The resulting German and Italian occupation of Crete was marred by massacres on both sides of both German soldiers and Greek partisans and civilians. More than 8000 Cretans lost their lives in the resistance. When 20,000 Italians surrendered in 1943 they were made POWs too but almost a third drowned at sea after German merchant ships carrying them to the mainland were torpedoed by British submarines. These forgotten tragedies constituted one of the world's biggest maritime disasters. In all more than 20,000 people from all sides lost their lives in the Cretan conflict. The British intelligence service, known as the SOE, assisted what became one of the most successful resistance movements of the war. It helped rescue Allied soldiers who had been abandoned on the island and involved agents such as archaeologist John Pendulbury, known as 'the Cretan Lawrence' and writer and adventurer Patrick Leigh Fermor who staged the famous kidnap of the German commander of Crete with William Moss. Crete was one of the last places surrendered by the Nazis right at the end of the war. German soldiers had to be escorted off the island by the British for fear of reprisals. Two German commanders on the island were executed by firing squad for war crimes. It took more than 30 years before the 4000 German dead were properly buried on the island. They were stored in a monastery as claims for reparations dragged on. They have still not been settled today.
Michael discovers how the Victorians not only worked hard but played hard too. Michael is in Blackpool to discover how the seaside mini-break was transformed from perk of the wealthy to a British institution.
Allied forces were evacuated off Crete's south coast in a dangerous operation that cost the lives of almost 1000 British seamen and Allied soldiers. Protected by a series of bloody and heroic rear-guard actions to slow down the German advance, thousands of soldiers embarked on a forced march over the mountains of central Crete to meet Royal Navy ships which would take them hundred of kilometres across the Mediterranean to Alexandria in Egypt. This was a mini Dunkirk but many didn't make it. Thousands were left on the beaches as the last ship left. Hundreds made their own way to Africa by whatever means including small boats or else headed for the hills where they hid out for months even years living in caves or protected by Cretan families. More than 10,000 Allied soldiers were taken prisoners of war.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michael Buerk discovers how the Victorians built the biggest, fastest, most technologically advanced ships in the world and dominated the high seas. He'll climb aboard HMS Warrior in Portsmouth - Queen Victoria's flagship warship - to uncover her surprising construction secrets and the powerful ways she kept the peace in international waters.
In 1837, the British railway was in its infancy - experimental engines had proven steam trains were a viable option to transport goods and people, but Victorian vision, ingenuity, and determination took a good idea and transformed a nation with it.
It is easy to imagine that the past was lived in black and white, but of course, it was not. This landmark series uses modern colouration techniques to present a history of America in colour, for the first time. Season two will take viewers on another visually stunning journey, shifting the focus from various decades to iconic thematic episodes in history, including: Titans of Industry: The story of a rising generation of industrialists like Henry Ford and inventors such as Thomas Edison who came to tower over America, transformed the country and impact the global landscape.
In October of 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik. The United States, embroiled in a Cold War with the USSR, went into a tailspin. It resulted in the creation of the most successful space agency ever: NASA. Mere years later, John F Kennedy pledged to send a man to the moon, a goal he vowed would be reached before the end of the 1960s. This is the story of four groups of NASA contractors. The unsung heroes who were integral to accomplishing the greatest achievement of mankind.
Examine the secret weapon behind an audacious and top secret World War II mission - a rickety old fishing boat. The inconspicuous MV Krait ferried 14 commandos thousands of kilometres behind enemy lines into Singapore harbour in 1943. The mission? To blow up enemy shipping right in the heart of Japan's wartime stronghold.
The year 2019 marked 100 years since construction began on the Great Ocean Road. Built by World War II veterans, the road is not only one of the most travelled tourist destinations, but also the longest war memorial in the world.
How have Gen Xers embraced disruption and upheaval in business, society, and popular culture in their era? You'll find the answer here.
Through events such as book burnings in 1933 and Kristallnacht in 1938, we look at how daily life in Germany changed as Hitler was proclaimed Fuhrer.
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