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.


Bob Marley Survives Assassination Attempt  

The shooting of Bob Marley in 1976, the resistance of the Mirabal Sisters, how Ralph Nader made Americans safer, discovering Colombia's ancient Lost City and when Le Corbusier built Chandigarh - India's 1950s modernist marvel. Photo: Bob Marley, 1970s (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The 1948 French Miners' Strike  

This week, the French Miners' strike of 1948, 50 years since the launch of the Cabaret musical, the Silk Letters Movement of British India, the plane-spotters jailed for spying and how to save baby elephants! (Photo: French President Francois Hollande welcomes former striker Norbert Gilmez during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. September 2016. Credit:Reuters.)

The Dili Massacre  

It is 25 years since Indonesian troops attacked protestors in the East Timorese capital, plus the impact of The Satanic Verses on British society, smuggling endangered birds out of the jungles of South America, a palace burns in Madagascar and the inspiration behind James Bond's theme tune. (Photo: East Timorese activists preparing for the protest that ended in tragedy. Copyright: Max Stahl)

The Pitcairn Sex Abuse Trial  

A mass child sex abuse trial on a remote island in the Pacific that shocked the world, a controversial Kurdish song, the birth of Rolling Stone magazine, men versus computers, and street fighting in San Salvador in the 1980s Photo: Adamstown, seen in this June 2003 photo of Pitcairn Island (AP)

Dickey Chapelle - War Reporter  

On this week's programme, how pioneering American woman war reporter, Dickey Chapelle, was killed in Vietnam; plus two very different perspectives on Mao's China, Mexican writer Octavio Paz and the escape which made Harry Houdini's name. PHOTO: Dickey Chapelle during a US Marines operation in 1958 (Credit: US Marine Corps / Associated Press)

Shell Shock  

World War One veterans describe Shell Shock and Prof. Edgar Jones of Kings College on the psychiatric cost of war; plus Hungary's 1956 uprising, how French intelligence was rocked by the abduction of activist Mehdi Ben Barka, the history of Marvel Comics and London's Big Bang. Photo: French troops shelter during bombardment, 1918. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Bugging the US Embassy in Moscow  

This week: The row over hi-tech spying in America's new diplomatic building in the USSR, the day tragedy struck a village in Wales when a landslide crushed a school, the Mau Mau rebellion, America's first radio priest and the great French conceptualist artist Marcel Duchamp. (Photo: A US Marine stands guard inside the high fence surrounding the American Embassy construction site in Moscow, May 1983. Credit: Dave Martin/AP Photo)

Chile Votes Against Pinochet  

This week: Chile's referendum to end General Augusto Pinochet's brutal rule, a Russian dissident poet tells us how she resisted the KGB, the Spanish flu which killed millions after World War One, the last days of Lebanon's bitter civil war and the free flights for Hoovers ad campaign that fell flat. (Photo: Celebrations after Chile's referendum result in Oct 1988 - Getty Images)

Exposing Child Abuse in the Catholic Church  

Investigative journalist Chris Moore recalls how he helped lift the lid on horrific child sex abuse in the Irish Catholic Church. Also, the unsolved mystery of who put deadly cyanide in America's number one painkiller; the student massacre in 1976 that heralded a new era of military rule in Thailand; the founding of Mensa; and Mike Love, one of the original Beach Boys. (Photo: An Irish churchgoer holds a cross and rosary beads 2010. AFP/Getty Images)Chris

The Mayak Nuclear Disaster  

One of the world's worst nuclear disasters, the most notorious prison riot in America, Second World War internment in Australia, resistance in apartheid South Africa, and one of Britain's most celebrated artists, Stanley Spencer, through the eyes of his daughters. Photo: The Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in 2010. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency

The First Legal 'Physician-Assisted Suicide'  

In 1996 an Australian doctor legally helped a terminally ill man to end his life, using a lethal injection attached to a computer, also, the Congresswoman who didn't vote for "the War on Terror", the changing law on domestic violence in Brazil, the curious case of 18th century woman who claimed to be giving birth to rabbits and a gold rush in Australia. (Photo: Dr Nitschke with his computer and automated syringe. Copyright: Philip Nitschke)

The Invention of the Tank  

The first tanks during WW1; the arrest of Abimael Guzman, leader of Peru's Shining Path movement; the discovery of the Lascaux cave paintings; the destruction of the ancient city of Smyrna; anthrax attacks in America after 9/11. PICTURE: A British tank in France during World War I. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How Europe Won Over the British Left  

British unions turning to Europe, Italian partisans fighting fascists, what Mao was like as a man, the beginning of Star Trek and mass methanol poisoning in Estonia. Photo: Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission, addressing the Trade Union Congress in Bournemouth. 08/09/1988 (AP)

The Mexican American War  

The American war against Mexico in the 19th century, the demise of an Islamic kingdom in Central Asia, the last ever case of Smallpox, 30 years of the Burning Man festival in the desert and the moment when Sweden switched from driving on the left to the right. (Photo: General Scott's entrance into Mexico City. Hand coloured lithograph. Credit: Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot)

Stockholm Syndrome  

We hear from one of the hostages in the first documented case of Stockholm Syndrome, during a Swedish bank robbery. Plus Britain's early campaign for AIDS awareness; an audacious military operation in the campaign for Helmand province; the Dance Theatre of Harlem; and the night salsa took New York by storm. (Photo: The hostages photographed as the police opened the bank vault door. Kristin Enmark is in the middle. (Credit: AFP/ EGAN-Polisen)

Conflict over a Tree in the DMZ  

American deaths in no-man's land between North and South Korea; the birth of the national parks, plus battling over bibles in US schools, the murder of Garcia Lorca and Japanese animation with Studio Ghibli. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Nairobi Embassy Bombing  

A Kenyan hero who survived al Qaeda's first major attack, plus Man on Wire above New York, 1960s London gangsters The Krays , digging up Israel's history at Masada and post-war forced deportations to the USSR Photo: Rescue workers at the scene of the Nairobi embassy bombing (AFP/Getty Images)

The University of Texas Shooting  

On 1 August 1966, student Charles Whitman shot dead 14 people and injured another 32 in America's first mass shooting at a university. Plus, the oldest arts festival in the Middle East; how President Reagan smashed the power of the trade unions; and meeting JD Salinger, the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye". PHOTO: Associated Press.

First CIA coup in Latin America  

In this week's programme, we hear personal accounts of two fronts in America's Cold War fight against communism: Guatemala and Russia itself. Plus, the earthquake in China that killed a quarter of a million; riots in the English city of Liverpool; and remembering Picasso in his prime. PHOTO: Army officers opposed to President Arbenz go over a map of the territory on their push to Zacapa and then to Guatemala City, July 1954. (AP Photo)


America's government health insurance programme Medicare came into force in July 1966. Plus, Chinua Achebe's seminal African novel Things Fall Apart, the Srebrenica massacre, an anti-semitic murder trial in Imperial Russia - and the death of martial arts star Bruce Lee. PICTURE: President Lyndon B Johnson signs the Medicare Bill with Harry S Truman in Independence, Missouri on July 30, 1965. (AP Photo)

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