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History Unplugged Podcast

Salem Radio

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

Location:

United States

Description:

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

Language:

English


Episodes
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LSD’s Origins in Nazi Germany Brain-Washing Experiments, the CIA’s MKUltra Program, and the Dawn of the Psychedelic Age

5/23/2024
LSD has been banned in the United States for decades and became a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance in 1970, but it has experienced a resurgence among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to overcome mental roadblocks and psychiatrists running tests to use it as a treatment for addiction, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. But what few know is that LSD has its origins in Nazi Germany. The drug was developed in Switzerland in 1943 and quickly acquired and militarized by the Third Reich. The Nazis coopted LSD for their mind control military research—research that the US was desperate to acquire. This research birthed MKUltra, the CIA's notorious brainwashing and psychological torture program during the 1950s and 1960s. Today’s guest is Norman Ohler, author of “Tripped: Nazi Germany, the CIA, and the Dawn of the Psychedelic Age.” We discuss: · How the history of LSD is interwoven with that of the Cold War and its arms race, and how the US government’s introduction to LSD through Nazi research influenced much of the federal government’s early attitudes around it · How, in addition to LSD’s militarized misconception from the Nazis, there were other areasof US drug policy influenced by the Third Reich for over half a century · How psychedelic research was marginalized and stigmatized for so long by prohibition and the War on Drugs, and how high the hurdles remain today for approval of psychedelic medicine, despite the opportunities—rather than dangers—they represent

Duration:00:43:39

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How Duke Ellington and Other Jazzmen Became America’s First Globally Famous Musicians

5/21/2024
The first globally famous American musicians weren’t part of the 50s rock wave that included Elvis Pressly or Chuck Berry. They were three 3 jazzmen who orchestrated the chords that throb at the soul of twentieth-century America: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie. While their music is well-known, their background stories aren’t. Duke Ellington was the grandson of slaves whose composing, piano playing, and band leading transcended category. Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in a New Orleans slum so tough it was called The Battlefield and, at age seven, got his first musical instrument, a ten-cent tin horn that drew buyers to his rag-peddling wagon and set him on the road to elevating jazz into a pulsating force for spontaneity and freedom. William James Basie was son of a coachman and laundress who dreamed of escaping every time the traveling carnival swept into town, and who finally engineered his getaway with help from Fats Waller. To explore their stories is today’s guest, Larry Tye, author of “The Jazz Men: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America.

Duration:00:42:37

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Why America Could Have a Presidential Succession Crisis

5/17/2024
America has an unmatched record when it comes to the peaceful transfer of power. According to legal scholar Roy E. Brownell II, however, our country is not that far off from a presidential succession crisis. In this preview of an episode of "This American President," hosted by Richard Lim, Brownell covers the history of presidential succession and the flaws in the current system.

Duration:00:20:33

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Dunkirk from the German Perspective

5/16/2024
The British evacuation from the beaches of the small French port town of Dunkirk is one of the iconic moments of military history. The battle has captured the popular imagination through LIFE magazine photo spreads, the fiction of Ian McEwan and, of course, Christopher Nolan's hugely successful Hollywood blockbuster. But what is the German view of this stunning Allied escape? We are exploring that with today’s guest, Robert Kershaw, author of Dünkirchen 1940: The German View of Dunkirk. We look at what went wrong for the Germans at Dunkirk. As supreme military commander, Hitler had seemingly achieved a miracle after the swift capitulation of Holland and Belgium, but with just seven kilometers before the panzers captured Dunkirk – the only port through which the trapped British Expeditionary force might escape – they came to a shuddering stop. Only a detailed interpretation of the German perspective – historically lacking to date – can provide answers as to why. Sponsors Get Exclusive NordVPN deal here → https://nordvpn.com/historyunplugged It’s risk-free with Nord’s 30-day money-back guarantee!"

