247 episodes

An hour of historical reporting told by the people who were there.

The History Hour BBC

    • History
    • 4.4 • 45 Ratings

An hour of historical reporting told by the people who were there.

    The Confederate flag and America’s battle over race

    The Confederate flag and America’s battle over race

    In June 2015 an American anti-racist activist climbed a flagpole on the South Carolina state house grounds to take down the Confederate flag. The protest followed the killing of 9 black people at a historic Charleston church by a white supremacist who was pictured holding the flag. We discuss the
    history of this divisive symbol of America's racist past. Also how life in the Chinese countryside has been dramatically changed by 40 years of migration to the cities. Plus, from the 1980s, a British TV event that shifted attitudes towards victims of rape, East Germany’s iconic Trabant car and the man behind Mindfulness.



    Photo Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate flag at the State House in Columbia, SC, on Saturday 27th June 2015. Credit Adam Anderson / Reuters.

    • 50 min
    When Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor

    When Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor

    On 7 June 1981 Israeli fighter jets launched a surprise attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor located outside Baghdad, killing 11 people. The French-built reactor was still under construction and there was no leakage of nuclear material, but the bombing was widely condemned internationally. We hear from Dr Fadhil Muslim al Janabi, a former consultant for Iraq's nuclear agency. Also this week, eye-witness testimony to the fall of Madrid in 1939; Hamas' unexpected election victoryin 2006, the plight of legal sex workers in Tunisia and taking part in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the consecration of Coventry's new cathedral.

    Photo: The Tammuz light-water nuclear materials testing reactor under construction in Al-Tuwaitha, just outside of Baghdad, 1979. (Getty Images)

    • 49 min
    The war on drugs

    The war on drugs

    US President Richard Nixon declared illegal drugs 'public enemy number one' in 1971 and launched a worldwide 'war' on the narcotics trade. 50 years on we revisit key moments in the ongoing fight against the powerful criminal groups involved from Columbia to Afghanistan. We'll hear personal stories from the front line of drug addiction, plus journalist and author Ioan Grillo joins our presenter Max Pearson to discuss, what went wrong in the war on drugs?

    Photo: US President Richard Nixon (BBC)

    • 50 min
    Amilcar Cabral: an African liberation legend

    Amilcar Cabral: an African liberation legend

    We remember Amilcar Cabral, who led the armed struggle against Portuguese colonial rule in West Africa in the 1970s and speak to Dr Nayanka Perdigao about his legacy. Plus the shocking fallout of the Indian rail strike in 1974 which was - at the time - the biggest industrial action on record and from a century ago, the Tulsa race massacre, when thousands of African Americans were left homeless and hundreds were killed. We'll also find out how Lotfia Elnadi became the first Arab woman pilot in 1933 and the story behind the first big charity fundraising rock concert in the Soviet Union when communism broke with its antipathy toward western pop music.

    Photo: Rebel soldiers on patrol in Guinea Bissau during the Portuguese Colonial War in West Africa, 1972. Credit: Reg Lancaster/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    • 49 min
    When Egypt said Enough

    When Egypt said Enough

    Under the slogan 'kefaya' which means 'enough' in Arabic, in 2004 Egyptians began protesting in Cairo against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The months of demonstrations took place several years before the Arab Spring swept through the region and drew many people onto the streets for the first time in their lives. We get an eye-witness account.

    Plus, Ariel Sharon's controversial visit to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 2000, the women who staged strikes against military rule in South Korea, and the landmark 1971 conference on saving the world's wetlands.

    PHOTO: Protestors in Egypt in 2004 (AFP/Getty Images)

    • 50 min
    Why a British MP was filmed taking mescaline

    Why a British MP was filmed taking mescaline

    # Warning: This programme contains descriptions of drug use #
    In 1955 Christopher Mayhew MP took the hallucinogenic drug mescaline for a TV experiment. We look back at the history of psychedelic research and speak to Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London. Plus, the battle to legalise contraception in Ireland, a pro-democracy activist in China, the chemical and biological weapons programme in apartheid South Africa, and why thousands of Jews secretly fled Iraq in the 1970s.

    • 50 min

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