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
  • Queen Elizabeth II: A Life in History

    Queen Elizabeth II was born in a totally different world to today. Her life spanned decades of profound change, both in the United Kingdom and around the globe.

    In this special programme, Dan Snow and royal historian Prof. Kate Williams reflect on the early years of Elizabeth II’s remarkable l...

  • A City At War: Chicago

    At the beginning of America's involvement in World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) called on the country to become "an arsenal of democracy" – to become producers of war materiel to help defeat the Axis powers – Germany, Japan and Italy. This is the story of how Chicago answered...

  • Galahad: The Untold Story

    On the 8th June 1982, at the height of the Falklands War, 53 men lost their lives in the Argentine air attacks on the British ships, Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram.

    32 of those men were Welsh Guards - some of them no more than boys.

    A further 160 Welsh Guards were injured, many suffering severe b...

  • Nixon in the Den

    Nixon In The Den develops a fresh account of Nixon and his ruthless ambition to escape a loveless, impoverished background. Historian David Reynolds argues that Nixon was genuinely successful as an international statesman, with historic visits to Communist China and the Soviet Union in 1972 helpi...

  • The Falklands: The Last British War

    1 season

    On the night of the 2nd April 1982, without warning, Argentina launched the invasion of the Falklands Islands. What followed was Britain’s last solo war: the last major conflict fought over British imperial territories, the last major conflict Britain fought by itself rather than as part of a coa...

  • Shackleton: The Story of Endurance, 3-Part Series

    1 season

    This 3-part documentary celebrates an explorer who failed in everything he set out to do, but whose toughness, courage and leadership made him a legend: Sir Ernest Shackleton.

  • Uncovering the Band of Brothers

    1 season

    80 years ago, millions of American soldiers started arriving in Britain, a friendly invasion that was here to prepare for the liberation of Europe. Amongst them was Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment - that would become the famous Band of Brothers. Now, a team of volunteers, in...

  • The Untold Story of the Unknown Warrior

    The First World War was a conflict like nothing the World had ever known. More than 700,000 men mobilised in the UK would die during the conflict. Roughly 250,000 of those would have no known grave. The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior became a place where all those people who were denied a grave to v...

  • The Air War: The Escalation of Allied Bombing

    During the Second World War a storm of fire and steel was unleashed. Not just on front line troops, but on enemy society itself. All sides in the Second World War believed that aerial bombardment could decisively affect the strategic outcome of the conflict. But did the unprecedented onslaught fr...

  • Hitler: The Rise to Power

    In the 1930s Germany, one of the World's richest, most technologically-developed and culturally-sophisticated countries, was transformed into an extreme authoritarian state under its dictator Adolf Hitler. His unbridled ambition would plunge the World into a war bloodier and more destructive than...

  • D-Day Collection

    1 season

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

  • Philip: Prince, Husband, Father

    When he died just weeks before his 100th birthday, the country celebrated Prince Philip's devotion to duty and to the Queen as friends and family paid tribute to his many accomplishments.

    But, as the Queen also said, Prince Philip didn’t “take easily to compliments.’ This film, as far as possib...

  • Race Science with Angela Saini

    Dan sat down with Angela Saini to talk about the history behind race and the history of interactions between civilisations.

  • Nuclear Armageddon with Julie McDowall

    Dan sat down with Julie McDowall to talk about Britain's plans in case of nuclear Armageddon during the Cold War. They also discuss the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and its infamous legacy.

  • Secrets of Hitler's Island Fortress

    Guernsey and its neighbouring islands have a unique distinction which sets them apart from the rest of the British Isles. Together with the rest of the Channel Islands, they were the only part of the British Isles to fall to Nazi Germany in the Second World War. In this documentary, Dan Snow disc...

  • Niall Ferguson on Social Networks Throughout History

    Most history is hierarchical: it’s about popes, presidents and prime ministers. A very small section of society has wielded very great power. But what if that’s simply because they are responsible for creating the historical archives? What if we are missing out on understanding equally powerful b...

  • Bismarck: The Definitive Account

    1 season

    A definitive account of the hunt for and sinking of the flagship of the German Kriegsmarine, Bismarck. Featuring Andrew Choong, curator at the National Maritime Museum, naval historian Nick Hewitt and Angus Konstam, author of 'Hunt the Bismarck'. Presented by Dan Snow.

  • Inside Windsor Castle: The State Rooms

    Windsor Castle has a legendary connection to the British monarchy: the longest-serving royal palace in the whole of Europe. Ever since the days of William the Conqueror, the Castle has dominated this strategic point on the banks of the Thames, overlooking west London. Over the next 1,000 years ki...

  • How the Earth Shaped Human History

    Great leaders? Industrial change? Revolutions? If you thought these were the things that shaped history, think again. Back by popular demand, Lewis Dartnell returns to the show. He explains how modern political and economic patterns correlate with events which happened not decades or centuries ag...

  • Uncovering the Enigma: Bletchley Park

    Bletchley Park is now internationally famous as the home of the code-breakers during World War Two. But the endeavours of Alan Turing, Dilly Knox and their colleagues were so top secret that we are only now beginning to learn how they really lived day-to-day in this magnificent house, where – beh...

  • Forgotten Heroines of the East End

    Katie Wignall, founder of Lookup London, shines a light on the stories of several heroines who transformed the East End of London: Annie Besant, Annie Brewster and Sylvia Pankhurst. From writers to activists and nurses, Katie explains how the legacy of these women endures to this day.

  • 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...

  • 🎧 12 Days That Shaped Modern Britain with Professor Andrew Hindmoor

    Professor Andrew Hindmoor, head of Politics at the University of Sheffield, chats to Dan about the days that he thinks shaped Britain today. He talks about the notion of looking at specific days as a way of looking at history, and then talks about everything from Theresa May to Stephen Lawrence t...

  • Africa: The Unknown History of Humankind

    Africa is the second largest continent in the world and is home to the second largest population; but it is second-to-none regarding its ethnic diversity. Throughout history Africa has been the home of many thousands of ethnological groups; the historic sites, places, cultures, kingdoms and civil...