Duration:00:39:03

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The Global Manhunt For The Confederate Ship That Sunk Union Supply Vessels, From the Caribbean to the South Pacific

5/14/2024
Naval warfare is an overlooked factor of the Civil War, but it was a vitally important part of overall strategy for North and South, especially from the perspective of the Union, which used naval blockages from the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River to deny critical resources to the Confederacy, forcing them the ultimately surrender. But the naval war was about much more than blockages. One Confederate ship managed to harass Union supply lines around the globe and sink dozens of merchant vessels. Its fate was sealed on June 19, 1864, after a fourteen-month chase that culminated in one of the most dramatic naval battles in history. The dreaded Confederate raider Alabama faced the Union warship Kearsarge in an all-or-nothing fight to the death, and the outcome would effectively end the threat of the Confederacy on the high seas. To talk about this story is historian Tom Clavin, author of the new book To the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: The Epic Hunt for the South's Most Feared Ship―and the Greatest Sea Battle of the Civil War. We look at historically overlooked Civil War players, including John Winslow, captain of the USS Kearsarge, as well as Raphael Semmes, captain of the CSS Alabama. Readers will sail aboard the Kearsarge as Winslow embarks for Europe with a set of simple orders from the secretary of the navy: "Travel to the uttermost ends of the earth, if necessary, to find and destroy the Alabama." Winslow pursued Semmes in a spectacular fourteen-month chase over international waters, culminating in what would become the climactic sea battle of the Civil War. Sponsors Get Exclusive NordVPN deal here → https://nordvpn.com/historyunplugged It’s risk-free with Nord’s 30-day money-back guarantee!"

Duration:00:39:10

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Which Statues Should We Take Down? How To Fairly Judge Historical Figures by Today’s Standards

5/9/2024
In the United States, questions of how we celebrate – or condemn – leaders in the past have never been more contentious. In 2017, a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed – leading to a race riot and terrorist attack. But in 2020, statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, and even Ulysses S. Grant were defaced or toppled. All of this comes to the question of how we judge the past. When are the morals and ethics of people born centuries earlier excusable for the conditions of their birth, and when are they universally condemnable? What separates a Thomas Jefferson from an Emperor Nero? To discuss this incredibly challenging topic is someone perhaps nobody better qualified: Dr. Victor Davis Hanson. He is an emeritus classics professor and author of books on the Peloponnesian War or assessing the ancient world’s best military leader. He was also awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and was a presidential appointee in 2007–2008 on the American Battle Monuments Commission. We discuss the following: •Times when American’s feared the removal of Jefferson or Theodore Roosevelt statues in 2021 (or their toppling in riots). But we have also celebrated statue removal, such as the removal of Saddam Hussein’s statues after the fall of his regime in 2003 or the removal of Marx/Lenin Statues in Eastern Europe in 1991. What is the difference? •The criteria for a community to remove a statue in a healthy way •How we judge those of the past and determine that some character flaws are due to their times of birth, while other character flaws are universally condemnable – Essentially, what makes a slave-owning Jefferson a product of his time while, say, a Nero, is universally understood as cruel •The dangers of canceling anyone who doesn’t meet our 21st century standards; conversely, the dangers of slavish worship of them •Who deserves more statues today

Duration:00:39:03

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The 160-Minute Race to Save the Titanic

5/7/2024
One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wireless operators on land and sea who desperately sent messages back and forth across the dark frozen North Atlantic to mount a rescue mission. More than twenty-eight ships would be involved in the rescue of Titanic survivors along with four different countries. At the heart of the rescue are two young Marconi operators, Jack Phillips 25 and Harold Bride 22, tapping furiously and sending electromagnetic waves into the black night as the room they sat in slanted toward the icy depths and not stopping until the bone numbing water was around their ankles. Then they plunged into the water after coordinating the largest rescue operation the maritime world had ever seen and thereby saving 710 people by their efforts. The race to save the largest ship in the world from certain death would reveal both heroes and villains. It would begin at 11:40 PM on April 14, when the iceberg was struck and would end at 2:20 AM April 15, when her lights blinked out and left 1500 people thrashing in 25-degree water. Although the race to save Titanic survivors would stretch on beyond this, most people in the water would die, but the amazing thing is that of the 2229 people, 710 did not and this was the success of the Titanic rescue effort. We see the Titanic as a great tragedy but a third of the people were rescued and the only reason every man, woman, and child did not succumb to the cold depths is due to Jack Phillips and Harold McBride in an insulated telegraph room known as the Silent Room. These two men tapping out CQD and SOS distress codes while the ship took on water at the rate of 400 tons per minute from a three-hundred-foot gash would inaugurate the most extensive rescue operation in maritime history using the cutting-edge technology of the time, wireless. To talk about this race against time is frequent guest Bill Hazelgrove, author of the new book One Hundred and Sixty Minutes: The Race to Save the RMS Titanic.

