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Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.
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.
Continuing his fascinating journey to rediscover the central role played by the Ottoman empire in Europe and the Middle East, Rageh Omaar explores the huge contrasts in the times of two very different Ottoman sultans. The most famous Suleiman the Magnificent in the golden age of the 16th century and the troubled reign of Abdul Hamid II in the 19th century when the Ottomans were dubbed 'the Sick Man of Europe'. Rageh examines the cultural legacy as well as the physical, religious and political architecture of Ottoman rule to find out what a Muslim world run from Europe was really like. It reveals the backdrop to the relationship between Islam and Europe today, how the Ottomans became central in the power politics of Europe and what could have happened had they succeeded in their successive bids to seize Vienna, then a key European capital.
How He Helped the Arabs to Liberate Their Lands from the Turks The story of T E Lawrence's exploits with the Arabs during the Great War. Hitherto unseen clips of Lawrence riding in the desert with King Faisal and the victorious arrival into Damascus. Thomas Edward Lawrence was dispatched to Arabia in 1915 to support Britain's war effort there. Lawrence grew to love the desert people and their struggle and made it his private agenda to ensure that Britain granted the Arabs independence from Turkey as promised. Lawrence led countless raids on railways, long desert treks and repeated assaults on Gaza. He endured capture and brutal torture that scarred him emotionally and served to bolster his resolve. His heroism made him legendary in Arabia and worldwide. T.E. Lawrence was probably one of the greatest adventurers of the Great War and was immortalised in film by Peter O'Toole. But what was the true story behind this man who helped liberate the Arabs from the Turks? This documentary contains rare footage of Lawrence of Arabia riding with King Faisal at their triumphant arrival into Damascus.
7/20 • The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • History
"Had the party given me orders, maybe East Germany would still exist today. You can count on that." (Erich Mielke, Minister of State Security from 1957-1989) An informative and chilling account of the history of the notorious East German secret police, the Stasi. Up to 90,000 full-time employees and more than 180,000 unofficial informants work for the Ministry for State Security of the GDR, and about one in 50 adults in East Germany collaborated with East Germany's Secret Police. Relative to population, it was the largest secret service in the history of mankind. Headed by the sinister Erich Mielke, the Stasi kept the East German population under constant surveillance. The Stasi - just another intelligence agency, in just another country? "Shield and Sword of the Party" is what the Stasi calls itself. The Party dictatorship never dares to face its opponents. Instead, the Stasi has to keep all dissenting opinions under control. The goal is total total surveillance. In addition to the state security, the "Stasi" is responsible for foreign intelligence and counter-espionage, personal and property protection, border and passport controls. As the party's shield and sword, the MfS is supposed to keep all enemies of the state under control. "Die Firma: Stasi" takes a look at the extent of Stasi work and shows the omnipresence of state security - from the enormous headquarters of the Ministry in Berlin through district administrations, local offices, detention facilities, prisons, disguised isolation camps, hidden bunkers, reconnaissance planes, eavesdropping stations to the secret execution site of the GDR. Through tapping phones, reading mail, and installing informers they created an insidious culture of fear and suspicion. This definitive doc reveals the calculated cruelty and brutal repression committed by East Germany's most infamous organization.
2007 • History
The Story of the Parachute Parachutists are a breed apart, for few experience the freedom and the whims and the very substance of the air as they do. From its original development and use during the Great War, through the beginning of sport parachuting between the wars and its use in World War II (including airborne forces) to the skydivers of today. Includes footage of early unsuccessful attempts. A history of parachuting incorporates the pioneers, those who have leapt for their lives from stricken aircraft, the paratroopers who used the parachute to carry them to battle , the show-jumpers, the Sky Divers who jump simply for pleasure and the test jumpers who made it possible for them to do so. Like many inventions the parachute was originally developed during the heat of battle in the Great War. During the inter-war years it started to develop as a sport but came into its maturity in the Second World War with the development of airborne forces, which played a key part in Hitler's invasion plans. The skydivers of today are the latest in a long list of those who sought to descend from the skies; sometimes with unfortunate consequences. It is a story that relates the excitement, the triumph, and the tragedy that have accompanied parachuting through the years.
5/10 • The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • History