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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 13 Factors That Saved Apollo 13

    1 season

    Using spectacular footage, exclusive interviews with Apollo's space scientists and stunning visual effects, this film explores 13 remarkable factors that brought the crew of the famous mission safely home. Explore the full story of the courage and ingenuity that cemented Apollo 13 as NASA's fines...

  • 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.

  • 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 ...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...