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HISTORY This Week

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This week, something momentous happened. Whether or not it made the textbooks, it most certainly made history. Join HISTORY This Week as we turn back the clock to meet the people, visit the places and witness the moments that led us to where we are today.

33 Episodes
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Killing Fairness

Killing Fairness

2020-08-0330:59

August 4, 1987. The Federal Communication Commission’s leadership has come together in Washington D.C. to decide the fate of a vital issue: fairness. For the previous 40 years, the FCC has attempted to ensure that TV and radio broadcasters present both sides of the political issues discussed on their airwaves. But by the 1980s, the political landscape has changed, and the Fairness Doctrine will soon be no more. Today, we talk to two of the major players who fought on both sides of this great debate to explain what the Fairness Doctrine actually did, why it died, and where exactly that leaves us today.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Convert or Leave

Convert or Leave

2020-07-2729:391

July 31, 1492. In cities, towns and villages across late medieval Spain, whole districts have emptied out. Houses abandoned, stores closed, and synagogues—which until recently had been alive with singing and prayer—now sit quiet. Exactly four months earlier, the King and Queen of Spain issued an edict: by royal decree, all Jewish people in Spain must convert to Catholicism or leave the country -- for good. Why were the Jews expelled from Spain? How did Spaniards, and then the world, start to think of religion as something inherited, not just by tradition, but by blood? And how does this moment help us understand the challenge of assimilation today? Thank you to our guest, Professor Jonathan Ray from Georgetown University and author of "After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry" (2013).  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Public Enemy #1

Public Enemy #1

2020-07-2027:073

July 22, 1934. John Dillinger, America's most famous outlaw, is gunned down by federal agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Dillinger's death is the final act in a crime spree that involved multiple prison breaks, dozens of bank robberies, and more than one violent shootout. But despite all the money Dillinger stole and the deaths he caused along the way, the public still adored him. How did a man named “Public Enemy #1” become a national darling? And how did the pursuit of John Dillinger make way for the modern FBI? Special thanks to Elliott Gorn, author of Dillinger's Wild Ride.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Destroyer of Worlds

Destroyer of Worlds

2020-07-1329:182

July 16, 1945. It happened within a millionth of a second. In the New Mexico desert in the early morning hours, a group of scientists watched in anticipation as the countdown began. It was silent at first, yet hot and unbelievably bright. Then came the sound. The first-ever atomic bomb explosion... was a success. How did scientists working on the Manhattan Project create what was then the most powerful weapon in history? And how did the bomb’s existence forever change our sense of what human beings are capable of? Thank you to our guest Dr. Jon Hunner, a professor emeritus of U.S. history at New Mexico State University and author of Inventing Los Alamos: The Growth of an Atomic Community and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat

2020-07-0627:123

July 10, 1943. 150,000 British and American soldiers storm the beaches of Sicily in the first Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe. But the Nazis…aren’t really there to put up a fight. Hitler thought the invasion was coming for Greece. The Nazis have been tricked by two British Intelligence officers and a covert deception plan. How did their operation— which involved a corpse, a false identity and a single eyelash—change the course of WWII?   Special thanks to Nicholas Reed, author of The Spy Runner.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Great Stink

The Great Stink

2020-06-2925:242

June 30th, 1858. London is a world city, a global center of trade and commerce. But there’s something less glamorous going on in this bustling metropolis: the smell. Every inch of the city smells like rotting, human waste. And this smell is actually killing people. But no one is doing anything about it – until today. How did short-term thinking lead to a deadly problem? And how did an unlikely leader finally get London out of this very literal mess?  Thank you to our guest, Professor Rosemary Ashton, author of One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Pride & Protest

Pride & Protest

2020-06-2224:491

June 28, 1970. Hundreds of people start to gather on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s West Village for an anniversary celebration. One year earlier, in that very same spot, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police, sparking a revolution. Now, LGBTQ+ people have come here again, not to riot but to march in celebration of who they are and just how far they have come – something that might have been unthinkable if Stonewall hadn’t taken place. How did the Stonewall riot have such a huge impact on queer activism, and how did the community go from raid to parade in just a year? Archival sound taken from the film "Gay & Proud" – produced and directed by Lilli Vincenz, part of the Library of Congress' Lilli M. Vincenz Collection, with permission from the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Freedom Summer, 1964

