People's Century Episode 13 Freedom Now 1947

A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great men People’s Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 13 Freedom Now 1947 – European powers are forced to relinquish their colonies in Africa following the Second World War, but in most cases the newly independent countries would eventually succumb to poverty, civil war and despotic regimes. India’s independence motivates a generation of war veterans from Africa, who for the first time have travelled the world, to seek greater autonomy for their own countries. The Europeans are at first reluctant to surrender colonies that supports their prosperity, although Asia is decolonised in the 1950s. The British give reforms to the Gold Coast (now Ghana), which under Kwame Nkrumah would lead the way to independence, and ultimately become an example to the rest of Africa. Kenya’s path to independence would not be without blood, and the British fight the Mau Mau to protect the numerically small white population. France and Portugal both struggle to keep their colonies. Within three years, 25 African states would become independent from their colonial masters, but tribal hatreds, corruption, a lack of a skilled workforce and internal conflict often lead these countries to ruin. The introductory scene shows India’s path towards independence. Interviewees include Komla Gbedema and E. T. Mensah.

People's Century Episode 24 God Fights Back 1979

A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great men, People’s Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 24 God Fights Back 1979 – Religion makes a comeback into people’s lives in the Islamic world and elsewhere, as people seek guidance and spiritual sustenance during periods of modernisation and social upheaval. Starting in Turkey under Atatürk, throughout the Islamic world governments introduce Western technology, fashion and culture to modernise and strengthen their countries. However public perceptions that commercialism and secularism are leading a breakdown in Islamic values galvanise Islamist movements in Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and even Turkey. The greatest transformation of society takes place following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, where Sharia law, sex segregation and veils are (re)introduced, and similar measures are adopted elsewhere. Religious fundamentalism also surfaces in the United States, Israel and India. The introductory scene features the Shah of Iran showcasing his country in 1971, and his departure in 1979.

People's Century Episode 25 People Power 1989

A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great men, People’s Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 25 People Power 1989 – By the 1970s the people in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were becoming aware of the economic failures of central planning. Propaganda and an intrusive security apparatus were now needed to maintain control, particularly after the appearance of Western consumer goods and culture in the Eastern Block, and Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland, raised public discontent with their entrenched governments. From 1985 new Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev introduces reforms to encourage openness and initiative to stop stagnation. Gorbachev also allows Eastern Europe to set their own destinies. In 1989 Hungary begins dismantling the Iron Curtain and Poland holds free elections; the absence of a Soviet response encourages people in the more hard-line states of East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania to eventually overthrow their leaders. Gorbachev’s reforms triggers an unsuccessful coup in 1991, eventually leading to the end of the Communist Party and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The introductory scene shows the fall of the Berlin Wall.