World War One

World War One

Selection of documentaries, interviews and podcasts about World War One. From the Christmas Truce to the introduction of Tanks and Aircraft.

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World War One
  • Living History: The Somme Battlefields

    The Battle of the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916, is remembered as one of the bloodiest events of the First World War. On the first day of the offensive, one man was killed every 4.4 seconds, making it the bloodiest single day in the history of the British Army. There were over a million casua...

  • 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...

  • 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 First Great Escape

    This is the story of the incredible escape attempt of 29 British Officers in July 1918 having spent 10 months constructing the tunnel right under the noses of their German captors. Ten of these officers made the journey to neutral Holland and returned to England as heroes.

  • 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...

  • The Lost Wrecks of Jutland

    The Battle of Jutland was the decisive naval clash of the First World War, pitting the German High Seas Fleet against the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet in an all or nothing battle for supremacy and survival. At the end of the war, the defeated German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow. Or so we thought....

  • The Western Front

    The Western Front, a 400-plus-mile stretch of land weaving through France and Belgium from the Swiss border to the North Sea, was the decisive front during World War One. Despite the global nature of the conflict, much of the world remembers the scars of the Great War through the lens of these ba...

  • The Road to 1914: Myths of Nationalism

    Margaret MacMillan talks to her nephew Dan about her seminal book 'The War That Ended Peace: The Road To 1914'. They discuss the importance of Storytelling to the historian's process, the ways in which political actors at the time viewed the relation between fate and choice, the role that masculi...

  • The Cutting Edge: Tanks in World War One

    On 15 September 1916 the battlefield changed forever. At Flers-Courcelette, during the brutal, bloody fighting on the Somme, the British army released a new weapon designed to combat the devastating power of the machine gun: the tank. Moving on caterpillar tracks and protected by plated armour, t...

  • 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...

  • They Shall Not Grow Old: In Conversation with Peter Jackson

    They Shall Not Grow Old is a remarkable new documentary made by Peter Jackson. The Oscar-winning director has restored and colourised World War One footage from the Imperial War Museum, adding a soundtrack with original audio and transforming the entire project into 3D. In doing so, he has create...

  • The Devil's Porridge

    Dr James Rogers visits the Devil's Porridge Museum to find out more about H.M. Factory, Gretna - the United Kingdom's largest cordite factory during World War One. He discovers the untold story of the young 'Gretna girls' that worked in the Factory and the dangerous task they faced creating the p...

  • 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.

  • The Greatest Air Race and the Heroes the World Forgot

    The Greatest Air Race is presented and narrated by astronaut Andy Thomas as he embarks on a trans-continental journey to retell one of the world’s greatest aviation stories. In 1919, four Australians became the first men to fly across the globe. They flew from London to Darwin in a rudimentary pl...

  • The Blue Book: Armenian Genocide

    In the period 1915 to 1917, between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire died in what is the regarded as one of the first cases of genocide in the 20th century.

  • Ghosts of the Romanovs

    At about 1am on 17 July 1918, in a fortified mansion in Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, the Romanovs – ex-tsar Nicholas II, ex-tsarina Alexandra, their 5 children, and their 4 remaining servants – were awoken by Bolshevik captors and told they must dress and gather their belongings for a swif...

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • The Aftermath of World War One

    Today Dan is joined by Margaret MacMillan, professor at St. Antony's College at Oxford University and author of Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War. Together they discuss the effects WWI had on the world, and how Europe began to rebuild in the years that fol...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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 ...

  • The Search for a Fallen Airman: One Mother's Post WW1 Mission

    Richard van Emden talks to Dan about his new book - Missing: the need for closure after the Great War. The backbone of the book is based on the best single story of World War One that he has found in 35 years of research. It is the story of one woman’s relentless search for her missing son’s body...

  • 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.