317 episodes

Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Throughline Throughline

    • History
    • 4.6 • 14.3K Ratings

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Throughline is a time machine. Each episode, we travel beyond the headlines to answer the question, "How did we get here?" We use sound and stories to bring history to life and put you into the middle of it. From ancient civilizations to forgotten figures, we take you directly to the moments that shaped our world. Throughline is hosted by Peabody Award-winning journalists Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei.Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    The Lavender Scare (Throwback)

    The Lavender Scare (Throwback)

    One day in late April 1958, a young economist named Madeleine Tress was approached by two men in suits at her office at the U.S. Department of Commerce. They took her to a private room, turned on a tape recorder, and demanded she respond to allegations that she was an "admitted homosexual." Two weeks later, she resigned.

    Madeleine was one of thousands of victims of a purge of gay and lesbian people ordered at the highest levels of the U.S. government: a program spurred by a panic that destroyed careers and lives and lasted more than forty years. Today, it's known as the "Lavender Scare."

    In a moment when LGBTQ+ rights are again in the public crosshairs, we tell the story of the Lavender Scare: its victims, its proponents, and a man who fought for decades to end it.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 51 min
    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Last Months (Throughline+)

    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Last Months (Throughline+)

    Jonathan Eig is a journalist and biographer who recently won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for biography for his book covering Martin Luther King, Jr. called King: A Life. In this extended interview from December 2023 for Throughline's episode "Dare to Dissent" (https://n.pr/3wNOQrL), Ramtin Arablouei talks with Eig about King's last days and the opposition the civil rights leader faced as he tried to expand his mission. To get access to this episode, listen to Throughline sponsor-free, and support NPR, sign up for Throughline+ at plus.npr.org

    A History of Zionism

    A History of Zionism

    Since October 7th, the term Zionism has been everywhere in the news. It's been used to support Israel in what it calls its war against Hamas: a refrain to remind everyone why Israel exists and why it must be protected. Others have used Zionism to describe what they view as Israel's collective punishment of civilians in Gaza, and its appropriation of Palestinian territories — what they often call "settler colonialism."Zionism has been defined and redefined again and again, and the definitions are often built on competing historical interpretations. So unsurprisingly, we've received many requests from you, our audience, to explore the origins of Zionism. On today's episode, we go back to the late 19th century to meet the people who organized the modern Zionist movement.

    Correction: An earlier version of this episode incorrectly described Ze'ev Jabotinsky as a right-wing settler who helped form the paramilitary organization the Irgun. Jabotinsky was a conservative Zionist thinker whose ideas influenced some of the founders of the Irgun. While Jabotinsky did advocate Jewish settlement in Palestine, he himself lived mostly in Europe and died before Israel's founding.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 51 min
    The Whiteness Myth (Throwback)

    The Whiteness Myth (Throwback)

    In 1923, an Indian American man named Bhagat Singh Thind told the U.S. Supreme Court that he was white, and therefore eligible to become a naturalized citizen. He based his claim on the fact that he was a member of India's highest caste and identified as an Aryan. His claims were supported by the so-called Indo-European language theory, a controversial idea at the time that says nearly half the world's population speak a language that originated in one place. Theories about who lived in that place inspired a racist ideology that contended that the original speakers of the language were a white supreme race that colonized Europe and Asia thousands of years ago. This was used by many to define whiteness and eventually led to one of the most horrific events in history. On this episode of Throughline, we unpack the myths around this powerful idea and explore the politics and promise of the mother tongue.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 49 min
    The Rules of War

    The Rules of War

    International courts investigating alleged war crimes have made headlines often in recent months. An arrest warrant has been issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin; arrest warrants have also been requested for senior Hamas and Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

    What are these courts, where did they come from, and how did they come to decide the rules of war?

    On today's episode, we travel from the battlefields of the U.S. Civil War, through the rubble of two world wars, to the hallways of the Hague, to trace modern attempts to define and prosecute war crimes.

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    • 51 min
    Mythos and Melodrama in the Philippines (Throwback)

    Mythos and Melodrama in the Philippines (Throwback)

    Welcome to the "Epic of Marcos." In this tale of a family that's larger than life, Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines, is at the center. But the figures that surround him are just as important: Imelda, his wife and muse; Bongbong, his heir; and the United States, his faithful sidekick. The story of the Marcos family is a blueprint for authoritarianism, laying out clearly how melodrama, paranoia, love, betrayal and a hunger for power collide to create a myth capable of propelling a nation. Today on the show, the rise, fall, and resurrection of a dynasty — and what that means for democracy worldwide.

    To access bonus episodes and listen to Throughline sponsor-free, subscribe to Throughline+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/throughline.

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    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
14.3K Ratings

14.3K Ratings

Mme Dyer ,

Depth and complexity

This podcast dives deeply into history to give a better perspective on how we, the citizens of the 21st century got to where we are today.
Each show is well researched and leaves me better informed but also sparks new questions in me about how I can be a better world citizen.
I share more Throughline stories than any other podcast. Often during a show i can’t stop thinking “Everyone needs to hear this!!”

carlita1818 ,

Phenomenal podcast

this is by far one of my absolute favorite podcasts. I have learned so much and looking forward to continue learning. It has changed how I look at the world and our system. Thank you for all the hard work you guys put into this podcast!

jeremy_638527 ,

Selective History

This show picks and chooses pieces of history to tell unfair and completely biased stories around the world. Incredibly obvious anti Israel bias. Extremely reductive explanation of global history ignoring complex relationships between actors in politics and government.

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