Explaining History (explaininghistory) (explaininghistory)

Nick Shepley


Twenty five minutes of 20th Century History for students and enthusiasts.

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Berlin and Munich in the 1920s

25:26 | Jan 30th

Before the First World War, Munich was the home of Germany's avante garde, with vibrant socialist and anarchist parties, whereas Berlin was the home of militarism and conservatism. By the mid 1920s, this had reversed, with Munich producing Nazism and...Show More

Asocial prisoners in the Nazi camp system

24:44 | Jan 22nd

One key part of Nazi racial policy was the 'cleansing of the aryan racial body', which meant extreme repressive policies to poor, criminal, deviant and unemployed Germans who did not conform to the stereotype of German masculinity or femininity. For ...Show More

Soviet utopianism and the construction of Stalinist Russia

24:20 | Jan 16th

In the 1930s a generation of young Soviet citizens were motivated to work for the development of a socialist society. Massive urban reconstruction projects, an obsession with aviation and the development of a new urban Stalinist aesthetic began to dr...Show More

The Ottoman Empire and the First World War 1914 (PT1)

26:04 | Jan 8th

Between August and October 1914, the Ottoman Empire attempted to play both sides in the First World War off against the other. The empire pledged to Germany that it would go to war against Russia and its allies, while offering reassurances to the Rus...Show More

Roosevelt, Truman and Cold War diplomacy 1944-46

24:46 | Dec 31st, 2018

The death of Roosevelt in 1945 left Harry Truman a politician with limited foreign policy experience surrounded by Roosevelt's top aides and ministers. Truman had little knowledge of international affairs and yet was far quicker to take a stand again...Show More

Kazakhstan's Dark Shadows: An interview with journalist Joanna Lillis

41:11 | Dec 18th, 2018

This is a special feature length episode of the Explaining History podcast, featuring an interview with Joanna Lillis who brings with her thirteen years of experience in Kazakhstan. We discuss the experience of the communism, free market capitalism, ...Show More

Britain and conscription 1945-49

25:43 | Dec 11th, 2018

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Britain's wartime policy of national service continued as a result of Britain's acute need for military manpower around the world. This podcast explores the politics of national service and its orig...Show More

Utopian thinking and everyday life in Stalin's Russia

23:40 | Dec 4th, 2018

Despite the hunger, hardship and terror, a generation of young Soviet citizens were committed to a bright vision of the future where technology conquered nature and a modern socialist society emerged.

The Battle of Vittorio Venetto - October 1918

28:06 | Nov 28th, 2018

Italy's final offensive of the First World War and the only outright victory the Italian army gained, as fought with French and British help but begun after Austria Hungary had called for an armistice.

Mao, Stalin and Khrushchev: 1949-57

24:28 | Nov 20th, 2018

When Stalin died, Mao felt entitled to lead the world communist movement and looked upon Khrushchev as an insignificant upstart. However, Soviet attitudes towards China only brought about greater resentment between the two powers, with catastrophic c...Show More

The Nazi Party and Germany's working class 1933

25:06 | Nov 13th, 2018

In 1933 the Nazi Party came to power and encountered a once powerful workers movement that was now deeply weakened and which hoped for compromise. Hitler was determined to destroy the trade unions which he believed were the source of Germany's downfa...Show More

The Armenian Legionnaires 1914-21

24:46 | Oct 22nd, 2018

Review of Susan Paul Pattie's Armenian Legionnaires, published by IB Tauris.

Oswald Mosley and post war British fascism 1945-66

25:27 | Oct 22nd, 2018

In the aftermath of the Second World War, British fascist Oswald Mosley, free from internment, attempted to revive his political career. In the 1950s he used non white immigration to re-build a political platform but this met in the end with politica...Show More

Amateurism, incompetence and the Bolshevik seizure of power

23:42 | Oct 15th, 2018

In the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution, there was a power vacuum in Petrograd that the Bolsheviks seemed to fill in name only. The new Bolshevik government had the loosest grasp on power but were able to effectively channel violence.

American society and foreign policy 1945-47

25:02 | Oct 8th, 2018

In 1945 there was every chance that America might retreat into isolationism once more. The US population sought to avoid overseas commitments, but the American foreign policy establishment recognised that in the new conditions of the Cold War, they w...Show More

Stalinism and the black market 1928-39

24:31 | Sep 30th, 2018

The shortages of the command economy and the failings of Stalinism made speculation, theft and the black market an essential part of everyday life in the Soviet Union

Prisoner's experiences in pre war Nazi camps 1933-39

25:18 | Sep 24th, 2018

As the 1930s progressed, the experience of life for prisoners in the camps became ever more regimented and focused on back breaking manual labour.

Austria Hungary's Wartime Secret State 1914-18

25:33 | Sep 17th, 2018

Long accustomed to dealing with the challenge of national movements within the Austro Hungarian Empire, the various police and intelligence forces merged to combat sedition during the First World War, but ultimately failed to prevent the break up of ...Show More

The baby boom and post war America 1945-64

23:33 | Sep 10th, 2018

In America and much of the developed world, two decades of dramatically increased birth rates caused profound demographic, social and economic change. Newfound economic security and post war prosperity was the basis of this unprecedented social chang...Show More

The British Counter-culture in the 1960s

24:51 | Sep 2nd, 2018

By 1968 counter cultural movements existed across the world. This podcast explores the British context and the art house and avant garde scene that surrounded it.

The Nazi Party and German Monopoly Capitalism

23:15 | Aug 28th, 2018

The extent to which Hitler coopted and controlled Germany's industrialists has been a topic of fierce debate. The complicity of Krupp and IG Farben with the Nazis crimes has also been examined in depth by historians. This podcast begins to explore Hi...Show More

French national pride and empire: 1944

23:54 | Aug 19th, 2018

The devastating humiliation of defeat and occupation during the Second World War meant that for the new Gaullist Fourth Republic, regaining world status through empire was vital. However, the failure to stamp out independence movements in Lebanon and...Show More

Hunger and the Russian Revolution - 1917

23:56 | Aug 5th, 2018

The overwhelming pressures that the First World War placed on Russia resulted in chaos to the empire's food economy. Russia had plentiful food supplies but railway chaos, and peasants who could not get paid fairly for their produce led to the food ec...Show More

Gandhi, Nehru and wartime crisis - 1940

23:59 | Jul 29th, 2018

When the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on India's behalf unilaterally there was considerable anger. This was replaced by concern and growing support for fighting a war against fascist aggression following Hitler's devastating succes...Show More

Saving the Jews of Budapest

21:44 | Jul 29th, 2018

When the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944 and began mass deportations to Auschwitz, two unlikely saviours, a diplomat from Franco's Spain and a businessman from Mussolini's Italy, worked to save over 5,000 Jews from the Nazis and their Hungarian Arrow ...Show More

Nixon, returning POWs and the legacy of Vietnam

24:25 | Jul 28th, 2018

At the start of his second term in office Nixon saw an opportunity in the return of American POWs in Vietnam to present a positive and patriotic narrative at the end of America's most divisive conflict since the American Civil War over a century earl...Show More

British working class identity, tv and affluence 1954 -1964

26:01 | Jul 23rd, 2018

The dramatic increase in standards of living for British working class people from the mid 1950s onwards was accompanied by anxieties that an entire way of life and working class culture would be lost.

Creating the SS Death's Head Division

23:24 | Jul 17th, 2018

Comprised mainly of teenagers in the late 1930s, the Death's Head Division guarded the camps and brutalised prisoners, but many believed they had been recruited for more active military service in the name of the Fuhrer.

Roosevelt, Stalin and the Creation of the Grand Alliance

22:36 | Jul 15th, 2018

When Hitler invaded the USSR in June 1941, the changing strategic picture presented Britain and America with opportunities and hazards. A deal with Stalin was in the minds of both Roosevelt and Churchill, but the American public was far more reticent...Show More

Defending Afghanistan 1937-1940

23:37 | Jul 15th, 2018

For a century Afghanistan had been a theatre for the 'great game' of espionage between the British and Russian empires, but on the eve of the Second World War the country was in an unenviable situation. Fearing Soviet aggression and occupation, the A...Show More

French Internment of Spanish Refugees 1939-45

22:59 | Jul 9th, 2018

When half a million supporters of the Spanish Republic fled from Franco's murderous nationalist armies in 1939 to France, they faced hostility and imprisonment, first at the hands of the French and later at the hands of the invading Germans. Explai...Show More

Truman's anti communist policy 1945-47

22:50 | Jul 9th, 2018

The mid term elections in 1946 were a disaster for the Democratic Party, which faced fraudulent accusations of communist sympathies from their Republican rivals. Both Democrats and Republicans learned that 'red baiting' was a useful tactic and could ...Show More

Italy and the Paris Peace Conference Part Two

23:06 | Jul 9th, 2018

Second in the series of discussions on Italy's departure from the Paris Peace Conference. Explaining History is funded through advertising and donations. For more content, journalism and ideas, visit the Explaining History Patreon page here: https:...Show More

