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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.




BBC World Service Bush House Strand London WC2B 4PH


The Division of Cyprus

In August 1974, Turkey ordered its troops into northern Cyprus for the second time in less than a month, leading to the division of the island into a Greek Cypriot part and a Turkish Cypriot part, a division that still exists today. Louise Hidalgo has been listening to a Turkish account of those events from the son of Turkey's foreign minister at the time, Hursit Gunes. Picture: an armoured vehicle filled with soldiers during fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, August 16th 1974...

Duration: 00:09:01

16/08/2017 GMT

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

Duration: 00:08:57

Nike and the Sweatshop Problem

In the 1990s students began boycotting Nike after it became linked to sweatshops. Many were horrified to find their trainers were being made by poorly paid Indonesian workers. Photo: Cicih Sukaesih telling her story in America in 1996 (courtesy of Jeff Ballinger)

Duration: 00:09:08

Germany's Nudists

For years Germans have been bathing nude at the beach. Many are members of a naturist movement called the FKK, which was banned under the Nazis and faced official disapproval during the early years of communist rule in East Germany. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to one East Berliner who recalls the heyday of naked sunbathing beside the Baltic Sea, and who still likes to bare all when he goes on holiday. Photo: Bathers enjoying the beach at Baerwalder See, Eastern Germany (Sean Gallup/Getty...

Duration: 00:09:00

Reagan's Bombing Joke

"We have outlawed Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes". It was just an unscripted joke by US President Ronald Reagan but it terrified ordinary Russians. Reagan's advisor Morton Blackwell explains the president's love of anti-Soviet jokes and his determination to destroy Communism. Photo: American president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s at his desk in the White House, Washington DC. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Duration: 00:09:03

Florence Nightingale

Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale - known to generations as the "lady with the lamp" - died on August 13th 1910. Lucy Burns hears a recording of Florence Nightingale's voice from 1890, along with memories of her life from her great-nephew Harry Verney and her private doctor May Thorne - and Dr Rosemary Wall from the University of Hull explains her legacy in the world of public health. Recording courtesy of the Library at the Wellcome Collection Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Duration: 00:08:56

The Calcutta Killings of 1946

Exactly a year before Indian independence there were deadly riots in India's second city of Calcutta. They followed mass demonstrations calling for the creation of a Muslim-majority state and persuaded many political leaders that India should be divided on its independence. Thousands of people were killed and thousands more left the city. Justin Rowlatt has been speaking to 2 survivors of the killings. Photo: Calcutta policemen use tear gas during the communal riots in the city. (Credit:...

Duration: 00:09:26

The Murder of Naji al-Ali

The acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987. His attackers have never been identified. Naji al-Ali's cartoons were famous across the Middle East. Through his images he criticised Israeli and US policy in the region, but unlike many, he also lambasted Arab despotic regimes and the leadership of the PLO. His signature character was called Handala - a poor Palestinian refugee child with spiky hair, who would always appear, facing away with his hands clasped behind his...

Duration: 00:10:22

Discovering The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In the summer of 1997 Captain Charles Moore was on his way home from a yacht race when he came upon a huge patch of floating rubbish in the Pacific Ocean. In 2013 he spoke to Lucy Burns about the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it opened up a new chapter in research into ocean waste. Photo: Fishing nets and assorted garbage collected from the North Pacific Gyre (Credit: Environmental Images/Univers/REX/Shutterstock)

Duration: 00:09:04

The Camp David Summit

In 2000 the US led a major effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Bill Clinton brought the two sides together at the leafy presidential retreat in Maryland. The Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, failed to reach any agreement and the summit ended in failure. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the senior American diplomatic interpreter and policy adviser, Gamal Helal who attended the Camp David summit. White House photo released 16 July...

