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
King and Country tells the story of the first years of war in 1914 and 1915, culminating in the Battle of Loos when the Pals Battalions who had enthusiastically volunteered to serve had their first taste of the horror of mass industrialized warfare.
The flash of the first atomic blasts exposes a multi-billion dollar clandestine operation: The Manhattan Project. A modern state secrecy apparatus emerges directly out of Los Alamos – only to find itself immediately compromised as Russia announces its own atomic arsenal. Radiation testing on unsuspecting civilians. An 800 page American World War III battle plan that targeted 600 million civilians. Broken Arrows. And the real stories of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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.
2020 • History
Norway's World War II Radio Spies A group of Norwegians, separate from Milorg, the main Resistance movement, sent back intelligence of German activities in their country by radio direct to the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Among their coups was tracking down the German battleship Tirpitz. They were often infiltrated back into their country by the Shetland Bus, a group of Norwegian fishing smacks based in the Shetland Islands. When Hitler invaded Norway in 1940, some fled, most submitted...and a courageous few became Fjord Watchers-spies. Whether roaming a busy Oslo street or foraging in a remote mountain cabin, they radioed a constant stream of intelligence to Allied forces even as German soldiers relentlessly hunted them. Special agents such as Torstein Raaby, whose reports helped sink the infamous German battleship Tirpitz, and author Thor Heyerdahl would pose as merchants, fishermen an laborers while they scrutinized Hitler's every move. They were the eyes, ears and voice of the armies that liberated Norway.
8/20 • The True Action Adventures of the Twentieth Century • 1996 • History