Terry Jones immerses himself in the world of the 'barbarians' of the East - the Greeks and the Persians - and discovers that it was they who were the brains of the ancient world and the Romans the destroyers of progress.
At 3pm on the 26th of October 1881, 30 shots rang out in 30 seconds in the OK Corral in the obscure mining town of Tombstone, Arizona. In that short half-minute, the lives of three men were ended.
Tonight's episode focuses on dramatic East Berlin escape stories of the 1970s and '80s as the GDR regime crumbled at the end of the Cold War. But as the GDR was planning a new, "gentler" Wall with infrared, laser, chemical and vibration detectors, U.S. President Reagan was exhorting the Soviet Union to "tear down this Wall."
Focusing on the years 1000-1087, this episode reveals how the Battle of Hastings changed Britain for ever and how the new King of England came to be. After 1066, William Duke of Normandy was crowned King and waged a brutal campaign of aggression and murder against any opposition. William ordered a complete census of every farm in the land, raised taxes and created the Doomsday Book.
According to Rome, German barbarians were among the most brutal of all. Terry Jones discovers that when it came to brutality, it was the Romans who were the masters and the Germans merely rebelled against Roman occupation.
It is Christmas Day, 1989. In Bucharest, the capital of Romania, a firing squad takes aim. Nicolae Ceaucescu, hated dictator of the Romanian people, falls dead alongside his wife Elena. Within hours, pictures of the bullet-riddled bodies are flashed around the world, as the last of the Eastern European states declares its independence of Communist rule and foreshadows the death of the Soviet dream. Ten years earlier, an event in Iran paved the way for a new ideology that would shape the world forever. On 16 January 1979, a Boeing 707 lifts off from Teheran International Airport. At the controls, Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran. He is leaving his ancestral homeland as the people take to the streets, burning his picture and tearing holes in banknotes bearing the imperial symbol. He will never return. Meanwhile, in a modest Paris suburb, his successor, Ayatollah Khomeini, awaits the call that will bring him out of exile to a tumultuous welcome.
Sava Spasojevich spent time in a labour camp in Germany, survived a death march in 1945 then migrated to Australia after working as an interpreter for the British.
Terry Jones reveals the image of savages, hell bent on slaughter, pillage and rape, is merely ancient spin by Rome. In his journey Jones exposes the depth of this deception, exploding myths and setting records straight.
In the space of four minutes, at an Atoll in the Pacific Ocean called Midway, the course of World War Two was transformed. Six months after Pearl Harbour - US and Japanese fleets met for a decisive showdown. Thanks to both sides use of a relatively new piece of technology the aircraft carrier this battle would be decided without the ships of either fleet ever coming within sight of each other. At Midway, America's carrier pilots destroyed Japan's best ships and killed nearly four thousand men the cream of Japan's naval elite. It was a blow the Japanese would never recover from, making the outcome of the conflict in the Pacific virtually inevitable and releasing precious American military resources for the conflict in Europe.
On 27 January 1945, Red Army soldiers liberate the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In this series final, see how the soldiers are not informed of the camps' existence, so when they enter it, they are utterly shocked by the walking skeletons, the remains of the gas chambers and the piles of human hair. But it is not only Auschwitz-Birkenau that horrifies the world. A few months later other concentration camps are liberated among them Bergen-Belsen, where thousands of unburied bodies are strewn over the ground. The British are horrified and unprepared for how to deal with the situation 14,000 prisoners die in the first five days following their liberation; another 14,000 succumb in the following weeks.
1944 - the most important year in the history of Auschwitz. The year when more people are killed than ever before. It's also the year in which the Nazis send messengers to sow seeds of confusion amongst the Allies when the Western Allies struggle with the dilemma of whether to negotiate with the Nazis about the Jews and whether or not to bomb the camp.
By 1943, 45 sub-camps are dotted round the Auschwitz region, most providing slave labour for industrial concerns. See how the Nazis capitalised upon a sinister source of income - clothes and valuables taken from Jews. The Nazi leadership naturally intends such wealth to fill the coffers of the Third Reich in Berlin, but much of it actually stays at the camp, as the SS at Auschwitz have their fingers well and truly in the till. And despite it contravening the Nazis strict racial purity laws, sexual liaisons in the camp between the SS and prisoners are also occurring, often forcibly, in exchange for life-saving favours. There are even love affairs.
1942 is to be most significant as the Nazis comb Western Europe, even taking Jews from as far as the British Channel Islands for extermination. Also, Annette Muller, speaks of the separation of children from parents. Even occupied Britain becomes involved in the deportation of Jews.
This episode hears disturbing testimony from a female prisoner from Lodz Ghetto, who was forced to provide sexual favours to the Jewish leader. There is also testimony from witnesses to gassings at Auschwitz. And for the first time on television, there is an interview with a Slovak perpetrator who knowingly helped to send his Jewish compatriots to their death.
In this definitive series, the individual experiences of those involved - from the Poles first incarcerated there, to those who worked in the gas chambers and former SS soldiers - are revealed. In this episode, camp commandant Rudolf Hoss arrives in the Polish town to create a new concentration camp, its role being to imprison and terrorise anyone who resists the Nazi occupation of Poland.
There are bombs scattered all over the landscape in Laos, left from the US's 'Secret War' over 35 years ago, which was conducted during the war in neighbouring Vietnam without the knowledge of most of the outside world. Farming in Laos has been hampered by the presence of unexploded bombs and bomb scrap has become the new cash crop. Local kids are quick to learn there is money to be made in bomb scrap metal, and as result the death rate of those killed by bombs - almost half of whom are children - is on the rise.
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