On 14th November 1940, the Luftwaffe launched the most devastating bombing raid so far on Britain. The target was Coventry, deep in the heart of England. In a 12 hour blitz, the Luftwaffe dropped thousands of tons of bombs. Three quarters of the city centre was devastated, including the ancient cathedral. The Nazis coined a phrase - "to Coventrate" - to describe the intense destruction. It was a baptism of fire for Coventry and Britain. For years, the government feared that aerial bombardment could destroy civilian morale. In Coventry, those fears were tested, and in the immediate aftermath of the blitz the evidence was not encouraging.
Ben MacIntyre brings to life his bestselling book Agent Zigzag, the gripping true story of Britain's most extraordinary wartime double agent, Eddie Chapman, he duped the Germans so successfully that he was awarded their highest decoration, the Iron Cross. He remains the only British citizen ever to win one. Including remarkable and newly discovered footage from an interview Chapman gave three years before his death in 1997, the programme goes on the trail of one of Britain's most unlikely heroes - a story of adventure, love, intrigue and astonishing courage.
In 1946 almost half a million German prisoners of war were still being held in Britain. Interviews, archive footage and photographs shed light on the experiences of the people of Oswaldtwistle, who were banned from fraternising with the enemy until 1946, a Lancashire town that offered the hand of friendship to the prisoners of war located near the town. The documentary is based largely on the book Enemies Become Friends by Pamela Howe Taylor.
Exposing the undercover dealings of enemy agents and the MI5 counter deception, known as the double cross system, in the Second World War. Captured German spies were turned into double agents and used to deceive the Axis forces. These agents played a crucial role in the success of the Normandy landings Includes interviews with Pat McCallum, who was in charge of the double agents' files at MI5, Anthony Simkins, former Deputy Director of MI5, as well as members of the German Abwehr military intelligence service.
Documentary series telling the history of the Great War, in which nine million people perished. Episode 2 Stalemate - Documentary series telling the history of the Great War through the words of those who lived through the conflict. As the war began, experts thought that technical advances in weaponry would bring about a quick victory, but the reality was different as armies resorted to trench warfare on the Western Front.
Documentary series telling the history of the Great War, in which nine million people perished. Episode 6 Collapse - This part looks at the poverty and unrest among the German people, how the Americans finally joined in and how the war ended. Starring Judi Dench, Louis Gossett Jr., Martin Landau, Paul Mercurio.
Documentary series telling the history of the Great War, in which nine million people perished. Episode 7 Legacy - Judi Dench narrates an exploration of the aftermath of World War One, when four empires lay devastated, while missing limbs, unhealed injuries and personal grief left painful reminders for those who survived.
Join hosts Peter and Dan Snow for a look at the decisive conflicts of the 20th century. The intricacies of these crucial battles, strategies, weapons, tactics and their impact. CGI brings to life an overview of the major actions, while the dramatized testimony of ordinary soldiers brings the experience of combat. 1918 Western - Covers the Battle of Amiens, and in particular the innovative tactics invented, most notably the close coordination of infantry, tanks and aircraft which characterises modern battles shown by the British commander Douglas Haig, as well as basic Infiltration tactics. Peter and Dan Snow observe a combined - arms exercise.
From the dawn of civilization to the 20th century, A History of Britain re-animates familiar tales and illuminates overlooked aspects of England's past. Hosted by Simon Schama, this series discards timelines and tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities and cultures that infuse British history. Epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island "at the edge of the world" into the greatest empire on earth. Episode 15 The Two Winstons - The lives of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who created the hero Winston Smith in his novel 1984. These men had a huge personal impact on the historian and touched many of the key events of the 20th century, including the World Wars and the Depression.
Battlefield Britain is about famous battles in the history of Great Britain. From Boudicca's destructive rebellion against the Romans to the incredible feats of The Few who saw off the Luftwaffe, these battles all had wide reaching consequences and implications for the future of the British isles. Presented by father and son team Peter and Dan Snow. Peter explains the battleplans, Dan the perspective of the common soldier, sailors and airmen. The episodes also featured interviews with soldiers from both sides, re-enactments of the battles and computer generated scenes with bird eye views and blocks to show troop movement. Episode 8 Their Finest Hour, The Battle Of Britain - The final installment looks to the skies for the Battle of Britain and the RAF's struggle to prevent a Nazi invasion in the darkest days of World War II when Britain stood alone.
What was it like to live in Britain during the First World War? How did it change the country, dramatically, and permanently? Those are the questions that lie behind Britain's Great War, the four part series presented by Jeremy Paxman. There were huge changes in Britain too at the end of it, standards of health, nutrition, political representation and sexual equality had risen as the state took a far greater responsibility for its citizens than had ever before been imagined. Britain's Great War does not play down the grief and suffering of a terrible conflict. Rather it chooses to tell a different, unfamiliar story, the story of how the First World War affected the people of Britain, and dragged the country into the modern age. Episode 1 War Comes To Britain - Traces the story of the dramatic early stages of the war, from stunned disbelief to the mass recruitment of volunteer soldiers. Britain expanded its small army of 80,000 men in France and mobilised 1,500,000 volunteers. Fear of invasion grips the country, Boy scouts guard bridges, and spies are suspected everywhere. For the first time, British civilians are fired on by enemy ships and bombed from the air. Jeremy Paxman, host of the documentary, meets a 105 year old eyewitness to the shelling of Hartlepool, who describes how she thought the Germans had landed. Total war has come to Britain.