Freedom Summer, 1964

2020-06-1529:482

June 21, 1964. James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, three civil rights activists in their early twenties, are reported missing in Mississippi. They are part of the first wave of Freedom Summer, a massive voter registration campaign in the racist heart of the South, Mississippi. The first interracial movement of its kind, the project was led by black southern organizers and staffed by both black and white volunteers. The movement’s leader, Bob Moses, joins this episode to explain how the disappearance of those three men brought the Civil Rights movement into the homes of white Americans – and what Freedom Summer can teach us about moving the wheels of progress today.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
June 9, 1954. Senator Joseph McCarthy has accused the United States Army of having communists within its midst. After rising to power during a time of great fear in America, McCarthy's name has become synonymous with anti-communism – and with baseless, life-ruining accusations. But today, five simple words will take down one of the most notorious men in American political history. What made McCarthy so powerful in the first place? And how did that very same thing eventually bring him down? Thank you to our guest, Ellen Schrecker, historian, author and expert on McCarthyism. https://www.ellenschrecker.com/ Thank you to Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies at Brandeis University, for speaking with us for this episode. He is the author of "Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture".   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
June 1, 1840. U.S. Marshals are going door to door conducting the sixth-ever census in the United States. This year something is different – this is the very first time the U.S. government is asking a question about mental health. But the results are tragic, and long-lasting. Twenty-one years before the Civil War, with over two million slaves in America, this question will uphold a racist and pernicious lie that is already spreading throughout America: that freedom causes black people to go insane. Special thanks to our guest Dr. King Davis, Research Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Former Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health, Virginia.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A Gilded Age Apocalypse

A Gilded Age Apocalypse

2020-05-2525:412

May 31, 1889. It’s raining in Johnstown, PA, causing some small flooding. But the townsfolk were used to it – this city of 30,000 was nestled in a valley between two rivers. What happened next was something every person in Johnstown feared, but hoped would never come true. The old dam at the millionaires’ resort, high up in the mountains, had failed... and unimaginable destruction was on its way. Special thanks to Neil M. Coleman, author of Johnstown’s Flood of 1889: Power Over Truth and The Science Behind the Disaster (https://amzn.to/2LY8B4N) --- "Antonín Dvořák - Humoresque Op. 101 No. 7" arranged for piano and viola by Elias Goldstein is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://bit.ly/36qEMmK)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
May 23, 1701. Captain William Kidd is hanged at Execution Dock in London. His death sentence cements his legacy as one of history’s most notorious pirates, but he went to the gallows claiming to be an innocent man. And he may have been telling the truth. Nonetheless, his execution began a worldwide ripple effect that would change the high seas forever and ultimately help prosecute one of the most infamous Nazis that ever lived. Special thanks to Richard Zacks, author of The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd https://amzn.to/2X5Etth.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
May 14, 1796. Edward Jenner puts a theory to the test: can contracting one disease save you from another? Jenner goes down in history as the man who brought us one of the greatest advances in modern medicine: the vaccine. Its discovery led to the eradication of smallpox, a virus that killed an estimated 300 million people in the 20th century alone and one of two diseases to ever be defeated. But the story of that first vaccine begins long before Jenner was even born. How did an unlikely trio in colonial America pave the way for Jenner’s life-saving innovation? And how did a strange sequence of events help us defeat one of the oldest and deadliest diseases in human history? Special thanks to our guest, Stephen Coss. You can find his book here: http://www.stephencoss.com/ Thank you also to Dr. Nathaniel Hupert for speaking with us about vaccines and epidemics.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
May 7, 1824. One of the great musical icons in history, Ludwig Van Beethoven, steps onto stage at the Kärntnertor Theater in Vienna. The audience is electric, buzzing with anticipation for a brand new symphony from the legendary composer. But there’s a rumor on their minds, something only a few know for certain... that Beethoven is deaf. He is about to conduct the debut of his Ninth Symphony—featuring the now-famous ‘Ode to Joy’—yet Beethoven can barely hear a thing. How was it possible for him to conduct? And more importantly, how could he have composed one of the greatest works in the history of classical music? Special thanks to Jan Swafford, author of Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (https://amzn.to/2KZIZDS). Audio from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is provided courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (https://bit.ly/2KZvyUM) and Riccardo Muti Music (https://bit.ly/3dbOVWC). "Beethoven - Piano Concerto No.3, Op.37 - III. Rondo. Allegro" by Stefano Ligoratti is licensed under CC BY 3.0 (https://bit.ly/35uhbRw) "Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 - IV. Presto - Allegro Assai (For Recorder Ensemble and Chorus - Papalin)" by Papalin is licensed under CC BY 3.0 (https://bit.ly/2YukIxM)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Hunt for the Hunley

