When an Allied photo reconnaissance plane flew over southern Poland in the summer of 1944, it took horrifying images of the Nazi’s most evil extermination camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers and the crematoria in which 12,000 people were being murdered daily are clearly visible. But the photos were not analyzed at the time, simply filed away. Using these photos as a unique starting point, we take a new look at the Holocaust and ask what the Allies knew about the extermination camp and when they found out.
Embark on an astounding journey across 100,000 light years to witness key moments in the history of the Milky Way. Using cutting edge science, National Geographic constructs a 3-D state-of-the-art CGI model of our galaxy. Gaze into the heart of the Milky Way on the hunt for super-massive black holes. Witness as stars are born and die. Fly out and above the plane of our galaxy to understand its true shape and scour its dusty spiral arms for the possibility of life.
A documentary about the real life inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. A leading professor of medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell is a pioneer in a new field, forensic science. Joseph Bell is the real life model for the greatest fictional detective in history. He inspired his student, Arthur Conan Doyle to create a legend. Includes interviews with literary historians and Holmes experts and asks the question what is it about this imaginary victorian detective seem so real.
On October 3, 1993, an elite force of 120 American Delta units and Ranger infantry were dropped into Mogadishu, Somalia to abduct two lieutenants of the Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The mission was planned to take one hour. But when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, it became a 15 hour ordeal that left a deep scar on America’s psyche. The author of the bestselling book, officials from the US and Somalia and combatants reveal what happened during the disastrous raid.
How did an Indian Buddhist shrine influence a Japanese pagoda? How are Italian pigs and cowry shells related to porcelain? These intriguing questions are investigated in Artifacts, a series that explores the origins and hidden connections among the art and artifacts of the great cultures and belief systems across Asia to understand the impact of calligraphy, porcelain, architecture, metallurgy, wood block printing and silk on Asian history and on the history of the world in general. Episode 1 A Brush with Wisdom – Enter the hidden world of Chinese painting. In China, they say to understand painting you need to understand calligraphy – the art of writing Chinese characters with a brush.
Documentary series about the brutal, bloody and dangerous history of surgery looks at how surgery dragged itself kicking and screaming out of the dark ages, transforming itself from butchery into a science. Presenter Michael Mosley recounts the history of surgery through its catastrophes and successes. Episode 3 Spare Parts – These days, transplant surgery saves thousands of lives every year and almost everything, from heart to eyes, can be replaced. But in the beginning, transplants killed rather than cured, because surgeons didn’t understand that they were taking on one of the most efficient killing systems we know of, the human immune system.
Decoding the Past is a series that “decodes” the past by looking for unusual, paranormal, and mysterious things written about throughout history that may give clues as to what will happen in the future. Secrets Of The Dollar Bill – There is more to the design of the dollar bill than counterfeit and forgery prevention. Experts discuss the history meaning and rich symbolism of all the markings of the millions in circulation. Go inside the Treasurys Department of Printing and Engraving as experts analyze the symbols on the dollar and see how and why the dollar has changed over generations.
Founded in 1961, the DuSable is one of the first African-American museums in the U.S. It follows African-American history from its beginning on the shores of Africa to a celebration of African-American achievements including those of Bessie Coleman, the nations first black female aviator; World War II Tuskegee airmen; Major Robert Lawrence, the nation’s first black astronaut; and Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor. The museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent. Weaving themes of art, history, and diversity, it also tells us Whats American about Americans? and What Shall I Tell My Children who are Black?
Hitler’s Henchmen and Hitler’s Warriors paints portraits of the men who consolidated Hitler’s reign and turned his plans into action. They wove the complicities and plots without which Hitler could have never perpetrated the crime of the century. They helped to sway the judges and the bureaucrats, the armed forces and the police, the scientists and the industrialists, the students and their teachers to the regime’s ways of thinking. What kind of people were they? What inspired them to serve a corrupt administration with such enthusiasm and devotion? How did their careers unfold and their fates end? These documentaries by Guiddo Knopp and ZDF looks at the high ranking officers who aided the dictator in his war of aggression and managers who turned his plans into reality.
As the world approaches the 21st century, this new series hosted by Michael Woods and produced in 1991, reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own. Shot on location on four continents, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization. China The Mandate of Heaven – Many breakthroughs on which the modern world is based were discovered in China long ago: iron-casting, gunpowder, even printing. When introduced to Europe, these things changed Western civilization. This episode presents the synthesis of East and West.
