Episodes
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 on this subject, historian Robert Thompson, author of Clear, Hold, and Destroy, to learn about pacification in Vietnam's Phú Yên province. John...
Published 01/30/23
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 find out what happened to them between their arrest and Anne’s tragic death in 1945. Dan is joined by Bas von Benda-Beckmann, historian and...
Published 01/27/23
Published 01/27/23
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 was this really the case? In this episode of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Marc Jaffré, who believes it’s time to...
Published 01/26/23
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 give advice on how to become archaeologists in our own back gardens. Produced by Mariana Des Forges and edited by Dougal Patmore. If you'd like to...
Published 01/25/23
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 bones bare the brutality of the battle with marks from bladed weapons, one skull showing horrific damage caused by bayonet thrust or sword...
Published 01/24/23
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 indigenous people. But what of the indigenous peoples who made the journey in the opposite direction? Many travelled to Europe, some as slaves,...
Published 01/23/23
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 responsible for medical care rose to the challenge, and the First World War saw a dramatic transformation in the provision of frontline medicine. Many...
Published 01/20/23
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 of the most extravagant and far-reaching naval voyages in history. How did a Muslim eunuch ascend to a position of such power in the Ming court?...
Published 01/19/23
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 spread, over almost a decade, across the disputed territory in the Great Lakes region and into New France (modern-day Canada). As a result of the...
Published 01/18/23
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 happened during Mussolini’s time in power? And why do we remember Mussolini’s dictatorship on more forgiving terms than that of Hitler? Dan is joined by...
Published 01/17/23
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 cast of characters, including the respected Dundonian and prohibitionist, Edwin Scrymgeour. But how did Churchill become MP for the Scottish city...
Published 01/16/23
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 and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East, about the conquests that forever transformed the region, while forging closer ties among...
Published 01/13/23
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 this place that has fascinated outsiders for centuries? Dan speaks with John Keay, journalist and author of Himalaya: Exploring the Roof of the...
Published 01/12/23
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 through the end of days. Add social media to the mix and it all sounds a bit familiar. Dr James Crossland, Reader in International History at Liverpool...
Published 01/11/23
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 the dynamics of royal families, the dangers of hereditary power and some of the most important royal sibling rivalries through history including...
Published 01/10/23
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 economic prosperity. For others, this idealised portrait stands in stark contrast to the reality of his rule, which was instead defined by...
Published 01/09/23
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 his early political career? And what actually went on behind the closed doors of the Oval office? James Rogers from the Warfare Podcast is joined by...
Published 01/06/23
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 smaller but no less impactful ways. She talks to Dan about her new book 'Warrior Queens and Quiet Revolutionaries' which tells the stories of some of...
Published 01/05/23
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...? Joe Posnanski, an award-winning sports journalist and author of The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini joins Dan to talk about these questions...
Published 01/04/23
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 to become giants of post-war British wildlife conservation. Produced by Hannah Ward and edited by Dougal Patmore. If you'd like to learn more, we...
Published 01/03/23
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. Victor joins Dan on the podcast to share the story of a tumultuous, often divided, but always fascinating city. They discuss how the city bears the...
Published 01/02/23
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-filled competition, chaired by Quizmaster supreme, Dan Snow. Everyone is welcome - from history know-it-alls to the whole family. Who can tell the...
Published 12/30/22
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 been recognised that these cultural treasures needed protection from the fighting and where necessary rescued and returned to their rightful owners....
Published 12/29/22
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 ask the big questions about Richard III and Henry VII. Did Richard kill the princes in the tower? Were the motives of Henry's supporters honest...
Published 12/28/22