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Dan Snow's History Hit

Untold Stories of War

I was delighted to be joined by James Rogers - a war historian, fellow of the London School of Economics, and presenter of History Hit's Untold History series. One of James' films explores HM Factory Gretna, a munitions factory built by the Ministry of Munitions in response to the Shell Crisis of 1915. He told me about the fate of these factory workers - predominantly women - who laboured to produce cordite, an explosive described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as 'Devil's Porridge'. We also discussed the overlooked story of German POWs in the south of England, and the legacy of their lives after the war. 


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  • 1459. Dan's History Heroes: Britain's Greatest Soldier, Part 1

    46:39
    This is the story of Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, Britain's most extraordinary soldier. The one-handed, one-eyed, walking stick-wielding war hero fought in the Second Boer War, The First World War and the Second World War. He was wounded countless times, awarded prestigious medals for gallantry, and made into a figure of legend. Away from the battlefield the eccentric veteran rubbed shoulders with kings and emperors, and worked with some of the most important world leaders of the 20th century.To tell this astonishing tale, Dan weaves his storytelling with the words of Carton De Wiart himself, read by Dan's father, Peter Snow. In this first episode, we follow the aspiring young officer from his baptism by fire in South Africa to the trenches of the Western Front.Written and produced by Dan Snow, and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1458. The Rise and Fall of the Klu Klux Klan

    38:02
    With a sinister hierarchy of "grand wizards" and "dragons," hooded Klansmen concealed their identities as they unleashed a reign of terror on Black Americans and other minorities across America for almost a century.Dan is joined by Professor Kristofer Allerfeldt from the University of Exeter to map out the rise and fall of the KKK founded in 1866 by Confederate veterans in Tennessee, as a vehicle for white Southerners to resist Reconstruction and the enfranchisement of Black Americans right through to the 21st century.Produced by Mariana Des Forges, James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1457. Civil War Rivals: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses Grant

    48:03
    100 years ago, in the spring of 1864, the Overland Campaign ignited a ferocious clash between two titans of US military history: Ulysses S. Grant, the rugged and relentless Union general, versus the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, a suave southern officer and master of strategy.Theirs was a hotly-contested rivalry, and the debate still rages on to this day - who was the better general? To help you decide, we're joined by Jonathan D. Bratten, an engineer officer and command historian in the Maine Army National Guard.Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1456. The Early Years of the British Empire

    42:15
    The British weren't always imperial global players with an empire of viceroys, redcoats and industrialised trade systems. The early years of the British Empire were actually pretty chaotic; for the English in the 17th century, it was a period of exploration, rugged individuals, private companies, pirates, misadventure and failure.Dan is joined by David Veevers, historian of Early Modern History at the University of Bangor, to explore those tumultuous early years, how the English moved into new lands, the challenges they faced, how they interacted, cooperated with, attempted to subjugate and were resisted by the indigenous peoples they found. David's book is called The Great Defiance: How the World Took on the British EmpireProduced by James Hickmann and edited by Teän Stewart-Murray.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1455. The Challenger Disaster

    29:49
    On January 28, 1986, the nation watched in horror as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian selected to fly into space. The devastating tragedy unfolded live on television, shattering the dreams of millions of schoolchildren who had tuned in to witness this historic mission.Dan is joined by British journalist and former U.S. correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph Magazine Adam Higginbotham to explore what caused the explosion and how the disaster exposed a deeply flawed decision-making process within NASA, as well as the bravery of the whistleblowers who challenged authority and paid a heavy price.Adam's book is called Challenger: A True Story of Heroism & Disaster at the Edge of Space.Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1454. Lost on Mount Everest: The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine

    50:58
    Dan unravels the mystery surrounding George Mallory and Andrew Irvine's daring attempt to conquer Mount Everest in 1924 - a feat that could have made them the first to stand atop the world's highest peak. He tells the tale of Irvine and Mallory's ascent into the 'Death Zone' where they embarked on their final summit push amidst biting winds and punishing altitudes. Dan also hears from world-renowned climber Jake Norton who was part of an expedition in 1999 to find out what happened to the climbers and describes the group's truly astonishing discovery.Written and produced by Dan Snow, and James Hickmann and edited by Dougal PatmoreEnjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1453. Inside North Korea

    39:57
    With closed borders, a totalitarian regime, electricity blackouts and widespread poverty, North Korea is a brutal place to survive; even looking at a foreign media outlet can get a North Korean citizen sent to a concentration camp. So why, in 2011 did leader Kim Jong Il allow Jean Lee, a celebrated American journalist to set up a news bureau in Pyongyang?In today's episode, Jean is Dan's guide to North Korea. She tells him about her extraordinary experiences living and working in North Korea as the AP bureau chief. She delves into the history of the Korean peninsula, the Korean War and what made North Korea the country it is today- including the mythology of the Kim dynasty and the famine of the 1990s. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1452. Pegasus Bridge: The First Assault of D-Day

    32:14
    Just after midnight on the 6th of June, 1944, 181 British glider-borne infantry crashed to earth in the Normandy countryside. They clambered out of their gliders and rushed towards their objectives; two German-held bridges near the D-Day landing zones. This was the opening salvo of D-Day, and their mission was vital - if they failed, their comrades would be trapped on the beaches, unable to move off the sand and vulnerable to counterattack.To mark the 80th anniversary of this assault, Dan is joined by Neil Barber. Neil has been interviewing veterans of the British 6th Airborne Division in Normandy for almost 30 years. He is the author of ‘Pegasus Bridge - The Capture, Defence and Relief of the Caen Canal and River Orne Bridges on D-Day’. Remembered in the words of the people who were there, Dan and Neil retrace this vital chapter of the D-Day story.This episode uses AI-generated voices for the excerpts of veteran testimony.Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.
  • 1449. D-Day: The Deception that Made it Possible

    29:17
    Please note that this episode contains explicit language.On the 29th of May, 1944, less than a week before D-Day, General George S. Patton gave a rip-roaring speech to the First US Army Group. He spoke of the indomitable American spirit and the fear that his men would inspire in their enemies. He'd given this expletive-riddled address dozens of times, and American GIs loved him for it. But this time, there was a catch; the army he was addressing did not actually exist.Dan is joined by Taylor Downing, a historian, writer and author of 'The Army That Never Was: D-Day and the Great Deception'. Taylor takes us through this remarkable deception operation, without which D-Day may have gone very differently.Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code DANSNOW - sign up at https://historyhit.com/subscription/.We'd love to hear from you - what do you want to hear an episode on? You can email the podcast at ds.hh@historyhit.com.You can take part in our listener survey here.