The little-known story of the American effort to relieve starvation in the new Soviet Russia in 1921, The Great Famine is a documentary about the worst natural disaster in Europe since the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. Five million Russians died. Half a world away, Americans responded with a massive two-year relief campaign, championed by Herbert Hoover, director of the American Relief Administration known as the ARA. In July of 1921, Herbert Hoover, received a plea for international aid by Russian novelist Maxim Gorky. "Gloomy days have come for the country of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Mendeleyev," Gorky warned. He made a similar request to other Western nations, but it was Hoover who responded immediately with a promise of support. The first American relief ships arrived in Petrograd in September 1921, as the embers of the 1917 Russian revolution still smoldered. American relief workers were among the first outsiders to break through Russia's isolation and to witness and record the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution. They would be tested by a railroad system in disarray, a forbidding climate, a ruthless government suspicious of their motives, and the enormous scale of death and starvation. The initial plan called for feeding one million children by delivering bread, rice, grits, sugar, corn and milk to the most hard hit regions. Almost immediately, Hoover encountered formidable obstacles. Vladimir Lenin's new communist government was skeptical of American aid and sabotaged the relief effort by planting spies in local American Relief Administration offices. When trains stuck on the tracks prevented food from being transported, Russian officials were uncooperative, resulting in delays that contributed to an estimated 50,000 deaths. New estimates in the fall of 1921 revealed that at least 16 million Russians would be impacted by the famine. Hoover's initial plan to feed just the children would not be sufficient. That winter, cannibalism became widespread across Russia as the people continued to starve. In the U.S., Hoover managed to double the project's funding, arguing that by providing food famine relief, Americans could demonstrate the strength, kindness and efficiency of American society to a Communist culture. After a spring thaw, hundreds of American relief workers — nicknamed "Hoover's boys" — were finally able to deliver food. In August 1922, a full five months after the initial shipments of corn were sent to Russia, American Relief Administration officials were still feeding almost 11 million Soviet citizens each day in 19,000 kitchens. By the end of the famine that fall, five million Russians had starved to death, but the toll would have been significantly higher without Hoover's unprecedented humanitarian commitment. Known as "the Great Humanitarian" for his relief work during and after World War I, Hoover is said to have saved more lives than any person in history. "Lenin's government never recognized America's humanitarian motives," says producer Austin Hoyt (George H. W. Bush, Victory in the Pacific, Reagan). The Soviets always saw the relief workers as exploiters and spies." The Cheka, Lenin's secret police, kept a watchful eye on the Americans and especially on the 120,000 Russians the ARA hired to do the work. White Russians and aristocrats, the losers in Russia's brutal civil war, were hired because they were educated. The Bolsheviks feared the ARA was training them as counter-revolutionaries. The tensions the Americans experienced in the early 1920s would come to dominate U.S. Soviet relations for much of the century.
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The Roman army turns its attention to an island of rich resources, powerful tribes and druids, and advanced military equipment - Britain. This episode tells the story of the Celts' last stand against the Roman army - a revolt led by another great leader, the warrior queen Boudicca.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 4: Into the Light) Andrew Marr reaches the Middle Ages. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe was little more than a muddy backwater. Vikings explored and pillaged from Northern Europe to North America. But they also laid the foundations of powerful new trading states - including Russia. This was also the Golden Age of Islam, and the knowledge of ancient civilisations from India, Persia and Greece was built upon by Islamic scholars in Baghdad's House of Wisdom. By exploring the conquests of Genghis Khan, the adventures of Marco Polo and the extraordinary story of an African King - the wealthiest who ever lived - Marr finds out how Europe emerged from the so-called 'Dark Ages' and used influences from around the world to rise again with the Renaissance.
Dr Spencer Wells retraces the footsteps of 200 random New Yorkers and proves they are all cousins. On a single day on a single street, with the DNA of just a couple of hundred random people, National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral footsteps of all humanity. Narrated by Kevin Bacon, The Human Family Tree travels to one of the most diverse corners of the world -- Queens, N.Y. -- to demonstrate how we all share common ancestors who embarked on very different journeys. The goal: to retrace our ancestral footprints and prove we are all cousins in the "family of man." Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancient origin back to the cradle of humanity, East Africa. What did our collective journey look like, and where did it take your specific ancestors? At what point in our past did we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in our neighborhood? Now, in The Human Family Tree, the people of this quintessential American melting pot find out that their connections go much deeper than a common ZIP code. Cutting edge science, coupled with a cast of New Yorkers – each with their own unique genetic history - will help paint a picture of these amazing journeys. Ultimately, Man's First Migrations answers some of humanity's most burning questions, such as who we are and where we come from, and forces us to change how we think not only about our relationships with our neighbours, but ourselves.