cover art for Interwar Espionage and the rising threat of Nazism

Explaining History

Interwar Espionage and the rising threat of Nazism

 Winthrop Bell is probably the most important spy you've never heard of. In this episode of the Explaining History podcast we hear about his life and exploits and his attempts during the 1930s to draw attention to the growing threat that Nazism posed. Academic and author Jason Bell joins us on the podcast to discuss the life, career and legacy of Winthrop Bell and his new book Cracking the Nazi Code.

You can order a copy of the book here

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  • Westlessness: The changing power of the west in the 21st Century

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  • SAS warfare, survival and resistance 1942-44

    In this episode of the Explaining History podcast we hear from Gerald Hough, whose new book Desert Raids with the SAS recounts the story of his father, Anthony, and his experience of war, captivity and escape. Part of the SAS in North Africa during the long desert campaigns between the 8th Army and the Afrika Korps, Anthony Hough was captured by the Italians and sent to a prison camp near Pescara in Italy. When Italy surrendered and Germany occupied the northern half of the country, he found himself trapped behind enemy lines and facing potential deportation to Germany. With two other soldiers he hid and then escaped as the camp was being emptied and found the most extraordinary support and help from Italian anti fascists in the nearby villages. Reduced eventually to living in a cave, Anthony Hough crossed mountainous terrain in winter and desperately ill managed to make it back across allied lines. Hear about this incredible story of survival and resistance.
  • French Counter Insurgency in Algeria

    In today's episode of the Explaining History podcast, we hear from Terence Peterson author of Revolutionary Warfare: How the Algerian War Made Modern Counterinsurgency. In this fascinating discussion, we explore the brutal realities of the Algerian war of Independence and France's struggle to comprehend and counter a nationalist movement that threatened to dismantle its empire. France's loss in Vietnam had been a shattering blow to French pride and self confidence, along with the national humiliation and trauma of the Second World War. The French war against the nationalist movement in Algeria whilst unsuccessful created the framework for the bloody suppression of third world nationalist movements for the next half century.
  • William Freeman and America's first profit driven prisons

    In the first half of the 19th Century profit driven prisons were established in America's northern states, using extreme brutality and conditions that amount to torture to extract free labour from inmates. In this week's edition of the Explaining History Podcast, we hear from Professor Robin Bernstein, whose new book Freeman's Challenge: The Murder that Shook America's Original Prison for Profit tells the story of William Freeman. Freeman was wrongfully convicted of stealing a horse and sent the profit driven prison in his home town of Auburn NY, and who endured terrible physical and mental punishment during the five years of his incarceration. Freeman, a half black, half native American was forced to perform free labour and rebelled against the prison's rules, particularly the imposition of total silence 24 hours a day. When released he demanded restitution for the loss of wages and finally committed a terrible murder. What happened next shaped the racist lie perpetuated in America until the present day of an alleged link between African Americans and violent crime.
  • From biplanes to the jet age - three decades in the RAF

    In this episode of the Explaining History podcast, we hear from Mark Aedy, whose father Ken served as a bomber pilot during the Second World War. Trained to fly in Oklahoma in 1942, Ken saw active service as a bomber pilot attacking the Ruhr, Munster, Dresden and a variety of other targets. After the war he stayed with the RAF and served in Egypt during the end of the Palestine mandate and flew Soviet escorted relief flights at the beginning of the first Berlin Crisis of 1948. Join us for this wide ranging chat about aviation the pressures of war and the moral complexities of the allied mass bombing of Germany. If you'd like to grab a copy of Ken Aedy's memoirs, you can get a copy here
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  • Understanding Nostalgia

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