History Storytime for children told by 7 year old Sophie, 5 year old Ellie and their Daddy. Exciting history stories of Knights, Tudors, Romans, World Wars, Revolutions, Explorers, Scientists and Sports. Hear amazing history stories of animals, stirring historical stories of love and betrayal, and of strong women and how they changed history. Real life narrative history as it should be told. Won Silver in the BritPodAwards. Helps support learning history for the National Curriculum with Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) and for all Elementary ages - Grades K-5. Great for supporting parents with homeschooling. Valued by teachers, enjoyed by parents, loved by kids.
World War Two - The Eastern Front
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Eastern Front in World War Two between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Hitler and his Nazis rule Germany. Stalin and his Communists rule the Soviet Union. They hate each other. Hitler decides to invade the Soviet Union and conquer it. The Soviet Union is huge and has many people in it. However, it is poor and its army is old fashioned. The Germans have invented a new way of fighting battles with tanks and airplanes. It called Blitzkrieg which means Lightning War.
The Germans invade the Soviet Union without warning. They quickly smash through the Soviet lines and surround hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Then they push onto Paris. However, Moscow is so far from Germany that it too them until the start of winter before they arrived. The Soviet solders fought desperately. They were helped by Soviet soldiers from Siberia who were used to the cold. The German generals wanted to retreated but Hitler would not let them. He was right this time.
The Germans just held on.
In 1942 the German attacked again. This time they attacked South. They wanted to capture the oilfields to stop the Soviets having petrol for their tanks. They captured lots of land but had to capture the city of Stalingrad first. There is fighting for months. Secretly the Soviets mass tanks outside the city. They attack and surround the city. Hitler will not let the Germans retreat. It is a mistake and the whole German army is forced to surrender.
Meanwhile, Hitler’s evil plans continue. His soldiers kill many ordinary people and, in particular, they start killing Jews.
The next year Hitler attacks for the last time. There is a massive tank battle. The Germans lose.
The following year the Soviets attack. They force the Germans back.
Just as the Soviets are about to invade Poland they stop. The brave Poles rise up and fight the Germans. They beg for help from the Soviets. However, Stalin is happy to see the Poles be killed by the Germans because he wants to rule Poland after the war.
The following year the Soviets close in on Berlin. They are cruel to many ordinary German people, especially to women. After brutal fighting the Soviets capture Berlin. Hitler kills himself, and he kills his dog too. The World War in Europe is over.
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The Peasants‘ Revolt
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.
----more----It is a troubled time for England. The Black Death has devastated Europe. There are not enough people to work the fields. The poor people, who are called the peasants, want more money from the rich people as there are not enough workers. The rich people say no. England is at war with France and is running out of money. The government decide to raise taxes. Instead of just taxing rich people, the government decide to tax everyone – even the poor people. At first the taxes are low. However, they go higher and higher. The peasants cannot afford to pay the taxes. They need to eat too. So many of them stop paying the taxes.
The government send people to collect the money. However, these tax collectors are mean. They are horrible to the peasants. One of them is nasty to the daughter of a man called Wat Tyler. Wat gets angry and kills the tax collector. Then more peasants join Wat Tyler and together they agree to march on London to see the King.
They want to ask the King to lower the taxes. They believe that the King will help because he is only 15 years old and they think that his advisors are making him raise the taxes.
The peasants' army approaches London. The young Kings goes to meet them by boat. However, the King is too scared to come ashore and he cannot hear the peasants. He goes back to London. Now the peasants are angry. They march into London and destroy the buildings of the King’s friends.
The King agrees to meet with the peasants. As he leaves his castle, the Tower of London, the peasants attack the castle and capture it.
The King agrees to help the peasants and he writes them letters saying that he will make things better for them. Many of the peasants are happy and go home.
However, Wat Tyler doesn’t believe the King. He stays and meets the King the next day. Wat Tyler is rude to the King and his friends. One of the King’s friends has had enough and kills Wat Tyler. The Peasant Army is furious that their leader is killed and is about to attack. However, the King goes alone to the peasants and tells them that he is their leader because he is their King. The peasant army calms down.
Meanwhile, the King's friends have returned to London and told the King’s soldiers that the King has been captured by the peasants. The King's army marches out to rescue the King. When they meet the peasants the King tells his army not to attack the peasants.
