In April 1944, two Jewish prisoners miraculously escaped from Auschwitz. When they recounted what they had left behind, their harrowing testimony revealed the true horror of the Holocaust to the outside world for the first time. They described in forensic detail the gas chambers and the full extent of the extermination programme. The news they brought presented the Allies with one of the greatest moral questions of the 20th century: Should we bomb Auschwitz? While the Allies deliberated in London and Washington, the killing machine ground on in southern Poland. One month after the men’s escape, almost 800,000 Hungarian Jews had been rounded up awaiting transport to Auschwitz. By early July 1944, the majority had been transported. Most of them were murdered on arrival. As the killing at Auschwitz reached its frenzied climax, the outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance. Millions of troops were fighting on both fronts and battling for supremacy in the air. Should the Allies use their resources to push on and win the war or to stop the industrial slaughter at Auschwitz? The request to bomb the camp, with 30,000 captive prisoners, was remarkable and came from a place of utter desperation. But it was a direct response to the destruction of an entire people. There were operational challenges - was it possible to reach the camp to bomb it? How many heavy bombers would it take? What would the Nazi propaganda machine say about such an attack? - as well as complex moral ones. How many prisoners would likely die in such a raid? Can you kill friendly civilians in order to save the lives of those being transported towards the death camp? These were the hard questions faced by Churchill, Allied Air Command and the Jewish Agency.
The evacuation of allied troops from the beaches at Dunkirk was rightly celebrated as a great moment in British history. What very few people know, though, is that after Dunkirk tens of thousands of British troops were left in France, fighting for their lives. After the rest of the British army had gone home, the 51st Highland Division were ordered to fight on against the might of Adolf Hitler's war machine. Now, almost 80 years later, the only remaining survivors of that Division tell their extraordinary story for the first time - and probably the last. Using recently declassified secret documents, the full details of their fight for survival and why they were left to fight on in France can now be revealed. It's the story of a desperate battle in the face of overwhelming odds, a remarkable, courageous last stand and the doomed maverick rescue mission launched to save the men of the 51st.
2018 • History
In the turbulent formative centuries of early Europe, power-hungry family dynasties fought for domination of the continent. The conflicting ambitions of the Plantagenet king of England, Edward III, and the Valois king of France, Philip VI, brought intrigue, war, kidnapping and mayhem to France.
S1E1 • The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2017 • History
While the Viking raids have come one after another in the Occident for almost a century, in November 885, hundreds of Scandinavian boats sailing towards Burgundy present themselves before the walls of Paris and besiege the city.