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History! The most exciting and important things that have ever happened on the planet. Powerful kings, warrior queens, nomads, empires and expeditions. Historian Dan Snow and his expert guests bring all these stories to life and more in a daily dose of history. Join Dan as he digs into the past to make sense of the headlines and get up close to the biggest discoveries being made around the world today, as they happen. If you want to get in touch with the podcast, you can email us at ds.hh@hi ...
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Join Don Wildman twice a week for your hit of American history, as he explores the past to help us understand the United States of today. We’ll hear how codebreakers uncovered secret Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway, visit Chief Powhatan as he prepares for war with the British, see Walt Disney accuse his former colleagues of being communists, and uncover the dark history that lies beneath Central Park. From pre-colonial America to independence, slavery to civil rights, the gold rush t ...
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What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever. Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad ...
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Where did baseball come from? Why is every stadium unique? And how do you make it to the Hall of Fame? For half the year, baseball remains a national pastime in the USA. It is also a game of many myths, and plenty of legends. In this episode, Don speaks to one of them - Joe Posnanski is a two time Emmy Award winner and has been named National Sport…
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Dan and military historian Stephen Fischer record a moment by moment play of the dramatic and bloody first crucial hour and a half of D-day, as it happened. They breakdown the assaults across the Normandy Beaches including Sword, Omaha and Gold, where over one hundred thousand British, American and Canadian troops landed under a barrage of German f…
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Girl groups have long been underestimated—even by the producers and managers who created them. For women listeners, girl groups narrated profound emotions and expressed personal freedom—even when the singers were not so free themselves. For male listeners, girl groups provided inspiration, and a way to express matters of the heart. And for all list…
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In the second episode of our D-Day series, we look to the skies. In the build-up to Operation Overlord, thousands of Allied pilots in heavy bombers and fighter planes ground down the Luftwaffe and destroyed vital infrastructure. On D-Day itself, they supported their comrades on the ground and at sea in roles ranging from reconnaissance to close air…
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Please note, this episode contains discussion of suicide. On 1 April 1945, as the Second World War in Europe was reaching its end, one of the bloodiest battles in the whole conflict commenced on a small island south of mainland Japan. It was the Battle of Okinawa. Saul David joined Dan Snow on our sister podcast, Dan Snow's History Hit, to provide …
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This is the often forgotten chapter of the D-Day story. To begin our series for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, we turn to the massive naval operations that made it all happen. On D-Day itself, 7,000 ships and 195,000 sailors undertook the gargantuan challenge of ferrying men, weapons and supplies ashore to begin the liberation of Europ…
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This is the story of a bloody mutiny aboard the Boston-based schooner, the Rising Sun. The ship had been on a routine smuggling voyage before it was violently seized by three opportunistic crew members. They had their sights set on the lucrative cargo she carried, but below decks, the Rising Sun hid an even more sinister secret; 15 terrified enslav…
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June 6th marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and Dan Snow's History Hit is it by bringing you its biggest series yet. From now until May next year, we'll be marking the pivotal moments from D-Day to VE Day. This was the titanic struggle that saw the Allies advance from East and West to crush the Third Reich and hasten the end of the most terrible w…
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Vice President to a narrow election winner, Chester Arthur was a very unlikely President. But on September 20th 1881 he took his seat as the 21st President of the United States at the dawn of the modern administrative state and presidency. So what kind of President did he become? Was he progressive? What was his role in the creation of the Civil Se…
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Jane Seymour is a paradox. Of Henry VIII’s six wives, she is the one about whom we know perhaps the least. She was the most lowly of the queens, but she had royal blood. She's often described as plain and mousy and lacking opinions, but when we do see her in the sources, she tends to be doing something that shows agency, while wearing some very fla…
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2/2. The British Empire aggressively pursued the opium trade well into the 19th century, fueling an addiction epidemic within China. The Qing government was determined to stamp out this destructive trade, leading to the First and Second Opium Wars. But the British Royal Navy was at its apogee, and re-exerted British control over the Chinese state. …
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1/2. Victorian readers were captivated by descriptions of smoke-filled opium dens among backstreet brothels and pubs in London's East End in Oscar Wilde novels. Opium use in Britain in the 19th century was widespread and while opium dens were scarce, Victorians could buy opium over the counter in chemists as treatments for headaches, coughs and eve…
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11 Tonys, a Grammy, a Pulitzer Prize and broken box office records - there's no denying the impact of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. Throughout this series on the real Hamilton, we have been trying to uncover the man the musical is based on. But how much of the show and its production is truthful? And how much does this matter? Renee Romano joins D…
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Dating from 1467-1603, the Sengoku or ‘Warring States’ period is known as the bloodiest in Japan’s history; an era of continuous social upheaval and civil war which transformed the country. Shogun-led authority was shattered and 150 years of murder and betrayal followed as fearsome warlords ruled local territories with unflinching ruthlessness. In …
