Episodes

  • The summer of 1911 was a hot one. Massive strikes took place across the country, including seamen, railwaymen, coal miners, women working in food processing and garment-making and even school children. That, combined with record-breaking temperatures made Britain a constitutional, industrial and political tinderbox. It was harder to endure than today: no refrigeration for food, heavy clothing; more manual/outdoor labour, unventilated workplaces, surging food prices, and limited deodorant. All this fuelled industrial militancy, especially in hard, outdoor labour like the docks.


    It also raised political tempers: 670 MPs in heavy clothing, packed into a steaming Chamber…


    Dr Robert Saunders, reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London joins Dan on the podcast to take a look at how heat exacerbates social and political unrest and what parallels are to be found between the scorching summer of 1911 and the summer of 2022.


    This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges, the audio editor was Dougal Patmore.


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  • Known as the Eternal City, ancient Rome was one of the greatest civilisations in human history, but how did it come about?


    With a turbulent history of Kings, civil wars and imperial desires - Rome has an incredible history. But who founded it? Were Romulus and Remus real brothers fighting for their kingdoms, or did a Trojan hero found one of the mightiest Italian states? Recent archaeological discoveries indicate a far more complicated picture of Rome's beginnings - but where does its mystic past fall into this new story?


    In this episode, Tristan is joined by Professor Guy Bradley from Cardiff University to discover more about the origins of Rome around the 8th century B.C.


    TW: This episode contains a reference to rape


    This episode was produced by Annie Coloe and edited by Aidan Lonergan.


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  • On August 6 and 9, 1945, US B-29 bombers, dropped their nuclear bombs on the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands and consigning millions to disease and genetic defects. The accepted wisdom in the U.S. since has been that dropping the bombs on these Japanese cities was the only way to end World War II without an invasion of Japan that would have cost hundreds of thousands of American and perhaps millions of Japanese lives.


    Gar Alperovitz is a historian, political economist, activist and writer. A critic of the bombings, Gar joins Dan on the podcast to discuss how the decision to use the atomic bomb was wrapped up in atomic diplomacy: that the U.S. used nuclear weapons to intimidate the Soviet Union in the early stages of the Cold War. To mark the anniversary, we also dug back into the archives to bring you the human story at the heart of the tragedy - Hirata San, a survivor of the Hiroshima attacks, shares his experiences of the bombing.


    Produced by Hannah Ward

    Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore


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  • 2/2. Eva Schloss remembers her days as a girl in Amsterdam playing in the street with the other children including Anne Frank who, for a time, took a particular interest in her older brother Heinz. Eva also remembers the day the Dutch resistance worker exposed her family to the Nazis and they were carted off to Auschwitz. She remembers the train pulling up to the platform in Poland and the promise she made her brother to go back to find the paintings he'd done in hiding, if he didn't make it out alive.


    After being selected to live by Josef Mengele, Eva and her mother entered Auschwitz-Birkenau while her brother and father were sent to a men's camp. There they endured starvation, back-breaking work, blistering summers and freezing winter.


    In Part 2 of Eva's story, she describes stumbling across Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father while trying to find help after the liberation of the camp left her stranded with no idea what to do next. The story of Otto and her mother falling in love and finding happiness in the years after and how, after many years of nightmares and silence, Eva finally found her voice to tell her astonishing story of survival, which she still does to this day.


    You can listen to Part 1 first here.


    Her memoir is called After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival by the Stepsister of Anne Frank


    This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges, the assistant producer was Hannah Ward and the audio editor was Dougal Patmore.


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  • 1/2. On the morning of the 4th of August 1944, exactly 78 years ago today, the Frank family cowered behind a bookshelf in Amsterdam, listening to heavy boots and German voices on the other side. Anne Frank and her family were discovered and taken to the Nazi concentration camps where they all perished, apart from Otto. Anne's diary stops in the summer of 1944 so it's difficult for us to truly know exactly what her experience was after her arrest, as a teenage girl enduring the horrors of the Nazi death machine.


    But Eva Schloss, the girl who became her stepsister - does. She was sent to Auschwitz with her parents and older brother Heinz and remembers what that whole experience was like - from the way Austrians slowly turned on their Jewish neighbours, hiding in crawl spaces from Nazis, the cattle truck ride, her encounters with the angel of death Josef Mengele and how the liberation of Auschwitz left her stranded in the abandoned camp for days.


    Eva's is a story of close calls, unexplainable chances and turns of fortune, as well as unimaginable horrors. So, a warning that some parts of this story are distressing.


    Her memoir is called After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival by the Stepsister of Anne Frank.


