"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.
Forty years ago, hundreds of skeletons were unearthed in a mass grave in an English village. Bioarchaeologist Cat Jarman believes these bones are the last remains of the “Great Heathen Army,” a legendary Viking fighting force that invaded England in the ninth century and has long been lost to history. Armed with the latest scientific methods, Cat’s team uncovers extraordinary human stories from the front line, including evidence of women fighters and a lost warrior reunited with his son in death
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.
Between 1950 and 1953, more than 24 nations sent troops to Korea as the opposing ambitions and ideologies of the emerging Cold War superpowers - China, Russia and the USA - fought for supremacy on the peninsula. With first-hand testimony and new historical material, Korea: The Never Ending War retraces the history of a conflict that resulted in millions of deaths, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, and continues to shape history to this day. The 1953 armistice brought a fragile peace to the Korean Peninsula, but the war has never officially ended and deep divisions - and the threat of nuclear conflict - remain.
2019 • History
Jago explores the ancient civilisation of Teotihuacan that exploded into a position of dominance in the ancient Americas almost 2,000 years ago. For hundred of years this great city state was the biggest in the New World. Its rulers built monumental pyramids and temples and then went on to build a vast empire that was maintained through force. Yet the identity of the people who led this civilisation remains a mystery.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change. The twelve years that composed the post-war Reconstruction era (1865-77) witnessed a seismic shift in the meaning and makeup of our democracy, with millions of former slaves and free black people seeking out their rightful place as equal citizens under the law. Though tragically short-lived, this bold democratic experiment was, in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, a 'brief moment in the sun' for African Americans, when they could advance and achieve education, exercise their right to vote, and run for and win public office.
2019 • History
Dr Helen Castor explores the life - and death - of Joan of Arc. Joan was an extraordinary figure - a female warrior in an age that believed women couldn't fight, let alone lead an army. But Joan was driven by faith, and today more than ever we are acutely aware of the power of faith to drive actions for good or ill. Since her death, Joan has become an icon for almost everyone - the left and the right, Catholics and Protestants, traditionalists and feminists. But where in all of this is the real Joan - the experiences of a teenage peasant girl who achieved the seemingly impossible? Through an astonishing manuscript, we can hear Joan's own words at her trial, and as Helen unpicks Joan's story and places her back in the world that she inhabited, the real human Joan emerges.
2015 • History