This is one of the last and greatest untold stories of the Second World War, revealed by the last surviving Chief of State, King Michael I of Romania. “We took the train to Berlin to see the other side of the coin and we had lunch with Hitler. It wasn’t an enjoyable meeting.” It is the story of a King’s decision who, in a critical moment of the Second World War, relinquished Germany’s support, guiding Romania towards the Allies, thus bringing about a quicker end to the war. It is a story of palatial intrigues. And a story of deceptions. From Buckingham Palace to Bucharest. From Moscow to Washington. Lost diplomatic signals, aristocrat spies and blackmail at gun point. And the courage of a young king who dared. Romania, at the outbreak of the Second World War, was a very young nation, with an age of only 20 years.
Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 32BC when Octavian, Julius Caesar's adopted son, stole the secret will of Mark Antony, his most dangerous political rival. The document's release gave Octavian crucial support in the civil war that followed and allowed him to establish himself as Rome's first emperor, Augustus.
Simon discovers surprises in Istanbul as it rose to become the imperial capital and Islam's most powerful city. Visiting the great mosques and palaces built by the Ottoman emperors, he tells the stories behind them - of royal concubines, murderous bodyguards and sultans both the powerful and the depraved. He shows how the Christians, Muslims and Jews of the city once co-existed before the waves of nationalist rebellions brought the Ottoman empire to its knees. In the 20th century the ancient capital was once more transformed by the new secular vision of Ataturk.
The end of the War in the Pacific is one of the greatest and most terrible tales of modern history. The Japanese fought to the bitter end and continued to fight island by island, hill by hill. US Air Force command tried bombing Japan into submission, firebombing Tokyo but could not break the Japanese resolve. Over 200,000 people died. In the end, President Truman decided to go nuclear and the fates of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sealed.
On a journey through Ancient Egyptian art, Alastair Sooke picks treasures from its most opulent and glittering moment. Starting with troubling psychological portraits of tyrant king Senwosret III and ending with the golden mask of boy king Tutankhamun, Sooke also explores architectural wonders, exquisite tombs and a lost city - site of the greatest artistic revolution in Egypt's history where a new sinuous style was born under King Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. Along the way Egyptologists and artists reveal that the golden veneer conceals a touching humanity.
In episode two we explore the Ottoman Empire’s Golden Age and chart the height of its expansion into Europe, climaxing with the 1683 siege of Vienna. The episode opens in Istanbul where Presenter Julian Davison explores the reign of the Empire’s most successful Sultan, Sulieman the Magnificent. A sophisticated ruler, Sulieman not only encouraged artistic and architectural achievement but helped to organise and unify the wide range of cultures and religions across his growing empire.