    This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges, the assistant producer was Hannah Ward and the audio editor was Dougal Patmore.


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  • Few early medieval gods are as well-known and as popular as Thor. He’s currently thrilling moviegoers worldwide with his new outing for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Love and Thunder. But behind the countless films and works of fiction, what’s the real origin story for Thor? How was he worshipped? And how has he secured such an enduring place in popular culture?


    In this episode of Gone Medieval, Dr Cat Jarman speaks to Professor Carolyne Larrington, an expert in Norse literature and mythology, to find out more about the god behind the superhero. 


    The Senior Producer on this episode was Elena Guthrie. It was edited and produced by Rob Weinberg.


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  • England’s historic Euro 2022 victory on Sunday night was the most watched TV programme of the year. It feels like it's the first time women's football is getting the attention it deserves. Well, a century ago, it was women who dominated the pitch, commanding crowds bigger than the men's games. But that changed on the 5th of December 1921 when the FA placed a complete ban on women playing professional football. That ban lasted 50 years.


    In this episode from our archive, celebrated broadcaster Clare Balding joins Dan to tell the story of the factory girls who took on the world, why they were banned and the legacy of that ban over 100 years on.


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  • In July 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed from Corunna to conquer England. Three weeks later an English fireship attack in the Channel—and then a fierce naval battle—foiled the planned invasion. Many myths still surround these events. The genius of Sir Francis Drake is exalted, while Spain’s efforts are belittled. But what really happened during that fateful encounter?


    For this episode of the podcast, Dan welcomes back distinguished professor and historian, Geoffrey Parker. They deconstruct the many legends to reveal why, ultimately, the bold Spanish mission failed.


    ‘Armada. The Spanish Enterprise and England's Deliverance in 1588’ will be published in October 2022.


    Produced by Hannah Ward

    Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore


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  • We celebrate abolition - in Haiti after the revolution, in the British Empire in 1833, and in the United States during the Civil War. Yet, over the approximately 100 years in which there were various moments of emancipation, these processes often provided failed pathways to justice for people who had been enslaved.


    Kris Manjapra is a professor, author and historian. Kris joins Dan on the podcast to unearth disturbing truths about the Age of Emancipations, 1780-1880. They discuss examples of emancipations across the Americas, Europe and Africa where Black people were dispossessed by the very moves that were meant to free them.


    Produced by Hannah Ward

    Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore


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  • Anne of Cleves was the ‘last woman standing’ of Henry VIII’s wives and the only one buried in Westminster Abbey. How did she manage it? Was she in fact a political refugee, supported by the King? Was she a role model for her step-daughters Mary and Elizabeth? Why was her marriage to Henry doomed from the start?


    In this edition of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb is joined by author Heather R. Darsie - editor of maidensandmanuscripts.com - whose research into Anne of Cleves casts a new light on Henry’s fourth Queen, potentially revealing a very different figure than the so-called 'Flanders Mare'.


    For this episode, the Senior Producer was Elena Guthrie. It was edited by Thomas Ntinas and produced by Rob Weinberg.


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  • The Ottoman Empire was gigantic; at one point it reached the walls of Vienna to the Persian Gulf and beyond. It was established at the end of the 13th century with its centre in what is now modern Turkey. It held swathes of Europe for centuries right up to the First World War.


    In this episode, Professor of International History, Marc Baer and Dan rampage through that history and discover how the Ottomans weren't simply the Islamic-Asian antithesis of the Christian-European West, but in fact, a multi-ethnic, multilingual empire whose religious tolerance and cultural innovation has shaped the landscape of East and West from 1299 right through to the present day.


    Produced by Hannah Ward and edited by Dougal Patmore.


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  • During World War II, in the town of Cowra in central New South Wales, thousands of Japanese prisoners of war were held in a POW camp. On the icy night of August 5th they staged one of the largest prison breakouts in history, launching the only land battle of World War II to be fought on Australian soil. Five Australian soldiers and more than 230 Japanese POWs would die during what became known as The Cowra Breakout.


    In this episode historian and podcaster Mat McLachlan joins Dan to tell him this extraordinary story of negligence and complacency, and of authorities too slow to recognise danger before it occurred - and too quick to cover it up when it was too late.


    This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges and it was edited by Thomas Ntinas.


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  • Vladimir Putin has the power to reduce the United States and Europe to ashes in a nuclear firestorm. He invades his neighbours, most recently Ukraine, meddles in western elections and orders assassinations inside and outside Russia. But who is the man behind the headlines?


    For years, Philip Short was a foreign correspondent for the BBC. He is now the author of many acclaimed biographies. Having spent eight years interviewing those who dealt with Putin as part of their official duties, Philip joins Dan on the podcast to explore the personality of Putin and the forces and experiences that have shaped his decisions since he took on the role of president in 2000.


