The History Hour

The History Hour

United Kingdom

Using interviews and archive material from WW2 to the Arab Spring, the people who witnessed history tell us their stories. Presented by Max Pearson.


Nike and the Sweatshop Problem  

On this week's programme, how campaigners took on Nike in the 1990s, plus the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the newspaper which defied Argentine's military dictatorship. We also find out more about nudism in East Germany and the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. PHOTO: Nike worker Cicih Sukaesih telling her story in America in 1996 (courtesy of Jeff Ballinger)

Reagan's Bombing Joke  

Ronald Reagan's joke about bombing Russia in the 1980s, the murder of a Palestinian cartoonist in London, communal violence in India a year before partition, the man who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage patch, and Florence Nightingale, in her own words and those of people who knew her. Photo: American president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s at his desk in the White House, Washington DC. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Surviving the "Auschwitz of the Balkans"  

During World War Two, Croatian fascists tortured and killed tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people in the Jasenovac concentration camp. We hear from a survivor. Also, the fate of Falun Gong in China, from a point of view of a practitioner. Plus, the failure of Camp David negotiations, the French doctor who pioneered water births, and the life and death of the legendary Eva Peron. Photo: A Serb survivor of WW2 persecutions, Melenko Cekic, talking to the BBC in 2017; copyright: BBC.

When Homosexuality Was a Crime  

Comedian and broadcaster Pete Price speaks about being subjected to horrific aversion therapy to "cure" him of his homosexuality in 1960s Britain. Plus the 99-year-old former aide to the Chinese nationalist leader, Chiang Kai Shek, a radical new approach to housing in the former USSR, the perils of deep sea commercial diving in the North Sea and how the Welsh fought for recognition of their language. Photo: Pete Price (private collection)

Psychological Warfare  

Spooking fighters during the Vietnam War, building the Mont Blanc Tunnel, designing a Nintendo legend, the murder of Gianni Versace and archive voices from the 'Bonus Army' a protest movement of WW1 veterans which shook the US government in 1932. Photo:Viet Cong guerrillas on patrol during the Vietnam War, 2nd March 1966: (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The Oka Crisis  

A watershed moment for Canada's indigenous people as Mohawks take on the developers, the birth of UKIP in Britain, memories of the poet Irina Ratushinskaya who died earlier this month - plus dance music with ballet star Nureyev's defection and illegal raving in England's countryside. (PHOTO: A Mohawk activist confronts a soldier. Credit: IATV NEWS)

The Roswell Incident  

In July 1947 a US rancher found some debris in the New Mexico desert - did it come from an alien spacecraft? Witness hears from the son of one of the US servicemen who investigated the incident, and from Dr David Clarke, expert on UFO history at Sheffield Hallam University. Plus the first Tamil suicide bombing; a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure discovered in an English field; a sex scandal in the USSR during perestroika; and the first non-stop journey around the world in a hot air balloon. PHOTO: Major Jesse Marcel at Fort Worth, Texas with balloon debris from the Roswell incident - copyright Alamy

The History of Modern Tourism  

In a tourism special we look at the original low-cost transatlantic airline, based in Iceland, the 1960s Hippie trail. Also the journey that led to the best selling Lonely Planet travel guides, political tensions caused by a luxury resort on the Red Sea and how Disney came to Europe. (Photo: An Icelandic Airlines advertisement from May 1973, in New York's Fifth Avenue (US National Archives)

Italy's Secret "State-within-a-State"  

Murder and conspiracy among Italy's elite, an Italian atrocity in 1930s Ethiopia, Christians in the Korean War, Japan hosts the first Body Worlds, and Asian Americans struggle against racism and violence in the 1980s. Photo: Robert Calvi, head of Banco Ambrosiano, who was convicted of fraud but released on appeal shortly before his murder (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Woman Who Stopped Equal Rights in America  

Phlyllis Schalfly, the woman who defeated a law to guarantee gender equality in the US; plus, the first performance of the Beatles hit "All You Need Is Love", a forgotten WW2 disaster, Berber rights in Algeria, and the volcanic eruption on the island of Montserrat. PHOTO: American political activist Phyllis Schlafly smiles from behind a pair of podium mounted microphones, 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Six Day War 1967  

