Was he an incompetent ruler, a brutal tyrant, or a great leader? 2,000 years after his death, the legacy of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, remains a point of debate. His role in ending centuries of conflict between warring factions and creating China's first imperial dynasty is indisputable, yet he has questionably been portrayed as a violent oppressor. Through ancient texts, artifacts, and expert insights, revisit the life of this complicated and influential figure.
2019 • History
D-Day is underway, but at Omaha Beach, 'the Bedford Boys', volunteers of the US 29th Infantry Division, find themselves thrown into freezing surf and a murderous German cross-fire. As the first assault waves are mown down on the ramps of their landing craft, it looks like the Allied invasion of Europe might be careering towards disaster. But at other beaches the British, Canadian and US troops are soon able to advance inland. For the local French population it is a moment of joy, but also great danger. Hundreds are killed when the RAF bombs the Norman town of Caen – one of their D-Day objectives. The fighting inland is no less fierce than on the beaches. As 'the Longest Day' draws to a close, rumours circulate on both sides that the enemy is shooting its prisoners.
Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Normans on southern Europe and the Middle East. The Normans spread south in the 11th century, winning control of southern Italy and the island of Sicily. There they created their most prosperous kingdom, where Christianity and Islam co-existed in relative harmony and mutual tolerance. It became a great centre of medieval culture and learning. But events in the Middle East provoked the more aggressive side of the Norman character. In 1095, the Normans enthusiastically answered the Pope's call for holy war against Islam and joined the first crusade. They lay siege to Jerusalem and eventually helped win back the holy city from the muslims. This bloody conquest left a deep rift between Christianity and Islam which is still being felt to this day.
It seems an odd thing to crow about given the cultural wealth of Edo, at the time the largest city in the world, but this pride in the city's water system wasn't misplaced. Cool, pure water carried by pipes to the city's remotest corners was indeed a byword for the quality of life in Edo as well as being the lifeblood of the city's prosperity.
In episode two we explore the Ottoman Empire’s Golden Age and chart the height of its expansion into Europe, climaxing with the 1683 siege of Vienna. The episode opens in Istanbul where Presenter Julian Davison explores the reign of the Empire’s most successful Sultan, Sulieman the Magnificent. A sophisticated ruler, Sulieman not only encouraged artistic and architectural achievement but helped to organise and unify the wide range of cultures and religions across his growing empire.
Day by day. Hour by hour. Second by second. This is the story of last century's bloodiest conflict told in a concise and compelling 3 hour special. Including personal accounts, strategic analysis and rare footage, Inside WWII provides a new and intimate perspective on the experience of war. A soldier's duty is not to reason why; a soldier's duty is to do or die. Inside World War II is the story of the doing and the dying … in the defining conflict of the 20th century. From the producers of the critically acclaimed specials Inside 9/11 and Inside the Vietnam War comes a three-hour television event that provides a detailed visual timeline of this complex war, with personal, in-depth stories from veterans who fought in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Inside World War II combines archival footage with more than 50 testimonies from American, British, German and Soviet servicemen; a former member of the Hitler Youth; and Jewish and black Germans who endured persecution under Hitler's reign. Viewers hear from America's first Japanese American senator, Daniel Inouye, in one of his final interviews before passing away, as he describes with haunting candor what it was like to kill someone during battle. "He had on this German hat, so I told the men, 'That's mine.' He was not only my first, but when I think back, I think back with horror because I was proud." Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient for his service in World War II, goes on to say, "You don't forget the horrors of the war." The explosive first hour of Inside World War II begins in pre-war Germany at the 1936 Olympics, with American distance runner Louis Zamperini describing in an original, never-before-seen interview what it was like to meet Adolf Hitler. "His face, his mustache, the way he combed his hair. I mean he looked like somebody purposely did cosmetics on him for a comedy. He was, to us, a dangerous comedian." The second hour explores the attitudes of soldiers fresh from battle, including Harold Brown, an original Tuskegee Airman who recalls what it was like to fly next to and protect long-range bombers, and Paratrooper Earl McClung, who shares a harrowing tale of being stranded behind enemy lines. Author Benjamin Patton also explains how his grandfather General Patton commanded a ghost army to mislead the enemy, "He was commanding a fictitious Army group that was made up of inflatable tanks and cardboard vehicles, and tents," while General Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy. Inside World War II culminates with the dramatic events of 1945, from Hitler's suicide to the revelation of Nazi concentration camps. And we'll hear Col. Paul Tibbets address the media after dropping the world's first wartime atomic bomb: "We saw this cloud of boiling dust and debris below us with this tremendous mushroom on top. Beneath that was hidden the ruins of the city of Hiroshima." As Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton, 101st Airborne, US Army (Ret.), in the last interview he gave before his death last year, concludes, "I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not that it was fun, but I think of it as it's a part of my life. And just lucky that I lived through it."
2012 • History