It's said that journalists write the first draft of history. To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor and longest-serving correspondent, goes back to his reports on what he believes is the most important story he ever covered – the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.
Simon Sebag Montefiore looks at how every event in ancient Rome revolved around religion. From the foundation myth through to the deification of emperors, nothing could happen without calling upon the pantheon of Roman gods. Simon investigates how the Romans worshipped and sacrificed to the gods. He discovers that sacredness defined what was Roman and it was the responsibility of every Roman to play their part in the cult. Even the ancient Roman sewer was holy ground!
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.
Which ten events will stay in our minds and hearts as those that marked history Martin Luther king’s i have a dream speech influenced civil rights laws, apartheid ended in south Africa, a bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and man landed on the moon.
Michael Buerk looks at the transformation of the nation during the Victorian era, telling the surprising stories behind famous landmarks and the hidden heroes behind epic constructions. He begins by revealing how the Victorians created public transport and sewerage systems. Michael Buerk looks at how the Victorians created what is now known as the modern home, exploring the huge rise in house-building during the period. He travels to Fakenham, Norfolk, to visit the last remaining gasworks in England, and discovers how the Victorians mastered the art of producing `town gas" from coal. He also investigates how the kitchen was transformed with the advent of gas cookers, as more complex meals including the Sunday roast steadily became the norm across the nation.
2018 • History