The Hunt for the Hunley

2020-04-2724:113

May 3, 1995. The Hunley has been missing for over 100 years. This Civil War submarine and all eight of her crew disappeared after completing the first successful submarine attack ever. When a team of divers finally locates the wreck in the mid ‘90s, it seems the mystery has been solved, but what they find is more perplexing than the sub’s disappearance. The boat is undamaged, and the crew are still at their battle stations. What sank the Hunley? And why didn’t her crew try to escape? Special thanks to Rachel Lance, author of In the Waves: My Quest to Solve The Mystery of A Civil War Submarine https://bit.ly/2VOa5mG  Thank you also, Dr. Ken Nahshon and Michael Scafuri.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Welcome to Hope, Through History with Jon Meacham. This limited series explores some of the most historic and trying times in American history, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments a unified nation. Season One takes a look at critical moments around the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the Polio Epidemic and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
April 22, 1970. Nearly 20 million Americans come out in solidarity for one of the largest mass movements of the century. It was called Earth Day. And 50 years later, we still celebrate this day. But in 1970, this call to action crossed the aisle and brought major change to Washington, a feat that seems almost impossible today. Why did that first-ever Earth Day bring such a huge number of Americans—from across the political spectrum—out into the streets? And what might it take to unite the country again? Special thanks to our guests: Adam Rome, author of "The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation" and professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University at Buffalo. Jerry Yudelson, MS, MBA, LEED Fellow Emeritus and Author of "The Godfather of Green: An Eco-Spiritual Memoir"  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
April 14, 1970. Apollo 13 is a quarter million miles from Earth, speeding towards the Moon, when a sudden explosion rocks the ship. Against all odds, the astronauts pull off one of the most remarkable survival missions in NASA history. On the 50th anniversary of this harrowing flight, Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell explains exactly what it took to save his spaceship. Special thanks to Captain Jim Lovell, Steven Barber and Vanilla Fire Productions, www.vanillafire.com.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
April 6, 1924. Four planes rest in the water, preparing for take-off. At 8:30 AM, they pick up speed and hit the air. Eight pilots have begun a dangerous mission: to be the first to fly around the world. This will change our future in a way that few could see in 1924. What did it take to complete this historic flight? And, when this new technology went global, what were the unintended consequences? Special thanks to our guest, Jeremy Kinney, Chair of the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Additional thanks to Tim Grove, author of "First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race"  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
April 5, 1918. The first mention of a new influenza outbreak in Kansas appears in a public health report. That strain, later called the Spanish Flu, would go on to kill at least 50 million people worldwide. In a time before widespread global travel, how did this disease spread so far, so fast? And what does it teach us about fighting pandemics today? Special thanks to Dr. Jeremy Brown, author of Influenza: The 100-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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Comments (14)

Julie A. Fischer

Great Podcast - I look forward to each new episode!

Aug 3rd
Reply

Julie A. Fischer

(Killing Fairness episode) There's a home depot commercial around the middle of the episode. I don't have a problem with this -- BUT how about better timing, not right in the middle of a sentence/thought.

Aug 3rd
Reply

Dionne Lewis

😆❤🇺🇸👍lmao 'we were hoping SOMEBODY would be thinkn about us besides our family' LMAO!!😆👊 smh thats how those men from that era were made! They're certainly cut from a different cloth! They just arent made like him anymore. Men arent as modest as him these days. here this guy is making AMERICAN HISTORY, wondering if anybody aside from his loved ones would care lmao😆 little did he no, ehh?lol

May 1st
Reply (1)

Sadie Lewis

I have throughly enjoyed every episode and can't wait for next weeks!

Apr 14th
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Keith Spiers

Excellent podcasts. My Alexa flash briefings include, History Today which I enjoy. The advertisements got me to start to listening History This Week. Thank you!

Feb 22nd
Reply (1)

Leslie Scott Grossman

commercials stink.

Jan 30th
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Heather Titmus

I loved this episode! Fascinating to learn about and the speakers make this and all of the ones I have heard from them so compelling

Jan 30th
Reply

Jtuite

Excellent episode, well done!

Jan 22nd
Reply

Leslie Grossman

Is it really necessary to have commercials in the middle of the Podcast? I just want to learn about history Selling spots to Candy Crush Saga is a total turn off.

Jan 14th
Reply (3)
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