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.
A 'series of miracles' allowed Bulgarian Peter Oulianoff to survive the war and the fall of Berlin. He arrived in Australia in 1951, married and raised a family, but from the moment of his arrival, when his qualifications were not accepted, he grew to distrust and dislike all that Australia represents.
1972. Tasmania. A small introverted island community is emotionally divided between the goal of industrial progress and the vision of a pristine environment. A unique environmental wonder, the alpine Lake Pedder is on the verge of destruction by the largest hydro-electric power scheme in the southern hemisphere. Brenda Hean - one of the leaders of the first environmental political party in the world - and her pilot, Max Price, are flying in an ageing Tiger Moth to petition the Australian Prime Minister in Canberra in a last ditch effort to save the Lake. The plane disappears without trace. The battle for Lake Pedder is lost. The plane is never found.
Neanderthals once dominated ice age Europe, but then they disappeared. What happened to them? For 150 years scientists have been puzzled by the state of our closest relatives. They've looked at the archaeological evidence from every angle. Now they've turned to DNA, and a new idea is taking root. It's possible that Neanderthals live on - or at least their genes do - inside of us all.
Nina Tory had been exiled in Siberia where her daughter Helen Macris was born in 1947. She escaped to Greece and after four years in a displaced person's camp took the first ship - to anywhere. She arrived in Australia, where her husband died shortly afterwards.
The amazing story of the Nazi and war profiteer who ultimately saved 1300 Jews from death. Includes interviews with many "Schindler's List" survivors.
In 15th century Romania, three monks found themselves chained to the wall of a cell in the castle of Vlad Dracula, Voyvoyd of Wallachia. More commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, he was the most terrifying ruler of Medieval Europe, a psychopathic mass-murderer and the only man who stood between Christian Europe and the advancing armies of the Ottoman Turks. It was this vicious story that gave birth to the Dracula character of fact and fiction.
This three part documentary series uncovers the historic inspiration and scientific fact behind some of the most enduring horror icons of our time, through spine-chilling dramatic reconstruction and expert interviews. In 19th century London, two decades before Mary Shelley wrote her acclaimed novel, pioneering scientific showman Professor Giovanni Aldini successfully used electricity to reanimate animals, severed human limbs and the corpses of recently beheaded criminals. But Aldini needed a whole body - a strong, male specimen, very recently killed by asphyxiation - to attempt his most ambitious experiment: a complete human reanimation.
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