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.
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In 15th Century France confusion reigns with a king who goes mad, dauphines who die as teenagers, a queen who switches allegiances between rival dukes and multiple assassinations. And then, of course, there was the English king, Henry V, who also claimed the throne of France...
S1E2 • The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2017 • History
Humans have depended on fire for millennia, but do we fully understand the impact it has had on our diet? When our hunter-gatherer ancestors learned to harness this tool, it ignited a culinary and cerebral revolution believed to be one of the most important factors in our evolution.
1/5 • The History of Food • 2018 • History
The Story of Aerial Photographic Reconnaissance The fascinating story with newly released footage on how flying high and fast, and often unarmed, aircraft brought back valuable intelligence on the enemy in both war and peace. Sometimes they did not return. We have come a long way since the first few silk-suited aerostiers of the French revolution ascended in tethered balloons to scan the battlefield through wobbly telescopes. In just 230 years, humanity has progressed from its first faltering flights to the capability to photograph from space an object the size of a grapefruit - a testament both to technological progress and our need to keep a close eye on the world around us. From the days of artillery-spotting balloons the extensive use of aerial reconnaissance began in the Great War and has continued throughout wartime and peacetime. Newly released footage shows the dangers that these planes faced flying high and fast in enemy territory. Many of these reconnaissance planes were unarmed with only their wits to guide them safely back home. Some however never returned.
18/20 • The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • History
At a critical juncture of the war in 1942, Germany's manufacturing capacity is strained and Hitler turns not to a general but architect Albert Speer.
8/10 • Hitler's Circle of Evil • 2017 • History
A mysterious band of pirates plunders the Mediterranean coast – leaving destruction in its wake. Empires fall, but out of the chaos, we discover iron. Armed with this wonder metal, ordinary folk can overthrow tyrants and build a new world order. From the birth of democracy in Athens, to the creation of the Bible in Babylon – people power reshapes Mankind.
2/12 • Mankind: The Story of All of Us • 2012 • History
In 1415, the Portuguese launch an era of explorations that will lead to the European discovery of the world. The competition is intense between France and the United Kingdom for the possession of North America and the West Indies for the Indian colonies, but also for Science.
S3E4 • Butterfly Effect • 2018 • History