The story of the decline of the French empire and the indelible mark colonialism left on countries that were colonised. In the mid-to-late 19th century, the French and other European powers colonised much of Africa and Southeast Asia. During the decades of imperialism, these industrialising powers viewed the African and Asian continents as reservoirs of raw materials, labour and territory for future settlement. In most cases, however, significant development and European settlement in these colonies was sporadic. After the second world war, the French and European colonial empires started falling apart. By 1966, most French-controlled territories and colonies gained independence, and new nation states were established. This three-part series charts the history of that period of decolonisation, and explores the debates about assimilation, race, identity and citizenship that have troubled France from then until now. Featuring interviews with war veterans and descendants of those who experienced the "blood and tears" of colonialism and decolonisation directly – in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific – it also looks at the indelible mark this has left on the hearts and souls of close to half a billion people across five continents and some 45 countries.
Americans are shocked by terrible losses on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa, while in Italy Allied forces are stalled for months at Monte Cassino and a risky landing at Anzio fails utterly. At home, as overcrowded "war towns" boom, economic transformation leads to confrontation and ugly racial violence.
Hitler becomes chancellor in 1933 after the German economy collapses and sets out to ensure the Nazi party's members dominate every aspect of society. One year later, he is proclaimed Fuehrer, beginning an ideological and military programme that eventually lead to the invasion of Poland and the start of the Second World War.
Over 100 years ago an unidentified mummy was found lying alongside some of the most famous pharaohs in Egyptian history but his face is locked in an eternal scream. In 1881, a bizarre mummy was unwrapped by a team of Victorian Egyptologists. Known today as the Screaming Man or Man E, he was very different from previously discovered royal mummies. What caused this mans haunting expression? Why wasn't he mummified according to custom? Find out what makes him different: Unknown Man E is nameless and, according to Egyptian beliefs, unable to move on to the afterlife because his body, wrapping, and coffin were left completely unmarked.
Tracing the origins of Egypt's unique visual style, he treks across the Sahara and travels the Nile to find the rarely-seen art of its earliest peoples. Exploring how this civilisation's art reflected its religion, he looks anew at the Great Pyramid, and the statuary and painting of the Old Kingdom. Sooke is amazed by the technical prowess of ancient artists whose skills confound contemporary craftsmen.
Simon explores modern Istanbul in search of the last desperate centuries of Christian Byzantium, in which the once glorious city was buffeted by enemies in both East and West, and yet still produced a golden artistic renaissance. This is story of the Christian crusaders who destroyed the city, and the Ottoman Muslims who restored it to life as an imperial capital after the epic siege of 1453.