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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.




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,...


Smiling Buddha: India's First Nuclear Test

The scientist at the forefront of India's first successful nuclear test in 1974, plus how an undersea mission finally found the remains of nearly 300 migrants drowned off Italy in the 1990s; also, Der Spiegel journalists under threat in Germany, and remembering two great artists - Nigeria's Chinua Achebe and Robert Mapplethorpe. Photo: A crater marks the site of the first Indian underground nuclear test conducted 18 May 1974 at Pokhran in the desert state of Rajasthan. (PUNJAB...


When The US Shot Down An Iranian Airliner

How a US warship downed a passenger jet killing 290 people, plus the story behind The Toilet, the controversial 1990s Russian 'masterpiece', Madeleine Albright on Kosovo, the history of adventure playgrounds. and the hunt for Deep Throat. Photo: The USS Vincennes fires a surface to air missile towards Iran Air flight 655 on 3 July 1988 (Rudy Pahoyo)


The Ex-President and the Gun Lobby

This week, how former US President George Bush Senior took on the all-powerful National Rifle Association; the murder of the campaigning Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin; and how a Soviet submarine got stuck on a Swedish rock during the Cold War. Plus, the Cockney pilot who became known as the "King of Lampedusa" during World War Two. (Photo: President George Bush Senior. Credit: Bachrach/Getty Images)


Korea Divided: A Bitter History

From the 1945 division of the peninsula, to the Korean war and the death of Kim II-sung, we have first-hand accounts from the turbulent recent history of North and South Korea. Plus, expert analysis from Dr Owen Miller of SOAS University of London. Photo: As US infantrymen march into the Naktong River region, they pass a line of fleeing refugees during the Korean War (Getty images)


The 1968 Belgrade Student Revolt

The 1968 student revolt in Communist Yugoslavia, an assassination attempt that sparked Lebanon's war, Adolf Eichmann's execution, plus the sudden death of Nigeria's strong man in less than clear circumstances and 'from couch to 5k' that inspired a global running craze. (Photo: Sonja Licht with her fellow protester and later her husband, Milan Nikolic, at the site of the protests. Credit: Licht-Nikolic family archive)


Free Health Care for All

The birth of the British health service in 1948; the battle for compensation over Thalidomide; the world's first bicycle-sharing scheme; discovering a perfectly-formed frozen baby mammoth in Siberia, and the great science-fiction writer, Isaac Asimov. Photo: Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, meeting a patient at Papworth Village Hospital after the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 (Edward G Malindine/Getty Images)


The Fall of Suharto in Indonesia

In 1998, the Indonesian dictator, President Suharto, resigned after 31 years in power. He stood down in the wake of nationwide demonstrations sparked by the killing of four student protestors. We hear from Bhatara Ibnu Reza, who was with one of the students when he died. Plus, how a Pakistani theatre company took on the dictatorship of General Zia ul-Huq; the landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah; and the day lesbian protestors targeted the BBC news studio. Photo: Students celebrate outside...


May 1968 Paris Riots

A French riot policeman's view of the violence that swept through France in May 1968; plus the man who led a team that made safe two nuclear weapons that had crashed to ground in the US. Also, the origins of Montessori education, one of the airmen on the Dambusters' raid and actor Jane Asher remembers John Osborne's radical 1950s play, Look Back in Anger. Photo: Protesters face police in front of the Joseph Gibert bookstore, Boulevard Saint Michel in May 1968. (Credit: Jacques...


The Last King of Bulgaria

From child king in the Second World War to post-communist prime minister, the story of Bulgaria's King Simeon II; the first ever surgery performed on a foetus in the womb, an American family selling secrets to the Soviets in the 1980s, plus the 1963 attempt to form a United States of Africa, and the earliest diagnosis of autism. Photo: King Simeon II 1943 (credit: Bulgarian Royal Family)


When Margaret Thatcher Came to Power

Working for Britain's first female PM, the rare story of prisoners on the high seas in WW2, plus the Children's Crusade for civil right in 60s Alabama, the origin of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the story behind the Japanese TV hit, Takeshi's Castle. Photo: British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, with husband Denis on May 4th 1979. (Credit: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)


The Oslo Peace Talks

The story behind the secret Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Oslo in 1993, the woman who swam from the USA to the Soviet Union, plus remembering Pablo Picasso, how art transformed notorious Scottish prisoners, and one of the most famous figures of World War One, the Red Baron. Photo: Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat at the signing ceremony for the Oslo Accord, September 13,1993. Credit: AFP/Getty Images