20th Century

20th Century

Defined by a rise of nationalism, two world wars, clashing super powers, nuclear weapons and space exploration, the 20th Century is certainly not void of fascinating history. Enjoy our enormous library of documentaries on key events such as D-Day or the sinkng of the Titanic, interviews with leading experts such as Tom Holland, David Cannadine and fascinating podcasts on the history of warfare.

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20th Century
  • 1979: Women of the Iranian Revolution

    The Iranian Revolution of 1979, also known as the Islamic Revolution, was a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    The...

  • Debunking the Myths of the Titanic

    At noon on 10 April 1912, crowds gathered at Southampton to watch the maiden voyage of the World's largest ship RMS Titanic. A sleek, modern luxurious liner that was offering a safe and fast crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Titanic was said to be invincible. She cruised down Southampton waters on ...

  • Life Underwater: Inside the HMS Alliance

    Submarine veteran Commodore Eric Thompson gives Dan Snow a tour of HMS Alliance, now preserved at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Portsmouth.

  • Australia's Pearl Harbor: The Bombing of Darwin

    In February 1942, the Second World War came to Australia. The same Japanese fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbor only ten weeks before had set its sights on a new target. The harbour town of Darwin. In two separate attacks on February 19 1942, nearly 250 Japanese aircraft wreaked havoc on the lig...

  • Salisbury Plain: Training for War

    Salisbury Plain is the Ministry of Defence's largest training ground, covering an area the size of the Isle of Wight. Dan Snow is shown around the Plain by MOD archaeologist Richard Osgood, to explore how British, Commonwealth and Allied troops prepared for the two great wars.

  • Yasmin Khan on the Indian Partition

    2017 was the 70th anniversary of the Partition of the Indian Raj which caused such an epidemic of bloodshed. Yasmin Khan, Associate Professor of History at Oxford University, and author of 'The Great Partition' draws on her research and family recollections to deliver the powerful story of partit...

  • Imphal and Kohima: Britain's Greatest Battle

    The Battles of Imphal and Kohima was a crucial turning point in the attempted Japanese invasion of India during World War Two. By October 1942 Singapore, Hong-Kong, Malaysia and Burma had all fallen to the Japanese; the Imperial army looked unbeatable. Yet it was then, when morale was at its lowe...

  • The Second Great Fire of London

    On 29 December 1940 London experienced one of its worst nights of the Blitz. German bombers dropped tens of thousands of bombs, destroying more of London than the city's famous Great Fire of 1666. The following morning, a photographer took a picture through the smoke and fire of Saint Paul’s Cath...

  • The Women Who Flew For Hitler

    Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were two talented, courageous, and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to become the only female test pilots in Hitler’s Germany – eventually being awarded the Iron Cross for their services to the Luftwaffe. Both were brilliant pilots, both...

  • Walking With Churchill with Andrew Roberts

    Andrew Roberts shares a selection of items from his Winston Churchill collection, documenting the fascinating life of one of Britain's most iconic figures.

  • 10 Steps to World War Two

    After the Great War of 1914-18, European powers were desperate to avoid another conflict of that scale. But just 20 years later, they found themselves plunged into catastrophe on an even greater scale. The outbreak of World War Two has been blamed on the policy of 'appeasement' - with the Great P...

  • The Christmas Truce

    On Christmas Eve 1914 many sectors of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent. Troops from all sides put down their weapons and sang carols, exchanged gifts and buried their dead in No Man's Land. The following day the truce continued in many, but not all areas, and troops gathered in...

  • Operation Dynamo: Escape from Dunkirk

    At the end of May and the beginning of June 1940, over 370,000 Allied soldiers found themselves at great risk, surrounded by German forces on all sides & with their backs to the Channel. The eyes of the World fixed their gaze on the small Allied perimeter that remained, around the beaches of Dunk...

  • Secrets of the Churchill War Rooms

    Winston Churchill, wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain and its empire during the Second World War, is one of the most recognisable figures of world history. The man dominated Whitehall and Westminster, but many of his most vital decisions during the war years were taken away from the public e...

  • Remember Pearl Harbor

    Narrated by Tom Selleck: Sunday, December 7, 1941 was a beautiful morning on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. A few sailors and soldiers were already up and playing a game of football near Pearl Harbor. Others were sleeping in their barracks or aboard ships after a late night of partying in Honolulu....

  • Dresden: The Fire and the Darkness

    75 years ago this week Dresden, in Saxony, known as the ‘jewel box’ because of its stunning architecture was obliterated by British and American bombers. The flames reached almost a mile high. Around 25,000 people were thought to have been killed. The novelist Kurt Vonnegut was there. It was he w...

  • 1916

    Last year audiences around the world were astounded by Sam Mendes' incredible World War One epic, 1917. This autumn, Dan Snow was invited to take a look at a recreated World War One trench network in the UK, built by military historian Taff Gillingham. In homage to 1917, we decided to film this w...

  • A Call for Change: Police Brutality in the United States

    This documentary looks into the history of militarised policing in the United States and how it has influenced the mindset and mentality of US policing today. Featuring Collette Flanagan, founder of ‘Mothers Against Police Brutality’, Dr Howard Henderson, Professor Julian Go, Alex Vitale, Sara Mo...

  • Africa and War

    The first shot fired by British forces in the First World War was fired by an African soldier in Africa. Historian David Olusoga presents three 1418 Now art commissions that will highlight the often overlooked role played by African soldiers.

  • Africa: Written out of History

    Historian Luke Pepera looks at how and why the history of Africa was written out of world history. He also explores how and why, as a consequence of this, the history of Africans in Britain was written out of British history.

  • Aircraft of the Battle of Britain

    Historian Mat McLachlan visits the Royal Air Force Museum in London to explore four iconic aircraft, which all served in the Battle of Britain - the Hawker Hurricane, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Fiat CR.42. Join him and museum historian Kris Hendrix as they enjoy un...

  • Amara Thornton on the Lost Reels of Nineveh

    Dr Amara Thornton talks us through a newly discovered film documenting archaeological excavations at the site of Nineveh.

  • A Nation In Shock: The Assassination of JFK

    22 November, 1963, gunfire at Dealey Plaza, Dallas. Told through newsreels and archive, this film provides a snapshot of the grief and shock that gripped the world in the aftermath of the assassination of JFK.

  • Archaeologist Spies of World War One

    Archaeologists excavated the ancient past during peacetime, but in war they had a different mission - to play a vital role in modern military intelligence. Historian of archaeology Dr Amara Thornton explores a network of archaeologist-spies, codebreaking, mapping and running agents, and with expe...