Japan's Strategic Failures 1940-41

23:36 | Jul 9th, 2018

By the winter of 1941 the Japanese public, military planners and government were in broad agreement about the necessity of war against America, Britain, France and the Netherlands. However, the war was based on a number of strategic assumptions that ...Show More

Himmler's orders and the SS Camp System 1933-39

23:03 | Jul 8th, 2018

In the hidden world of the Nazi camps, Himmler's desire for order presented the sadists who worked as camp guards with strict regulations on prisoner treatment. Himmler desired order above all things, ensuring that the brutal violence meted out to pr...Show More

Italy and the Paris Peace Conference

23:28 | Jul 8th, 2018

When Italy attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando had immense ambitions to acquire new territories. The disappointments Italy endured would speed fascism's path to power. Explaining History is funded through ad...Show More

Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism

25:42 | Jul 8th, 2018

A combination of free market economic liberalism and social conservatism, was Margaret Thatcher an 'inconsistent ideologue'? Explaining History is funded through advertising and donations. For more content, journalism and ideas, visit the Explainin...Show More

Erich Fromm and the Sane Society 1955

22:51 | Jul 2nd, 2018

In 1955, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm examined the emotional realities behind the lives of Americans experiencing unprecedented material wealth. His findings formed his book the Sane Society. It concluded that despite the advances in prosperity, modern ...Show More

Mass consumerism in America 1945-60

24:25 | Jul 1st, 2018

In the decade after 1945 American life was transformed by cheap housing, cheap fuel and the biggest increase in material well being in human history. Explaining History is funded through advertising and donations. For more content, journalism and i...Show More

Rethinking Japan's war against China 1937-45

25:05 | Jul 1st, 2018

For the Chinese people, the Second World War began in 1937, with Japan's ruthless invasion of the mainland and the destruction of cities such as Nanjing and Chongqing. This podcast explores the west's historical amnesia on the topic of Chinese wartim...Show More

Woodie Guthrie and the Dust Bowl

23:07 | Jun 25th, 2018

In the 1930s Woodie Guthrie became the authentic voice of the dispossessed, drifting American diaspora in the drought afflicted heartlands of the USA. However, he was part of a long tradition of American folk and protest music. Explaining History i...Show More

The fall of Damascus and Mesopotamia 1918

25:00 | Jun 25th, 2018

Despite impressive victories against the allied powers during the First World War, by 1918 the Ottoman Empire was exhausted by fighting and the advantage was shifting towards Britain in the Middle East. General Edmund Allenby skilfully encircled Otto...Show More

The Crushing of the Spartacists: 1919

25:43 | Jun 24th, 2018

In the immediate aftermath of the German revolution, radical forces on the left and right were discontent with the development of a centre left Weimar Government. In January 1919, the army and freikorps violently suppressed the revolutionary movement...Show More

Shops and shortages under Stalin 1929-39

24:47 | Jun 17th, 2018

Stalin's decision to ban private trade and to create state monopolies was carried out in haste with little planning during a period of immense economic upheaval. The results were chaotic and led to one of the most intense periods of economic hardship...Show More

The Freikorps vs the Red Army - Latvia 1919

25:57 | Jun 11th, 2018

Days after the November armistice was signed, the Red Army launched its bid for the Baltic States and only local anti communists, former German soldiers and German mercenaries stood in their way. The consequences for Latvia were horrendous, with warc...Show More

Billie Holiday and Strange Fruit - 1939

24:25 | Jun 11th, 2018

Strange Fruit was the first popular song that reached a mainstream audience which addressed the question of violence against black people in America and it made Billie Holiday, its original singer, a star. The song lived far beyond her death in 1959 ...Show More

The Siege of Leningrad Part Two

25:23 | Jun 4th, 2018

Whilst Leningrad's citizens starved, Soviet party bosses enjoyed food, warmth and comfort. Laying siege to the city, the demoralised and ever more brutal German Army started to see by the spring of 1942 the impossibility of Hitler's dreams in Russia....Show More

The problems of American rearmament: 1941

25:21 | May 13th, 2018

Years of inconsistency in America's foreign and defence policy throughout the 1930s had left deep confusion at the highest levels of government about what kind of war might be fought against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and what kind of war machin...Show More

War exhaustion and the Central Powers

25:06 | May 7th, 2018

When Russia left the First World War in 1918, the generals and politicians of the Central Powers were convinced that victory was in sight. Germany's determination to end the war quickly resulted in the Ludendorff Spring Offensives that failed disastr...Show More

Social Mobility and the American Dream 1945-50

25:32 | Apr 30th, 2018

Rising living standards, new scientific innovation and a faith in progress were prevalent in America in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. However, social progress was segregated and enjoyed mainly by white Americans, creating the condi...Show More

Hitler, Goering and the Four Year Plan

24:31 | Apr 23rd, 2018

When President of the Reichbank and Economics Minister Hjalmar Schacht suggested slowing the pace of rearmament to Hitler in the mid 1930s, he was replaced by the ineffectual but loyal Herman Goering. A new policy to rearm Germany, the Four Year Plan...Show More

Lenin's Train to Russia: April 1917

25:05 | Apr 16th, 2018

The journey made by Vladimir Lenin in 1917 from Zurich to Petrograd was part of a German strategy to undermine its enemies from within. Previous attempts at subversion in the British Empire, specifically in Ireland had failed, and there was no way of...Show More

The Defence of India -

24:38 | Apr 15th, 2018

At the start of the Second World War, India had several overlapping defence concerns and Britain sought to place more cost and responsibility on the government of India. This podcast explores the strategic crisis facing India at the commencement of t...Show More

The Siege of Leningrad Pt 1

24:49 | Apr 9th, 2018

While the German Army prepared to seize Moscow, the longest siege of the war began at Leningrad on the Gulf of Finland. It would result in the deaths of over a million citizens and see the city completely cut off from Stalin's control for much of the...Show More

America's post war boom (Part One) 1945-1973

25:09 | Apr 3rd, 2018

An interventionist state, the capture of global markets and the destruction of economic opponents (Germany and Japan) and the loss of Britain's economic world power saw America emerge as the wealthiest nation in world history from 1945 onwards. This ...Show More

Operation Typhoon: Hitler's failed bid to seize Moscow

23:07 | Apr 2nd, 2018

After a summer and autumn of devastating defeats at the hands of the Wehrmacht, the Red Army was finally able to inflict a major setback on Hitler's forces just nine miles from Moscow itself. A combination of the Russian winter, Germany's poor prepar...Show More

India's Congress Party and the Muslim League: 1939-40

25:41 | Apr 1st, 2018

Following the unilateral declaration of war by the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, in 1939 without consulting any of India's political parties, longstanding political divisions deepened. The Indian Congress Party and the Muslim League began to agi...Show More

David Lloyd George and Adolf Hitler: 1936

25:49 | Mar 31st, 2018

As Lloyd George's political career ebbed away and he became increasingly marginalised in British politics, his sympathies for Germany and his positive view of Hitler led him to visit the Nazi dictator in September 1936. Explaining History is funded...Show More

Anti Communism and America's Trade Unions 1945-49

24:54 | Mar 21st, 2018

In the half decade after the Second World War, the fortunes of America's trade union movement declined and communist led trade unions were ostracised by the AFL and CIO. This was consistent with the broader shift towards the political right happening...Show More

Barbarossa Part Six: The end of the offensive

26:52 | Mar 21st, 2018

Despite Germany's spectacular advances and the devastating defeats inflicted on the Red Army, Hitler failed to capture Moscow. In late October 1941 the first snows fell, his dreams of a final victory over the USSR disappeared. Explaining History is...Show More

The Ottoman Empire and the July Crisis

24:38 | Mar 14th, 2018

In July 1914 as the final desperate negotiations to avoid war failed, the Ottoman Empire engaged in secret diplomacy with both Germany and Russia to gain as much from the forthcoming conflict as possible. However it was the arrival of a German dreadn...Show More

The Origins of MI5 1903-1909

25:51 | Mar 14th, 2018

Britain had a very limited internal security and overseas intelligence capability before the Boer War. However, a government and public obsessed with fears of subversion led to pressures to create a series of agencies that resulted in MI5, Britain's ...Show More

SS Training and the Nazi Camp System

25:26 | Mar 4th, 2018

The training of a ruthless fraternity who's sadism was encouraged and given free reign - this was the training role of the Nazi camp system. It became the proving ground for a generation of SS men who would later perpetrate the Holocaust.

