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The History Hour

Podcast The History Hour
Podcast The History Hour

The History Hour


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  • The rise of Boko Haram
    In 2009, Boko Haram, a small Islamist group, launched an insurgency in the north eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. The conflict would eventually force hundreds of thousands from their homes, and leave tens of thousands dead. We hear a witness account of how the violence started. Plus, this past week Americans have been observing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day national holiday. The long campaign to have Dr King formally recognized in the US was led by his widow, Coretta Scott King. We hear from her daughter, Dr Bernice King, about the campaign. We dip into the BBC archive to bring you the story of the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment. Also, from the 1980s, a time when many wanted to get out of East Germany and into the West, the young woman who decided to go the other way and set up a new life in the East. And the Dutchman behind the first bike sharing scheme. Photo: A suspected Boko Haram house in Maiduguri set ablaze by Nigerian security forces, 30th July 2009 (AFP/Getty Images)
  • Hitler's Indian ally: Subhas Chandra Bose
    The Indian independence campaigner, Subhas Chandra Bose, sided with Hitler's axis powers in World War Two to try to free his country from British rule. We'll hear from his great-niece about why she thinks that if he had lived he could have changed the course of India's history. We'll also hear from Dr Shruti Kapila of Cambridge University about why India's current government is celebrating Bose. Plus a nuclear scientist tells us about his role in a secret project to make safe vast swathes of nuclear-contaminated land in post-Soviet Kazakhstan - as well as preventing nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands. Also, the reckless actions which led to the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, the first woman to have silicone breast implants and Malick Sidibé, the Malian photographer whose work altered people's perceptions about 1960s Africa. Photo: Subhas Chandra Bose giving a speech in Nazi Germany in 1942.
  • Mozambique's Eduardo Mondlane: From professor to freedom fighter
    Mozambique’s struggle to end Portuguese colonial rule and the assassination of Eduardo Mondlane, we'll hear from his daughter Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane and Dr Eric Morier-Genoud from Queen's University Belfast. Also, the brainwashing of Albanian youth under Stalinist Enver Hoxha's leadership, the fight for democracy in Taiwan and the worst ever loss of life at sea - the sinking of the German military transport ship, Wilhelm Gustloff in World War Two. All that plus, from the archives, the life and work of the celebrated French author Marcel Proust 100 years after his death. PHOTO: Eduardo Mondlane in 1966 (Getty Images)
  • A history of games
    The inside story of games that shaped the modern world. Including Atari's Nolan Bushnell on his game Pong which helped launch the video game industry. Plus the origin of Grand Theft Auto, the man who invented Tetris, the son of the Lego brick pioneer and the true story of Monopoly. Max Pearson also talks to the technology journalist Louise Blain about the development of the huge gaming industry and where it goes next. Photo: Pong being played at a retro games event in Germany (Getty Images)
  • The right to drive in Saudi Arabia
    In 2011, cybersecurity expert Manal Al-Sharif helped found the Women2Drive movement. It was designed to force the Saudi Arabian government to overturn its ban on women driving cars - one of the many restrictions on women in the Kingdom. Inspired by the mood of the Arab Spring, Saudi women got behind the wheel and then posted videos of themselves all over social media. The movement attracted international attention and the ban on women drivers was eventually lifted. Saudi journalist Safa Al-Ahmad describes how the lifting of the ban was a radical change to Saudi society, but women in the country still face many severe restrictions. Plus, how in 2010 a Tanzanian man with albinism braved threats and discrimination to become the country's first albino elected politician. Also, the dramatic story of how the great Russian ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, defected from the Soviet Union in 1961. Finally, the festive history of how a town in Finnish Lapland, eviscerated during WWII, rose from the ashes to become the unofficial home of Santa Claus. Presented by Max Pearson.

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