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From World War II to the Arab Spring, history told by the people who were there.

From World War II to the Arab Spring, history told by the people who were there.
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From World War II to the Arab Spring, history told by the people who were there.




China's breakthrough malaria cure

How an ancient Chinese remedy provided a 1970s breakthrough in the fight against malaria; the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War that inspired Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war novel Slaughterhouse Five; the fall of Singapore; plus the town that America built in Afghanistan's south-western desert, and 'was Lenin a mushroom' - a satirical re-writing of Soviet history. Photo: Professor Lang Linfu (Family archives)


I was abused by a President

How allegations of child abuse engulfed Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the campaign to return the Elgin marbles to Greece, Britain's first black headteacher, the origins of the Barbie doll and how Baroness Warsi made history. Photo: Zoilamerica Narváez announces in a press conference that she is filing a law suit against her stepfather Daniel Ortega, March 1998 (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images):


Venezuela's oil bonanza

When Venezuela was rich; surviving a mid-air airline disaster; Japan's Red Army militants of the 1970s, the origin of the swine flu epidemic and Iceland's Beer Day. Photo: Seidel/United Archives/UIG via Getty Images


The curse of Agent Orange

Millions left dead or deformed because of chemicals used in the Vietnam war, UK cigarette smoking warnings ignored, remains of the Nazi 'Angel of Death' discovered in Brazil, the Columbia Shuttle disaster which led to huge questions about American space safety and the unrest featured in the Oscar-nominated film, Roma, where Mexican students were killed by government-trained paramilitary troops. Photo: Child suffering from spinal deformity in rehabilitation centre in Saigon.


Iceland jails its bankers

Why Iceland jailed 40 bankers after the 2008 financial crisis, how the Maastricht Treaty gave birth to the EU, plus America's first female airline pilots, Cameroon's historic referendum and homeless, drunk and yet a genius in the USSR. (Photo: Protesters on the streets of Reykjavik demand answers from the government and the banks about the country's financial crisis, Nov. 2008. (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images)


The last days of Hitler

Hitler's secretary on the last days in the bunker; a CIA operative on the killing of Che Guevara, remembering the US invasion of Iraq, a child of the Soweto Uprising and the tricky task of bringing Disneyland to France. Photo: Getty Images


The Iranian Revolution

In February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to Iran in the defining moment of a revolution that would change his country and the whole Middle East. In a special edition of the programme, Rebecca Kesby hears eye-witness accounts from the protestors who brought down the Shah, one of the Ayatollah's aides and an American embassy official taken hostage by Khomeini supporters. She also talks to the BBC Persian Service's special correspondent, Kasra Naji. PHOTO: Ayatollah Khomeini...


Vatican II: Reforming the Catholic Church

In January 1959 Pope John XXIII announced a council of all the world's Catholic bishops and cardinals in Rome. It led to sweeping reforms. Plus Carmen Callil recalls setting up Virago, the most successful feminist publishing house to date; India gives birth to the call centres and remembering the Carry-on films. (Photo; Pope John XXIII at the Vatican. Credit: Getty Images)


Strikers in Saris

How South Asian women led thousands of UK workers in an industrial dispute in the late 1970s, plus Dr Crippen's alleged gruesome crime, Judy Garland's emotional last performances, the 'miracle waters' in Mexico and excitement over a whale in London's River Thames. (PHOTO: Jayaben Desai, leader of the Grunwick strike committee holding placard 1977 Credit: Getty images)


When Stalin Rounded Up Soviet Doctors

Stalin's last terror campaign against the best Soviet doctors, Castro's triumphant entry into Havana, the extraordinary story of how a destitute single mother produced a best selling memoir about her life in a Brazilian favela. Also, the controversy over 'Fat Is a Feminist Issue', and the world's only seed vault. Photo: Yakov Rapoport, one of the few survivors of Stalin's 'Doctors' Plot'. Credit: family archive.


Vikings in North America

The discovery that proved the Vikings got to North America, a former Marxist rebel describes how his group overran an army base in El Salvador's bitter civil war in the 1980s, the enormous palace built by the Romanian communist dictator, Nicole Ceausescu, how the prolific romantic novelist Barbara Cartland was made a Dame by the Queen and the summer of 1987 when thousands of tins of marijuana washed up on a Brazilian beach. Photo: Replicas of Norse houses from 1000 years ago at L'Anse aux...


UFO Sightings: The Rendlesham Forest Incident

The most striking and well documented UFO "sightings" there have ever been plus the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the theft of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey in 1950 also one of the first electronic instruments and how Britain has long honoured its' military animals. (Photo: Computer illustration of UFOs - Unidentified Flying Objects)


Stopping The 'Shoe Bomber'

Passenger Kwame James recalls how he helped overcome the British-born Richard Reid on American Airlines flight 63. Reid had hidden explosives in his shoe which failed to go off. Plus, the US apology for the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans in WW2, the first computer password, the woman who wrote Mary Poppins and a British theatrical group tours the Sahara. Photo: One of the shoes worn by Richard Reid on the American Airlines flight to Miami (ABC/Getty Images)


Apollo 8

At Christmas 1968, the biggest audience in TV history watched NASA's Apollo 8 mission beam back the first pictures from an orbit around the Moon. The broadcast captured the world's imagination and put America ahead of the Soviet Union in the Cold War battle to make the first lunar landing. Plus, the rape of Nanking, WWII spy drama in the Netherlands and the woman who revolutionised the treatment of the dying. Picture: The Earth as seen from the Moon, photographed by the Apollo 8 crew (NASA)


Adopted By The Man Who Killed My Family

A child survivor of a Guatemalan army massacre during the country's brutal civil war, the women who cleared up post war Berlin, plus Armenia's 1988 earthquake, how Bokassa became Emperor of the Central African Republic, and Angela Merkel's rise to power. Photo: Ramiro as a child in Guatemala (R.Osorio)


The Man Who Inspired Britain's First Aids Charity

The first man in Britain to die of AIDS, whale hunting in the South Atlantic in the 1950s, how Norway voted not to join the EU, the American adventurer who inspired the Indiana Jones stories, and Saddam Hussein's draining of Iraq's southern marshes in a bid to flush out his opponents. Picture: Terrence Higgins (Courtesy: Dr Rupert Whitaker)


The 'Braceros' - America's Mexican Guest Workers

From 1942 to 1964 the US actively encouraged American farmers to hire tens of thousands of migrant workers to come to work legally from Mexico - they were known as 'braceros'; also, when Moscow invited thousands of foreign students to attend an International Youth Festival in the former USSR; a witness to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington; plus Arafat's final weeks and why was JKF's killer allowed to defect to the Soviets? Photo: A group of Mexican Braceros picking strawberries in a...


Japanese Murders in Brazil

How Japanese immigrants in Brazil fell out with each other after the end of the WW2, how Britain helped to get disabled people on the road in the 1940s plus life for Jews under Imperial Russia, the victims of Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and the American embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.


The End of World War One

11th November 1918 saw the end of a four year war that had killed an estimated 20 million soldiers and civilians around the world. We hear eyewitness accounts of the conflict which was fought by many nations, on many continents. The historian, Professor Annika Mombauer joins Max Pearson to discuss the devastating war that changed the world. Photo: Crowds in London celebrate the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918 (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)


When Russia's Richest Man Was Jailed

Russia's struggles with big business, when Nigeria struck oil, why Maximilian Kolbe was made a saint, the London arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Desmond Tutu. Photo: former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaving the courtroom in Moscow, Russia, September 22, 2005. Credit: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images