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History! The most exciting and important things that have ever happened on the planet! Featuring reports from the weird and wonderful places around the world where history has been made and interviews with some of the best historians writing today. Dan also covers some of the major anniversaries as they pass by and explores the deep history behind today's headlines - giving you the context to understand what is going on today. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
 
Join Don Wildman twice a week for your hit of American history, as he explores the past to help us understand the United States of today. We’ll hear how codebreakers uncovered secret Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway, visit Chief Powhatan as he prepares for war with the British, see Walt Disney accuse his former colleagues of being communists, and uncover the dark history that lies beneath Central Park. From pre-colonial America to independence, slavery to civil rights, the gold rush t ...
 
What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever.
 
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The Battle of Midway took place between the US and Japan in June 1942. The US victory, after 4 days of fighting in the air and sea around the Pacific island of Midway, is widely seen as a turning point in the Pacific War in World War 2. Craig L. Symonds tells Don about the key decisions made by both sides and the important role played by American c…
 
In 1939 Franklin D Roosevelt received a letter from Albert Einstein, warning him that the Nazis might be developing nuclear weapons. America has to act fast. What follows is the creation of a secret city in the rural area of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Around 75,000 people moved to the secret city during World War Two, and the first atomic bomb was devel…
 
What do you call a song that bombed on the charts back in the day, that now booms out of radios and streaming apps nationwide? Chris Molanphy has a name for these songs: legacy hits. Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Etta James’s “At Last.” The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.” Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” Many c…
 
In the week of the Labour Party when polls indicate that the party is likely to form the next government, it seems an opportune moment to examine what lessons they might be able to draw from their own history. But why Harold Wilson? Harold Wilson won four general elections. More than Clement Atlee or Tony Blair. Wilson was a wily, strategic politic…
 
As the UK's bond market has suffered its biggest fall in decades and the pound has reached its lowest ever price against the US dollar, Dan talks to Dr Nuno Palma, a senior lecturer and associate professor in economics at the University of Manchester about the Bank of England. Dr Palma explains its historical role in Britain's imperial expansion an…
 
After World War 2 ended, the Nazis defeated, America feared communist infiltration of its institutions, among them, Hollywood. In November 1947, a number of high profile ‘friendly witnesses’ in the film industry, including Walt Disney and Jack Warner of Warner Brothers, appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee and named people and…
 
Agatha Christie is the best-selling fiction writer of all time and her many detective novels, short stories and plays have gripped and entertained millions around the world. Her real life was just as fascinating as any of her crime novels. It was full of love and loss, travel and adventure and an enduring passion for archaeology. In this episode, D…
 
From an age in which women’s lives were obscured and poorly recorded, one shines brightly from the darkness. Eleanor of Aquitaine - born 900 years ago - has been the subject of scandal and legend for almost a millennium. Nevertheless, she played a central role in the pivotal events that defined nations and set relationships across Europe for centur…
 
While the Revolutionary War was being fought in July 1776, the 13 British colonies in America came together to approve their Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the United States of America. Shaped by the Enlightenment ideas of liberty, happiness and reason, the document has since influenced many causes in America and around the w…
 
In 1939 Franklin D Roosevelt received a letter from Albert Einstein, warning him that the Nazis might be developing nuclear weapons. America has to act fast. What follows is the creation of a secret city in the rural area of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Around 75,000 people moved to the secret city during the World War Two, and the first atomic bomb was d…
 
The Lion House is a riveting new book from journalist and historian Christopher De Bellaigue, written like a novel that tells the dramatic story of Suleyman the Magnificent and his power and influence over 16th Century Europe. In this episode recorded at the Chalke Valley History festival earlier this summer, Christopher talks Dan through what was …
 
In September 1952 Mahmood Hussein Mattan became the last to be executed at Cardiff Prison, but Mahmood had in fact been framed by the police and 70 years later South Wales Police formally apologised to his family for his wrongful conviction. Mahmood originally hailed from Somalia and had been a merchant seaman who had ended up settling in Cardiff a…
 
It is believed clans started to emerge in Scotland around 1100AD and were originally the descendants of kings – if not of demigods from Irish mythology. As well as kinship and a sense of identity and belonging, being part of a clan was an important part of survival throughout the centuries that would follow. Scotland’s leading cultural historian, P…
 