Duration:00:49:04

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Vikings Went Everywhere in the Middle Ages, From Baghdad to Constantinople to….. Oklahoma?

5/2/2024
Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote and rugged existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they finally left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the most famous, the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Their ingenuity, daring, resiliency, and loyalty to family and community would propel them to the gates of Rome, the steppes of Russia, the courts of Constantinople, and the castles of England and Ireland. But nowhere would they leave a deeper mark than across the Atlantic, where the Vikings’ legacy would become the American Dream. Today’s guest Arthur Herman, author of The Viking Heart, discusses this historical narrative but matches it with cutting-edge archaeological discoveries and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people (despite myths of racial purity misappropriated by groups like Nazi ethnographers). He shows how the Scandinavian experience has universal meaning, and how we can still be inspired by their indomitable spirit and the strength of their community bonds, much needed in our deeply polarized society today.

Duration:00:42:48

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The 15-Hour Work Week Was Standard For Nearly All of History. What Happened?

4/30/2024
There’s nothing in human DNA that makes the 40-hour workweek a biological necessity. In fact, for much of human history, 15 hours of work a week was the standard, followed by leisure time with family and fellow tribe members, telling stories, painting, dancing, and everything else. Work was a means to an end, and nothing else. So what happened? Why does work today define who we are? It determines our status, and dictates how, where, and with whom we spend most of our time. It mediates our self-worth and molds our values. But are we hard-wired to work as hard as we do? Did our Stone Age ancestors also live to work and work to live? And what might a world where work plays a far less important role look like? To answer these questions, today’s guest James Suzman, author of Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots charts a grand history of "work" from the origins of life on Earth to our ever more automated present, challenging some of our deepest assumptions about who we are. Drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, zoology, physics, and economics, he shows that while we have evolved to find joy meaning and purpose in work, for most of human history our ancestors worked far less and thought very differently about work than we do now. He demonstrates how our contemporary culture of work has its roots in the agricultural revolution ten thousand years ago. Our sense of what it is to be human was transformed by the transition from foraging to food production, and, later, our migration to cities. Since then, our relationships with one another and with our environments, and even our sense of the passage of time, have not been the same. Arguing that we are in the midst of a similarly transformative point in history, Suzman argues that automation might revolutionize our relationship with work and in doing so usher in a more sustainable and equitable future for our world.

Duration:00:34:54

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Pancho Villa’s 1916 Raid on New Mexico: The Pearl Harbor Bombing of Its Time

4/25/2024
Before 9/11, before Pearl Harbor, another unsuspected foreign attack on the United States shocked the nation and forever altered the course of history. In 1916, Pancho Villa, a guerrilla fighter who commanded an ever-changing force of conscripts in northern Mexico, attached a border town in New Mexico. It was a raid that angered Americans, and President Woodrow Wilson ordered the Punitive Expedition in which the US Army invaded Mexico and defeated General Villa's troops, but failed to capture him. This event may have been the catalyst for America’s entry into World War One and permanently altered U.S.-Mexican border policy. Jeff Guinn, author of the new book "War on the Border," joins us to discuss this critically important event in American history. The “Punitive Expedition” was launched in retaliation under Pershing’s command and brought together the Army, National Guard, and the Texas Rangers—who were little more than organized vigilantes. The American expedition was the last action by the legendary African-American “Buffalo Soldiers.” It was also the first time the Army used automobiles and trucks, which were of limited value in Mexico, a country with no paved roads or gas stations. Curtiss Jenny airplanes did reconnaissance, another first. One era of warfare was coming to a close as another was beginning. But despite some bloody encounters, the Punitive Expedition eventually withdrew without capturing Villa. Although the bloodshed has ended, the US-Mexico border remains as vexed and volatile an issue as ever.

