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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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show series
 
In the aftermath of World War II, amongst the shattered ruins of Berlin a new conflict was born, the Cold War. With the common purpose of defeating Nazi Germany gone the allied powers were soon no longer allies. Berlin had been divided before the end of the war at the Yalta Conference between the British, French, United States and Soviets. However,…
 
Mary Ellis was a pioneering and courageous aviator who flew hundreds of fighters and bombers to Britain’s frontline airfields. She was one of the first women to fly Spitfires, heavy bombers and jet aircraft, blazing a trail for female pilots with her passion and skill. Mary sadly passed away aged 101 on this day three years ago, a short time after …
 
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are finally here, after being delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Ancient Greece to when it was reborn in 1896, the tournament has nearly 3,000 years of history. Sports historian, Professor Martin Polley from De Monfort University, joins Dan on the podcast to tell the, sometimes surprising, story of the compe…
 
The relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de' Medici - the two most powerful Queens of their time - is one of the most intriguing and captivating stories of the 16th century. In this edition of our sibling podcast Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Estelle Paranque about her new book Blood, Fire and Gold, which e…
 
How did a young boy from Georgia become a merciless politician who shaped the Soviet Empire in his own brutal image? Historian and bestselling author, Simon Sebag Montifiore, is back on the podcast to talk to Dan about the rise of Joseph Stalin, a man who caused the death and suffering of tens of millions under his regime of terror. Find out how St…
 
Accurate timekeeping is at the very root of all of the technological advances in the modern world, but how did it all begin? From Roman sundials to medieval water-clocks, people of all cultures have made and used clocks for thousands of years. Dan speaks to horologist, historian and former curator of timekeeping at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, …
 
In the summer of 1518, one of the most bizarre afflictions in history struck the city of Strasburg; dancing mania. This epidemic of dancing spread, almost like a plague, through the population with many hundreds of people dancing wildly and seemingly uncontrollably often to the point of collapse and even death. Perhaps, even stranger is that the ou…
 
Robin Hood is one of the most famous legends of British history, but did he exist and if so who was he? Gareth Morgan, Learning Development Officer at Nottingham Castle, is just the man to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to this archetypal hero who robbed the rich to give to the poor. Gareth helps Dan discover some of the real-life fi…
 
We're called into leadership in many ways in our lives, including by Jesus. Fr. Dan Riley, ofm, offers this reflection inviting us into leadership, listening peace and quiet. Music, "Here I Am, Lord," by John Michael Talbot (used with permission; more at www.JohnMichaelTalbot.com). Produced July 17, 2021. Podcast #238. For more information about Mt…
 
Saladin was one of the greatest Sultans of the middle ages, and the first sultan of Egypt and Syria. He famously defeated the Crusader army at the Battle of Hattin, and recaptured Jerusalem. The Christian armies of the west never recaptured the Holy City. Saladin's legacy still holds resonance across the middle-east today. In 1917, a French General…
 
Recent years have seen a spate of statue removals from the toppling of Confederate statues in the United States, the tearing down of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol and recently the removal of statues of Queen Victoria in Canada. Some have been taken down in an orderly manner and others torn down or defaced by activists. For some, the removal …
 
From spiral stairs to tunnels leading to pubs and brothels, to witch markings; join us as we find out the truth about medieval buildings. Matt Lewis, from our sibling podcast Gone Medieval, is accompanied by archaeologist and architectural historian James Wright to debunk the myths. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
In 1381 England was rocked by one of the most widespread popular uprisings of the medieval period; the Peasants' Revolt. Beginning in Essex in response to the overreaching demands of a local government official but unrest spread like wildfire across the south of England. Soon the rebels faced down the King, stormed the Tower of London, executed roy…
 
By the summer of 1942 Malta had been under siege by Axis forces for over a year and the situation on the island was bleak with food and fuel almost exhausted. This vital allied foothold in the Mediterranean had to be held at all cost in order to prevent the collapse of the allied effort in North Africa where Rommel's forces were finding much succes…
 
250 years ago today Captain James arrived back from one of the most remarkable voyages of exploration in the history of the world. The expedition took Cook and his crew through the Pacific making contact with the numerous island communities of that ocean and perhaps most famously being the first Europeans to make landfall on Australia. Whilst undou…
 
11 July 1921 the truce that bought the Irish War of Independence came into effect. The negotiations that brought about the end of hostilities, between Irish representatives led by Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins and the British Government led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and would eventually lead to the breakaway of the 26 counties tha…
 
