523 episodes

The Explaining History Podcast has been exploring the 20th Century in weekly chapters for the past 10 years, helping students and enthusiasts engage with the past. With the help of expert guests, your host Nick Shepley navigates competing debates around the key events and processes of the past century.
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Explaining History Nick Shepley

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 89 Ratings

The Explaining History Podcast has been exploring the 20th Century in weekly chapters for the past 10 years, helping students and enthusiasts engage with the past. With the help of expert guests, your host Nick Shepley navigates competing debates around the key events and processes of the past century.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Eisenhower and the legacy of the New Deal

    Eisenhower and the legacy of the New Deal

    Eisenhower's domestic policy is often obscured to students of history by the struggles of the era (the Red Scare and McCarthyism and the civil rights struggle), making the president's own policy agenda and his political inclinations less easy to explore. This podcast looks at the conservative tendencies of Eisenhower, his opposition to the growing role of the state in the lives of Americans was born of his belief in the spirit of 'rugged individualism' and the idea that state intervention was a threat to liberty itself. Eisenhower knew politically, however, that dismantling the social safety nets created by Roosevelt was political suicide and it would be later Republican presidents, Nixon and Reagan that would eviscerate what remained of Roosevelt's signature policy.
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    • 28 min
    China, the Second World War and historical memory

    China, the Second World War and historical memory

    China was the first country to be invaded by an Axis power and historian Rana Mitter has argued that its wartime experience is one of the most obscured and misunderstood in the west, though Chinese losses dwarfed those experienced by European and American combatants. Only the USSR suffered more during the war than China, but the immediate civil war that engulfed China and the victory of the communist party in 1949 meant that the Chinese wartime experience was lost under the complexities of Cold War politics.
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    • 26 min
    McNamara and Vietnam 1960-68

    McNamara and Vietnam 1960-68

    Robert McNamara was John F Kennedy's choice to fix the sprawling bureacracy at the Department of Defence. McNamara employed an economist's mind to problems, had greatly increased the destructive power of the USAAF during the Second World War by using data and intelligence to firebomb Japanese cities more effectively, and became the first non family member to run the Ford Motor Company. Kennedy wanted business people in government to bring the dynamism of the American corporate world to the state (whether this was ever really achieved is a matter of debate). McNamara brought the same managerialist approaches to the war in Vietnam, with limited success, as much of the conflict defied his kind of quantified approach. Whilst McNamara understood kill ratios and other statistics, he and the rest of the government understood virtually nothing about the politics and society of the country they sought to protect from the north and the real motivations of the Vietnamese peasants.
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    • 28 min
    Eisenhower and the downfall of Joseph McCarthy

    Eisenhower and the downfall of Joseph McCarthy

    Eisenhower found McCarthy distasteful but had not desire to enter into a political fight with him. He thought that this would diminish the presidency and give lie to the idea that America was a harmonious post war society. He hoped that the public mood would change and when McCarthy was finally defeated the evidence suggests that attitudes were transitioning away from hysteria anyway. It was his decision to conduct televised hearings into suspected communist subversion in the army that eventually led to his political demise, and in this podcast we explore how Eisenhower was able to play a role at the 11th hour.
    Explaining History Podcast listeners are eligible for a 10% discount on all history book orders from Story Tellers Bookshop (email Katie@storytellersinc.co.uk and quote Explaining History)

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    • 28 min
    Britain's War at Sea 1939-45 Part One - Imperial Overstretch

    Britain's War at Sea 1939-45 Part One - Imperial Overstretch

    By 1939, the Royal Navy had lost a decade of growth, after budget cuts during the Great Depression and the closure of shipyards resulted in an older fleet than that of its enemies. The navy's role as the defender of the sea lanes that bound the empire together meant that it was for much of the war, Britain's primary line of defence against the Axis powers. The British were vulnerable as a net importer of food to U-Boat warfare and following the failure of the Battle of Britain and the decision by Hitler to shelve plans for an invasion indefinately, attacks on British merchant shipping was the means by which the Nazi regime believed the British could be brought to their knees. This podcast explores the challenges of strategy and military hardware that the British were presented with at the start of the war.
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    • 26 min
    Richard Nixon and the beginning of the Watergate Scandal 1972-3

    Richard Nixon and the beginning of the Watergate Scandal 1972-3

    When Richard Nixon won his second presidential term in 1972 defeating George McGovern in 1972, he was at the height of his popularity. The previous year he had captured the public mood when he addressed the nation's fears about the growing economic stagnation that America had begun to experience at the end ofthe 1960s. He had successfully negotiated with both Mao and Brezhnev earlier that year and offered many Americans the prospect of a withdrawal from Vietnam without humiliation. The break in at the Watergate hotel had not attracted many headlines by the time of the January 1973 inauguration, but within seventeen months, Nixon's presidency was over and he left the White House in disgrace.

    Explaining History Podcast listeners are eligible for a 10% discount on all history book orders from Story Tellers Bookshop (email Katie@storytellersinc.co.uk and quote Explaining History)

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
89 Ratings

89 Ratings

Wiljons55 ,

Love it

Great Podcast. Great Show. I really love this podcast!

jonathan.th.j@ ,

Excellent Podcast!

Excellent podcast. I Love it

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Wow

Great show. keep it up!

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