However, the King is no longer afraid now he has his army. He kills the Peasant leaders. He tears up the letters and tells the peasants, “peasants you are and peasants you will remain”.
It seems as if the Peasants’ Revolt has failed. However, the nobles have been scared by how strong the peasants were. They now start to be much nicer to the peasants.
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Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Marie Antoinette.----more----
Marie Antoinette was an Austrian Princess. She grew up in Austria in a palace. She met the famous composer Mozart when they were both children. She learned to play the piano, the flute and the Harp. She loved to dance and to sing.
When she was 15 it was decided that she should marry the next King of France. He was called Louis – almost all French Kings are called Louis. Traditionally, Austria and France were enemies. However, both countries wanted to be at peace and hoped the marriage would help that.
When Marie Antoinette got married she learned that Louis already had a girlfriend. He wouldn’t get rid of her. The poor people of Paris liked Marie Antoinette. They thought she was beautiful.
However, when the old King died. Louis became King and Marie Antoinette became his Queen. The King realized he couldn’t have his girlfriend any more so he got rid of her. This made Marie Antoinette happy.
All French Kings lived in a huge palace called Versailles. You can go there today and it is beautiful. Louis gave Marie Antoinette her own little palace called the Petit Trianon.
She loved it. She redecorated the whole place. Marie Antoinette also liked jewellery and dresses and spent lots of money on both. This was a time when many people in France were very poor. People felt that she was spending too much money that France could not afford.
Whenever there was a chance that France and Austria might go to war, Marie Antoinette intervened and stopped it. Some people in France rather liked fighting Austria. Some people started to feel that Marie Antoinette was less a French Queen and more of an Austrian Princess.
There was a terrible scandal all about a diamond necklace. A bad woman called Jean pretended to be friends with the Queen. She persuaded a priest to led her money to buy a diamond necklace. The priest agreed because he thought that the Queen wanted him to buy the necklace. However, naughty Jean stole the necklace. The priest asked the Queen for his money. However, the Queen had not known anything about it all. She had never even met Jean. We know that the Queen was telling the truth. However, many people at the time thought that the Queen might have been lying because she did like expensive jewellery.
Then the French revolution happened. The poor people of France attacked the King’s castle – the Bastille. They took control of the government. The King and Queen got scared and tried to flee. They were caught and locked up. The Austrians were angry that an Austrian Princess was held prisoner. So they invaded France. They told the French that if they harmed the King or Queen, then Paris would be burned.
This made the French angry. They decided to execute the King and Queen. Both Louis and Marie Antoinette met their ends bravely by the dreaded Guillotine.
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Why did World War Two start?
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of why and how World War Two started.----more----
Germany was divided into many different countries by slowly one country called Prussia either conquered the other countries or persuaded the little Germany countries to join them. Germany had been created through fighting and this made some Germans think that conquering other countries was normal. However, while Germany was becoming one country, other countries were also getting bigger. Britain and France were building might Empires. America was exploring the West. Russia was conquering much of Asia. Germany was powerful in Europe but she felt weak in the world.
Then there was World War One. Germany lost. Millions were killed, Germany lost land – including land where Germans lived, Germany had to pay lots of money for all the damage they had caused. People in Germany were very upset. Their Generals did not want to be blamed for losing the war. So they told everyone that they would have won the war except people back home gave up too early.
After a few tricky years things calmed down in Germany. However, everything went wrong with the money in the world and people got very poor and many lost their jobs. Many counties stopped buying and selling from other countries. That was not such a big problem for Britain, Russia, France and America because they had big empires to buy and sell to. However, Germany did not have an empire.
Then Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany. He was the most evil man in history. He wanted Germans to all live in Germany, he wanted more land for Germany, and he hated Jews and Communists. He blamed communists for Germany losing the First World War.
Firstly, Hitler decided to march into a part of Germany that he was not allowed to have soldiers in. The world did nothing. Then he marched into little Austria. The world did nothing. Then he decided to attack a little country called Czechoslovakia. Britain and France gave him some of Czechoslovakia to keep him happy. He took that bit; then he took the rest too. Britain and France did not want to fight. That is why they kept hoping Hitler would stop if they were reasonable with him. However, Hitler did not want to stop.
Next Hitler attacked Poland. He even managed to persuade the Russians to help him. This time Britain and France had had enough. They went to war with Germany. Britain’s Empire came to her aid. The Americans joined later on.