In this archive episode, David Berry joined Dan on the pod to discuss the history of tennis. From the birth of modern tennis in Victorian Britain to the present day, they talk about struggles around sexuality, gender, race and class that have transformed the nature of tennis and sport itself. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out informatio…
 
When tobacco arrived in Britain in the 1560s, it was hailed as a "holy herb", a miracle cure to improve health and a catalyst for wit and creativity. The coming of coffee - "black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love" - in the mid-17th century, led to the establishment of coffee houses where debates flourished and innovations were born that help…
 
The history of Italy and England stretches back thousands of years well before Italy and England even existed as nations. As the two will meet in the European Championship final this Sunday it seemed like the perfect time to explore the shared history of these two people. From the Romans to the medieval period, the Renaissance, and through to the t…
 
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, Japanese Americans were put in a terrible position in the USA. Many tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were interned in cruel conditions being classified as enemy aliens and held in suspicion of being agents for Japan. Despite this many thousands of young men, mostly second-generatio…
 
It is often the case that it is assumed that it was in ancient Greece and the eastern Mediterranean that was host to the foundation of European politics, culture, economics and engineering. But in fact, the development of sophisticated civilisations, writing cultures, complex technologies and sciences occurred over millennia in the fertile crescent…
 
In June 1953 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, an American married couple with two young sons, were executed having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. Julius was undoubtedly a spy but Ethel may well not have been. The evidence against her was shaky and was based on what has turned out to be a false statement given b…
 
D.H. Lawrence is best known for his work Lady Chatterley's Lover and the obscenity trial relating to the book's publication in the early 1960s. But Lawrence is in fact one of the most important British writers of the 20th century and there is much more to his work and story than Lady Chatterley. He was one of the first successful novelists from a w…
 
The legend of King Arthur has been reworked many times, but is there any historical truth behind the tales? Dr Miles Russell believes there is and in this episode, from our sibling podcast The Ancients, he highlights how elements of King Arthur’s story is derived from five key ancient figures. From British warlords that opposed the arrival of Juliu…
 
105 years ago the battle of the Somme raged on into its second day. 60,000 British casualties we recorded on its first day and by its close in November 1916 over a million men had been killed or wounded. It is the bloodiest battle in British military history and in Germany, the battle was described as the bloody field grave of the German army. It h…
 
100 years ago the Chinese Communist Party was founded and across the span of that century has become one of the most powerful organisations on the planet. Today, it is an economic powerhouse and a superpower challenger to the United States. Its origins were humble though with just a few members at its foundation. Indeed, the official anniversary da…
 
In February 1882 the SS Dunedin departed New Zealand on a voyage that would revolutionise the way we eat and kickstart the globalisation of the world's food supply chain. Aboard were thousands of mutton, lamb and pig carcasses as well as 250 kegs of butter, hare, pheasant, turkey, chicken and 2226 sheep tongues. This cargo would be kept fresh in th…
 
Much of Medieval history focuses on the kings, queens, bishops, and the nobility of the period, but what do we know about those people on the margins of society? Like today the elite made up only a small percentage of the population and the vast majority of the population of medieval Europe were peasants or craftspeople. There were other groups who…
 
Europe in 1914 was a tinderbox of imperial tensions and the spark that would light the conflagration would be the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But there is much more to this story than simply the murder of two royals on the street of Sarajevo. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was an often misunderstood figure seemingly hard and old fashioned.…
 
Beginning with his birth in 1915 in Sierra Leone, the life of John Henry Smythe OBE MBE is almost unbelievable. From becoming a navigator in the RAF during the Second World War, to being held captive in a German POW camp, to being the Senior Officer making key decisions about the futures of the people aboard HMT Empire Windrush and becoming Attorne…
 
In 865 AD Britain was invaded by the Great Heathen Army an alliance of Scandanavian warriors determined to conquer the kingdoms of East Anglia, Northumbria, Merica and Wessex. Over the next few years, all of those kingdoms would fall to the Viking forces with the exception of Wessex. In May 878 Alfred the Great defeated the Vikings at the Battle of…
 
John Dickie joins Dan from the History Hit Archive to discuss the international story of an organisation that now has 6 million members across the globe. Tracing the origins from local fraternities of stonemasons at the turn of the fifteenth century, John takes Dan on the freemasons' journey from Britain to America, Australia, Italy and India. Find…
 
Ben Rhodes has served at the very pinnacle of politics in his role as deputy national security adviser in Barack Obama's Whitehouse and seen what it takes to run a democracy and take the tough decisions that are needed. But since leaving the Oval Office the world has seen a slide towards populism, nationalism and even authoritarianism. But how can …
 