American War Production and Finance 1917-18

25:39 | Mar 1st, 2018

A war of historically unprecedented size and ferocity needed the industrial productivity all belligerent powers. However, American productive capacity dwarfed its European neighbours, as did America's ability to raise finances to pay for the conflict...Show More

The Creation of Yugoslavia 1919 (Part One)

23:48 | Feb 27th, 2018

In the aftermath of the First World War a federation of Balkan states that had emerged from the collapsed Austro Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, each with conflicting agendas, created a new South Slav Federation; Yugoslavia. The Paris Peace Conference...Show More

Zero Hour: The Soviet Occupation of Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw 1945

24:34 | Feb 26th, 2018

The devastation of Germany and Eastern Europe by Hitler created the perfect environment for Soviet rule. Shattered, bewildered and destitute populations had little choice but to accept the domination of the Red Army. If you enjoyed today’s podcast ...Show More

Franco's diplomacy and the defeat of fascism 1941-45

25:15 | Feb 20th, 2018

Francoist Spain avoided direct conflict with Britain and America, but waged war against the USSR. By 1943 the tide of war had turned against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, but Franco's survival instincts enabled his regime to endure long into the po...Show More

Hitler and Hjalmar Schacht

28:08 | Feb 19th, 2018

In 1933 Hitler appointed Hjalmar Schacht as the president of the Reichsbank. Hitler had little understanding about economics and relied on the financial engineering of his new chief banker. However, the problems of the German economy persisted even t...Show More

Barbarossa Pt 4: Stalin's ultimatum June-July 1941

26:34 | Feb 17th, 2018

As Germany armies surges across western Russia in the summer of 1941, Stalin seemed to lose his nerve and suffer a breakdown. This podcast explores how Stalin recovered and held on to power which seemed momentarily to be close to evaporating. If yo...Show More

The Butler Education Act 1944

23:55 | Feb 15th, 2018

In the last years of the Second World War, a new education act designed to create a school system for post war Britain was established. It was instrumental in creating the post war British class system, but many of the educational advances hoped for ...Show More

Book Review: Babuska's Journey: The Dark Road to Stalin's Wartime Camps by Marcel Krueger

17:39 | Feb 13th, 2018

A review of Babushka's Journey and a discussion of the field of Gulag memoir literature (listen to the end for details on how to get your free copy).

Nixon, Reagan and the crisis years of the 1970s

25:18 | Feb 5th, 2018

How did the decline of Richard Nixon and the humiliations heaped upon America in the 1970s lead to the rise in popularity of a once marginal Republican figure, Ronald Reagan? This podcast explores the transition between the two figures in the Republi...Show More

Stalinist secrecy and paranoia 1928-38

24:22 | Jan 29th, 2018

The internal logic of Stalinism was based around perceived threats, class enemies, overseas conspiracies and an all pervading secrecy.

War Correspondents and Operation Barbarossa 1941

24:16 | Jan 24th, 2018

Hitler's invasion of the USSR was the largest land invasion in history, but it was the most under reported theatre of fighting in the entire war. This podcast explores why so little was known about the Russian Front by news audiences in Russia, Brita...Show More

Roosevelt, Churchill and Lend Lease

25:54 | Jan 19th, 2018

Following Roosevelt's election victory in November 1940, the news that Britain faced certain bankruptcy in dollar terms presented the president with the first major challenge of his new term. The lend lease agreement, signed in March 1941 was the sol...Show More

Truman and the Taft Hartley Act 1947

23:46 | Jan 16th, 2018

This is the second podcast on labour relations and the Truman Presidency. In 1947, Congress took up the baton of anti union legislation, just as the president was having second thoughts. The Taft Hartley Act was the most significant anti union legisl...Show More

Barbarossa Part Three: The USSR and the Invasion

26:52 | Jan 13th, 2018

This is the third part of a series on Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. This podcast focuses on the views and beliefs of attackers, defenders and the citizens caught in the middle.

American Volunteers and the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War

23:19 | Jan 9th, 2018

When US volunteers from the International Brigade returned to America after two years of bloodshed and slaughter in Spain, they received a frosty welcome from a suspicious FBI and police. Much of the American public knew very little about the war and...Show More

Woodrow Wilson and the founding of the League of Nations

25:51 | Jan 7th, 2018

In the aftermath of the First World War, utopian visions of a future world without war informed a generation of diplomats, politicians and peace makers. The horrors of the First World War meant that this vision had become an urgent necessity.

Cold War assumptions and the beginning of the Korean War

26:27 | Jan 6th, 2018

Mao, Stalin, Truman and MacArthur's calculations, along with the ambitions of Kim Il Sung and Syngman Rhee turned Korea from a Cold War sideshow into the first hot war of the long Cold War age.

The development of Nazi economic policy 1920-32

27:08 | Jan 2nd, 2018

Incoherence was one of the defining features of Nazi economic thinking, as competing economic tendencies within the party and externally were suborned to Hitler's racial ideas.

Churchill and the Russian Civil War 1919

26:56 | Dec 29th, 2017

At the height of the allied intervention in Russia, David Lloyd George wavered in his enthusiasm for the mission but his political ally and friend Churchill had no such doubts and did everything in his power to encourage an allied crusade against the...Show More

Marx's legacy and the German Social Democratic Party

23:24 | Dec 27th, 2017

Following his death in 1883 Marx was elevated the position of a secular prophet of history by the guardians of his legacy the German Social Democratic Party. The 20th Century Marx is a very different individual to the real 19th Century intellectual a...Show More

British, American and Chinese Neoliberalism 1978-80

29:29 | Dec 22nd, 2017

In the last years of the 1970s a fringe economic ideology captured the centre ground in Britain, America and China, transforming the world economy and shifting the balance of power from labour to capital for a generation.

Barbarossa Part Two: Hunger and annihilation

24:22 | Dec 21st, 2017

Hitler, his ministers and many of his generals fully intended to fight a war of racial annihilation in Russia unlike anything previously seen. This podcast explores the economic and racial thinking behind the Nazi Generalplan Ost.

Allied Divisions over Russia - 1919

27:19 | Dec 20th, 2017

The question of whether or not to negotiate with Russia and what form the allied intervention in the Russian Civil War should take divided Britain, France and America at the Paris Peace Conference. The Bolshevik response to the western powers was equ...Show More

A plan for 2018: Free Historical Literacy For All...

08:02 | Dec 19th, 2017

I am working on a plan and I need everyone's input to create a historical literacy course in these frighteningly confused times. Please listen and then give me your thoughts.

British setbacks in the Desert War 1941-42

24:57 | Dec 11th, 2017

Despite impressive advances against the Axis powers in 1940 and 1941, the organisation and leadership of Rommel's Afrika Korps devastated Britain's position in North Africa by the summer of 1942. Inflexibility and weak leadership led to one of Britai...Show More

Russian proto-fascism 1903-7

26:25 | Dec 9th, 2017

The prolonged crisis of the Russian Empire throughout the 19th and early 20th Centuries that resulted from the advance of modernisation led to the creation of revolutionary tensions not just from the left but from the right. Extreme anti semites, Sla...Show More

Britain, Pakistan and the Partition of India

24:41 | Dec 5th, 2017

The British, aware of their imminent loss of world power in Asia, encouraged the partition of India. Military planners and politicians hoped that a Muslim state, favourable to British interests and opposed to the USSR would emerge in the shape of Pak...Show More

Austria after the Anschluss 1938-45

27:07 | Dec 1st, 2017

The annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany presented the country and its exiles with the first of several crises. The disastrous outcome of the war for Nazi Germany meant that not just Germany's but Austria's fate would be decided in London, Washingto...Show More

Britain's war with Nazi Germany and Vichy France in Iraq and Syria: 1941

25:20 | Nov 26th, 2017

Despite British setbacks and failures in Greece and an overstretched force in North Africa, Churchill was determined to seize Syria from the French Vichy collaborationist regime. The fighting to take Damascus was far harder and more difficult that Ch...Show More

Roosevelt, Wilkie and the 1940 Presidential Election

36:12 | Nov 14th, 2017

With ever more alarming new unfolding in Europe and the fate of Britain hanging in the balance, Franklin Roosevelt decided to stand for re-election for a second time, breaking with tradition that a president serves a maximum two terms. Facing him was...Show More

Lenin and the founding of the British Communist Party: 1920

35:26 | Nov 12th, 2017

The formation of the Communist Party of Great Britain had direct organisational, financial and ideological input from Lenin himself. He saw it as essential to have a political foothold in Britain, following the British decision to intervene against t...Show More

Sachsenhausen, Dachau and the later Nazi Camps 1936-39

34:43 | Oct 30th, 2017

After the initial chaotic phase of the development of the camp system, by 1936 new purpose build camp complexes that dwarfed their predecessors emerged. Sachsenhausen in 1936 was part of this new model camp system, designed to work as a means of tran...Show More

The Crisis of American Labor Unions 1945-50

37:32 | Oct 23rd, 2017

In the post war years a rise in union militancy was matched by an increase in anti union hostility by the federal government and a decline in union power due to a changing labour force and the privatisation of social security. This led to a gradual d...Show More

Mussolini's War in Greece: 1940-41

35:42 | Oct 21st, 2017

The impulsive decision by Mussolini to invade Greece dragged the Balkans into the Second World War, with terrible consequences for Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania. His inept campaign led Hitler to wage war in Greece and the Balkans ...Show More

The Politics of Stalinism Part Two

34:43 | Oct 15th, 2017

More on the inner workings of the Soviet Communist Party after 1928

The Bolsheviks and the Peacemakers 1919

36:16 | Oct 14th, 2017

Continuing from a previous podcast on the complications of the Russian Revolution to the attempts to create a European peace in 1919, this episode focuses on the differing approaches proposed to dealing with Soviet Russia by the Paris Peacemakers and...Show More

Eisenhower, the CIA and the death of Stalin

35:52 | Sep 25th, 2017

The cold war certainties that existed up until March 1953 were thrown into doubt when Stalin died, leaving Eisenhower and his spy chief Alan Dulles with no reliable intelligence as to Soviet intentions. The Cold War entered one of its most dangerous ...Show More

Britain's early victories in the desert war 1940-41

35:20 | Sep 23rd, 2017

Despite being vastly outnumbered in Egypt, a small British Empire force inflicted devastating losses on a vast Italian Army. Mussolini's poorly led and poorly motivated troops were swiftly defeated by a small but well equipped and mobile force.

