Twentieth Century

Twentieth Century

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Twentieth Century
  • 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...

  • Alderney: The War Years

    In June 1940, the Channel Islands - British Crown Dependencies - were occupied by German forces. On the orders of Adolf Hitler, they were transformed into impregnable fortresses, works that still mark the islands today. Measuring just three square miles, the island of Alderney now found itself on...

  • 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...

  • Arnhem: Battle for the Bridges

    Operation Market Garden was the Allied operation to end the Second World War by Christmas 1944. The brainchild of Bernard Montgomery, it involved the combined use of airborne and armoured divisions carving a path through the Netherlands, securing several vital bridges, bypassing the formidable Si...

  • Arnhem For Ever: A Pilgrimage

    75 years ago, Allied Airborne units landed in the Netherlands. Their objective: capture the main bridges across the Rhine and its neighbouring rivers, a vital part of Montgomery's audacious plan to end World War Two by Christmas. Although a combination of bad luck and poor planning quickly doomed...

  • Avi Shlaim on the Balfour Declaration

    Avi Shlaim is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at St Antony's College, Oxford. Here he discusses the background and implications of the historic Balfour Declaration of November 1917.

  • A Welcome to Britain

    An informative film made for American troops travelling to Britain, letting them know what to expect and advising them on how to behave. The film covers varied subjects, from the humble British pub, to rationing, to the treatment of black British servicemen.

  • Battlezone: World War Two

    2 seasons

    A series of archive films documenting stories from the many combat theatres of World War Two. From Stalingrad to New Britain.

  • Blitzkrieg! The Fall of France

    Just before dawn on 10 May 1940 the largest concentration of motorised vehicles in history roared into action. After months of quiet it was the start of Hitler’s invasion of the West. What followed was a stunning combination of new tactics and new technologies that left Britain and France – two w...

  • Broadway Tower: A Folly of Delight and Daring

    High on the peak of the Cotswolds stands one of the most remarkable buildings in Britain. Built as a folly in the final days of the 18th century, Broadway Tower sprung up during the height of the French Revolutionary Wars under the distracted watch of the architect James Wyatt. In the following y...

  • By The Winter Sea

    Short film following the story of Ada, a young woman from London who becomes a land girl in coastal Lincolnshire during the Second World War.

  • China's Forgotten War: Behind the Documentary

    If the standout documentary from our East Meets West season, 'WW2: China's Forgotten War' has left you wanting more then don't miss this companion interview with Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford. Mitter, who presents the documentary an...

  • Coronavirus: Lessons From History

    In the past few months more than a billion people have faced restrictions unlike any seen before. Shops are closed; the death toll is rising; people across the globe have been forced to rise to an extraordinary challenge. But it is important to remember that humans have experienced pandemics befo...

  • D-Day 75
    1 season

    D-Day 75

    1 season

    6th June, 1944, the Allies embark on the liberation of Europe. Explore the events of Operation Overlord with our specially selected documentaries.

  • Doctor Under Fire: The Extraordinary 75 Year Career of Dr William Frankland

    Over the course of his 106 years, Doctor William Frankland has experienced more than most. He served with the Royal Medical Corps during World War Two, spending more than three years as a prisoner of war of the Japanese following the fall of Singapore. After the war, his medical career focused on...

  • Dover Castle at War

    Peter Snow explores the part Dover Castle played in Operation Dynamo in 1940, the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk.

  • Drake's Island: Plymouth's Island Fortress

    For generations, Drake's Island, situated just outside of Plymouth harbour, had been owned by the Ministry of Defence. Recently, however, this island bastion has gone into private ownership. In this documentary Bob King, the gatekeeper of Drake's Island, gives Dan an exclusive tour of this extrem...

  • F-35 Simulator

    The F-35 is the latest plane to join the ranks of the RAF. What is so special about it is that it is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed for many missions with advanced, integrated sensors built into every aircraft. Missions that were traditionally performed by small numbers of...

  • Fighting Proud: A Gay History of the World Wars

    At the end of World War Two the British public wanted to get back to ‘normal’. The gay men who had served their King and country found themselves subjected to a vigorous enforcement of the draconian law that would put them into prison if they were found guilty of indecency. But servicemen living ...

  • Forgotten Faces of the Great War: The Chinese Labour Corps

    China started out as a neutral country during the First World War. But by early 1917, one thousand Chinese men were on their way to the Western Front. Tens of thousands more would follow, to provide logistical support to the Allies. They constituted one of the largest labour corps of the war. The...