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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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
 
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Stalingrad is one of the most titanic and totemic battles of the Second World War. Millions were killed, the city itself was utterly shattered by fighting and the seemingly unbeatable Wehrmacht suffered a catastrophic rout like never before. But what made the Soviet victory possible; what happened to the men from both sides who fought in the rubble…
 
Where can you find an Iron Age fort, Roman kilns, trees built for Nelson's navy and the hunting lodge of William the Conqueror? In the place that Dan calls home: the New Forest in the South of England. In this special episode of the podcast sponsored by BMW and National Park's Recharge in Nature project, Dan joins his good friend and local archaeol…
 
Fake moon landings, aliens and secret weapons; conspiracy theories about Area 51 abound but what exactly is it, and do we know anything about it with certainty? Dan is joined by Annie Jacobsen, investigative journalist and author of Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, to find out what really goes on in this mysteri…
 
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. It was one of the most costly conflicts that the U.S. has ever fought, causing immense loss of life on all sides. US intervention was defined by the strategy of 'pacification', but what exactly did this entail, and did it really work? Dan is joined by the expert…
 
Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most famous accounts of the Jewish experience during the Second World War, giving us a deeply personal glimpse into the life-in-hiding of a prolific young writer. But on the 1st August 1944, the diary abruptly ends - the Franks, van Pelses and Fritz Pfeffer had been discovered by the Gestapo. In this episode, we’ll …
 
The Three Musketeers paints a picture of King Louis XIII of France as a rather weak monarch controlled by his powerful chief minister Cardinal Richelieu. Louis’ reign is generally thought of as being the beginning of the “age of absolutism” when ministers like Richelieu were in the ascendancy and the power of the court and courtiers declined. But w…
 
We think of archaeology as an exclusionary profession, one reserved for experts in the field. But why isn't the discipline more accessible to the public? Should the past not belong to everybody, and are there some basic skills that anyone can learn to help rediscover our past? The archaeologist and television presenter Chloe Duckworth joins us to g…
 
Waterloo was one of the bloodiest battles in European history, yet until now only two bodies have ever been found on the battlefield. The remains of 10 British and Prussian soldiers who died in battle have just been discovered by the Belgian-German team Waterloo Uncovered; some skeletons had been resting in an attic for more than 40 years. The bone…
 
1492 marked the beginning of the Colombian Exchange - the transfer of people, goods, ideas and commodities across the Atlantic between Europe and the Americas. We hear a lot about the conquistadors, the settlers, Jesuit priests and colonisers from Spain, Portugal and Britain whose success in the 'New World' was built on the help and enslavement of …
 
The brutal nature of the First World War presented frontline medical personnel with an array of horrific and debilitating wounds, inflicted on a previously unimaginable scale. From gas attacks and bayonet wounds to rifle fire and artillery barrages, day-to-day life on the frontlines posed a serious risk to life and limb. The doctors and nurses resp…
 
The Ming Dynasty emerged in the second half of the 14th century, having achieved a hard-won victory over the declining Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. Admiral Zheng He, a Muslim of Mongol descent, was born into this turmoil in a far-flung, frontier province of the Ming empire. Yet by the early 15th century, he had been made the commander-in-chief of some …
 
As the British and French colonies in North America expanded in the middle of the 18th century, they inevitably clashed. Fighting between the two sides and their respective Native American allies began in Ohio Country (now western Pennsylvania) in 1754. Dan Snow tells Don how the fighting began in 1754 in Ohio country (now western Pennsylvania) and…
 
Just over 100 years ago, in October 1922, Mussolini and 30,000 Blackshirts marched on Rome. It was a mass demonstration that would see his National Fascist Party take power in the Kingdom of Italy. However, the advent of Italian fascism has always been overshadowed by that of its infamous German counterpart, the Nazi Party. But what actually happen…
 
Winston Churchill is possibly the most famous politician in British history. Throughout his career, he would hold numerous positions in government, including serving as the MP for 5 different constituencies. Perhaps the most unusual of these was his time representing the Scottish industrial city of Dundee - he would provoke the ire of a fascinating…
 
The Crusades are well-known but only part of the complex history of the medieval Near East. During the same era, the region was completely remade by the Mongol invasions. In a single generation, the Mongols upended the region’s geopolitics. In this edition of Gone Medieval, Matt Lewis talks to Dr. Nicholas Morton, author of The Mongol Storm: Making…
 
The Himalayas is one of the most expansive and storied regions in the world. It's also a place that we're hugely dependent on, providing billions of people with fresh water. Because of its significance, civilisations throughout history have sought to conquer it. What forces have exerted control over 'The Roof of the World'? And what is it about thi…
 
At the end of the 19th century, the world came to fear terrorism. In an era that simmered with political rage and social inequalities, anarchists and nationalists took to bombing cities and attacking lawmakers and leaders. With an outrage-hungry press peddling hysteria, conspiracy theories and fake news, readers began to think they were living thro…
 