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Today we dive into the little-known true story of American castaways abandoned on the Falkland Islands during the War of 1812 ― a tale of treachery, shipwreck, isolation and a desperate struggle for survival. In this fascinating episode, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolan joins Don to explore this wild encounter between an American sealing vessel, …
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A mix of treacherous seas, navigation errors, and historical intrigue led to one of the Royal Navy's darkest nights. Dan travels to the Scilly Isles to tell the tragic tale of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and the 1707 naval disaster off the Isles of Scilly that caused a staggering loss of over 2000 men. Dan ventures out to the place where the shi…
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In the summer of 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. As the Germans drove towards Moscow, a catastrophic Soviet defeat seemed imminent - a defeat that would have made the Allied liberation of Europe virtually impossible. To keep the Allied victory in sight, Roosevelt and Churchill assembled a crack team of diplomats to secretly travel to wartime…
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When Alexander Hamilton took a bullet to the abdomen on the morning of the 11th July 1804, he joined a long list of people who had fallen foul of this very strange practice. So where did duelling come from? And how did these two revolutionary American politicians find themselves with pistols in their hands? Don is joined for this third episode of o…
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The title of Caesar has echoed down the ages as the pinnacle of absolute power and perhaps even tyranny. A single man at the head of a nation or empire with untouchable power. But how powerful were they really and why are they seen as an example to follow when many of the men who became Caesar met a bloody end? Dan is joined by the legendary classi…
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Marshal Pétain emerged from the First World War as a French national hero. His defence of Verdun had set him on course to become one of France's most venerated commanders. But by 1945 the Marshal was on trial for treason, having collaborated with Nazi Germany as the head of the Vichy regime. Dan is joined by Julian Jackson, author of the Pol Roger …
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This may have been the second shortest Presidency in the history of the United States, but the term of James Garfield is definitely not one to miss. From his dark horse nomination to his assassination by Charles Guiteau, Don is speaking with bestselling author of ‘An Assassin in Utopia,' Susan Wels. Produced by Sophie Gee. Edited by Aidan Lonergan.…
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Who was the real Merlin? Dr Francis Young says the closest is John Dee, Elizabeth I's occultist advisor who gave her the idea for a British Empire. Dee believed it was her destiny to rule the New World - from his supposed conversations with angels - and that she could trace her lineage back to King Arthur. His mystical and astrological calculations…
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From Hugh Capet to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Capetian dynasty considered itself divinely chosen to fulfil a great destiny. From an insecure foothold around Paris, the Capetians built a nation that stretched from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and from the Rhône to the Pyrenees, founding practices and institutions that endured until the French Re…
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Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury and focus of one of the world's first political sex scandals - we couldn't do a series about Alexander Hamilton without touching on his personal life. Don is joined by Elizabeth Cobbs in this episode to explore the private lives of the Hamiltons. Who was Elizabeth Schuyler? Did her sister have an aff…
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Is liberal democracy facing an existential crisis? A 2023 poll conducted by the Open Society Barometer found that faith in democracy among young people is waning. But what does this mean? Why might young people become more 'strongman-curious'? To get to the bottom of this, Dan is joined by an all-star cast of experts. We have the renowned journalis…
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We think of history as a neat chain of predictable events; but what if the truth is far wilder than that? Today, we're talking about the pivotal forces of randomness and chance, and how tiny moments can change the course of our human story. Dan is joined by Brian Klaas, associate professor in global politics at University College London and author …
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Theodore Roosevelt is arguably the most masculine president in American history. So how was he influenced by the women around him? And how was he impacted by the deaths of two of them on the same day? In this episode, Edward O'Keefe introduces us to Theodore Roosevelt's mother, two sisters, and two wives: Mittie, Bamie, Conie, Alice and Edith. Edwa…
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Please note, this episode contains discussion of suicide. On 1 April 1945, as the Second World War in Europe was reaching its end, one of the bloodiest battles in the whole conflict commenced on a small island south of mainland Japan. It was the Battle of Okinawa. Saul David comes on the show to provide a fascinating rundown of this truly horrific …
  continue reading
 
At the height of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan set his sights on the island of Japan. He launched two enormous invasions of that nation in 1274 and 1281 - but both of them were defeated, aided by sudden and disastrous storms that tore his fleets apart. The story of these kamikaze, or 'Divine Winds', would become legend in Japan, and inspire the na…
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Please note, this episode contains discussion of suicide. In 1945, after lengthy delays, the Royal Navy sent a powerful fleet into the Pacific. After the disastrous Japanese invasions in Southeast Asia, Churchill was desperate to reassert British military might in the region. Aboard the carriers of these fleets were elite British and Commonwealth p…
