192 episodes

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

The History Hour BBC

    • History

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

    Britain's World War Two crime wave

    Britain's World War Two crime wave

    During times of crisis in the UK, World War Two is often remembered as a period when the country rallied together to fight a common enemy. But as Simon Watts finds out from the BBC archives, there was a crime wave during the war years, with a massive increase in looting and black marketeering. Also in the programme, the first 3D printers, plus a black policeman recalls the 1980 Miami riots, Hong Kong's city within a city and explaining autism.

    PHOTO: A government poster from World War Two (Getty Images)

    • 49 min
    Fighting for the pill in Japan

    Fighting for the pill in Japan

    Why Japanese women had to wait until 1999 to be allowed to take the pill, the Dutch 'Prince of scandal', plus the flatulent fish that prompted a Cold War scare, the first helpline for children and the joy of being liberated from Nazi occupation on The Channel Islands.

    (Photo: A collection of contraceptive pills. Getty Images)

    • 50 min
    VE Day Special

    VE Day Special

    Eyewitness accounts of the fall of Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe. Using unique interviews from the BBC's archives we bring you men and women who fought in the battle for Berlin, and some of those who were with Hitler in his final days. We present the story of a German woman who survived the start of Soviet occupation, and we meet the historian whose 1995 exhibition challenged Germans' view of the war. Plus the sounds of VE Day in London, 8th May 1945, as reported by the BBC at the time. Putting it all into context, presenter Max Pearson talks to Dr Mary Fulbrook, Professor of German History at University College London and author of the award winning book "Reckonings" about the aftermath of the war and the quest for justice.

    (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)

    • 53 min
    The 1957 flu pandemic

    The 1957 flu pandemic

    A new strain of flu emerged in East Asia in 1957 and spread all over the world. Known at the time as “Asian flu”, it killed more than a million people. We hear from a woman who survived the virus and speak to Mark Honigsbaum, author of The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris. Plus, Indonesia’s transgender rights movement, the assassination of the UN’s first Middle East mediator, conflict in the Galapagos Islands, and the trees that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

    Photo: Americans worried about "Asian flu" wait their turns at Central Harlem District Health clinic in October 1957. Credit: Getty Images

    • 50 min
    The last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade

    The last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade

    The grandson of the last surviving African-born US slave, plus the story behind the portable hospital breathing ventilator that was a precursor to those helping save coronavirus lives; also on the programme the Pakistani welfare hero, the deadly explosion which sent 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and candid insights from one of America's greatest playwrights.

    • 50 min
    Apollo 13: The drama that gripped the world

    Apollo 13: The drama that gripped the world

    50 years since the Apollo 13 mission, how millions of TV viewers followed the famous rescue of the three NASA astronauts. Also, the women who led the way in America’s space programme by spending two weeks under water and what happened when Skylab crashed to Earth in 1979. Plus, a collision on board the Mir space station in 1997 and the last men on the Moon.


    PHOTO: The crew of Apollo 13 after their rescue (Getty Images)

    • 51 min

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