018, the British city of Salisbury crashed into newspaper headlines worldwide when former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with nerve agents there. This was the first time that many people had heard of these deadly, yet invisible and odourless weapons being used, but the history of nerve agents goes much further back, to the interwar period and an unprofitable discovery in pesticide production. In this engrossing discussion with James Rogers, Dan Kaszeta explores the development of nerve agents under the Nazi Regime, the figures and institutions pushing them, and the reasons behind the Third Reich?s restraint from using these chemicals, despite being the only country to possess them. He also reveals the post-war continuation of nerve agent research on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and the weapon?s gradual dissipation around the world. Dan Kaszeta is a securities specialist and world expert on chemical weapons. His book, 'Toxic: A History of Nerve Agents from Nazi Germany to Putin's Russia', is out now.

 

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2021-01-16
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Lockdown Learning: The Tudors

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

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

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

 

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2021-01-15
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Treason in America

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

 

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2021-01-14
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LGBTQ+ History: With the team from the Logbooks Podcast

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

 

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2021-01-13
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When the Brits Burnt the Capitol, with Peter Snow

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

 

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2021-01-12
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Bitcoin and Crypto: A History

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

 

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2021-01-11
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Goose Green: A Veteran Remembers

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

 

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2021-01-10
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2008 Financial Crash with Adam Tooze

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

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

 

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2021-01-09
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Insurrection in America

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

 

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2021-01-08
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How Ancient Egypt Stayed Egyptian

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

 

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2021-01-07
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