After thousands of years of debate and question this series explores many of the greatest tales of Scripture. Filmed on location throughout the Holy Land and utilizing modern scientific techniques and newly found archaeological discoveries Mysteries of the Bible reveals surprising facts and theories behind the legendary figures and fabled stories of the Bible. The acclaimed A and E series Mysteries of the Bible provide a wealth of astonishing discoveries and unforgettable revelations. Episode Love and Sex in the Hebrew Bible – On the sixth day of Creation, God pronounced the sexual union between husband and wife “very good”. The Hebrew Bible is rich in stories of love and marriage, as well as rape, prostitution, adultery, and polygamy.
Being a royal mistress really isn’t easy. It’s a tightrope walk between satisfying the king, keeping your husband happy and avoiding any whiff of scandal. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall got it right … in the end. She is the only royal mistress ever to marry her Prince Charming. But then she did learn from a real expert, her own great grandmother Mrs. Alice Keppel, the long term mistress of King Edward VII. Alice was hailed as one of the great beauties of the Naughty Nineties, renowned for her narrow waist and ample bosom. She was the perfect royal mistress charming, intelligent, gorgeous and above all else, discrete. Set against a scintillating background of aristocratic adultery, historian Kate Williams uncovers Alice’s incredible story, investigating the magical childhood in Scotland that honed her ambition and the marriage to George Keppel that actually thrived on infidelity.
This series examines the eleven years which Thatcher spent as Prime Minister of the UK. Using interviews with former Cabinet Ministers and Thatcher herself, this series covers important events in Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership, from 1979 to 1990. Episode 2 Best of Enemies – In her second term in office after victory in 1983, Mrs Thatcher’s position seemed impregnable. Her conduct of the Falkland’s war was popular, she had trounced Arthur Scargill and the striking miners, and had survived the bombing by the IRA of the Grand Hotel in Brighton. But all was not well: Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong and ex Chancellor Nigel Lawson are amongst those who recall the emnity between the Prime Minister and her Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine. Thatcher thought of him as “over poweringly ambitious and self centred”, and his handling of the Westland affair in 1986 only served to increase ill feeling between the two, which reached its height with his challenge to her leadership in 1990.
First broadcast in 1964, The Great War was the definitive film account of the world shattering events of World War I (1914 – 1918) a landmark history series widely regarded as a documentary masterpiece. 26 Episodes. The main narrator was Michael Redgrave. It was a co-production involving the resources of the Imperial War Museum, the BBC, CBC and ABC. The series, unparalleled at the time for its depth of research, range of source material and historical accuracy – all presented in a sequence of clear narratives – is now considered one of the finest achievements of BBC documentary. With few exceptions, successive blocks of episodes are devoted to each year of the war episodes 1 – 6 to 1914, 7 – 10 to 1915, 11 – 14 to 1916, 15 – 19 to 1917, 20 – 23 and 26 to 1918.
This fascinating six program series takes a searching look at the public and private lives of the British Royal Family. The six programs offer a revealing insight into the world’s most famous family, looking at how the monarchy works, how it has evolved over the centuries and the challenges it faces in the present and in the future. The Power And The Glory – The annual state opening of parliament is a magnificent royal event but it’s not just a glittering show. Beyond the diamonds and gold, red velvet and ermin the entire ritual symbolizes the role of the monarch at the apex of the british political system. A system of government that has not changed in its fundamentals for hundreds of years. Most people today tend to assume that despite the trappings, the political role of the monarchy is wholy symbolic long since stripped of any real significance. In fact the monarchy continues to have a great impact on the character of british politics and the queen herself continues to play the pivotal role in the political system. What has changed is the balance of power.
Controversial historian Professor Niall Ferguson argues that in the last century there were not in fact two World Wars and a Cold War, but a single Hundred Years’ War. It was not nationalism that powered the conflicts of the century, but empires. It was not ideologies of class or the advent of socialism driving the century, but race. Ultimately, ethnic conflict underpinned 20th century violence. Finally, it was not the west that triumphed as the century progressed, in fact, power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East. Episode 2 The Plan – How the US became the envy of the world in the aftermath of World War One, a state of affairs that was shattered by the Wall Street crash. He also considers the effect of the Great Depression on people’s attitudes to capitalism and democracy, and how it led to the rise of totalitarian states.
