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Almost History

Author: Ian Chapman-Curry

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Almost History. Always incredible. What if ... ? Almost History tells the amazing true stories behind the aborted missions, cancelled plans, utopian dreams, failed revolutions and hubristic designs that didn't quite make it from the drawing board to change the real world. Rescued from the footnotes, archives and passing references, each episode explores what almost happened and explains why it didn't.
12 Episodes
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It’s the summer of 1953, and, across East Germany, angry people take to the streets. This isn’t a polite street protest. This is a furious, red flag ripping, police beating, office burning rampage. The crowds demand: - better living conditions; - the reunification of Germany; and - free elections. Instead, they would get:  - Trabants;  - the Berlin Wall; and  - another 35 years of hardline Communist government. Could the 17 June 1953 uprising have ever been successful at bringing down Soviet-dominated eastern Europe? Or were the people’s protests doomed to fail before they even started? Do you like the podcast?Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Cylinder Seven and The Life and Death of a Certain K. Zabriskie, Patriarch, both by Chris Zabriskie and Sunset by Kai Engel. All tracks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
According to Field Marshal Montgomery, rule number one on the first page of the book of war is ‘do not march on Moscow’. In April 1945, Winston Churchill ordered the British Chiefs of Staff to rip up the rule book and plan for an attack on their wartime ally, Russia. It was audacious, inconceivable and incredibly risky. So, fittingly, it was codenamed Operation Unthinkable. Just how close did we come to launching the Third World War in 1945? Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Cylinder Seven and The Life and Death of a Certain K. Zabriskie, Patriarch, both by Chris Zabriskie and Sunset by Kai Engel. All tracks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
In August of 1216, the King of Scotland rode down the entire length of England to pay homage to a new English king at Dover. The Scottish monarch bent his knee to a warrior prince who was the pride and hope of his dynasty. His name was Louis and he was the eldest son of the King of France. Louis is overlooked in most lists of English monarchs. But he was, at this point in time, in control of two-thirds of the country and had the support of the majority of its barons. At Lincoln, he had a chance to win a great victory and secure his claim to the throne. This is a rich story with a cast that includes a septuagenarian warrior, a fighting monk, a nine-year old boy king and a fearsome Châtelaine who defied a whole army. But most of all, it is about a battle that could have gone either way. Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Oecumene Sleep and Realness by Kai Engel, Everybodys Got Problems That Aren't Mine by Chris Zabriskie and Fog and Waves by Sergey Cheremisinov. They are all licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
In the summer of 1550, Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of Henry VIII, was packing her belongings and preparing to flee her home. Her Tudor brother was the figurehead for an increasingly Protestant regime. Mary clung to her mother's Catholicism. She feared for her life and, as the pressure on her to conform grew, she turned to her powerful relatives abroad. She could be safe again, but they could only protect her if she left England. Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was July by Kai Engel and Virtutes Instrumenti by Kevin Macleod. Both are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
In 1647, the new puritan government tried to cancel Christmas. People in Canterbury protested in a peculiarly English way, with a destructive game of football followed by a mass brawl. The city’s Plum Pudding Riots led to a royalist revolt throughout Kent and the second round of the Civil War. With Parliamentary armies fighting in Wales and Scotland, could this have marked a revival in fortunes for the beleaguered King Charles the First? Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Air Hockey Saloon by Chris Zabriskie (http://chriszabriskie.com) and Sacred Motion by staRpauSe (http://starpause.flavors.me/). Both are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
In 1822, Gregor MacGregor committed what The Economist newspaper has called the ‘biggest fraud in history’ and ‘the greatest confidence trick of all time’. Investors, many of them Scottish, put forward vast sums towards creating a colony in central America. They were told it was a sure bet, a land of milk and honey - another paradise on the isthmus. Sounds familiar? If you listened last week, you might think that once bitten, Scots would be twice shy. Instead, bonds for Gregor MacGregor’s Principality of Poyais were oversubscribed and colonists easy to find. They would all profit from this rich and fertile land that was larger than Wales and ripe for settlement. The only problem was that Poyais didn’t exist. Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was High School Snaps by Broke For Free (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Broke_For_Free/Slam_Funk/Broke_For_Free_-_Slam_Funk_-_06_High_School_Snaps) and Behind Your Window by Kai Engel (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Idea/Kai_Engel_-_Idea_-_04_Behind_Your_Window). Both are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, Scotland sank a huge chunk of its national wealth into an audacious scheme to colonise central America. become a more equal partner with England under the Stuart crown.  