The rights of American Women 1945-55

35:54 | Sep 23rd, 2017

In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, women left war industries in huge numbers and some entered the domestic sphere. However the view that women existed in the 'comfortable concentration camp' theorised by Betty Friedan requires closer examin...Show More

Hitler's personality and German Government

34:47 | Sep 21st, 2017

After fifteen years of 'struggle' Hitler brought to orderly German Government the politics of the demagogue and the populist, and retreated from the bureaucratic business of government. His actions were typical of his outlook and of fascist and Nazi ...Show More

Bolshevik Russia and the Paris Peacemakers - 1919

34:07 | Sep 18th, 2017

While revolution and civil war tore the former Russian Empire apart, the British, French and American leaders at the Paris Peace Conference were unsure as to how to deal with Russia and what part it might play in the shaping of a post war world order...Show More

The Italo Turkish War

35:00 | Sep 17th, 2017

In 1911 Italy launched an opportunist war against the Ottoman Empire for control of Libya. Despite the huge costs and the unexpected guerrilla war that Italian troops found themselves fighting against Arab and Ottoman forces, Italy gained control of ...Show More

America, USSR, Britain and the development of the atomic bomb

35:48 | Sep 16th, 2017

The wartime Manhattan project resulted in unforseen diplomatic tensions between the three powers and gave America unprecedented power which President Truman was reluctant to use and uncertain how to wield.

American and British Volunteers at the Battle of Jarama, 1937

35:51 | Sep 16th, 2017

Poorly equipped and with virtually no training, the American and British volunteers in the International Brigades, along with French, German, Belgian, Polish and other groups of anti fascists sustained huge casualties keeping the road to Madrid open....Show More

Hitler and the creation of the 'Fuhrer State'

33:42 | Sep 11th, 2017

The insertion of a highly personalised dictatorship into Germany's previously highly functional bureaucratic state and the gradual erosion of barriers between Fuhrer, state and party led to the growth of institutional chaos in a regime that projected...Show More

Franco's march on Madrid: 1936

35:35 | Sep 7th, 2017

As fascist armies raced across Spain to seize the capital they committed horrific war crimes against Spanish workers and peasants. Madrid braced itself for the onslaught, but managed to deny Franco and the generals a breakthrough victory

The CIA and early anti Soviet Operations

36:13 | Sep 4th, 2017

The development of the CIA by 1949 into a well funded unaccountable agency with the scope for paramilitary operations against the USSR, meant that poorly conceived and ultimately doomed missions against the Soviet Bloc proliferated using anti communi...Show More

Emerging Nations and the Paris Peace Conference

33:28 | Sep 3rd, 2017

Peacemakers at the Paris Peace Conference attempted to build new nation states out of the chaos of four collapsed empires. However, events on the ground in Eastern Europe overtook the pace at which decisions in Paris could be made.

The Office of the Fuhrer

34:05 | Sep 1st, 2017

Hitler's capture of Germany's Government saw the introduction of Nazi ideas that sought to abolish the normal functioning of constitutional systems of governance. The concept of the Fuhrer swept away legalism and instead drew legitimacy from the noti...Show More

An appeal to listeners on the thorny issue of hate speech

23:04 | Sep 1st, 2017

Hi everyone, I'm inviting all listeners to join with me to debate about online hate speech which is creeping into the various Explaining History platforms. Have a listen and give me your views @https://www.facebook.com/Explaininghistory/

Slavery, Cotton and Capitalism

34:40 | Aug 30th, 2017

In Sven Beckert's book Empire of Cotton, he discusses the development of modern capitalism's first industry (and empire), that of global cotton. The complex interplay of states, capitalists, waged workers, peasants and slaves created the foundation o...Show More

The Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference 1919

34:26 | Aug 28th, 2017

When the delegates of the Paris Peace Conference met in 1919 a council of ten from the five dominant victorious powers formed into the Supreme Council, but the workings of the group were highly contested and problematic.

The Arabs and the Palestine Mandate

34:53 | Aug 25th, 2017

The British mandate in Palestine and Jewish mass immigration placed immense economic pressure on the indigenous Arab peoples. Land ownership became a flaspoint for

Japan and the First World War

36:16 | Aug 24th, 2017

The outbreak of hostilities in Europe had global consequences and Japan, allied to Britain saw its chance to expand its power in China at the expense of both China and European imperialists in Asia.

Japan's Merchant Shipping Losses 1941-45

34:13 | Aug 22nd, 2017

Despite a devastating attack on the USA at Pearl Harbour, Japan paid little attention to the safety of its merchant shipping and faced economic devastation as a result.

British Air Raid Precautions 1938-1940

37:01 | Aug 22nd, 2017

By 1939, Britain was poorly prepared for the onslaught of the blitz, with weal central administration and most responsibility for air raid protection placed on families and individuals

War Reporting 1939

33:55 | Aug 15th, 2017

The experience of managing information in the First World War shaped how Britain and Germany would control propaganda in the next conflict. Both sought to influence their own populations and also third parties such as the USA.

The First Day of the Blitz: Britain, September 1940

37:50 | Aug 15th, 2017

As the Luftwaffe's operations in Britain switched from RAF airfields to towns and cities, the first target was East London's docks. In this podcast we hear eye witness testimony from the first day of the blitz

Franco German cooperation 1926-32

32:29 | Aug 13th, 2017

In the aftermath of the First World War, France and Germany sought ways to cooperate throughout the 1920s in order to provide economic stability and security for both countries. This resulted in the foundations for the European Union, but a second wo...Show More

Hitler's decision making 1940-1941

37:13 | Aug 13th, 2017

The months that followed the fall of France were crucial in determining the future outcome of the war. Hitler's decision

David Ben Gurion and Palestine 1945-48

35:58 | Aug 11th, 2017

The rising star of the Zionist movement by the end of the Second World War, Ben Gurion was a mercurial figure with complex and often antagonistic relationships with Chaim Weizmann and Menachem Begin.

World War One and the creation of the Mandate system

35:21 | Aug 8th, 2017

During and immediately after the First World War, a range of plans were devised to distribute and manage German and Ottoman colonies and the process became led by American priorities and values.

The Battle of Britain Part Two

33:45 | Aug 8th, 2017

Despite Herman Goering's estimates that the RAF would be defeated in under a month, a long battle of attrition raged throughout August and September 1940, resulting in unsustainable losses for the Luftwaffe.

Black Americans and Civil Rights in 1945

36:10 | Aug 6th, 2017

The Second World War had a dramatic impact on the civil rights struggle, but as a new era in the battle for equality and justice for Black Americans dawned, deep

Rethinking Stalin's Gulags

33:24 | Aug 6th, 2017

Some fresh perspectives on Stalin's labour camps, revising Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archepelago

The overthrow of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the Ottoman Empire 1909

33:43 | Aug 6th, 2017

In the space of a year the Ottoman Empire was convulsed by two revolutions and a violent civil war between secular modernisers and Islamic traditionalists. The struggle resulted in the overthrow of the political schemer Abdul Hamid II

Adenauer, Schumacher and West German De-Nazification: 1949

36:01 | Aug 3rd, 2017

Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany attempted to suppress the memory of the Holocaust in the new republic. His political opponent, Kurt Schumacher of the SPD was determined to bring the crimes of the Nazis in to the open, but there ...Show More

Operation Sealion and the Battle of Britain Part One

35:43 | Aug 3rd, 2017

Following the devastating defeat of France, Hitler turned his eyes to Britain, the last obstacle in his conquest of the west. Poor planning and a failure to understand Britain's strengths contributed to a wildly unrealistic approach to defeating and ...Show More

The Young Turk Revolt 1908

35:17 | Aug 1st, 2017

After decades of decline and gradual European encroachment into the Ottoman Empire, disaffected and angry army officers staged a revolt in 1908, forcing the Sultan Abdulhamid II to accept the reinstatement of a reformist constitution.