At midday on August 15, 1962, in the depths of the Cold War, a depressed US Army private, James “Joe” Dresnok bolted across the most heavily fortified border on earth, directly through a minefield, and into another world. One of four American defectors who crossed over to the hard line communist North during the 1960s, Dresnok has lived in the North Korean capital Pyongyang ever since, and has not been seen by the outside world for 44 years. Now, the American defector’s astonishing story is being told for the first time. It is a story of betrayal, kidnappings and the alleged “breeding” of spies in the most secretive nation on the planet.
On May 7, 1915, a German torpedo sent the ship to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in just 18 minutes, its speedy descent into the depths occurring far too fast for most of those aboard to make it to the lifeboats. Of the 1,962 passengers and crew on board, 1,200 were lost, including 94 children and, crucially, 128 US civilians, many of whom were prominent figures. President Woodrow Wilson’s neutral stance started to crack. All over the country there were calls for the United States to take up arms against Germany. In many ways, the Lusitania tragedy was the major turning point of the Great War, and perhaps the single greatest factor that eventually brought the United States into the war in April 1917.
Tony Robinson visits the United States, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa to uncover the realities behind the terrifying vision of the end of the world in the Book of Revelation. It’s author wrote it sheltered in a cave on the Greek island of Patmos, probably a refugee from Roman occupied Palestine. He is also likely to have consumed the local hallucinogenic magic mushrooms. So rather than taking these bizarre visions literally, it might make more sense to try to understand them in their historical context. There are some 40 apocalyptic books from this era but this was the only one that made it into the Bible. As is usual with Tony Robinson’s programs Doomsday Code focuses on Tony’s opinions of the people he is observing, in this case Christians and Jews who support the state of Israel’s continued existance. Be prepared for an info-tainment program not a balanced documentary and you won’t be offended.
From the dawn of civilization to the 20th century, A History of Britain re-animates familiar tales and illuminates overlooked aspects of England’s past. Hosted by Simon Schama, this series discards timelines and tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities and cultures that infuse British history. Epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island “at the edge of the world” into the greatest empire on earth. Episode 3 Dynasty – The story of Henry II, who built one of the greatest empires in the medieval world, only to see it torn down by members of his own family. Infamous for inciting the murder of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, Henry has rarely been recognised for his achievements, which included the laying of the foundations for today’s legal system.
They were the dreaded forces on the fringes of civilization, the bloodthirsty warriors who defied the Roman legions and terrorized the people of Europe. They were the Barbarians, and their names still evoke images of cruelty and chaos. But what do we really know of these legendary warriors? From the frigid North Sea to the Russian steppes, this ambitious series tells the fascinating stories of the most fabled groups of fighters in history, tracing 1,000 years of conquest and adventure through inspired scholarship and some of the most extensive reenactments ever filmed. Goths Goths reveals why this once fearsome people subjected themselves to Roman rule, only to rise up again at the battle of Adrianople.
Britain BC – seeks to change our view of the way British civilization had developed prior to Roman arrival and to restore some of the knowledge we have lost about our thriving, pre-Roman, purely British civilization. Dr. Francis Pryor’s mission is to show us how British civilization was flourishing long before the Roman Legions invaded our shores. Our history books tell us that the island was a land of wild savages speaking strange languages, performing barbaric rituals and with no real civilization of the population having taken place. Debunks this notion with some interesting archaeological finds, and shows us how an independent, civilised and deeply spiritual nation had been developing for over 10,000 years before the Romans took over.
Egypt is the title of a BBC television drama serial about various archaeological discoveries taking place in that country’s history, with the occasional “flashback” scene involving actors portraying the ancient Egyptians themselves. Episode 1 The Search for Tutankhamun – In 1905 Lord Carnarvon arrives in Luxor to convalesce after a road accident and is shown an artifact bearing the cartouche of the mysterious Tutankhamun. An inspired Carnarvon employs Carter. The tomb is finally unearthed. When the tomb is opened in the presence of Carnarvon and his daughter it is revealed to be the only unplundered pharaoh’s tomb in the valley.
Now called The National World War Two Museum, this New Orleans-based museum talks about war in human terms and celebrates the American spirit through the personal stories and artifacts of the American men and women who sacrificed and prevailed in an epic struggle against tyranny. One of the museum’s many moving belongings is a soldier’s Christmas letter to “my dear little boys,” a father struggles to explain war to his young children.