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.

Share
20th Century
  • Nikita Khrushchev: The Red Tsar

    This film is a living history. Nikita Khrushchev’s closest family members and historians tell a story from the centre of power. This unique biography of a witness of the century comes alive in the shadow of the events he was part of.

    Despite being an ardent Stalinist for many years, it was Nikit...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • Ernest Shackleton: With Ranulph Fiennes

    In this fascinating interview, Dan Snow chats to the world's greatest living explorer Ranulph Fiennes about Ernest Shackleton and his heroic expeditions in the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration.

  • Sam Mendes on 1917

    1917 is a new film directed by Golden Globe winning film maker Sir Sam Mendes. Set in early 1917, at the height of the First World War on the Western Front, Mendes uses the backdrop of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line as the stage for telling a story inspired by the memories of Alfred Me...

  • Recognition of the Japanese Zero

    Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter was produced by the US Air Force in 1943. The first part of the film describes the recognisable features of the Zero, and compares them with other aircraft. The second part takes the form of a short film, in which Ronald Reagan plays a pilot who finds hims...

  • U. S. S Indianapolis: The Legacy

    The Legacy Project tells the fate of the World War II heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis using exclusively first-person accounts. The last crew and their families share gripping stories of kamikaze attacks, invasions, a secret mission, and ultimately a devastating torpedo attack that killed three fou...

  • Ireland: War and Revolution

    Between 1919 and 1921, Ireland played host to a long and bloody guerrilla conflict between British state forces and Irish republican guerrillas, in the form of Irish Volunteers or the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The conflict would completely transform the political landscape in Ireland.

    In this...

  • The Western Front Tunnels

    The creation of man-made underground tunnels played a huge role in the outcome of the First World War. They were first dug to mine under enemy positions and detonate bombs or attack in desperate and fierce fights. As the war dragged on, nevertheless, they developed another purpose: providing sold...

  • Legacies of Eugenics

    Eugenics is a set of ideas that cast a long shadow over the 20th century and beyond. In this film, historian Marius Turda takes us on a tour of a new exhibition about Eugenics, exploring how it spread, who it affected and how to confront it.

  • The Pursuit of Endurance: On the Shoulders of Shackleton

    In the heart of the Antarctic, nine adventurers are about to live an extraordinary story. They come from very different backgrounds, but one thing brings them together: a passion for adventure and testing the limits.

    Their goal: to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest legends of the go...

  • 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...

  • Endurance: Rediscovered

    It was one of the last great lost shipwrecks of history - Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance. But now, incredibly, it has been rediscovered - over a century after it sank beneath the ice in freezing Antarctic waters.

    Organised by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, the expedition to locate the...

  • My Life and World War Two

    Happy Birthday Victor Gregg - he has turned 100 this week. Victor volunteered to join the army before the Second World War and he fought all the way through - from clashes with the Italians in North Africa in 1940 to being captured 75 years ago this autumn at Arnhem. He was a Prisoner of War in D...

  • Women of the Second World War: Courage and Conviction

    By 1944, a third of the civilian population in Britain was engaged in war work, including over 7 million women. From compiling weather reports, maintaining aircraft, serving on airfields or working in intelligence, the work of women was crucial in the fight against Nazi Germany. Alice Loxton trac...

  • Culture of Memory: Germany's Post-WW2 Statues and Memorials

    Throughout Germany post World War Two monuments can be found in all shapes and sizes. But what they are memorialising is unique: ‘Erinnerungskultur’ – ‘culture of memory’. Focused around the sins of Nazi Germany, these memorials were designed to commemorate the country’s sins between 1933 and 194...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • RRS Discovery: Aboard the World's First Polar Research Vessel

    Dan Snow steps aboard the RRS Discovery in Dundee, the first purpose built scientific research vessel for the Antarctic. Guided around the ship by Ali Gellatly, he learns what life and adventure was like aboard this unique vessel.

    The legendary polar explorer Captain Scott commanded Discovery's...

  • Korea: The Forgotten War in Colour

    1 season

    The story of the Korean War is told through powerful color imagery, dramatic musical score and sound-scape. In the first episode, the summer of 1950 sees the people of Korea trapped in the vice-like grip of the beginnings of the Cold War, as the two new superpowers of the postwar world flex their...

  • 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...

  • Eastland: The Shipwreck That Shook America

    On 24 July 1915 the SS Eastland rolled onto its side and sank in the Chicago River, killing 844 passengers that were onboard. This is the story of this tragic event, 'the Blue Collar Titanic', one of the worst maritime disasters in US history.

  • Simon Sebag Montefiore on Stalin

    How did a young boy from Georgia become a merciless politician who shaped the Soviet Empire in his own brutal image? Historian and bestselling author, Simon Sebag Montifiore talks to Dan about the rise of Joseph Stalin, a man who caused the death and suffering of tens of millions under his regime...

  • Ghost Ships: Forgotten Wrecks of the River Dart

    In 2013, a survey around the UK identified 199 different assemblages of hulks, remains of craft. These included paddle ships, ferries, steamboats, sail ships, submarines and fishing boats.

    All around the UK, in rivers and streams, and in the mud on the side of riverbeds are the remains of our m...