LLoyd George and the British Empire delegation in Paris 1919

36:56 | Jul 31st, 2017

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George led the British delegation and also those of the British empire dominions who had fought in the First World War at the Paris Peace Conference. The shrewd political operator and outsider was determined to enha...Show More

Britain, America and the aftermath of Dunkirk

33:31 | Jul 30th, 2017

Following the military disaster of the fall of France and the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France, Churchill waited for Hitler's next move and hoped for assistance from the USA

The Sacco and Vanzetti Trial 1920-1927

35:06 | Jul 28th, 2017

The politically motivated trial of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti is examined in depth here, courtesy of Eric Foner's 1977 essay The Men and the Symbols.

America, Palestine and Jewish Immigration 1945-48

37:59 | Jul 27th, 2017

At the end of the Second World War an American survey of Jewish survivors in Europe recommended mass Jewish immigration into Palestine. President Harry Truman embraced the study partly out of idealism, but also with his own calculating political cons...Show More

Journalists and the Spanish Civil War

33:07 | Jul 25th, 2017

The conflict in Spain attracted writers and correspondents from around the world and excited passions among their readers in Europe and America. Many were openly partisan in favour of the republic and saw Spain as the world's last chance to stop fasc...Show More

Georges Clemenceau and the Paris Peace Conference 1919

33:31 | Jul 23rd, 2017

By the end of the First World War, French Prime Minister Clemenceau knew that France's security relied on maintaining an Anglo American alliance with France to keep the war ravaged country safe from Germany. However, the chances of achieving this dwi...Show More

War Reporting on the Western Front 1914-15

34:41 | Jul 13th, 2017

Initially, all sides in the First World War were wary and suspicious of journalists, fearing they would give away vital intelligence or impede the progress of the war. Later, as the conflict dragged on, politicians in Britain, but not British general...Show More

Woodrow Wilson and the Paris Peace Conference 1919

33:39 | Jul 11th, 2017

In December 1918 US president Woodrow Wilson set sail for Europe to build a lasting peace after four years of devastating war. The principled but often dogmatic Wilson wanted to create a more democratic world, but one geared towards America's economi...Show More

British Propaganda and the First World War

34:51 | Jul 9th, 2017

In Phillip Knightley's seminal account of war reporting 'The First Casualty', the British came to excel in distorting war reporting and influencing public thinking, presenting the war as the 'Great struggle for civilisation'

Churchill and Roosevelt 1939-1940

37:32 | Jul 9th, 2017

In 1939 American diplomats were certain that Britain and France faced defeat and Roosevelt would have to play the role of peace broker. A new prime minister in 1940, Winston Churchill, spoke the language of defiance and struggle that impressed the US...Show More

China in 1945

35:36 | Jul 9th, 2017

After eight years of devastating war with Japan, China found an uncertain peace in the summer of 1945, which would soon come crashing down. The civil war between the Nationalists and Communists was temporarily suspended, but intervention from the USA...Show More

Stalin, Mao and the Korean War

32:23 | Jul 5th, 2017

The outbreak of war in the Korean peninsula in 1950 was preceded by half a decade of careful consideration by Stalin and an desire by Mao to take on the capitalist world. Prior to this, Korea had been an afterthought for the Soviet dictator, who was ...Show More

Foreign workers in Hitler's Germany 1939-45

35:55 | Jul 4th, 2017

Hitler's war industries experienced critical manpower shortages throughout the war and the solution was to import millions of foreign workers from allied and conquered territories. However, this profoundly altered German society during the conflict.

Maoist Re-education and China's Youth

33:54 | Jul 2nd, 2017

In 1968 a new wave of political purges began, following two years of anarchy in the Cultural Revolution. This time, young people were sent to be ideologically transformed through hard labour in the countryside. Many embraced this new life, but for mo...Show More

Truman and the founding of the CIA - 1947

35:05 | Jul 2nd, 2017

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, a skeptical Harry Truman abolished America's only spy agency the OSS, without a replacement. Within two years, as British military and intelligence power declined, Truman discovered the need for a n...Show More

Australia and Asia in the 1960s

38:00 | Jun 29th, 2017

How did Australia adapt to the decline of the British Empire and the challenges of the Cold War, while seeking to contain its own oppressive racial policies during the 1960s?

The BBC and the General Strike 1926

34:32 | Jun 27th, 2017

The British government had a long standing suspicion of the powers of broadcasting when the BBC was established in 1922. The experience of the General Strike, however, established the BBC as the most effective means of disseminating hegemonic ideas i...Show More

Hunger and Division in Germany 1916-18

39:46 | Jun 25th, 2017

In the first two years of the First World War, German society was largely unified in fear of external enemies, particularly Russia. However, by 1916 this unity had broken down and major social and political divisions - along with economic and politic...Show More

Eastern Europe after Stalin 1953-1989

38:21 | Jun 22nd, 2017

Following the death of the dictator and the end of Stalinism, different Warsaw Pact members attempted to solve their economic problems by building consumer societies. Each met with varying degrees of short term success and long term failure.

Book Review: British National Identity

29:41 | Jun 20th, 2017

Reviewing books by Linda Colley, Benedict Anderson and David Reynolds on the development of British national identity

Prohibition in America 1918-1933

39:47 | Jun 20th, 2017

Often seen as a failed experiment in state 'moral' control, prohibition was the product of Christian, industrial and suffragist pressure.

Germany, Austria and the July Crisis 1914

33:31 | Jun 19th, 2017

Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914, Austria demanded concessions form Serbia. Germany's support would prove pivotal in transforming a Balkan crisis into a European war.

China's Self Strengthening Movement 1860-1895

36:43 | Jun 15th, 2017

In the mid 19th Century China experienced a prolonged crisis as a result of the loss of the two opium wars with Britain. An attempt to economically revolutionise the country in the guise of the Self Strengthening Movement resulted in rapid economic d...Show More

Book Review: Reagan: American Icon by Iwan Morgan

29:54 | Jun 13th, 2017

Reviewing the new biography of Ronald Reagan, US president and figurehead of the conservative revolution.

The decline and fall of the 20th Century Manifesto

26:13 | Jun 13th, 2017

The 20th Century was an age of political and artistic manifestos and visions, but the 21st Century is largely devoid of them. This podcast explores the factors that have led to their decline

Europe's Age of Catastrophe 1914-1945

39:03 | Jun 12th, 2017

A combination of factors in the aftermath of the First World War - ethnic nationalism and racism, capitalism in crisis and resurgent class conflict made peace in Europe fragile and temporary.

Book Review: The Winchester - legend of the west

20:47 | Jun 9th, 2017

Review of Laura Trevelyan's biography of the Winchester repeating rifle

The Myth of Hitler's Economic Success

36:04 | Jun 9th, 2017

In this podcast, I examine the facade of economic growth in Nazi Germany and using the work of historians Adam Tooze and Richard J Evans, examine the far less impressive reality

Britain's Forgotten Depression 1920-21

38:58 | Jun 8th, 2017

In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, hopes of an economic boom in Britain were shortlived. Instead, the country was plunged into economic crisis, union unrest as the Conservative Party rose to dominance.

Palestine, India and Britain: Two partitions and the end of empire

38:18 | Jun 2nd, 2017

Exhausted by the Second World War, Britain was desperate to hold on to influence in the Middle East and yet policy makers were anxious to withdraw from Palestine as quickly as possible. At the same time, Britain was engaged in another hurried departu...Show More

Book Review: Black Power and the American People

26:04 | May 31st, 2017

This week's book review is an excellent and incisive analysis of the cultural history of black power in America by Rafael Torrubia.

Public Opinion and International Relations 1890-1914

36:50 | May 29th, 2017

In the decades before the First World War, the role that public opinion and the press in forming the foreign policy of European powers became considerably more decisive. This podcast explores how and why.

Book Review: Battles for Freedom by Eric Foner

24:57 | May 26th, 2017

The monthly book review returns, with a review of Battles for Freedom - the essays of Eric Foner for the Nation magazine 1977-2015

1979 and the birth of neoliberalism

37:08 | May 22nd, 2017

In the late 1970s, after a decade of economic stagnation, western economies, accompanied by China, began the first steps towards the abandonment of the Bretton Woods system and social democracy. They replaced it with the current model of global econo...Show More

IG Farben and the Holocaust

38:31 | May 8th, 2017

In 1947 the last of the Nuremberg trials began. The accused were German industrialists from the chemicals cartel IG Farben. Prosecutors charged them with using slave labour at their bunawerk factory during the Second World War - Auschwitz Monowitz.

War and British National Identity in the 20th Century

37:16 | Apr 26th, 2017

The development of British national identity in the 20th Century is intimately connected with conflict. War has provided a unifying force that has held together an inherently fissile union throughout the century.