Most wars have many complicated reasons for them. This war was Hitler’s fault.
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Disaster in Afghanistan: The First Afghan War of 1839
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the First Afghan War of 1839, where the British invaded Afghanistan and were forced into a disastrous retreat from Kabul.
----more----In 1839 the British controlled India. They had built a mighty Empire. However, the Russians were also building a mighty Empire in Asia. The British worried that a Russian army might invade India. In between Russia and India was Afghanistan.
Then the Afghans got a new king called Dost Mohammed. The British were worried he would be too friendly to the Russians. They decided to invade and replace him. They sent an army into Afghanistan. The army was partly British and partly well trained Indian soldiers. The British expected to win easily. They even took their wives with them.
The British marched through the mountains to Kabul, capturing other towns like Kandahar on the way. In Kabul, Dost Mohammed fled. The British picked another Afghan to be king called Shuja Shah because they thought he would be good for Britain, not because he was popular.
The war seemed won and so lots of the British soldiers returned to India. They left around 5000 soldiers in Kabul.
The British had been paying money to local Afghan tribesmen. To save money the British decided to reduce the money they were paying. The Afghan tribesmen were upset and started attacked British wagons. British soldiers from Kabul defeated the Afghan tribesmen. The British demanded that the Afghans give up some of their children to ensure they would stop fighting. The Afghans refused and the fighting carried on.
Then some of the British soldiers took some Afghan women as girlfriends. The Afghan men were very angry and decided they wanted revenge.
Dost Mohammed had a son called Mohammed Akbar Khan. He called the different tribes together. They all agreed to attack the British. At the end of the meeting they started shouting “Jihad, Jihad” which means “struggle, struggle”.
The next day the British were attacked. Different British officers were murdered trying to talk to the Afghans. The British General was not sure what to do. He decided to ask Mohammed Akbar Khan if the British could just go back to India.
Mohammed Akbar Khan agreed but insisted that the British give up their cannons and leave behind most of their gunpowder. The British agreed.
However, as soon as the British were out of Kabul the Afghans attacked again. They kept attacking all the way home for the British. The British agreed to surrender their women to the Afghans. However, the attacks continued.
Only one British officer escaped. He stumbled on a pony back to a British fort. He was all that was left of the thousands in Kabul.
The British were furious. They attacked Kabul with another army. They captured the place. But they did not want to stay. Once they left the old ruler of Afghanistan, Dost Mohammed, became ruler again.
At the end of the story, Ellie reflects on how this is a story which should be better known. Sophie summarises the story as being about the British deciding to replace the Afghan rulers by invading the place, then being forced into a humiliating retreat, after which the old rulers came back.
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The Hundred Years' War
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.----more----
This is a time of knights and castles. William the Conqueror had come from France to conquer England. This meant that English Kings now owned land in France. The lost some in battle, but gained other parts through marriage – especially the lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Often English Kings would be married to French princesses to help keep the peace between the two lands. However, when the French King died the next in line to the throne was the King of England. The French did not want an English King. So they changed the rules and said that descendants of Princes were more important than descendants of princesses.
The King of England, Edward III was furious. He declared war on France.
The French were confident of victory because they had many knights. They thorught their knights were invincible. However, the English had armed their soldiers with a longbow. Properly used they could destroy the French knights.
At the first major battle at Crecy that is exactly what happened. The French were destroyed by the English Archers. The same happened at the Battle of Poitiers where the French King was captured by the English King’s son, the Black Prince.
The French carried on fighting. So Edward and France did a deal. The English released the French king and the French promised Edward III could rule some of the French lands. However, once their king was safe the French refused to give England all the promised land. War continued. However, the Black Prince died and slowly France regained all her land.
For 40 years there was relative peace. This was broken by England’s new King, Henry V. He invaded France and crushed the English at Agincourt. The French agreed that he could be King after the old French King. However, Henry V died first leaving an infant son. The French were not scared of him and fought on.
Then a peasant girl called Joan of Arc claimed that God was telling her to fight the English. She persuaded the French ruler to lend her his army. She attacked and destroyed the English army. The English captured her and killed her as a witch.
Later the final English Army met the French in Battle. However this time the French had a sneaky plan up their leaves. They had cannon. The cannon could fire further and it destroyed the English Archers.
The Hundred Years War (which lasted 116 years) was over. France had won.
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