On the 16th of September 1620, The Mayflower set sail from Southampton to the New World. Aboard were 102 passengers determined to reach a new land, escape the religious persecution they faced and establish a colony. They endured a long and arduous crossing and a brutal first winter which they only survived due to the help of the native Wampanoag pe…
 
The Queen's body has been taken to Westminster Hall in London, where she will lie in state for the public to visit and pay their respects. Over the past week since her death, we've seen a number of ceremonies and protocols enacted across the country to mark the end of her reign and life. These arrangements and the funeral we can expect to see on Mo…
 
Ray Victor is a lifelong New Yorker and tour guide from Queens. He remembers 11th of September 2001 vividly, when hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Centre towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia, and a site in Pennsylvania. Thousands were killed and injured. Ray remembers the missing posters, the hole that was left in the he…
 
Malta is located in the Mediterranean sea just beyond Sicily, between Europe and Africa; its warm climate and beautiful islands make it a perfect holiday destination. But in World War Two, the Islands’ strategic location made it centre stage in the theatre of war in the Mediterranean: a key stronghold from which the Allies could sustain their North…
 
We had plans today to release the first two episodes of American History Hit but due to the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week, we’ve decided to take some time and do something a little different. You’ll hear those episodes on Thursday September 22, until then here’s a special mini episode looking into the Queen’s historic meetings w…
 
As a mark of respect and remembrance to the late Queen Elizabeth II, we've chosen to focus on Her Majesty's personal history as a veteran of the Second World War. For this episode, James is joined by Tessa Dunlop to learn more about how the inspirational, dedicated, and devoted monarch that was Elizabeth II went from a young girl living through the…
 
Queen Elizabeth II has died after 70 years on the British throne. Born in April 1926, Elizabeth Windsor became heir apparent, aged 10, when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated and her father George VI became king. In 1947 – She married navy lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, a Greek Prince, at London’s Westminster Abbey before being crowned there in 1953 i…
 
What do you get when you bring together five top historians in a room with bottles of Prosecco to debate Elizabeth I on screen? History with the gloves off - our first Not Just the Tudors Lates! Taking as her starting point the new series Becoming Elizabeth - now streaming on STARZ - Professor Suzannah Lipscomb is joined by Dr Joanne Paul, Jessie C…
 
Why are humans the only species to have escaped – only very recently – the subsistence trap, allowing us to enjoy a standard of living that vastly exceeds all others? And why have we progressed so unequally around the world? Professor Oded Galor is an economist and the founding thinker behind Unified Growth Theory, which seeks to uncover the fundam…
 
For millennia, people have obsessed over questions about the nature of matter in our universe. Then, by the turn of the twentieth century, we believed we had answered everything. Our understanding of matter was finally complete. But an unprecedented outburst of scientific discovery was about to change the course of history... Dr Suzie Sheehy is an …
 
The mechanised warfare of the First World War brought unprecedented new levels of firepower and destruction to the battlefield and with it horrific new injuries. Advances in medicine also meant that soldiers were surviving injuries that previously would have been fatal. Many of these men were left with horrific, disfiguring facial injuries which ca…
 
In the early hours of September 2, 1666, a small fire broke out on the ground floor of a baker's house in Pudding Lane. In five days that small fire would devastate the third largest city in the Western world. Adrian Tinniswood is a historian, teacher and writer, as well as a consultant to the National Trust. Adrian joins Dan to explore the catacly…
 
Located just 100 miles off the coast of mainland China, the nation of Taiwan sits in the so-called 'first island chain' - a group of US-friendly territories deemed crucial to American foreign policy. Yet China's president Xi Jinping maintains that Chinese reunification with Taiwan must be fulfilled. He's not ruled out the possible use of military f…
 
Robin Hood is one of the most famous legends of British history, but did he exist and if so who was he? Gareth Morgan, Learning Development Officer at Nottingham Castle, is just the man to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to this archetypal hero who robbed the rich to give to the poor. Gareth helps Dan discover some of the real-life fi…
 
On August 28, 1963, some 200,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to protest the continuing inequalities faced by African Americans. The final speaker of the day was Dr Martin Luther King who would deliver one of the most famous orations of the civil rights movement—and of human history. Dr Clayborne Carson is a …
 
1066 is one of the most critical and dramatic years in British history. In the space of one year, the country had three kings, three major battles and a year that decided the fate of British history. To tell the thrilling story of this infamous year Dan is joined by three very special guests his children Zia, Wolf and Orla. They test Dan's historic…
 