Stalin and the Soviet Bomb 1945-49

35:03 | Apr 17th, 2017

Stalin and his chief henchman Lavrenti Beria poured resources from a devastated USSR into the creation of an atomic bomb from 1945 onwards. The development of the bomb rested on Soviet espionage and the ability of scientists to experiment and work wi...Show More

Bretton Woods 1944-1971

35:23 | Apr 4th, 2017

In 1944 at Bretton Woods in the USA a new model of the world economy that would provide postwar stability and prosperity was devised. However, the compromises and plans of the USA meant that the system created a fatal flaw, leaving it to unravel by 1...Show More

Mao, Khrushchev and the Great Leap Forward

35:08 | Mar 27th, 2017

Between 1958-1962 Mao's second five year plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, resulted in economic chaos and a famine that killed over 40 million people. It was in part inspired by Mao's attempts to eclipse Soviet leader Khrushchev as the leader of...Show More

2017 Exams Special: Expert study advice with Lucy Parsons

30:03 | Mar 22nd, 2017

In a slight change from our regular episodes, I've interviewed study specialist and coach Lucy Parsons to offer her knowledge on how to prepare for history exams and what skills are needed to excel at A level. Coming on Friday: Berlin and Willy Brand...Show More

The World Recession in the 1970s

36:21 | Mar 13th, 2017

After three decades of unprecedented global economic growth from the Second World War onwards, the economy of the first world experienced prolonged economic crisis throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This podcast explores the long and short term causes o...Show More

French Fascism 1919-1939

35:33 | Mar 4th, 2017

Throughout the interwar period French politics polarised between right and left, but unlike Germany, the political centre ground managed to hold. On the right, a series of anti communist, pro Catholic, nationalist and militarist parties and societies...Show More

Japan, war and hardship 1937-41

36:13 | Feb 20th, 2017

By 1941 Japan was facing acute economic crises due to the long drawn out war in China and the American oil and scrap metal embargo. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbour seemed to many Japanese a way out of the crisis.

The Fate of Europe's Collaborators - 1945

36:04 | Feb 13th, 2017

At the end of the Second World War, savage reprisals against anyone suspected of collaborating with the Nazis swept Europe. In many instances, however, political and personal motivations led to widespread violence and killing.

Kennedy, the CIA and Vietnam 1960-1963

38:27 | Feb 6th, 2017

In November 1963, shortly before he was assassinated, John F Kennedy ordered the overthrow of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. Diem, a corrupt authoritarian had become an embarrassment and his lack of support meant the likelihood of a commun...Show More

India and the outbreak of war 1939

35:15 | Jan 23rd, 2017

In September 1939 Lord Linlithgow, the British Viceroy of India declared war on Nazi Germany without consulting any of India's political parties. The war presented Indian politicians with opportunities to further their agendas and the British used di...Show More

The Battle of Amiens, 1918

36:04 | Jan 15th, 2017

Following the failure of Germany's last bid to defeat Britain, France and America in the west, a counter offensive took advantage of the Kaiser Army's weakness. The decisive moment, politically and militarily came on August 8th 1918 with the Battle o...Show More

Hitler and the Catholic Church 1933-37

36:21 | Jan 9th, 2017

In 1933, as Hitler consolidated his power, he signed an agreement or 'concordat' with the Catholic Church, removing the power of the Papacy from German politics. Within months, however, the deal was abandoned and persecution of the church began. This...Show More

Radical Politics and British Pop Music 1976-87

35:38 | Jan 1st, 2017

For the first time in its history, British popular music became radically politicised in the mid 1970s as a result of the rise of far right racist groups in Britain. This radicalism lasted long into the 1980s, ending with the advent of New Labour.

From Tito to Milosevic - the breakup of Yugoslavia

35:41 | Dec 12th, 2016

What factors led to the destruction of Yugoslavia and the death of 140,000 people over a decade? This podcast examines the mounting tensions that communism's failure unleashed.

Nixon, Reagan and the war on drugs 1971-1989

37:04 | Nov 27th, 2016

By the late 1960s anxieties over rapid social change and racial tensions promoted a conservative backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the decade. Richard Nixon and then Ronald Reagan used the criminalisation of drugs to present themselves...Show More

Class Warfare in Spain 1918-1931

34:56 | Nov 20th, 2016

In the decade and a half before the Spanish Civil War, a bitterly divided society existed in constant conflict. Wealthy landowners and industrialists, supported by the army and civil guard viewed the peasantry as a subhuman 'other' and feared the thr...Show More

Calcutta and the Indian Partition 1946

35:09 | Nov 12th, 2016

In 1946, following the formation of a Hindu dominated transitional government in India, inter ethnic violence broke out in Calcutta. Hindus and Muslims killed their neighbours in days of rioting, but the violence continued for two years, during and a...Show More

Britain's changing wartime relationship with its colonies

36:01 | Oct 31st, 2016

Throughout the Second World War, Britain saw its colonies as sources of available manpower, food and finance. As Britain's fortunes changed throughout the conflict, so did its attitude to the present and future of the rest of the empire.

Black Radical Politics in Inter War Harlem

37:30 | Oct 15th, 2016

Harlem was the epicentre of black cultural and intellectual life in the inter war decades. Competing radical nationalist and communist parties struggled with each other to attract members from with black community. Each attempted to address the probl...Show More

Spain, Stalin and European Communist Parties in the 1930s

36:46 | Oct 5th, 2016

After 1936 the Spanish Civil War became the focal issue for Europe's socialist and communist parties. The rise of Hitler to power had made anti fascist struggle the most important battle for communist movements, especially as Stalin had encouraged po...Show More

Post War British Sexual Politics 1945-1971

37:56 | Sep 21st, 2016

Did Britain have a sexual revolution in the 1960s? All indications suggest that momentous change occurred in attitudes to pregnancy, marriage, divorce and homosexuality in that decade. However, in reality Britain had experienced a long century of cha...Show More

Tito and Yugoslavia in 1945

35:26 | Sep 9th, 2016

At the end of the Second World War, intense ethnic hatreds had been reawoken in Yugoslavia and Josef Tito's victorious communist partisans took advantage of internecine feuds and attempted to suppress them in order to establish Yugoslavia as a commun...Show More

Stalin, showtrials and terror 1936-38

40:20 | Aug 31st, 2016

In the second half of the 1930s, after explosive economic growth during the five year plans the USSR was convulsed by murderous political violence. The phenomenon of Stalinist terror has occupied the writing of historians for decades and in this podc...Show More

Engels and the Condition of the Working Class in England

37:23 | Aug 20th, 2016

In 1845, at the height of Britain's industrial revolution, Friedrich Engels, the son of a German cotton industrialist came to live in Manchester. His study of the lives of the English working classes was the first major work to highlight the appallin...Show More

Churchill and the Bombing of Bulgaria 1941-44

33:43 | Aug 6th, 2016

In the middle years of the Second World War, Bulgaria became a target for repeated and heavy RAF and USAAF bombing raids. Bulgaria's alliance with Germany proved to be a disaster for the country, but there was very little real strategic value for the...Show More

Railways, Revolution and Sun Yat Sen: 1860-1925

36:59 | Jul 27th, 2016

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, railways and steam boats became tools for European powers to colonially exploit a weakened China. Following the 1911 revolution however, rail became a key device by the nationalist Sun Yat Sen to unify a cha...Show More

Britain's Interwar Press Barons

36:24 | Jul 20th, 2016

In the 1920s and 1930s the ownership of Britain's newspapers concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. Lords Northcliffe, Rothermere and Beaverbrook were able to wield unprecedented political power because they had captured a mass audience of ...Show More

The Battle of Tsushima and its aftermath

36:52 | Jul 12th, 2016

In 1905 the destruction of the Russian fleet by the Japanese sent political and cultural shockwaves throughout the world. Colonised Asia saw weaknesses in European power that had hitherto never been revealed. The implications for European colonial po...Show More

The Development of the Nazi Concentration Camps

35:29 | Jul 3rd, 2016

In March 1933 the arrest of thousands of communists, socialists and trade unions saw the birth of Hitler's concentration camp system. However, the idea that the camps were a product of an ordered and planned seizure of power should be revised as new ...Show More

Western Intellectuals and Mao's China

34:16 | Jun 24th, 2016

Why did British, American and European philosophers, writers and journalists embrace Maoism and the violent repression of China after 1949? This podcast attempts to explore the thoughts and motivations of a range of sympathetic 'fellow travellers'.

Nixon, Ford and Carter 1974-1980

34:31 | Jun 15th, 2016

In the mid to late 1970s, faith in politicians and a belief in the moral sanctity of the office of President went into decline in the USA. The Watergate Scandal that ended the career of Richard Nixon was followed by the presidencies of Gerald Ford an...Show More

The British Labour Movement 1880-1914

38:03 | Jun 6th, 2016

How did the British Labour Party emerge after 1900, from a wide array of affiliated socialist parties and trade unions? This podcast explores the origins and the rise of the party and its effect on British politics in the Edwardian era.

