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Witness

BBC

The story of our times told by the people who were there. We take listeners back in time to key events in history - featuring a witness to the event, archive material and hear from historians.

The story of our times told by the people who were there. We take listeners back in time to key events in history - featuring a witness to the event, archive material and hear from historians.
More Information

Location:

United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

The story of our times told by the people who were there. We take listeners back in time to key events in history - featuring a witness to the event, archive material and hear from historians.

Language:

English

Contact:

BBC World Service Bush House Strand London WC2B 4PH


Episodes

Photographing Martin Luther King and His Family

8/14/2018
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In 1969 photo journalist Moneta Sleet became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He won for the black and white image of Coretta Scott King the widow of Martin Luther King taken at the funeral of the murdered civil rights leader. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Moneta Sleet's son Gregory Sleet about his father's remarkable career capturing many of the images that defined the struggle for racial equality in America. Photo: Moneta Sleet's Pulitzer Prize...

Duration:00:09:47

Vera Brittain: Anti-Bombing Campaigner

8/13/2018
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During WW2 the feminist and writer, Vera Brittain, spoke out against the saturation bombing of German cities. Her stance won her enemies in Britain and the USA. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to her daughter Shirley Williams about the impact of her campaign. Photo: Vera Brittain at Euston Station, London, in 1956. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Duration:00:09:44

When Buckingham Palace Opened Its Doors

8/11/2018
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Queen Elizabeth II first opened her London home to the paying public on August 7th 1993. Tourists were allowed to look round the palace while the Royal family was staying elsewhere for the summer. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to former Royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter. Photo: Buckingham Palace. Credit: BBC.

Duration:00:50:16

Israel's Secret Peace Envoy

8/9/2018
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In August 1994 Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli leader publicly to visit Jordan. But in fact talks had been going on for years. Former head of Mossad, Ephraim Halevy, was Israel's secret peace envoy. He's been telling Louise Hidalgo about Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan's clandestine meetings during the often fraught road to peace. Picture; US president Bill Clinton looks on as King Hussein and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands on the White House lawn in July 1994 ahead of a...

Duration:00:09:40

When Buckingham Palace Opened Its Doors

8/7/2018
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Queen Elizabeth II first opened her London home to the paying public on August 7th 1993. Tourists were allowed to look round the palace while the Royal family was staying elsewhere for the summer. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to former Royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter. Photo: Buckingham Palace. Credit: BBC.

Duration:00:09:48

The Azeri-Armenian Village Swap

8/6/2018
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At a time of a bitter ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988, two villages managed to escape violence by swapping homes with each other. Bairam Allazov, an Azeri, and Ishkhan Tsaturian, an Armenian, told the BBC about how they managed to guide their neighbours and families to safety as war broke out in the Caucasus. Photo:Photo: Bairam Allazov (l) and Ishkhan Tsaturian (r). Credit: BBC

Duration:00:10:55

The First CIA Coup in Latin America

8/3/2018
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In 1954 Guatemala's left-leaning President Jacobo Arbenz was ousted from power by army officers backed by the CIA. In 2016 Mike Lanchin spoke to his son, Juan Jacobo Arbenz, about the events of that time, and the effects on his family. Photo: Jacobo Arbenz and his wife speaking with a group of French reporters in Paris in 1955. Credit: Getty Images

Duration:00:08:53

The Search for Iran's Nuclear Programme

8/2/2018
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In 2003 Iran agreed to let officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency into the country to look at its nuclear facilities. Olli Heinonen was one of the inspectors tasked with trying to establish whether or not Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons. He's been speaking to Tim Mansel about what they found. Photo:The Iranian nuclear power plant of Natanz, south of Tehran.(Credit:Henghameh Fahimi/AFP/Getty Images)

Duration:00:08:53

The Retirement Home For Dancing Bears

8/1/2018
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In 1998 brown bears were declared a protected species in Bulgaria and the ancient tradition of forcing them to dance for people's entertainment became illegal. Farhana Haider had been speaking to Dr Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who helped establish a bear sanctuary in Bulgaria to look after the retired animals. Photo: Brown Bear. Copyright: EPA

Duration:00:09:09

Shambo The Sacred Bull

7/31/2018
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In July 2007, a standoff between monks and the Welsh government made headlines around the world. At issue was the fate of Shambo, a sacred bull which had tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. Shambo was eventually removed by police during a religious ceremony and taken away for slaughter. Simon Watts talks to Swami Suryananda, one of the monks who fought to keep the bull alive. PHOTO:

Duration:00:09:39

WW1: Britain's Conscientious Objectors

7/30/2018
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In 1916, Britain introduced conscription for the first time. But thousands refused to be part of the war effort. The government allowed people to apply for exemption on the basis of conscience. Those that did faced public hostility and abuse. Many conscientious objectors were pacifists, members of Christian groups, like the Quakers, or those who felt the war was wrong on political or moral grounds. The majority accepted service in non combat roles, But thousands refused to have any part in...