The colony was to straddle the Isthmus of Panama at the Gulf of Darién. It would create an overland route to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Vessels from the Old World and the New World, it was hoped, would converge on the colony. Scotland would reap bountiful dividends.  In the end, the venture failed. The Darien Scheme’s downfall was a major push forcing Scotland to give up her independence and join with England in 1707's Act of Union.  This is the first in a two-part series looking at Scotland’s colonial disasters. In both cases, huge amounts of capital were raised and lost, and many lives ruined, as Scots attempted to forge a colonial empire in Central America.   Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Whispering Through by Asura (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Asura/) and Snowmen by Kai Engel (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/). Both tracks are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution licences (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
In the first half of 1940 only one question mattered in American politics. Would Franklin D. Roosevelt break with tradition and run for a third term as President of the United States? The New York Times proclaimed it as 'the all-absorbing political riddle'. Roosevelt kept the country guessing right up until the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago in July 1940. On the second day of the convention, a message from FDR was read out. It announced that the President had no desire to continue in office or to be nominated for election. It produced a stunned and shocked silence. Suddenly, the quiet was shattered by a voice thundering over the loudspeakers. 'We want Roosevelt! We want Roosevelt!' But did the President want a third term? Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was Run, Chance and Denouement, all by Kai Engel and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/
Imperial Airships would bring the far flung peoples of the British Empire closer together than ever before. Every day, blimps would slip their masts near London carrying passengers and freight bound for Montreal, Cairo, Karachi, Singapore and Sydney. Journeys that had once been measured in months would breeze past in days. The Imperial Airship Service would bind Canada, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, India and New Zealand into a true global superpower. Britannia still ruled the waves. But now, she would dominate the sky. These dreams were dashed when the world’s largest airship ploughed into the ground in northern France on its inaugural flight to India. Britain’s Hindenburg disaster ended an imperial flirtation with airships. Did it also deal a blow for the future of the British Empire?
In 1941, Adolf Hitler issued orders to Nazi Germany’s railway officials. He wanted them to develop a new type of railway. It was to be bigger, far bigger, than anything that had ever been seen. Trains the height and width of a suburban house and the length of the Empire State Building would hurtle across the Greater German Reich, from Brest in the west to Bucharest in the east. They would be luxurious, providing unimaginable amenities for travellers. And, unsurprisingly, they were never built. Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was: Destiny Day by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1500008 Artist: http://incompetech.com/ Big Bird's Disease by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/ Martian Cowboy by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100349 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
In 1875, Rome came close to losing its river. In that year, the liberator of Italy, General Giuseppe Garibaldi, visited and announced plans to clean up the Eternal City. His main target was the River Tiber. Garibaldi would solve problems from pollution to flooding by diverting the river and completely removing it from the city. Where did this idea come from? And why wasn’t it carried out? Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot.
What if … ... Nazi Germany had been able to roll out the television equivalent of its inescapable radio network? Everywhere you turn, you see the unmistakable face of Adolf Hitler. His voice echoes in your head, broadcast from a thousand loudspeakers. His wild, gesticulating speech is reaching its foam speckled crescendo. Nazi television is everywhere. Looming over city squares, above the concourse of the railway station, on the factory floor and in every home. It is George Orwell’s 1984 made real, and it was a dream of visionaries working in Joseph Goebbels’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. In the end, only the small matter of a world war got in the way of the roll-out of a nationwide and unavoidable Nazi television network. Do you like the podcast? Please rate or review the podcast and share it with friends. On iTunes, this takes a couple of steps but it is the best way to help me reach a wider audience. 1. Search for Vaguely Interesting History on the Podcast app. 2. Tap the podcast artwork under the Podcasts heading (the red and white logo). 3. Tap reviews and leave a star rating or, even better, add a review as well! Music credits The theme music is Newsroom by Riot. The other music featured in this episode was: I Am Running with Temporary Success from a Monstrous Vacuum in Pursuit by Chris Zabriskie (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) http://chriszabriskie.com/licensing) Night Owl by Broke For Free (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) http://brokeforfree.com/)
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