The Democratic National Convention 1968

35:11 | May 31st, 2016

In August 1968, during a year of violence and political tension in America, protesters fought a pitched battle in the streets of Chicago with the police. The anti Vietnam war demonstrators clashed outside the Democratic National Convention, while ins...Show More

Antonio Gramsci

34:23 | May 20th, 2016

Between 1926 and 1937 the Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci was imprisoned by Mussolini's fascist government following the dictator's crack down on left wing parties. During his incarceration he wrote some of the most important critiques of capita...Show More

East German Anti Semitism 1949

36:36 | May 6th, 2016

In 1949, following the creation of the Soviet controlled German Democratic Republic, Walter Ulbricht, the German Communist Party leader unleashed a wave of repression against the last surviving Jews. The repression was inspired by events in the USSR ...Show More

MacArthur and Japan

35:02 | Apr 29th, 2016

In 1945, following the dropping of two atom bombs on Japan, General Douglas MacArthur became the ruler of the country for six years. He imposed on Japan a modern constitution, while helping to absolve Emperor Hirohito from any blame in the atrocities...Show More

The Fall of Budapest

35:17 | Apr 20th, 2016

In January 1945 the city of Budapest was surrounded by the Red Army and Hitler's occupying forces made a desperate and futile last stand. The siege of the city by the Red Army is often overshadowed by the subsequent downfall of Berlin, but the conseq...Show More

Poland, Palestine and Zionism

37:42 | Apr 19th, 2016

In the second half of the 1930s the Polish Government abandoned its previously liberal policies towards Poland's large Jewish population and instead hoped to force mass migration to the British mandate of Palestine. Their partners in this endeavour ...Show More

The Counterculture and the 1960s

40:17 | Apr 11th, 2016

In the 1960s a diverse movement of protest and activism closely associated (but not limited to) the hippy movement developed in the USA. The politicised parts of the counterculture demanded the overthow of capitalism but did not look to the USSR as a...Show More

Brezhnev and Soviet Stagnation

43:24 | Mar 26th, 2016

When Leonid Brezhnev came to power in 1964 he was determined to undo many of the liberalising reforms of his predecessor Nikita Khrushchev. However, his appointment of Alexei Kosygin gave joint control of the economy to a moderniser who attempted to ...Show More

John Maynard Keynes and the American Loan

41:34 | Mar 18th, 2016

At the end of the Second World War, the USA reshaped the world economy in its own interests. The acute economic problems facing great Britain due to the cost of the war were a matter of indifference to many US policy makers and large sections of the ...Show More

Rudolf Hoess

34:56 | Mar 10th, 2016

When Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz between 1940 and 1943 was tried for his crimes in 1947 he was open and revealing about the process of genocide at the camp and the attitudes of the SS men under his command to their work. The testimony r...Show More

Lawrence of Arabia

34:02 | Mar 1st, 2016

In 1916 a British officer, Thomas Edward Lawrence and an Arab prince, Feisal of Mecca led a guerrilla army of Bedouin against the Ottoman Empire in Arabia. In the 1920s Lawrence became an international celebrity due to his wartime exploits and he has...Show More

American Suburbia and Segregation

37:36 | Feb 19th, 2016

In the post war decades the dream of new affordable housing came true for millions of white Americans. Black, Latino, Jewish and other ethnic minority families were excluded from the new utopia of the suburbs and instead many lived in increasingly de...Show More

Britain's Role in Vietnam 1945

38:11 | Feb 5th, 2016

At the end of the Second World War, the British Army marched into the French colony of Indochina, which had been occupied by Japan for the previous four years. The British used Japanese and Indian troops to prevent a Viet Minh nationalist government ...Show More

Women's political publishing 1850-1918

33:28 | Jan 25th, 2016

In the second half of the 19th Century a quiet publishing revolution was taking place. Victorian ladies with education and wealth were able to produce new newspapers, pamphlets and books demanding equal political and legal rights for women.

France's Empire between the world wars

35:54 | Jan 20th, 2016

Between 1918 and 1939 France's overseas colonial empire, like Britain's, grew with the acquisition of Ottoman territories as mandates. France's empire was ruled using different ideas and institutions to Britain but both systems struggled to hold toge...Show More

The Partition of India 1947

35:08 | Jan 15th, 2016

In 1947, two days after India became an independent nation, the plans to partition the country into a Hindu India and Muslim East and West Pakistan were announced. British policies of divide and rule, combined with hastily drawn up boundaries and a l...Show More

India in 1945

36:21 | Jan 5th, 2016

In 1945, after the devastation of a long war across Asia, Britain's hold over her Indian empire was greatly weakened. The new Labour Government was notionally committed to Indian independence, but it was the inability of Britain to continue ruling an...Show More

Stalinist Architecture

39:00 | Dec 23rd, 2015

In the aftermath of the October Revolution in 1917, Constructivism, a radical avante garde modernist style of architecture became influential. The Constructivists enthusiasm for the revolution was not shared by Lenin and the Bolsheviks who viewed it ...Show More

Harry Truman 1945

35:11 | Dec 14th, 2015

Following the death of US president Franklin Roosevelt, his successor, Harry Truman entered the Oval Office in the last days of World War Two. The inexperienced and untested president charted a new course in US diplomacy, ending his predecessor's acc...Show More

Nixon and Kissinger 1968-74

35:43 | Dec 9th, 2015

By the end of the 1960s the Cold War was in deadlock and America was mired in war in Vietnam. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger attempted to address these crises but in a secretive and controlling fashion. The results were a major shift in Cold War r...Show More

Subhas Chandra Bose

37:38 | Nov 30th, 2015

During the Second World War, Subhas Chandra Bose courted Soviet, Nazi and Imperial Japanese leaders in order to build an army to force the British out of India. He died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945 but was seen by many in India as a freedom fig...Show More

The Tories and the Miners 1970-1984

46:48 | Nov 17th, 2015

In 1974 the government of Edward Heath was defeated in an election called to give Heath a mandate against the trade unions. His nemesis was the miners union organiser Arthur Scargill. In 1984 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher inflicted a crushing defe...Show More

Asia after the atomic bomb

33:12 | Nov 9th, 2015

In August 1945 two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan ending the Second World War in Asia. However the bombs did not end conflict across the region, instead they ended Japan's involvement as an imperial power. Fighting continued in Asia throughout th...Show More

America in 1945

35:42 | Oct 30th, 2015

At the end of the Second World War, the USA was the wealthiest society in history and experienced an economic boom that was to last for nearly three decades. This boom had a profound transformational effect on American society and was the dawning of ...Show More

British and American Journalists and the Russian Revolution

36:18 | Oct 23rd, 2015

During the chaos of the First World War a generation of British and American correspondents in Russia astutely predicted the failure of the Provisional Government and came to see the Bolsheviks as a viable alternative. Some, like Arthur Ransome and J...Show More

Romania, Communism and the Holocaust

38:15 | Oct 14th, 2015

Throughout the 20th Century Romania has endured the twin catastrophes of fascism and communism. During the Second World War Romania was deeply involved in the holocaust and the development of an aggressive nationalism that remained undiminished throu...Show More

Thatcher, AIDS and sexual politics in the 1980s

33:33 | Oct 5th, 2015

Margaret Thatcher was a politician convinced that a return to 'family values' after two decades of seeming moral decline in the 60s and 70s was part of the key to restoring British fortunes. Throughout the 1980s, however, this manifested itself in a ...Show More

Goebbels and Total War

32:02 | Sep 28th, 2015

In February 1943, after one of the longest coldest winters of the war, the news that the German 6th Army had been lost at Stalingrad shocked the nation. In response Joseph Goebbels, the public face of the regime made the most important speech of his ...Show More

The Ku Klux Klan 1915-24

35:29 | Sep 23rd, 2015

During the First World War the racist terrorist organisation the Ku Klux Klan reformed and by 1924 boasted four million members. However five years later it was once more a political irrelevance.

The Berlin Wall 1961

36:38 | Sep 4th, 2015

In August 1961 East German and Soviet forces created a wall around West Berlin, preventing East Germans from fleeing to the west. The failures of Soviet Communism and the attractions of a prosperous west had led a fifth of the population to migrate. ...Show More

John Lennon in America: 1970-73

34:41 | Aug 21st, 2015

In the early 1970s John Lennon embarked on a brief and rather inglorious career as a political activist while based in America. His activism was an indication of the wider radicalisation of the decade and can help us to examine the prevalence of the ...Show More

The Origins of Mao's Cultural Revolution

33:52 | Aug 11th, 2015

In 1966 after four years of existing at the margins of the Chinese Communist Party following the disasters of the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong returned. He claimed that revisionist and right deviationist elements within the party were derailing the...Show More

Erich Fromm

30:45 | Aug 4th, 2015

Erich Fromm, one of the most overlooked intellectual figures of the 20th Century wrote insightful critiques of consumerist capitalism and explanations of the appeal of Nazism. His work also explored the dilemmas of being human in an increasingly alie...Show More

East Germany and the Sino Soviet Split

32:29 | Aug 3rd, 2015

By the early 1960s the once cordial relations between the USSR and The People's Republic of China had been replaced by suspicion and animosity. Two rival interpretations of communism vied for supremacy across the communist world and East Germany came...Show More