Prince Harry's explosive new memoir is out today and headlines, articles and tweets all weighing in on the rift between the royals are everywhere. In the past warring royal siblings fought it out on the battlefield or in duplicitous schemes of murder, but today it plays out in the media. Historian of Monarchy Anna Whitelock joins Dan to talk about …
 
From 1939 to 1975, Generalissimo Francisco Franco ruled Spain as a nationalist dictator. For many, he was Spain incarnate, a tenacious leader and warrior in the same vein as El Cid. Under his guidance, the regime was able to navigate 36 years of political turmoil and conflict, vanquishing Communism, surviving the Second World War and bringing about…
 
November 22nd marks 59 years since the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. One of the most famous assassinations in history, JFK's death sent shockwaves not only through the United States but across the world. However, before that fateful day in history, JFK was a journalist, a Senator, and finally President - but what do we know about h…
 
The first author in history, the inventor of the dishwasher and the lawyer who refused to be kicked out of the room the Oxford law school; when it comes to revolutions, says novelist Kate Mosse, you don't always have to lead from the front. There are thousands of women in history who've changed their circumstances and the world for others in smalle…
 
Harry Houdini is perhaps the most famous entertainer to have ever lived. He wowed his audiences with sensational feats of physical endurance and illusions that were as shocking as they were impressive. What was it that made him such a captivating performer? What controversies swirled around this intriguing character? And was any of the magic real..…
 
This episode tells the incredible story of four Second World War British POWs who overcame the trials and tribulations of internment through a shared passion for birdwatching. Derek Niemann, a specialist in natural history and author of Birds in a Cage, joins Dan to discuss why this obsession helped them survive the POW camps, and how it drove them…
 
Almost at the centre of Europe, Budapest, is at the crossroads of geographical regions and of civilizations, at the intersection of ancient trade routes. Mountains that gradually slope into gentle hills converge on a great river, the Danube, and the regions of Buda and Pest sprang up on either side. Victor Sebestyen is a writer and historian. Victo…
 
Fingers on buzzers for a very special History Hit end-of-year treat. Tricky expert questions, history in the headlines, historical fact or fiction? It can only be the History Hit Big Quiz of 2022 - a seasonal test where you can pit your wits against our in-house history brains, or just sit back, grab a glass of whatever you fancy, and enjoy a fact-…
 
As the Nazi war machine rampaged across Europe it did not just take territory and resources from its conquests but also many thousands of pieces of art and other antiquities. Stolen from both galleries and individual victims of Nazi crimes allied troops discovered hidden caches of priceless artworks throughout Europe. As the war proceeded it had be…
 
We all think we know the story of Richard III and Henry VII, or do we? Richard III is often portrayed as a child-murdering usurper whose reign was brought to a bloody end by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth. It was a grudge match to decide who would become King of England, but how true is this story really? In this episode, we'll find out as we …
 
Traditionally sung at Christmas itself or during the surrounding Christmas holiday season, it is thought that carols existed to keep up people’s spirits, along with dances, plays and feasts since before the fourteenth century. Whether religious or not, the singing of Christmas carols is a tradition enjoyed by many every year, but do we know why? Au…
 
Porpoises, beaver tails, boar's head and puffins: are just some of the exquisite dishes on medieval tables during the festive season. In this episode food historian, Annie Gray joins Dan in his kitchen to cook up some delicious Christmas fare from ages past. They make wassail - an ancient alcoholic punch - and mince meat pies as they talk about the…
 
Click here to vote for Gone Medieval at the Signal Awards. At this time of year, many of us will find ourselves singing about a royal personage who braves the snow on the Feast of Stephen – the Second Day of Christmas – so that he can distribute alms to a poor peasant. But who was the real Good King Wenceslas and was he as pious and saintly as the …
 
Lasting six brutal weeks, from December 16, 1944, to January 25, 1945, the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of Belgium was Adolf Hitler’s last major offensive in the Second World War against the Western Front. Anthony Tucker-Jones had a former career in British intelligence and is now a defence writer and military historian. Dan welcomes …
 
Why do grandmas wear bloomers? How did romans clean themselves after using the toilet? Pillows were originally made of stone?! These are all questions Orla, Wolf and Zia Snow have for author and public historian Greg Jenner. In this episode Dan and his children quiz Greg about the incredible history of the everyday things we use and take for grante…
 
Followed by billions and worshipped across the planet, Jesus is the most famous person who ever lived. Jesus Christ is revered as a prophet and the Messiah by Christians but who was Jesus, the man, who was born in Judea in the 1st Century AD and preached around Galilee during the Roman Empire? What we know of Jesus largely comes from the four gospe…
 