Duration:00:51:04

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A Radical Abolitionist Youth Movement Consumed America in 1860, Elected Lincoln, Then Disappeared Completely

4/23/2024
At the start of the 1860 presidential campaign, a handful of fired-up young Northerners appeared as bodyguards to defend anti-slavery stump speakers from frequent attacks. The group called themselves the Wide Awakes. Soon, hundreds of thousands of young white and black men, and a number of women, were organizing boisterous, uniformed, torch-bearing brigades of their own. These Wide Awakes—mostly working-class Americans in their twenties—became one of the largest, most spectacular, and most influential political movements in our history. To some, it demonstrated the power of a rising majority to push back against slavery. To others, it looked like a paramilitary force training to invade the South. Today’s guest, Jon Grinspan (author of “Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force That Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War”) examines how exactly our nation crossed the threshold from a political campaign into a war. We look at the precarious relationship between violent rhetoric and violent actions.

Duration:00:43:49

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Socrates May Have Been Executed For Revealing Secrets of Athens’ Religious Rituals

4/18/2024
The influence of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates has been profound. Even today, over two thousand years after his death, he remains one of the most renowned humans to have ever lived—and his death remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries. There is another side to this story: impiety, lack of reverence for the gods, was a religious crime. From the perspective of the religious authorities of the time, the charge of impiety against Socrates was warranted. The priests did not tolerate scrutiny, even in the form of philosophical critique. To understand what happened and how it happened, we have to come to terms with the motives of the priests, and as importantly, Socrates’ motives in provoking them. His trial is perhaps first, but not last, great battle between philosophy and religion. To explore this mystery is today’s guest, Matt Gatton, author of “The Shadows of Socrates.”

Duration:00:43:13

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The Age of Discovery Through American-Indian Eyes

4/16/2024
A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. So, when Europeans arrived in the sixteenth century, they encountered societies they did not understand, having developed differently from their own, and whose power they often underestimated. And no civilization came to a halt when a few wandering explorers arrived, even when the strangers came well-armed. To explore this overlooked history is today’s guest, Kathleen DuVal, author of “Native Nations.” For centuries after these first encounters, Indigenous people maintained an upper hand and used Europeans in pursuit of their own interests. In Native Nations, we see how Mohawks closely controlled trade with the Dutch--and influenced global markets--and how Quapaws manipulated French colonists. Power dynamics shifted after the American Revolution, but Indigenous people continued to control the majority of the continent. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa forged new alliances and encouraged a controversial new definition of Native identity to attempt to wall off U.S. ambitions. The Cherokees created new institutions to assert their sovereignty on the global stage, and the Kiowas used their preponderance of power in the west to regulate the passage of white settlers across their territory.

Duration:00:44:17

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A Short History of the Sioux Wars (1862-1890)

4/12/2024
War, Conflict, Victory & Defeat. These are all aspects of life that some may have to face. This was true for the various groups of the Sioux Tribes. On today's bonus episode from "Key Battles of American History" join host James Early as he discusses the multiple wars that took place between 1862-1890, collectively known as "The Sioux Wars"

Duration:00:25:22

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The Deerfield Massacre: The Infamous 1704 Indian Raid That Left Hundreds Dead and More Captured