The Creation of the Red Army

33:51 | Jul 27th, 2015

by early 1918 the Bolshevik's revolution was in serious danger of being overthrown. Instead of elite troops the new government possessed poorly disciplined Red Guards. By 1921, the army was over three million strong and had defeated its enemies, but...Show More

Churchill and Greece

36:24 | Jul 13th, 2015

When the Nazis' occupation of Greece ended and a gradual withdrawal turned into a desperate retreat from the Red Army, a civil war in Greece began. The British occupied Athens in a bid to restore King George II and prevent a communist takeover, but i...Show More

Menachim Begin and Irgun

30:33 | Jul 7th, 2015

Towards the end of the Second World War, zionist terrorist Menachem Begin and the paramilitary organisation Irgun instigated their own war against the British authorities in Palestine. They sought to establish a Jewish state there and saw the British...Show More


31:47 | Jul 1st, 2015

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the British became increasingly aware that they were vulnerable to air attack, especially after the rise of Nazism in 1933. The policy of evacuating children from the inner cities to counter this threat began in 1939, b...Show More

Hunger, housing and the First Five Year Plan

33:34 | Jun 23rd, 2015

During Stalin's First Five Year Plan (1928-1932), the Russian population experienced greater material hardship and shortages than at any time since the Russian Civil War. Mass industrialisation led to food and housing shortages, resulting in misery a...Show More

Lyndon Johnson 1963-64

35:57 | Jun 16th, 2015

Lyndon Johnson had an antagonistic relationship with the Kennedy brothers but was indispensable to John F Kennedy as a political fixer. Following Kennedy's death he became President of the USA and won a landslide victory a year later. This podcast ex...Show More

Nixon, Ford and Carter 1974-1980

34:31 | Jun 14th, 2015

In the second half of the 1970s Americans developed a profound disillusionment with politics and a skepticism towards the office of president. The impact of Watergate and the apparent weakness of Nixon's two successors combined with an overall econom...Show More

The Representation of the People Act 1918

37:29 | Jun 14th, 2015

In March 1918 in Britain, Parliament voted to enfranchise property owning women for the first time. This podcast explores the wartime decisions that led to this moment of radical electoral reform.

Inflation 1916-1923

34:11 | Jun 8th, 2015

The massive increase in government spending, borrowing and currency devaluation that occurred during the First World War by all powers led to a global surge in inflation. This growth in prices had major implications for both the combatant powers and...Show More

Orde Wingate and Palestine

32:20 | Jun 1st, 2015

In 1936 a British Christian Zionist army officer, Orde Wingate, was posted to the British Mandate in Palestine to help quell the Arab revolt. Wingate's passionate support for the Jews in Palestine led to him organising a brutal counter insurgency aga...Show More

Ukraine 1918

35:24 | May 27th, 2015

As the Tsarist empire collapsed and Russia's new rulers, the Bolsheviks, negotiated with Germany at Brest Litovsk, the most important territory to both powers was Ukraine. The fate of the nation and its wealth of food and mineral resources would deci...Show More

Stalinist Consumerism

36:25 | May 19th, 2015

In the mid 1930s, the Soviet Union claimed that living standards in the USSR had surpassed those in the capitalist world. For a brief period during the Second Five Year Plan the regime's focus was on creating a consumer culture of department stores a...Show More

Mao's Hundred Flowers Campaign

30:23 | May 14th, 2015

Between 1956 and 1957 Mao Zedong took the unprecedented step of encouraging criticism amongst the people of the Chinese Communist Party. The deluge of anger and rage towards the party was overwhelming and swiftly inspired a brutal reaction from the d...Show More

The Berlin Crisis 1961

31:52 | Apr 28th, 2015

In 1961, the city of Berlin, divided between East and West since 1945 saw a more permanent division erected. A wall that cut the city in two prevented East Germans from crossing from East to West enticed by the promise of a better life. * Support...Show More

Britain's Labour Government 1945-51

32:35 | Apr 21st, 2015

In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the Labour Party swept to power on a mandate of social reform. Six years later, despite the creation of an almost universally popular National Health Service, the party was defeated in the 1951 election an...Show More

The Fall of Budapest, 2945

35:17 | Apr 20th, 2015

In January 1945 the city of Budapest was surrounded by the Red Army and Hitler's occupying forces made a desperate and futile last stand. The siege of the city by the Red Army is often overshadowed by the subsequent downfall of Berlin, but the conseq...Show More

Poland, Palestine and Zionism

37:42 | Apr 19th, 2015

In the mid 1930s the Polish government contemplated the mass deportation of its large Jewish population to the British Mandate of Palestine. This anti semitic policy gained support from an unlikely ally, the right wing zionist Jews that made up the r...Show More

The Bandung Conference

33:42 | Apr 1st, 2015

In 1955 one of the most important international conferences of the 20th Century took place in Bandung, Indonesia. The leaders of the recently decolonised nations of Africa and Asia met to forge new economic and diplomatic ties. The conference was the...Show More

Brezhnev and Soviet Stagnation

43:24 | Mar 26th, 2015

When Leonid Brezhnev came to power in 1964 he was determined to undo many of the liberalising reforms of his predecessor Nikita Khrushchev. However, his appointment of Alexei Kosygin gave joint control of the economy to a moderniser who attempted to ...Show More

Mao and China's Peasants

29:47 | Mar 19th, 2015

In the immediate aftermath of the Chinese Civil War and the seizure of power by the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong began a violent struggle for control of China's countryside. In a bid to develop a rural powerbase for himself and his party, Mao ...Show More

The Amritsar Massacre

32:48 | Mar 11th, 2015

In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, British anxieties over revolutionary tensions in India were high. The action of a lone British general at Amritsar in April 1919 shattered the fragile peace between the colonising British and the col...Show More

Rudolf Hoess

34:56 | Mar 9th, 2015

When Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz between 1940 and 1943 was tried for his crimes in 1947 he was open and revealing about the process of genocide at the camp and the attitudes of the SS men under his command to their work. The testimony r...Show More

The Congress of Berlin

32:38 | Feb 25th, 2015

In 1878 tensions over the Balkans were close to exploding into a major European war. German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck held a conference in Berlin to resolve the tensions, but the result was simply the postponement of war, not its prevention.

The Frankfurt School

38:11 | Feb 23rd, 2015

In 1922, during the turbulent early years of the Weimar Republic a social research institute was established in Frankfurt. It was set up by Marxist intellectuals and the alumni of the school had a massive impact on 20th Century thought, examining the...Show More

The Expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe 1944-50

32:47 | Feb 19th, 2015

One of the biggest forced movements of populations in human history occurred in the final months of the Second World War and long into the post war era. Eastern European countries expelled their German populations and some estimated 12 million people...Show More

Wilson, Roosevelt and the USSR

29:11 | Feb 13th, 2015

Democrat presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt hoped the USSR could become a key part of the post war worlds they were involved in developing. Both men were willing to overlook many of the violent excesses of Lenin's Bolsheviks and later S...Show More

The Easter Rising 1916

30:14 | Jan 31st, 2015

At the start of the First World War the threat of civil war in Ireland between home rule nationalists and protestant unionists in the north began to recede. Two years later, however, a revolt in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 against the British was cr...Show More

Women's Political Publishing 1850-1918

33:28 | Jan 25th, 2015

In the second half of the 19th Century, the development of a new and diverse range of magazines, leaflets and books written by educated and wealthy Victorian women for a female audience had a radicalising effect on the women's movement. The desire fo...Show More

The Liberal Government and the First World War

33:21 | Jan 22nd, 2015

In the first two years of the First World War, British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith was a distant and detached character, leaving major decisions to the War Office, Winston Churchill and Horatio Kitchener. By 1915 two crises, munitions shortages an...Show More

The Red Summer 1919

29:57 | Jan 14th, 2015

In 1919 America experienced a post war explosion of racial violence. Black communities in over 30 cities across the USA were attacked by mobs, angry at the new economic opportunities that had opened up to black people as a result of the First World W...Show More

China and the First World War

32:42 | Jan 6th, 2015

During the First World War, nearly a hundred thousand poor Chinese labourers dug British trenches on the western front. Their government hoped that the war would provide opportunities to revise crippling treaties imposed on her by Britain and France ...Show More

Mussolini's Cult of Personality

33:08 | Jan 1st, 2015

Benito Mussolini dominated Italy for two decades and was able to rule partly because of the relationship he had with the Italian people. To many ordinary Italians he was an immensely popular figure and many viewed him as down to earth and in touch wi...Show More

The Potsdam Conference

32:17 | Dec 11th, 2014

The Potsdam Conference was the last major meeting of the allied powers and took place after the surrender of Germany. The conference was a key event in the development of the Cold War and drew up the conflict's battle grounds in Europe and Asia

The Wannsee Conference

40:00 | Dec 2nd, 2014

In January 1942 Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's deputy held a conference at Wannsee in Berlin to order the mass extermination of all of Europe's Jews. This podcast explores the relationship between the conference and the course of the war. For a deta...Show More