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History Hit's How and Why History is a lively and accessible introduction to history. Historians and writers explore the big questions about history's most significant events and personalities, from the ancient world to recent times.

How and Why History History Hit Network

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History Hit's How and Why History is a lively and accessible introduction to history. Historians and writers explore the big questions about history's most significant events and personalities, from the ancient world to recent times.

    The Great Fire of London

    The Great Fire of London

    In September 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed more than 13,000 houses, 87 Parish churches as well as St Pauls Cathedral, and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Londoners. But how did the fire start and spread so rapidly? Why did King Charles II intervene and what took him so long? And what were the social and economic consequences of the fire? In this edition of How and Why History, Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this unforgettable event in the history of London to historian Ian Mortimer, author of the Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England.
     
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    • 30 Min.
    The Ancients: The Rise of Constantine

    The Ancients: The Rise of Constantine

    The Emperor Constantine I, better known as Constantine the Great, is one of the most significant emperors in Roman history. His later Christian biographers lauded him as an icon, the man who set in motion Rome's dramatic transformation into a primarily Christian empire. And yet Constantine's own beliefs were deliberately ambiguous, as Professor David Potter explained. He learned from Diocletian, he witnessed the mistakes and the successes. He figured out how to heal divisions in the empire, but at the same time restore it to one man rule through blood and battle. 


    Constantine's military and administrative successes are often-overlooked, but these in themselves were extraordinary. In this podcast David and I chatted through Constantine's remarkable life, his legacy and why you wouldn't rate your chances of survival if you were part of his family.


    David is the author of 'Constantine the Emperor'.


    Some notes from the pod:


    Galerius - A Roman emperor between 305 and 311


    (Valerius) Severus - Galerius' preferred candidate to become the new Augustus in the west in 306, following the death of Constantius (Constantine's father). He was opposed by Constantine.


    The Wall - Hadrian's Wall


    The Chi Rho - a Christian symbol, but also a symbol of good fortune. Constantine painted the symbol on his soldiers' shields at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.


    Lactantius - an early Christian author who talked about the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.


    Maximinus Daia - ruled alongside Licinius in the east. Formed an alliance with Maxentius against Licinius and Constantine. Defeated by Licinius.


    Licinius - ruler of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Co-ruled the Empire with Constantine for a while (doesn't end well!).
     
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    • 49 Min.
    World Wars: The Siege of Leningrad

    World Wars: The Siege of Leningrad

    In 1941, Nazi Germany turned on its former ally, the Soviet Union. One of the strategic objectives of this operation, Barbarossa, was to conquer Leningrad. To discuss the German turn on the Soviet Union and perhaps the most brutal siege of the Second World War, James Rogers is joined by Chris Bellamy, author of Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War. Chris is Professor Emeritus of Maritime Security at the University of Greenwich and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Maritime Crime and Security.
     
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    • 35 Min.
    The United Nations at 75

    The United Nations at 75

    In the aftermath of the Second World War, 850 delegates from 50 nations gathered in San Fransisco, determined to establish an organization which would preserve peace and help build a better world.  Over the last 75 years, the UN has committed itself to maintaining international peace and security, and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. But how did the UN come about? How effective has it been in maintaining peace in the world? And where might it have failed? 


    Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this important development in global affairs with the leading analyst of UN history and politics Professor Thomas Weiss of the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 
     
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    • 29 Min.
    Historical Fiction: Nazi Collaborator or Victim? - Finding Klara

    Historical Fiction: Nazi Collaborator or Victim? - Finding Klara

    In the aftermath of World War Two, Clara – once a Nazi icon and heiress to the Falkenberg Iron Works – finds herself on the run, accused of complicity in her father’s war crimes. When she returns to her hometown of Essen, Clara finds everything she once knew in ruins. To survive, Clara must hide who she is and face up to the truth of what she has done. In this edition of Historical Fiction, Malin Hay talks to author Anika Scott about her debut novel, an intense portrayal of what it means for ordinary people to be on the losing side of a war.
     
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    • 30 Min.
    The Battle of Britain

    The Battle of Britain

    In a moment of great danger to national survival, the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large scale attacks by the Luftwaffe. So how did the Battle of Britain play out? What was Germany’s objective? And how important was it to the direction of the Second World War? To answer the big questions about this seminal moment in British history, Charlie Mills talks to Dr. Mario Draper at the University of Kent
     
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    • 22 Min.

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