Duration: 00:10:09

China's Crackdown on Falun Gong

In July 1999, the spiritual movement Falun Gong was banned in China. Thousands of people were arrested. The Chinese government says Falun Gong is an "evil cult", but followers of the movement say they have been the victims of state persecution. Witness speaks to Falun Gong practitioner Chao Yu and journalist Ian Johnson. PICTURE: Falun Gong practitioners stage a sit-in protest outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong on October 1 2002. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

Duration: 00:09:19

The Birth of the Water Baby

In 1977 a state hospital near Paris began quietly changing the way women gave birth. Obstetrician, Dr Michel Odent, believed that childbirth had become too medicalised and he wanted a more natural approach. He introduced a pool to ease the pain of labour. Eventually some babies were even born in the pool. Claire Bowes speaks to Dr Odent about the innovation that has become a revolution using the power of water. (Photo: Getty Images)

Duration: 00:09:27

Surviving the "Auschwitz of the Balkans"

During World War Two, Croatian fascists tortured and killed tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people in several concentration camps. The most notorious was Jasenovac. Dina Newman speaks to Milenko Cekic, a Serb survivor of Jasenovac. Photo: Milenko Cekic speaking to the BBC in 2017. Credit: BBC.

Duration: 00:09:38

The Death of Evita

On July 26 1952 Argentina's controversial First Lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires. During her short life she had become an icon for women and the poor in the South American nation. In 2012 Krupa Padhy spoke to two very different Argentine women who remember meeting her. Photo: President Juan Peron and his wife, Eva Peron, at a demonstration in Buenos Aires, August 1951. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Duration: 00:09:16

The 1948 French Miners' Strike

How coal miners in post-war France went from being seen as heroes to being seen as pariahs. Their left-wing views were even perceived as a threat to democracy itself. Lisa Louis has been speaking to Norbert Gilmez, who lost his job and was blacklisted after taking part in the 1948 strike. Photo: French President Francois Hollande welcomes former striker Norbert Gilmez during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris in September 2016. Credit: Reuters.

Duration: 00:08:47

The Silk Letters Movement

In 1916 the authorities in India uncovered what they believed was a plot to overthrow British rule in the subcontinent. It involved an Islamic teacher from the city of Deoband in northern India. Messages written on sheets of silk had been intercepted by the British. Owen Bennett Jones presents reports from the colonial archives. (Photo: The Darul Uloom Deoband, the seminary at the heart of the Silk Letter Movement)

Duration: 00:08:54

Saving Orphaned African Elephants

Amid the slaughter of African elephants by poachers, a Kenyan-British woman became the first to successfully hand-rear orphaned baby African elephants . As infants, elephants are dependent on their mother's milk and are extremely vulnerable. Without their mothers, orphans struggle to survive. In 1987 Dame Daphne Sheldrick worked out a formula that can keep them alive. The charity she set up, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, has now raised over 200 orphaned elephants in Kenya.. Photo:...

Duration: 00:08:56

Plane spotters arrested in Greece

In November 2001 a group of British tourists was arrested and put on trial for spying in Greece. But they were not spies, they were aeroplane enthusiasts. Chloe Hadjimatheou hears from Paul Coppin, one of the men detained and later jailed. Photo: Paul Coppin with Greek police (AP News)

Duration: 00:09:01

The Musical Cabaret

In November 1966 the hit musical opened on Broadway. Set in 1930s Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, the show chronicles the love story between a cabaret singer Sally Bowles and an American writer amid the city's decadent cafe society. The Broadway production was a huge hit, inspiring numerous subsequent productions as well as the Oscar winning 1972 film. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Cabaret's legendary director, Hal Prince. (Photo: Jill Haworth, playing Sally Bowles from...

Duration: 00:09:06

Smuggling Endangered Birds

In November 1996 the renowned international ornithologist Tony Silva was convicted of smuggling endangered birds into the US. Some of the animals had been stuffed into cardboard containers for the journey from South America; others were hidden in false-bottom suitcases. Silva argued that he was trying to protect the birds from extinction. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to federal prosecutor Sergio Acosta, who worked on the high-profile case. Photo: A pair of Hyacinth Macaws groom each other...

Duration: 00:08:52

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