4/11/2024
In an obscure village in western Massachusetts, there lies what once was the most revered but now totally forgotten relic from the history of early New England—the massive, tomahawk-scarred door that came to symbolize the notorious Deerfield Massacre. This impregnable barricade—known to early Americans as “The Old Indian Door”—constructed from double-thick planks of Massachusetts oak and studded with hand-wrought iron nails to repel the flailing tomahawk blades of several attacking native tribes, is the sole surviving artifact from the most dramatic moment in colonial American history: Leap Year, February 29, 1704, a cold, snowy night when hundreds of native Americans and their French allies swept down upon an isolated frontier outpost and ruthlessly slaughtered its inhabitants. The sacking of Deerfield led to one of the greatest sagas of adventure, survival, sacrifice, family, honor, and faith ever told in North America. 112 survivors, including their fearless minister, the Reverand John Williams, were captured and led on a 300-mile forced march north, into enemy territory in Canada. Any captive who faltered or became too weak to continue the journey—including Williams’s own wife and one of his children—fell under the knife or tomahawk. Survivors of the march willed themselves to live and endured captivity. Ransomed by the King of England’s royal governor of Massachusetts, the captives later returned home to Deerfield, rebuilt their town and, for the rest of their lives, told the incredible tale. The memoir of Rev. Williams, The Redeemed Captive, became the first bestselling book in American history and published a few years after his liberation, it remains a literary classic. To discuss this event is today’s guest, James Swanson, author of “The Deerfield Massacre: A Surprise Attack, a Forced March, and the Fight for Survival in Early America.”

Duration:00:38:44

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The Dangerous and Thrilling Life of a 19th-Century Whaler

4/9/2024
In mid-nineteenth century New England, Robert Armstrong was a young man with the world at his feet. His family was wealthy and gave him the opportunity to attend the nation’s first dental school. But Armstrong threw his future away, drinking himself into oblivion. Devoured by guilt and shame, in December 1849 he sold his dental instruments, his watch, and everything he possessed, and signed on for a whaling voyage leaving New Bedford for the South Pacific. His story was re-discovered when his great great grandson (Alex Brash) found a manuscript buried at the bottom of an old leather trunk, under a child’s dancing shoes and a grandfather’s WWI paraphernalia. Brash, today’s guest, re-published the account as “Whaler at Twilight,” the story of an American whaler who embarked on a harrowing adventure in the mid-nineteenth century in search of absolution and redemption. Decades later, Armstrong wrote an eloquent autobiographical account based on the logbooks he kept, chronicling his thrilling, gritty experiences during ten years away, including encounters with other whalers, beachcombers, Peruvian villagers, Pacific islanders, Maori warriors in New Zealand, cannibals on Fiji, and the impacts of American Expansionism. He also recounted his struggles with drink, his quest for God,In mid-nineteenth century New England, Robert Armstrong was a young man with the world at his feet. His family was wealthy and gave him the opportunity to attend the nation’s first dental school. But Armstrong threw his future away, drinking himself into oblivion. Devoured by guilt and shame, in December 1849 he sold his dental instruments, his watch, and everything he possessed, and signed on for a whaling voyage leaving New Bedford for the South Pacific. His story was re-discovered when his great great grandson (Alex Brash) found a manuscript buried at the bottom of an old leather trunk, under a child’s dancing shoes and a grandfather’s WWI paraphernalia. Brash, today’s guest, re-published the account as “Whaler at Twilight,” the story of an American whaler who embarked on a harrowing adventure in the mid-nineteenth century in search of absolution and redemption. Decades later, Armstrong wrote an eloquent autobiographical account based on the logbooks he kept, chronicling his thrilling, gritty experiences during ten years away, including encounters with other whalers, beachcombers, Peruvian villagers, Pacific islanders, Maori warriors in New Zealand, cannibals on Fiji, and the impacts of American Expansionism. He also recounted his struggles with drink, his quest for God,

Duration:00:46:49

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Fiorello LaGuardia: Immigrant Son and Ellis Island Interpreter Who Became America’s Mayor