Last week a celebrity chef, former police officers and serving army officers were arrested in Germany as part of an extremist coup to overthrow the government. The 'Reichsbürger' group has been described as a 'right-wing terrorist cell' by German media and was targeted by over 3000 police officers in an enormous raid that uncovered rifles, ammuniti…
 
Angela Findlay was determined to find out if her grandfather, Karl von Graffen, was a Nazi and what he did on the Eastern front. An artist and speaker, Angela spent her youth feeling a constant sense of guilt and shame but couldn't figure out why. It wasn't until her 40s that she turned to her German roots and discovered that she was enmeshed in th…
 
There are many common misconceptions and misunderstandings about Tattoos. They can act as a window into the social economic and cultural issues of a period of time. Britain was in fact the 'land of the painted people' with tattooing going further back into our history than many people would think. Dr Matt Lodder, the world's leading expert on the h…
 
The American Civil War saw a transformation in medical provision on the battlefield. A loose grouping of medical practitioners was reshaped into a burgeoning, professionalised occupation. How did the medical profession rise to the challenge of treating thousands of wounded soldiers? What lessons were learnt about treating not just battlefield wound…
 
The Battle of Stalingrad was the deadliest battle of the Second World War, and one of the bloodiest in the history of warfare. Infamous for its atrocious conditions and brutal house-to-house fighting, the battle raged for just over 5 months and concluded with an estimated 2 million casualties. Dan is joined by Iain MacGregor, author of the acclaime…
 
Of all the air raids carried out during World War Two, none are as enduringly famous as the attack by Lancaster Bombers against the dams of Germany’s industrial heartland. Commemorated in literature and film throughout the decades, the mission – which was codenamed Operation ‘Chastise’ – has come to epitomise British ingenuity and courage throughou…
 
Zeus, the chief deity in Greek mythology, is the Olympian god of sky and thunder and is king of all other gods and men. His tale is one of overthrowing fathers, eating babies and seducing women, both mortal and divine, by changing his own form. He's one of the most complex figures in history, and his story is one that's been retold throughout mille…
 
Lieutenant-Colonel 'Paddy' Mayne is a legendary figure in the history of the British Special Forces. Valiant but volatile, confident yet conflicted, Paddy embodied the fighting spirit of the SAS. Ben Macintyre is the author of the book SAS: Rogue Heroes, the only approved history of the unit which was recently turned into a BBC drama series of the …
 
How has China become the economic superpower that it is today? The decades since the death of Chairman Mao Zedong have seen an unprecedented economic transformation, but how has this been achieved? And how credible is the idea that China’s long-term, strategic vision is the key to the nation’s future? Dan is joined by historian Frank Dikötter, a sp…
 
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup well underway, the phenomenon of sportswashing is once again in everybody's minds. Autocracies and democracies alike have long relied on major sporting events to shore up their legitimacy and project their presence on the world stage. But why is sporting prowess so important for consolidating state power and prestige? I…
 
What was life really like in Tudor England? This was a society where monarchy was under strain, the church was in crisis and contending with war, rebellion, plague and poverty was a fact of daily life. Yet it was also an age rich in ideas and ideals, where women asserted their agency and found a literary voice. In this episode of Not Just the Tudor…
 
How can you condense the history of the world into a book? Well-celebrated historian Simon Sebag Montefiore does just that in his new epic. He takes Dan on an exhilarating journey through the families that have shaped our world: the Caesars, Medicis and Incas, Ottomans and Mughals, and Bonapartes and Habsburgs to name a few. His new book 'The World…
 
Atlantis is one of the most compelling legends - an advanced, mythical civilisation, wiped out by an unknown phenomenon. The allure of this civilisation, rich in lost knowledge and culture, is obvious. But how do archaeologists separate fact from fiction? How can they be confident about the past, whilst remaining open to new ideas? Flint Dibble, an…
 
England plays Wales in the World Cup today so it only makes sense that Dan looks back at what's often called Wales' last war of Independence against the English. No one quite knows how it began, but on the 16th of September 1400 Owain Glyndwr- a man of affluence from a mixed Anglo-Welsh family took the title of Prince of Wales and lead a bold and b…
 
Rome has attracted aspiring conquerors and leaders for millennia, not just as a great metropolis, but as an idea. It has long been a symbol of military might and universal power, defined by political and religious authority as well as great feats of engineering that would leave indelible marks on the regions it conquered, and overshadow empire buil…
 
From a plague in Athens during the Peloponnesian War in 430 BCE, to another in 540 that wiped out half the population of the Roman empire, down through the Black Death in the Middle Ages and on through the 1918 flu epidemic (which killed between 50 and 100 million people) and this century's deadly SARS outbreak, plagues have been a much more relent…
 
Yesterday the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Scottish government is not allowed to hold a second independence referendum without Westminster's agreement. It means, for now, Scotland will stay in the United Kingdom, though for how long is unclear. The union between the nations of Great Britain goes back to 1707. On each side of the bord…
 
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