    Produced by Hannah Ward.

    Mixed and Mastered by Peter Dennis.


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.


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  • In a special episode from our sister podcast Warfare, Dan is joined by host James Rogers fresh off the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium where last week an astonishing discovery was made. The project Waterloo Uncovered unearthed bones that could hold extraordinary insights into the experiences of Waterloo soldiers, their diets, health, life and death.


    This episode was edited and sound designed by Aidan Lonergan.


    For more Warfare content, subscribe to our Warfare Wednesday newsletter here. If you'd like to learn even more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download, go to the Android or Apple store.


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  • Getting to the moon was no easy feat, no matter how confident President Kennedy may have sounded in his famous 1961 speech. NASA built a team from the ground up, and there were plenty of moments where it seemed as if they weren't going to make it. Kevin Fong tells stories of just how close they came, and how risky it was. After all, it was hard to feel safe when a pen could go straight through the module. Professor Kevin Fong is a consultant anaesthetist at UCLH and professor of public engagement and innovation in the Department of Science, Technology, Education and Public Policy (STEaPP) at University College London and an expert in space medicine.


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.


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  • On the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor, Egypt sits a temple considered to be one of the great architectural wonders of ancient Egypt. The memorial temple of Hatshepsut, the great female pharaoh who came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BC sits nestled beneath a dramatic amphitheatre of limestone cliffs on the edge of the Valley of the Kings. Hatshepsut lived as long before Jesus was born as Henry the 8th lived after and presided over rich and powerful Egypt. She established trade routes and her reign was marked by peace and prosperity. But, at her death her step-son Thutmose III did all he could to erase her from the history books, replacing her image with his own, burying her statues and scratching her name from the temple walls.


    In this episode director of the West Bank Dr Bahaa Gaber takes Dan around her temple and fills him in on what kind of leader Hatshepsut really was.


    Produced by Mariana Des Forges.

    Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore.


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.


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  • From the notorious thief Mary Frith in the seventeenth century to industrialist and LGBT trailblazer Anne Lister in the nineteenth, these heroines redefined what a woman could be and what she could do in pre-twentieth-century Britain.


    Holly Kyte, author and literary critic, joins Dan to shine a light on some of the unsung heroines of British history who refused to play by the rules. They detail the histories of the formidable women whose grit, determination and radical unconventionality saw them defy the odds to forge their own paths.


    Produced by Hannah Ward

    Mixed and Mastered by Seyi Adaobi


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.


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  • The Imperial Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began on December 25, 1941, after the then Governor, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the British Crown colony to the Empire of Japan. The occupation lasted until Japan surrendered at the end of World War Two.


    Joining Dan on the podcast today is Barbara Sowerby, who was born in Hong Kong in 1936 to an English father and Portuguese mother. Aged just five years old, Barbara’s happy childhood would change when her family were amongst the fleeing civilians caught and imprisoned by the Imperial Japanese Army. Barbara shares the remarkable story of her time as a child prisoner of war.


    This episode is dedicated to Barbara’s late husband Keith Sowerby. Keith detailed the remarkable story of Barbara’s early life and had hoped, before his passing, to publish a book of this extraordinary account.


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  • Pint, bottle, schooner, tinny … no matter how you drink it, beer is undeniably a part of social life here in Britain and around the world.


    But how did it come to hold this position? Why has this been more true for British men than for British women? And what did beer taste like before mass production and microbiology?


    Kate Lister has a pint with author, broadcaster and beer lover Pete Brown to find out.


    WARNING this episode includes some fruity language


    Produced by Charlotte Long and Sophie Gee. Mixed by Thomas Ntinas.


    Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.


    This podcast includes music from Epidemic Sound and archive clips from "Brooklyn Bar Owner Wins Irish Sweepstake", 1937.


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  • How has warfare shaped the way humans live in the Atlantic World? Well, a lot. Military campaigns from the late Middle Ages to the Age of Revolution drove the development of technologies like ships, port facilities, fortresses, and roads. Crossing the ocean was made possible, connecting previously separate lands, nations and empires from Europe to West Africa and North and South America.


    In this episode, Professor of Early Modern History Geoffrey Plank joins Dan to discuss how connecting the lands of Europe, West Africa and North and South America brought commerce, expansion, empires, the slave trade and more conflict on land and sea. They compare the European, African, and indigenous American experiences of warfare, violence, and military culture over a period of four centuries.


    Produced by Hannah Ward.

    Edited by Pete Dennis


    If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today! To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.


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