On 22 June 1941 Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa the biggest military operation in human history. More than 3 million men of the Axis poured into the Soviet Union beginning a conflict, that even within the context of the Second World War, was unprecedented in both its scale and savagery. Operation Barbarossa began with unparalleled success for…
 
From the Neolithic period to the early 18th century Crannogs were a feature of Scottish, Welsh and Irish lakes and estuaries enabling a unique way of life. These unusual dwellings consisted of an artificial island constructed over and in the water. The Scottish Crannog Cente on Loch Tay had a wonderful reconstruction of a crannog however just over …
 
The 1960s and early 1970s saw civil unrest and violence in the United States on a scale not seen since the civil war between black residents and the police but was this simply rioting or a revolution? Dan is joined by Elizabeth Hinton associate professor of history, African American studies, and law at Yale University and Yale Law School. She ​argu…
 
Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to the news headlines when the rosary she carried to her execution in 1587, was recently stolen from Arundel Castle. It's the latest chapter in the enduring story of this highly romanticised figure. Mary reigned over Scotland for just over 24 years between December 1542 until her forced abdication. Considered the legi…
 
206 years ago today, 60,000 men were slaughtered in the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon Bonaparte's French army was finally defeated by an almighty coalition of troops from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau, led by the Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal von Blücher. In this arc…
 
Winston Churchill's daughters Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary are often overshadowed by their father's extraordinary fame but they also lived fascinating lives and were often present at many of the seismic moments of history. Their lives were far from easy though. Marigold died at the age of two, Diana would suffer mental health problems and eventu…
 
For many people sending a postcard is an enjoyable part of any seaside trip but rather than just being a novelty they were once a vital form of communication and often the quickest way to contact your friends and relatives. Dan is joined by Chris Taft and Georgina Tomlinson from the postal museum where a new exhibition marking 151 years of the Brit…
 
The Anglo-Saxon period is vital for the formation of England and the UK as we know it but is a difficult era to fully understand. The departure of the Romans left a power vacuum that was filled by warlords with violence, foreign invasion, occupation and religious strife being endemic. But out of this turbulent period the foundation of what we now c…
 
After the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 London was on its knees with its population decimated and the heart of the city burnt out, but from the ashes, it would rise phoenix-like to become one of the world's dominant economic and cultural centres. Dan is joined by author Leo Hollis for a walking tour of London and they vi…
 
Gordon Brown stood at the pinnacle of UK politics for 13 years first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and the as Prime Minister but it is as a private citizen that he now seeks to set out and help solve some of the world's most pressing problems. In this episode, Dan speaks to Gordon Brown about his time as prime minister; the power he wielded and th…
 
England holds the slightly unwanted title for the most appearances in the Euros without ever reaching a final, so why the excitement when it comes back around every four years? Football journalist and podcaster Tom Fordyce joins Dan to chat about the history of the Euros, memorable moments, and what the future might have in store for the competitio…
 
Alexander the Great is one of the most famous generals and empire builders in history, but the story of his death is almost as remarkable as his life. Tristan Hughes host of the History Hit podcast The Ancients, and Alexander the Great superfan, joins Dan to tell the almost unbelievable tale of what happened after Alexander died. It is a titanic st…
 
The Mary Rose, a Tudor warship in Henry VIII's navy, sank in the Solent on 19 July 1545 with the loss of most of her 415 strong crew. Recent developments in marine archaeology have enabled researchers to bring to light fascinating new evidence about the diversity of the crew. Dr Alex Hildred, the head of research at the Mary Rose Trust, is back on …
 
The two Dans are back. And this time, they're talking all things crusades. In this rerun episode, Dan Jones provides his namesake host with a thrilling background to the series of holy wars that have come to define Medieval Europe. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
 
The Second World War is often depicted as a straight battle between good and evil but it was perhaps less straightforward than that. Whilst the Nazi regime was undoubtedly barbarous and deserved its fate the consequences of victory were not always the positive they are portrayed to be. Indeed for much of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the end of t…
 
The superpower rivalry of the Cold War had many different fronts, space, the rice paddy fields of south-east Asia and even the operating theatre. The desire to push the envelope of human ingenuity led Dr Robert J. White to conduct a series of successful head transplants on monkies during the 1970s with the eventual aim of performing the procedure o…
 
D-Day on 6 June 1944 saw the largest amphibious landing in history take place as more than 150,000 allied troops stormed five assault beaches in Normandy, attempting to break through Hitler's Atlantic Wall. ⁠One of the unsung heroes of that operation were the landing craft and their crews. Without whom there could have been no initial landing and t…
 
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