On June 28th, 1914, the assassination of an obscure Austrian archduke in Sarajevo triggers the most disastrous conflict the world has ever known. Germany becomes an enemy to France, invades Belgium, and in September arrives at the gates of Paris.
The French army stops the German advance at the battle of the Marne, while the Germans halt the Russians at Tannenberg on the eastern front. In France, the warring parties dig themselves in for 4 years in the trenches. Soldiers from the colonies come lend a hand to their colonizers and the war becomes global.
2014 • History
1916. The war is raging in Europe and stretches from the trenches in France to the Italian Alps and the Balkans, and beyond to the gates of the Eastern world. The conflict becomes industrial, and millions of shells rain down on the battlefields; Verdun and the Somme are the deadliest battles in this second year of the war. Who can stop this infernal machine?
2014 • History
1917. People have had enough of the war. Behind the scenes, uprisings are brewing, like the one that toppled the Tsar in Russia; on the front soldiers begin to mutiny as they did at Chemin des Dames in France. German submarine attacks in the Atlantic will finally pull the Americans into the war, but they arrive too late to help prevent the carnage of the Battle of Passchendaele.
2014 • History
All seems lost for the Allies. The Italians are defeated at Caporette, and a Bolshevik Russia pulls out of the war. But the American reinforcements are decisive, and the Allies emerge victorious. The Allies are unable to negotiate an honorable peace agreement, and the Treaty of Versailles, 20 years later, will have disastrous consequences.
2014 • History
Both the Allies and the Nazis were always looking for a single knock-out blow to end the war. Britain's Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris thought the answer might lie in "strategic bombing." The idea was to blow the belt out of Germany's infrastructure and cities. This, he argued, would cripple the Nazis ability to wage a war and the ordinary people would soon lose the will to fight. But it led directly to the tragedy of Dresden, when Allied planes firebombed tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. The Germans believed that the decisive stranglehold would come from their submarines. If they could only cut American supply lines to Britain across the Atlantic, then the Allied effort would collapse. So begun a long game of cat and mouse between U-Boats and British and American convoys.
Where and when does the history of Europe begin? The traces lead to ancient Greece, more precisely to Crete: Here we not only found the first high culture of the continent, but also the founding myth, to which it owes its name: the kidnapping of the princess Europa by the Greek god Zeus.
Beginning with the day, around 60 AD, when Roman troops invaded Boudica's settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters, Bettany Hughes reveals the stark realities of brutal Roman rule. The outrage provoked the Iceni queen to lead a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia.
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.
2019 • History
From Caves to Cosmos focuses on the deep roots of Native America: Who are America’s First Peoples and how did they create their unique world? Answers emerge from Hopi Elders on pilgrimage at sacred Chaco Canyon in the New Mexico desert, scientists examining ancient cave painting in the Amazon jungle, Chumash boat builders exploring their tribe’s ancient migration legacy off California’s coast, and an archaeologist digging deep below a towering pyramid near Mexico City`