Duration:00:09:15

Women At West Point

7/27/2018
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In July 1976, women were admitted to the prestigious West Point military academy in the United States for the first time. Simon Watts talks to Marene Nyberg, one of the first female intake. PHOTO: Women cadets at West Point in 1976 (Getty Images)

Duration:00:10:21

Winston Churchill's Election Defeat

7/26/2018
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In July l945 Britain's great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was defeated in a general election. The Labour party's landslide came just weeks after the surrender of Nazi Germany and remains one of the greatest shocks in British political history. How did Winston Churchill, a hugely popular national hero, fail to win? Louise Hidalgo has been listening back through the archives. Picture: Winston Churchill makes a speech during the 1945 election campaign (Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Duration:00:09:57

The Whitewashing of Zimbabwe's Ancient History

7/24/2018
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When colonial explorers discovered an ancient ruined city in Zimbabwe, they claimed foreigners must have built it. They denied the probability that it was the work of a great African civilisation that dominated southern and east Africa with its trade in gold. After independence Zimbabwe was able to reclaim its full heritage. Rebecca Kesby spoke to Dr Ken Mufuka - the historian who was tasked with rewriting the history books. (Photo; The iconic tower in the Great Enclosure of the Great...

Duration:00:11:32

The Kitchen Debate

7/24/2018
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US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had an argument about living standards when Nixon visited Moscow in 1959. They spoke at an exhibition of a 'typical' American house full of modern domestic appliances. Photo: The two leaders surrounded by press at the exhibition in Moscow, 1959. (Photo credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Duration:00:10:55

South Korea's Summer Of Terror

7/23/2018
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At the start of the Korean war in 1950, tens of thousands of suspected communist sympathisers were executed by the South Korean military. The regime feared they might support the North Korean invaders. Many of them were political prisoners, who were taken from their cells and shot dead. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Gaeseong Lee, whose father was a prisoner at Daejeon jail when he was killed. Photo:Gaeseong Lee as a small child with his parents. Copyright: Gaeseong Lee.

Duration:00:10:55

A Vet Remembers The Hyde Park Bombing

7/20/2018
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Two IRA bombs were detonated in Hyde Park and Regent's Park in London on 20th July 1982. They left 11 military personnel dead, and injured around 50 people. Seven horses were also killed as the Hyde Park bomb was detonated during the Changing of the Guard procession. Karen Gregor has been speaking to former Army vet, Paddy Davison, who was called to the scene. Photo: The covered bodies of horses lying in the road after the Hyde Park bombing. Credit: BBC

Duration:00:08:50

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

7/19/2018
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In July 1968 one of the most significant international treaties of the 20th-century was signed. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, obliging signatories not to pass nuclear technology on to others, and was the result of rare cooperation between Cold War adversaries, the United States and the Soviet Union. Louise Hidalgo talks to former Soviet diplomat, Roland Timerbaev, who helped draft the treaty. Picture: the mushroom cloud created by...

Duration:00:10:55

The Bombing of the King David Hotel

7/18/2018
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On July 22 1946 an armed Jewish group opposed to British rule in Palestine, attacked the iconic hotel in Jerusalem where the British had their headquarters. 91 people were killed in the bombing, dozens of others were injured. Shoshana Levy Kampos was a 21-year-old Jewish woman who worked for the British as a secretary. She tells Mike Lanchin about her lucky escape. Photo: Scene of wrecked King David Hotel in Jerusalem after bombing (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Duration:00:08:59

The Virgin Lands Campaign

7/17/2018
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To fight food shortages in the 1950s the USSR embarked on a major agricultural project to develop vast areas of previously uncultivated lands in norther Kazakhstan. The project attracted hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic volunteers, but decades later it led to environmental problems. Dina Newman spoke to an agricultural volunteer, Rimma Butusova. Photo: Rimma Busurova and her classmates outside their dormitory in northern Kazakhstan; credit: Rimma Busurova family archive.

Duration:00:10:55