300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC

    • History
    • 4.5, 651 Ratings

History as told by the people who were there.

    Radar and World War Two

    Radar and World War Two

    During World War Two, British women were employed as operators of a top-secret radar system for detecting aircraft. The new technology had helped shift the balance of power in the air war with Nazi Germany. Laura Fitzpatrick talks to Margaret Faulds, who was stationed at a Royal Navy Air Station during the war.

    PHOTO: Margaret Faulds in naval uniform during World War Two (Personal Collection).

    • 8 min
    The atomic bombs dropped on Japan

    The atomic bombs dropped on Japan

    The USA dropped its first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. Three days later a second atomic bomb was detonated over Nagasaki. The explosion was bigger than the blast at Hiroshima and killed 70,000 people. Louise Hidalgo introduces recordings from the BBC archive.

    (Photo: Mushroom cloud in the sky. Credit: US Air Force/Press Association)

    • 8 min
    The battle of Midway

    The battle of Midway

    On 4th June 1942, aircraft carriers of the Japanese and American fleets fought a huge naval battle near Midway Atoll in the Pacific. The outcome marked a turning point in the war. Using archive recordings we hear from American and Japanese airmen who flew in combat that day.

    Photo: (Original Caption) This official United States Navy photo shows the American aircraft carrier Yorktown, already listing badly to port, as she received a direct hit from a Japanese bomber in the Battle of Midway Island, June 4th 1942. The black puffs in the photo are exploding U.S. antiaircraft shells. (Getty Images)

    • 9 min
    The internment of Japanese Americans

    The internment of Japanese Americans

    Thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to prison camps after the USA entered World War Two following the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Whole families found themselves housed in barracks behind barbed wire fences. Former Star Trek actor, George Takei, was just a child when he was locked up in one of the camps. In 2010 he spoke to Lucy Williamson about his experiences there.

    This programme is a rebroadcast.

    Photo: Japanese American children on their way to internment camps. Credit: Dorothea Lange/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

    • 8 min
    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

    On 7 December 1941, Japan launched a surprise strike on the American naval base, Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. Thousands of American servicemen were killed or injured in the attack, which severely damaged the US Pacific Fleet. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan and America entered World War II. Adolph Kuhn was a US Navy mechanic stationed at Pearl Harbor when the bombs began to fall.

    Photo: The USS Arizona sinking at Pearl Harbor. (Credit: Getty Images)

    • 8 min
    The death of Heinrich Himmler

    The death of Heinrich Himmler

    One of Hitler's most important henchmen was caught by British troops in the chaos of post-war Germany just after WW2 had ended in Europe. A British soldier described to the BBC how the leading Nazi bit down on a cyanide capsule and died. Gordon Corera has been listening to the archive account of Himmler's death, and finding out more about the situation in Germany immediately after its surrender to the Allies.

    Photo: Heinrich Himmler in 1939. Credit: Central Press/Getty Images

    • 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
651 Ratings

651 Ratings

ucgygvvycvvbgcvbbxgh ,

Incredible

I just heard an account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor that was so moving. A Kansas farmer describing his experience made me feel like I was there. I’ve seen full length movies that didn’t affect me like that.

Edward Esposito ,

I wish

...I could give this program 10 stars. Excellent, well-written reporting and use of archival and interview audio providing actual events and people in perspective.

freechicken ,

I love it so much

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