4/4/2024
Fiorello LaGuardia was one of the twentieth century’s most colorful politicians―a 5’2’’ ball of energy who led New York as major during the Depression and World War Two, charming the media during press conference and fighting the dirty machine politics of the city. He was also quintessentially American: the son of Italian immigrants, who rose in society through sheer will and chutzpah. La Guardia made an unsuccessful attempt to enlist during the Spanish-American War. Following that, he served in two U.S. consulates in Europe from 1901 to 1906, and later worked as an interpreter at Ellis Island from 1907 to 1910. Strongly disapproving of corrupt Tammany Hall, his charisma and appeal to minority groups led to victories in districts that were traditionally Democratic. From 1923 to 1933, La Guardia gained national prominence in the House of Representatives, aligning himself with reformers and progressives. In the 1933 mayoral race, Franklin Roosevelt saw La Guardia as a potential ally who could collaborate across party lines. From there he took on the New York mayor’s office with gusto. Today’s guest is Terry Golway, author of “I Never Did Like Politics: How Fiorello La Guardia Became America's Mayor, and Why He Still Matters.”

Duration:00:41:02

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How the West Tried and Failed to Stop the Russian Revolution

4/2/2024
The Allied Intervention into the Russian Civil War remains one of the most ambitious yet least talked about military ventures of the 20th century. Coinciding with the end of the first World War, some 180,000 troops from several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, Greece, Poland, and Romania, among others, were sent to fight alongside Russian “Whites” against the Red Army. Despite one victory for the Allied troops – independence for the Latvians and the Estonians – the two-year long attempt at reversing the 1917 Russian Revolution ended in humiliating defeat. To explore this crucial event of the early 20th century is today’s guest, Anna Reid, author of “A Nasty Little War: The Western Intervention into the Russian Civil War.” What was originally aimed to prevent Germany from exploiting the power vacuum in Eastern Europe left by the Russian Revolution ultimately morphed into the Allies’ gamble to destroy Communist ideology. It was a mixture of good intentions and self-delusion, flag-waving and empty promises, cover-ups, exaggerations, and downright lies from politicians.

Duration:00:41:33

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Kings Were Inevitable and Untouchable Until They Suddenly Weren’t After a Few 1700s Revolutions

3/28/2024
At the turn of the nineteenth century, two waves of revolutions swept the Atlantic world, disrupting the social order and ushering in a new democratic-republican experiment whose effects rippled across continents and centuries. The first wave of revolutions in the late 1700s (which included the much-celebrated American and French Revolutions and the revolt against slavery in Saint Domingue/Haiti) succeeded in disrupting existing political structures. But it wasn’t until the second wave of revolutionaries came to maturity in the early 1800s—imbued with a passion for social mobility and a knack for political organizing—that these new forms of political life took durable shape, from the states of independent Haiti and Spanish America to the post-revolutionary governments that arose during and after Napoleon’s long reign over early nineteenth-century Europe. Today’s guest is Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, author of “The Age of Revolutions and the Generations Who Made It.” We look at familiar figures like John Adams and little-known yet pivotal actors such as Marie Bunel, a confidant of Toussaint Louverture in the Haitian Revolution. Monarchies topple and are resurrected, republics emerge and find their footings, and a new social order of mobility upends the previous hierarchical system of rigid social classes. We see that one generation’s fledgling successes allowed their successors to fulfill the promise of a new world order.

Duration:00:42:51

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The Fall Of Japanese-held Hong Kong in January 1945

3/26/2024
Commander John Lamade started the war in 1941 a nervous pilot of an antiquated biplane. Just over three years later he was in the cockpit of a cutting-edge Hellcat about to lead a strike force of 80 aircraft through the turbulent skies above the South China Sea. His target: Hong Kong. As a storm of antiaircraft fire darkened the sky, watching from below was POW Ray Jones. For three long years he and his fellow prisoners had endured near starvation conditions in a Japanese internment camp. Did these American aircraft, he wondered, herald freedom? Today’s guest is Steven Bailey, and he discovered that much of the story of the U.S. Navy airstrikes on Japanese-held Hong Kong during the final year of World War II had never been told despite being an important step on the march toward Japan. Operation Gratitude involved nearly 100 U.S. Navy warships and close to a thousand planes. Bailey is the author of “Target Hong Kong,” and we look at the air raids through the experiences of seven men whose lives intersected at Hong Kong in January 1945: Commander John D. Lamade, five of his fellow U.S. Navy pilots and the POW Ray Jones.

Duration:00:38:56