At just before 7pm on May 26, 1940, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill authorised Operation Dynamo to commence. By the time the operation came to an end on the night of June 4th, a total of 338,226 Belgian, French and British soldiers had been rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats. The rescue was necessary because the British Expeditionary Force - or BEF, that had gone to assist its ally France, had been forced to retreat by the speed and ferocity of the German advance though Holland, Belgium and France. The Allied forces had been duped into thinking the main attack was coming from the north through Holland and Belgium, when in fact it came through the Ardennes, and succeeded in cutting the Allied armies in two. Now the BEF found itself surrounded on three sides by German forces, and with its back to the sea at Dunkirk.
Britain. 3000 BC. Out of a violent, divided nation of early farmers a surprising new society is born. Unified and organised to such an extent that they can harness the expertise and drive to build the world's greatest and most mysterious monument. Stonehenge. When the society disappears, it transforms into a new culture founded on metal and personal wealth. However, the builders leave something more than the mammoth monument behind. They leave their bodies, buried in the earth. Leading Stonehenge expert, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, opens his groundbreaking discoveries to us so we can tell the story of Stonehenge in a unique way. It has always been shrouded in magic and secrets, but now, for the first time we will meet the people who worshipped, celebrated, lived and died in the shadow of Stonehenge. In the process, we trace the dramatic rise and fall of one of the greatest prehistoric societies in the world. This genuinely new narrative is based on the latest research conducted into the cremated and buried people at the site. The stones have mesmerised humans for hundreds of generations. Now we will meet the makers.
In 55 BC, Julius Caesar arrived at the mighty Rhine. He was determined to get his legions across, but considered it beneath the dignity of the Roman army to cross the river by boat. Consequently, he ordered his men to build a wooden bridge over a river which was at least 400m wide, up to 8m deep and flowing at 2m a second. In his account of The Gallic Wars, he claims that from the felling of the first tree to the completed bridge, this massive structure was built in only 10 days. This program attempts to discover if Caesar was boasting. Engineer Chris Wise takes on the challenge and attempts to build a timber bridge across the North Tyne, in Hadrian's Wall country, another outpost of the Roman Empire, using the same techniques as the Romans had at their disposal.
You have to climb and follow paths that don't always appear on maps in order to discover one of the best-kept secrets of the dynasties of pharaohs which was long hidden in the sand. Here, Egyptologists believe there was a perfect pyramid which served as a tomb for the pharaoh Djedefre - a pyramid which hides in its midst a room of almost 20 metres deep and an immense passage that leads deep into the pyramid's heart.
British historian Lucy Worsley reveals how some of the biggest moments in US history are actually fibs and stories concocted by pop culture, politics and nationalistic pride.
Michael Buerk discovers how the Victorians built the bridges that connected Britain. The story begins with the Ironbridge, creating the foundation for emerging engineering titans to redefine the concept of a bridge for Victorian era.
The actor recounts the history of Winchester Cathedral, the longest medieval cathedral in northern Europe, which has witnessed civil wars, religious battles, and struggled with collapsing foundations. It is the burial place of novelist Jane Austen, though only four people attended her funeral and originally her plaque made no mention of her writing. Tony learns that Winchester's bishops were among the richest, most influential, and most badly behaved in the country, and some were wealthier and more powerful than even England's kings.
Australia's favourite boffin Dr Karl takes Julia on a personal tour of Wollongong, visiting his childhood home and the Port Kembla steelworks, and explains how they fired-up his endless curiosity and search for answers.
Time is about to erase the last human voices that can tell us first-hand what happened during the Holocaust. This landmark documentary gathers the powerful testimony of the last UK based holocaust survivors before it is lost forever. The film examines what memories from the survivors' past inform and permeate their present as they come to terms with the time they have left. It follows survivors on personal, profound and momentous journeys including a man returning to Auschwitz with his daughter, a German Jew, addressing the Bundestag and another man returning to his home town for the first time since 1946 to lay a memorial stone to acknowledge the death of his little brother.
Explore the ways cameras became as important as the weapons themselves. In 2017, the US released films from a generation of nuclear tests - allowing scientists to study the last images of thermonuclear explosions we hope we'll ever see. But just getting them took years of trying - and dozens of nuclear explosions. In Los Angeles, a secret film studio, Lookout Mountain, staffed by Hollywood professionals, produced countless films aimed at diverse audiences from policymakers to soldiers, scientists to civilians. The goal: convince anyone who will listen - including themselves - that they knew how to wield this new power. Many of these films are being made public for the first time ever, shedding new light on one of the darkest and most dangerous times in history. New waves of declassified films, photographs and documents are telling us more than we ever knew about the Cold War.
