The History Hour-logo

The History Hour


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.
More Information


United Kingdom




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




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)


Life With America's Black Panthers

Remembering the radical African American movement plus the KGB's whistleblower, one woman's family story of the Nazi past, a slap to the German chancellor, and Princess Margaret's doomed romance. Photo: Eldridge Cleaver and Elaine Mokhtefi (credit: Pete O'Neal)


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


The Nazi Black Book

The Nazi black book, a list of those to be arrested and dealt with if Germany occupied Britain, privation in wartime and Allied-occupied Austria, racial tension in 1940s Sweden, plus how Britain's Labour party moved against hereditary peers in the House of Lords in the 1990s.


When Belgium Banned Coca Cola

A strange illness strikes Belgian teenagers, Brazil's forgotten Amazon war, diverting Mount Etna's lava, arguments over aid and trade in the UK, and the 1973 oil crisis. (Photo: A poster saying 'out of order' is stuck on a Coca Cola vending machine in Mouscron, Belgium in 1999. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images).


The Street Battle That Rocked Brazil

In October 1968, students from two neighbouring universities in the centre of São Paulo clashed in a battle which left one dead and many injured. We hear how the so-called 'Battle of Maria Antônia' drove Brazil deeper into a military dictatorship which is still controversial to this day. Plus, a pioneering race relations case in Britain during World War 2, the invention of artificial skin and fashion in the Soviet Union. Photo: the 'Battle of Maria Antonia', São Paulo, 1968. Credit: Agência...


The Arnhem Parachute Drop

Operation Market Garden - the failed attempt to end the war against Hitler; plus, a deadly nuclear accident in Brazil, the film of the Battle of Algiers, the last regular steam train to run in Britain and one of the Cuban Five jailed in America for spying for Fidel Castro. (Photo: Allied planes and parachutists over Arnhem, Getty Images)


How I Survived a Fire on a Plane

A lucky escape from a jet plane fire in the 1970s, Chamberlain's talks with Hitler in 1938 plus the killing of the South African anti-apartheid campaigner, Steve Biko. Also toxic waste being shipped around the world in the 1980s and how Britain became obsessed with the idea that aliens were responsible for crop circles. (Photo: Ricardo Trajano as a young man. Copyright: Ricardo Trajano)


Living under Gaddafi

Award-winning writer Hisham Matar on life in Gaddafi's Libya, plus how British Bengalis faced the far-right in 1970s east London, the last battles of WW1, the struggle to name St.Petersburg and the first MRI scanner. Photo: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on September 27th 1969, shortly after the bloodless coup that brought him to power AFP FILES/AFP/Getty Images)


Surviving the "Death Railway"

A former prisoner of the Japanese in WW2, plus Hitler's girl guides, how Benidorm became a tourist hotspot, Italian migrant tragedy in post-war Belgium, and the Lake Nyos disaster. Photo: Allied Prisoners of War in a Japanese prison camp 1945 (British Pathé)


Albert Speer - Hitler's Architect

Hitler's architect and minister of war, Albert Speer, was one of the few top Nazis to live on into old age. In the late 1970s, following his release from Spandau prison, he gave an interview to the British journalist, Roger George Clark. Plus, the Soviet Union's campaign against alcoholism, the hostage drama that gripped West Germany, and a woman's voice from pre-colonial Nigeria. Picture: Albert Speer standing at the gate of his house near Heidelberg in December 1979. (Credit: Roger George...


Vera Brittain: Anti-Bombing Campaigner

Baroness Shirley Williams recalls her mother, WW2 anti-bombing protestor; 20 years since a mass killing in Omagh, the African-American photographer whose coverage of Martin Luther King's funeral won him a Pullitzer Prize, plus when TV finally came to South Africa and the birth of the instant noodle. Photo: Vera Brittain at Euston Station, London, in 1956. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


WW1: Britain's Conscientious Objectors

The treatment of Britain's First World War conscientious objectors, Iran bends the nuclear rules, the CIA's first coup in Latin America, what happened to Eastern Europe's dancing bears, and the culling in Wales of a sacred bull. Photo: A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during World War I at a special prison camp (Hulton Archive)


The Whitewashing of Zimbabwe's Ancient History

The true history of the Great Zimbabwe ruins uncovered after independence, why Churchill lost the post-war election also the first women at the US military academy West Point and the crack down on leftist supporters in the south before the Korean war. (Photo; The iconic tower in the Great Enclosure of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument. It's one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit; Getty Creative.)


The Killing of the Russian Tsar

The murder of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, four daughters and young son in 1918, plus how the Soviet Union struggled to feed its people in the 1950s; also the IRA attacks on mounted troops in London's Hyde Park in 1982, the Zionist bombing of the British headquarters in Jerusalem in 1946 and the first steps towards a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. (Photo: Nicholas II, Tsar and his family. From left to right - Olga, Maria,Tsar Nicholas II,Tsarina Alexandra, Anastasia,...