The ultimate success or failure of many of the battles of World War II boiled down to men and machines locked in a fight to the death. Special regiments, squadrons and naval services, together with clandestine forces and formations, gave the vast, overall fighting forces of World War II an extra edge in the most pivotal battles. Gladiators of World War II examines the establishment and background of the greatest fighting forces of the Second World War. Each program examines a different unit, dissecting its command structure, military objectives, battle formations and its success or failure in applying its tactics and strategy to each of the major theatres in which it fought. Episode Desert Rats - The men of the British Armoured Division gained the nickname Desert Rats during their epic campaign against the Axis forces under Erwin Rommel in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. Thereafter, the Desert Rats fought with great distinction in Sicily, Italy and North-West Europe. Their long road took them from the Suez Canal to the Nazi capital of Berlin.
The ultimate success or failure of many of the battles of World War II boiled down to men and machines locked in a fight to the death. Special regiments, squadrons and naval services, together with clandestine forces and formations, gave the vast, overall fighting forces of World War II an extra edge in the most pivotal battles. Gladiators of World War II examines the establishment and background of the greatest fighting forces of the Second World War. Each program examines a different unit, dissecting its command structure, military objectives, battle formations and its success or failure in applying its tactics and strategy to each of the major theatres in which it fought. Episode The Paras and Commandos - Winston Churchill created the Commandos in summer 1940 as a means of striking at the coasts of Nazi Occupied Europe. Beginning as a mere raiding force, they became the spearhead of the Allied amphibious landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. Out of the Commandos evolved Britain's airborne forces, whose feats ranged from the daring Bruneval raid of 1942 to the epic of Arnhem.
Pamela Churchill Harriman was Winston Churchill's daughter-in-law and confidante, and with his knowledge conducted a series of affairs in wartime London, picking up the pillow talk of diplomats and generals. Churchill's Girl includes interviews with key people in her life, including her son, brother, son-in-law and stepdaughter, Peter Duchin and Brooke Hayward Duchin and the granddaughter of her husband Averell Harriman, Alida Morgan. The programme is interspersed with archive illustrating her wedding to Randolph Churchill, travels with Winston, campaigning with Bill Clinton, as ambassadress to France, and of her state funeral in Washington's National Cathedral.
Hitler's Favourite Royal covers the life of Prince Charles Edward, Queen Victoria's youngest grandchild, who was forced by his Grandmother to take up the Dukedom of Coburg in Germany after a series of unexpected deaths of uncles and cousins. With the advent of World War One, he reluctantly fought for the German army but refused to fight the British. However, once the war was over, he was stripped of his English titles. Disillusioned, he turned to far right politics and became an enthusiastic early supporter of the emergent Nazi Party and unwittingly helped in Hitler's rise to power.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she left behind an extended family network that spanned nine European thrones. This dynasty was the very pinnacle of high society and family members referred to themselves as "The Club". But from the moment Queen Victoria died, "The Club" was doomed. Long forgotten royal correspondence, admiralty telegrams and secret service records discovered by historian Dr Andrew Cook reveal an amazing trail of events. It's an incredible story played out against a backdrop of global war and revolution a moment in time that would change the course of the 20th century.
A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great men, People's Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 2 Killing Fields 1914 - The Great War is fought with larger armies and deadlier weapons than ever before, bringing death and carnage on an unprecedented scale to Europe. The bloody Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Verdun fail to break a stalemate on the Western front, and soldiers become increasingly frustrated and demoralised with the war's mounting casualties, poor living conditions and lack of progress. World War I's Propaganda began for the first time in 1916. Despite the October Revolution knocking Russia out of the war in 1917, the odds shift against a blockaded Germany with the entry of the United States into the war, and eventually an armistice is signed. The psychological scars of this war would make the public less willing in future to go to war, or trust their leaders. The introductory scene shows soldiers mobilising at the beginning of the war, grossly under-estimating the destructive power of modern warfare. Interviewees include Karl von Clemm, Edward Smout and Cecil Lewis. (US version date: 1916).
A departure from other documentaries that observe history as the actions of great men, People's Century considers the Century from the view of common people. Most persons interviewed were ordinary men and women who closely witnessed various events and they give personal accounts how developments in the Twentieth Century affected their lives. The opening credits depict various images from the century and a very short introduction. Episode 11 Total War 1939 - The Second World War enmeshes civilians to the horrors of war on an unprecedented scale. Germany and Japan, in seeking living space, kill and enslave entire populations in the Soviet Union and Asia respectively. Initially considered barbarous, people begin to accept as fair game the aerial bombing of civilian populations, and escalating calls for retaliation bring destruction to cities including Plymouth, Hamburg and Tokyo. Civilians are also in the front line in the Siege of Leningrad, but despite hardships, its orchestra manages to perform Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7. The mobilisation of civilians in the United States and elsewhere gives the allies quantitative superiority in the production of armaments, and ultimately victory. The introductory scene shows prescient footage of aerial bombing in the 1936 film Things to Come.
How did a rehearsal for D-Day on a sleepy stretch of the Devon coast turn into a bloodbath resulting in the death of hundreds of Allied soldiers? "Exercise Tiger" was the Allies' worst training disaster of the 20th century - a combination of allied incompetence and enemy infiltration that was hushed up until 1984. Survivor and eye-witness accounts, top-secret documents, film archive and findings from underwater excavations help to reveal the secrecy and conflicting evidence that persists to this day.
The birth of the fighter plane between 1914 and 1918, tracing how the development of aircraft technology during the pressure cooker of war changed what was an eccentric folly into a deadly weapon. The documentary explores the brave new world of dogfights, aerial reconnaissance and bombing missions, as British pioneers such as Geoffrey de Havilland competed to outdo Anton Fokker, the Dutchman whose planes helped Germany dominate the skies. The story is rounded out with experiments and demonstrations using the Vintage Aviators, film-maker Peter Jackson's fleet of replica First World War aircraft.