So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact, on all three of his No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, keyboards are not the primary instrument. The truth is, Joel isn’t the Piano Man,…
 
In August 1485, King Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. In 2012, having been lost for over 500 years, the remains of King Richard III were discovered beneath a car park in Leicester. Joining Dan on the podcast today is the very person who led that successful search to locate the grave of King Richard III. Following seven and a half y…
 
What does it take to reinvent the world's oldest living language? China today is one of the world's most powerful nations, yet just a century ago it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, left behind in the wake of Western technology. Jing Tsu is a cultural historian, linguist and literary scholar. Joining Dan on the podca…
 
Join Don Wildman twice a week for your hit of American history, as he explores the past to help us understand the United States of today. We’ll hear how codebreakers uncovered secret Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway, visit Chief Powhatan as he prepares for war with the British, see Walt Disney accuse his former colleagues of being communists…
 
In February 1882 the SS Dunedin departed New Zealand on a voyage that would revolutionise the way we eat and kickstart the globalisation of the world's food supply chain. Aboard were thousands of mutton, lamb and pig carcasses as well as 250 kegs of butter, hare, pheasant, turkey, chicken and 2226 sheep tongues. This cargo would be kept fresh in th…
 
Over Britain’s first century of mass democracy, from the Great Depression to the pandemic, politics has lurched from crisis to crisis. How does this history of political agony illuminate our current age of upheaval? Phil Tinline is a leading producer and presenter of historical narrative documentaries for BBC Radio 4. Phil joins Dan on the podcast …
 
In June 1815 the French army under the command of Napoleon was decisively beaten by an allied army led by Britain and Prussia at Waterloo in what is now Belgium. This titanic clash took a terrible toll on both men and animals. An estimated 20,000 men lost their lives that bloody day. As archaeologists have attempted to unpick the events of Waterloo…
 
In the Second World War, the Germans liked to boast that there was 'no escape' from the infamous fortress and POW camp Colditz. However, the elite British officers imprisoned there were determined to prove the Nazis wrong and get back into the war; since then the fortress became just as famous for its escape attempts. As the officers dug tunnels, r…
 
In 1989, Beijing's Tiananmen Square became the focus of large-scale demonstrations as mostly young students crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy. On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing into the crowds of protesters. The events produced one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century - of …
 
Numerous novels, TV shows and as many as 5 movies- including the Hollywood classic starring Clarke Gable and Marlon Brando - have immortalised the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty in the popular imagination forever. The mutiny on the HMS Bounty occurred in the South Pacific Ocean on 28 April 1789. Disaffected crewmen, led by acting-Lieutenant Flet…
 
So, sure—Billy Joel’s first Top 40 hit, way back in 1974, was “Piano Man,” and the nickname stuck. But for a guy who became famous sitting behind 88 keys, few of his biggest hits are really piano songs. In fact, on all three of his No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, keyboards are not the primary instrument. The truth is, Joel isn’t the Piano Man,…
 
2/2. It's a big summer for British politics with Boris Johnson's resignation and the race between conservative hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to take his place, firmly on. To make sense of this coveted premiership, we've delved into the History Hit podcast archives for our rampaging explainer on the history of British Prime Ministers. In this s…
 
1/2. It's a big summer for British politics with Boris Johnson's resignation and the race between conservative hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to take his place firmly on. To make sense of this coveted premiership, we've delved into the History Hit podcast archives for a rampage through the history of British Prime Ministers. In this episode, Da…
 
The summer of 1911 was a hot one. Massive strikes took place across the country, including seamen, railwaymen, coal miners, women working in food processing and garment-making and even school children. That, combined with record-breaking temperatures made Britain a constitutional, industrial and political tinderbox. It was harder to endure than tod…
 
Known as the Eternal City, ancient Rome was one of the greatest civilisations in human history, but how did it come about? With a turbulent history of Kings, civil wars and imperial desires - Rome has an incredible history. But who founded it? Were Romulus and Remus real brothers fighting for their kingdoms, or did a Trojan hero found one of the mi…
 
On August 6 and 9, 1945, US B-29 bombers, dropped their nuclear bombs on the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands and consigning millions to disease and genetic defects. The accepted wisdom in the U.S. since has been that dropping the bombs on these Japanese cities was the only way to end World War II without an invas…
 
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