Soldiers from both sides on the battle for Jerusalem; plus Robert Kennedy's assassination, the child who fought slavery in Pakistan, and the cousin of Anne Frank Photo:Israeli forces advancing in the Sinai desert during the Six-Day War, June 1967. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Operation Lifeline: Canada's Refugee Revolution  

How private citizens in Canada sponsored Vietnamese boat-people. Plus the first ever charity rock concert for Chernobyl, the actor who stared in a Hitchcock murder movie, America's first ever female rabbi and Mr Sanitation brings clean toilets in India. Photo: A Vietnamese boat crowded with refugees runs aground on the Malaysian coast. 1979 (BBC)

The Killing of Poet Roque Dalton  

The murder of a radical Salvadoran writer in May 1975, at the hands of his own comrades. Plus how Irish pubs saved the economy, Taiwanese pop in a culture war with China, Romanian Roma survivors of the Holocaust, and Pakistan's first nuclear test. Photo: Roque Dalton receiving the Casa de las Américas prize for poetry in 1969.

Brown v The Board of Education  

The 1954 US Supreme Court ruling that led to the end of racial segregation in US schools, the Iranian woman protestor whose death on film shocked the world; the start of the worldwide dieting franchise, Weight Watchers and who was Alexander Hamilton? (Photo African American student Linda Brown, Cheryl Brown Henderson's eldest sister (front, C) sitting in her segregated classroom.Credit: GettyArchive)

The Trial of Maurice Papon  

The French minister tried for colluding with the Nazis, the USSR's version of James Bond, the beginning of China's economic boom, plus the first time Americans were told they were too fat - but that their wine was better than France's. PHOTO: Maurice Papon in October 1997, shortly after his trial for war crimes opened. (Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

The Invention of Liposuction  

In the 1970s, Italian cosmetic surgeons Arpad and Giorgio Fischer developed the modern technique of liposuction, which involves sucking out fat from under the skin. The global cosmetic surgery industry is now booming and liposuction is one of the most popular procedures. Also in the programme, the little-known civil war in Tajikistan after the breakup of the Soviet Union, how French troops mutinied toward the end of World War One and the start of the legendary Magnum photo agency. Photo: A doctor performs a liposuction at a hospital in Shanghai, China (Credit: AFP /LIU Jin)

Searching For Argentina's Disappeared  

In April 1977 a group of women in Argentina held the first ever public demonstration to demand the release of thousands of opponents of the military regime. It was the start of a long campaign by the women, who became known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Also on the programme: the controversy surrounding Syria's presence in Lebanon, plus the pioneer of psychotherapy RD Laing, Bulgaria's attempts to crush Turkish language and culture, and we hear the shocking testimony of a survivor of Bosnia's notorious rape camps. (Photo: Mirta Baravalle of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, with a black-and-white photograph of her daughter, Ana Maria)

Charlie Chaplin Returns to America from Exile  

Charlie Chaplin's son on his father's political views and his rocky relationship with his one-time adopted home, America. Plus the Hubble telescope produces the first clear pictures of the furthest galaxies; shaking off colonialism with the world's first festival for black artists; Japan launches a new way of learning the violin and tragedy in Latin America when American missionaries flying over Peru were mistaken for drug-runners. (Photo: Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp in the 1925 film, The Gold Rush. Credit: Getty Images)

The Takeover of Russia's NTV  

NTV was Russia's only nationwide independent TV station until it was taken over in April 2001. We hear from the head of the station at the time. Plus, Ethiopia's Red Terror; the Katyn massacre during WW2; a breakthrough for disability rights in the US with the 504 sit-in; and Sikh bus drivers in the UK win the right to wear turbans to work. Photo: Life size puppets of Russian political leaders including President Putin, on the set of NTV's popular satirical television show "Puppets"; June 29, 2000. Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Newsmakers/Getty

How Princess Diana changed the perception of AIDS  

The royal handshake that changed attitudes to AIDS, America enters WW1, plus Egypt's Facebook girl, Nagorno Karabakh and remembering Jane Fonda's workout (Photo: Princess Diana with an AIDS patient at the Middlesex Hospital April 1987. Credit REX/Shutterstock)

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