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Who really was Alexander Hamilton, and what do we actually know about his life? A Founding Father, he fought in the Revolutionary War, founded the American financial system and was the first ever Secretary of the Treasury. But who really was Hamilton? How did his face come to be on our bank notes? Did he love his wife? And why would he go to duel e…
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Please note, this episode contains discussion of suicide. By October 1944, the Japanese were in real trouble. The Allies had made great strides in their Pacific island-hopping campaign and were advancing on the Japanese home islands. In a desperate attempt to stem the tide, Japan created the 'Special Attack Units', which included the kamikaze - you…
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When you hear “boy band,” what do you picture? Five guys with precision dance moves? Songs crafted by the Top 40 pop machine? Svengalis pulling the puppet strings? Hordes of screaming girls? As it turns out, not all boy bands fit these signifiers. (Well…except for the screaming girls—they are perennial.) There are boy bands that danced, and some th…
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Emerging victorious from an electoral quagmire in 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes became the 19th President of the United States. Professor Mark Zachary Taylor joins Don to explore the first great depression and how Hayes navigated the US towards recovery from it. From strike and unrest to growth and stability, how did Hayes lay the groundwork for econom…
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Warning: This episode contains some upsetting descriptions of human suffering. The Rwandan Genocide is a dark and pivotal moment in modern history; the catastrophic consequence of ethnic division and global inaction. Over 100 days in 1994, it's estimated around 800,000 predominantly Tutsi people were killed by the Hutu government and civilian milit…
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Pontius Pilate was the Roman Prefect of Judea during the reign of Emperor Tiberius and is most famous for condemning Jesus of Nazareth to death by crucifixion in the Four Gospels. But who really was he? And how much do we know about him? In this episode of The Ancients, Tristan speaks to Prof. Helen Bond to delve deeper into the life of Pontius Pil…
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An iconic signature on the Declaration of Independence - that is what John Hancock is best known for. But how did he come to be the first signatory? What was his role in the American Revolution? Brooke Barbier joins Don in this episode to take us through the life and works of John Hancock, and to explain how he got the nickname, 'King Hancock'. Bro…
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The English won a decisive battlefield victory over the French in the first decade of the Hundred Years' War. At the Battle of Crécy, an outnumbered English army went up against thousands of French mounted knights, the finest cavalry in Western Europe at that time. Relying on their famed longbowmen, The English under Edward III weathered French cav…
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On the 1st of April, 2024, a presumed Israeli airstrike destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing 13 people. Amongst them was a Brigadier General of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Reza Zahedi. In retaliation, Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israeli soil, firing some 300 missiles and drones at target…
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During the spring of 1921, eleven bodies were found in in rural Georgia. These men were victims of horrific murders, and also of a more widespread crime - peonage. Whilst enslavement had legally ended with the surrender at Appomattox and the 13th Amendment, black people across the south were still being entrapped into debt slavery half a century la…
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As a foreign correspondent for ITN in the 70s, Peter Snow remembers handing tins of film to strangers on airport runways, hoping they would take it back to Britain to hand over to his colleagues on the other side. It was a tough and thrilling job as a travelling reporter before the internet, and Dan remembers hearing his dad's travel stories as a c…
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Fought in the second half of 1942, the Battles of El Alamein were a series of climactic confrontations in Egypt between British Imperial and Commonwealth forces and a combined German and Italian army. Intended as a last-ditch attempt by the British to halt Axis gains in North Africa, they resulted in a clear victory for the British and represented …
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How does a heroic general of the Civil War become one of the lowest rated Presidents (at least until recently)? To discuss Grant's commitment to reconstruction, civil rights, and the crushing of the Ku Klux Klan, Don is joined by Professor Anne Marshall. Anne is a historian of the Nineteenth century U.S. South and the Civil War in historical memory…
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In the mid-17th century, King Charles I of England was put on trial for treason against the sovereign state. Such a process involved a singular determination by Parliament to find a way, through due legal process, to try the one they saw as a man of blood, to ensure that he paid the price for his faults and failings, but not through extrajudicial s…
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Dan delves into the complex history of Zionism, exploring its multifaceted origins and the various ideological strands that have shaped it over the years. From its early beginnings in the 19th century to its pivotal role in the establishment of the State of Israel. With expert insight and analysis from Peter Bergamin, lecturer at the University of …
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When you hear “boy band,” what do you picture? Five guys with precision dance moves? Songs crafted by the Top 40 pop machine? Svengalis pulling the puppet strings? Hordes of screaming girls? As it turns out, not all boy bands fit these signifiers. (Well…except for the screaming girls—they are perennial.) There are boy bands that danced, and some th…
  continue reading
 
Strategic brilliance? Relentless determination? Unbeatable leadership and cooperation with Lincoln? How did Ulysses S. Grant distinguish himself in the Civil War? Don speaks to Cecily Zander, a historian specializing in the Civil War era and the American West. Together, they discuss Grant's rise to General, his role in the war and why he has been k…
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