Journalist and television personality Lisa Wilkinson is on a deeply personal quest to unearth the truth about her maternal ancestors. Lisa's mother, Beryl, was born illegitimately, and right up until her recent death, had many unanswered questions about her identity. Lisa encounters her Irish three-times great-grandmother, Eliza O'Brien, whose complex, troubled life has uncanny parallels with her own mother's story. On her father's side, Lisa travels to colourful India, where she discovers her two-times great-grandmother, Ann Beech, whose life shifts from poverty to privilege and back again.
In May 1941, 14,000 German paratroopers supported by nearly a thousand aircraft were dropped on the island in a unique blitzkrieg operation. An airborne invasion of this scale would never be repeated. Several thousand elite paratroopers, the pride of the Nazi Luftwaffe strikeforce, were killed and hundreds of planes lost in 10 days of fierce fighting. Despite the huge cost, the Germans defeated 30,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops supported by Greek partisans.The Allies had few heavy weapons and no air cover. The loss of the island was controversial. We examine claims that the New Zealand commanders made tactical blunders that lost control of a key airport in the second day of the battle, allowing the German forces to gain a crucial foothold on the island.
In the fall of 1940, British prime minister Winston Churchill ordered a small team of scientists on a clandestine transatlantic mission to deliver his country's most valuable military secret: a revolutionary radar component - not to the US government, but to a mysterious Wall Street tycoon, Alfred Lee Loomis. Using his connections, his money and his brilliant scientific mind, Loomis and his team of scientists developed radar technology that would arguably play a more decisive role than any other weapon in the war. The program tells a long-overlooked story of an individual who helped alter the course of history in World War II.
June 6, 1944. D-Day. The biggest land and sea operation in history: 256,000 men, 20,000 vehicles and 4000 landing craft. On this pivotal moment in history when the outcome of the Second World War was at stake, much has been written, recounted, analysed, examined, filmed and filmed again. And yet, what if I told you the D-Day landings were only possible thanks to a socially awkward, antimilitarist mathematician whose dream was to build an artificial brain? Far-fetched? Let's add that this crazy dream, besides bringing a halt to Hitler's plans, gave rise to modern computer science. The dreamer in question was Alan Turing and his field was the most fundamental branch of mathematics, logic. How could someone who lived in the realm of ideas have had such an impact on history and the world? The answer can be found at the end of a railway line on the outskirts of London, in a quiet little town by the name of Bletchley. It was here, during the World War II, that a huge game of chess was played out, the aim of which was to crack the encoded communications of the German army. In this game which changed the course of history, the key player was an eccentric homosexual, a non-conformist mathematician and keen cross-country runner with a taste for self-mockery: Alan Turing. The unlikely trajectory of this genius, entwined despite himself with world events, will allow us to take a fresh look at a whole section of the history of the World War II, and discover that a close link exists between the Allied victory and the invention of the computer.
Examine the most successful espionage operation in Russian history, the American presidential election of 2016. Filmmaker Jack Bryan exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladimir Putin to disrupt, and ultimately control world events. In the process, the filmmakers follow a trail of money, real estate, mob connections, and on the record confessions to expose an insidious plot that leads directly back to the White House. Unravelling the true depth and scope of 'the Russia story' as we have come to know it, this film is a jarring reminder that some conspiracies hide in plain sight.
Dr Alice Roberts presents a landmark history event with exclusive access to a major excavation in Tintagel, Cornwall, that will completely transform our understanding of Dark Ages Britain, and the man behind the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table mythical legend.
World-renowned mariner Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and a Norwegian crew attempt a journey across the North Sea in a replica Viking ship. Not only do they navigate without modern charts or compasses - as did their Viking ancestors - but they also put to the test the Viking practice of portaging, by attempting to haul a 9 tonne cargo ship across a narrow strip of land in Shetland from the North Sea to the Atlantic.
In the wake of the Civil War, a revolution is taking place on the backs of visionary entrepreneurs of industry. Before they become brand names, budding innovators like Henry Heinz, John and Will Kellogg, and CW Post push the limits of ingenuity to launch businesses that will revolutionize industry, and change the landscape of the nation forever.
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