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.


Princess Diana's Minefield Walk  

In 1997, the Princess of Wales made a high-profile visit to a landmine clearance programme in Angola. Her trip is credited with boosting the campaign for a global landmine treaty signed later that year. Also, the man who rewrote the rules on transitions of power in the USA, the first woman to wear a headscarf into the Turkish parliament and the triumph of British espionage that changed the course of World War One. PHOTO: Princess Diana in Angola in 1997 (Credit: Alamy)

American Communists  

The early American Communists, a North Vietnamese tunneler who helped outsmart the Americans and win the war in Vietnam, plus the pyramid scheme failure in Albania which left gun-toting children on the streets. Also how five American missionaries paid the ultimate price after seeking out a remote tribe in Ecuador but left a lasting legacy, and the petition signed in Czechoslovakia which helped bring about the end of communism. Photograph: Ella and Bert Wolfe (courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives

The Break-Up of the Soviet Union  

December 1991 saw the end of 70 years of communist rule and the collapse of the Soviet Union. We hear from two of the key signatories of the dissolution treaty, a witness to the ensuing crisis in one of the newly independent states, and from an American nuclear expert who helped clean-up the former USSR. Also, the performance artist protesting about the growing divide between rich and poor, and the first editor of Vogue magazine in Russia. Photo: The leaders of Ukraine and Belorussia, alongside Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, at the ceremony formally dissolving the USSR in December 1991, Credit: AP

Death of an Anarchist  

The controversial death in police custody of Italian anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli, the Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett how Greece and Turkey almost came to war over a tiny rocky island in the Aegean sea, also the experimental film-maker Derek Jarman and how on Christmas day in 1968 Apollo 8 became the first spacecraft to leave the Earth's orbit and travel to the moon. Photo:Giuseppe 'Pino' Pinelli, with his wife Licia and his daughters Silvia and Claudia. Credit: The Pinelli Family.

Yoyes, ETA's female icon  

The life and untimely death of a Basque separatist fighter, resisting the Nazis in Lithuania, a medical breakthrough that prevented babies from dying in their cots, the grand old lady of Brazilian TV soaps, and the Hindu milk miracle. Photograph: Maria Dolores Gonzalez Katarain, known as Yoyes, who was the first woman to join the leadership of the separatist group, ETA

100 Women History Hour  

A special edition of the programme remembering some of the women that history has overlooked. From women warriors to women scientists. From rural women, to factory workers we bring you the stories of women who made a contribution to history - and who deserve to be remembered.

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)

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