HISTORY This Week

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Houdini Defies Loss of life

January 25, 1908. Harry Houdini is probably the most well-known magician in America. He’s recognized for his escapes—from handcuffs, containers, jail cells, even a large soccer. However the escape act is getting previous, and ticket gross sales aren’t what they was. And on today, an under-capacity viewers on the Columbia Theater in St. Louis is about to witness Houdini’s most harmful escape but… from loss of life itself. How did a Hungarian immigrant named Erik Weisz turn into Harry Houdini? And when his profession was fading, how did Houdini embrace loss of life to carry it again to life?

Particular because of our visitor, Joe Posnanski (creator of The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini). Extra because of San Diego magician Tom Interval for offering archival audio of Houdini.

The Capitol Riots in Context

January 6, 2021. As Congress voted to affirm Joe Biden because the incoming president, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an try and thwart the election certification. This rebel shook the nation to its core, forcing many to query the steadfastness of almost 250 years of democratic rule. On this particular episode, we requested historians to hitch a dialogue about the place this second stands in American historical past, and what we are able to be taught from the previous to indicate us a path ahead.

This episode options Sharron Conrad (postdoctoral fellow at SMU’s Middle for Presidential Historical past), Beverly Gage (professor of American historical past and director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Technique at Yale College), and Steve Gillon (scholar-in-residence at The Historical past Channel and professor of historical past on the College of Oklahoma).

The First VP of Coloration

January 23, 1907. The Kansas legislature has convened to resolve who would be the subsequent US Senator from their state. The vote shakes out as everybody anticipated: front-runner Charles Curtis wins the seat. Curtis – a member of the Kaw Nation – has simply turn into the primary individual of shade elected to the Senate and can go on to rise even additional as Vice President of the US. This week, Kamala Harris follows Curtis because the second individual of shade to fill that seat. Nevertheless, his legacy is a sophisticated one. How did Charles Curtis rise so excessive throughout an period that was arguably the peak of American white supremacy? And what does his flawed political legacy inform us concerning the complexities of illustration?

Off With Her Head

January 15, 1535. King Henry VIII has a decree. As of right this moment, he’s “the one supreme head on earth of the Church of England.” Which implies: the Pope is not head of the Church in England for the primary time in historical past. And why? All due to a girl named Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII strikes heaven and earth to marry the girl he loves, however only a thousand days later he could have her executed. Why did he do it? And the way is the story we at all times inform about Anne Boleyn all flawed?

Declaring Battle on Poverty

SEASON TWO PREMIERE – January 8, 1964. In his State of the Union tackle, Lyndon Johnson unveils his Battle on Poverty, an effort to sort out subpar residing situations and create jobs throughout the US. Johnson discovers that declaring battle—even one on an thought—at all times comes with nice prices. Why did LBJ decide poverty as considered one of his main initiatives? And what points did he face in waging this battle?

For our Season 2 premiere, this episode options Doris Kearns Goodwin (presidential historian and govt producer of The HISTORY Channel’s forthcoming documentary collection, Lincoln and Roosevelt) and Guian McKee (affiliate professor in Presidential Research at UVA’s Miller Middle).

Greatest Tales of 2020

December 28, 2020. On this year-end recap, Sally sits down with HISTORY This Week producers McCamey Lynn, Julie Magruder and Ben Dickstein to debate their favourite episodes from 2020 and bonus information that didn’t make it into the episodes. Plus, we’ll hear researcher Emma Frederick’s favourite info from a 12 months’s value of deep dives. We’re again subsequent week to kick off Season 2 with a really particular visitor.

A Scrooge for the Ages

December 27, 1853. On a freezing, snowy night time in Birmingham, England, 2,000 individuals have lined up exterior the city corridor. They’ve braved the temperatures for a landmark efficiency, Charles Dickens’ first studying of A Christmas Carol. The story will turn into a global sensation and beloved Christmas custom. On this particular episode of HISTORY This Week, we carry you a basic 1949 rendition of the story starring Vincent Value, so you possibly can resolve for your self: What’s it about A Christmas Carol that’s endured for over 150 years?

A Drug Rushed to Market

December 18, 1970. Many years after the tip of WWII a Nazi physician is on trial. Right this moment is judgment day in an extended, tough authorized battle, however this case isn’t about battle crimes. The German pharmaceutical firm Grunenthal is charged with the worst medical catastrophe in historical past: the Thalidomide scandal. The shoddily examined and swiftly authorized drug made its method into drugs cupboards world wide, and a decade after its launch, the truth is changing into clear: Thalidomide is killing infants. Who’re the heroes that introduced down Thalidomide? And the way did this catastrophe change pharmaceutical laws ceaselessly?

The Crown Steps Down

December 11, 1936. Simply yesterday, King Edward VIII of England formally abdicated the throne. And tonight, some ten million individuals will hear the explanation from the person himself. He tells the nation in a radio tackle, “I’ve discovered it inconceivable to hold a heavy burden of duty, and to discharge my duties as king as I might want to do, with out the assistance and assist of the girl I like”. This “girl” is a twice-divorced American. The nation is shocked. Edward VIII has turn into the primary monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne in British historical past. How did Edward VIII trigger hassle for England earlier than, throughout, and after his reign? And the way does his legacy proceed to form the destiny of the royals to today?

Wartime Weapon Turned Medical Miracle

November 24, 1966. Tens of millions of spectators flood Broadway in New York Metropolis to observe the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. The enduring floats – Superman, Popeye, Smokey the Bear – are set in opposition to a sky that may solely be described as noxious. A smog of pollution is trapped over New York Metropolis, and it’ll in the end kill almost 200 individuals. How did the 1966 Thanksgiving Smog assist usher in a brand new period of environmental safety? And the way have we been enthusiastic about environmental disasters all flawed?

A Poisonous Turkey Day

November 24, 1966. Tens of millions of spectators flood Broadway in New York Metropolis to observe the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. The enduring floats – Superman, Popeye, Smokey the Bear – are set in opposition to a sky that may solely be described as noxious. A smog of pollution is trapped over New York Metropolis, and it’ll in the end kill almost 200 individuals. How did the 1966 Thanksgiving Smog assist usher in a brand new period of environmental safety? And the way have we been enthusiastic about environmental disasters all flawed?

The Inca’s Final Stand

November 16, 1532. Atahualpa, the king of the Inca Empire, marches in the direction of town of Cajamarca in modern-day Peru, surrounded by 80,000 troopers. As soon as he arrives, Atahualpa expects the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro to give up within the city sq.. However Pizarro has a plan of his personal. With simply 168 males, he’ll unleash a entice that destroys the Inca Empire, and brings hundreds of years of indigenous rule to a violent finish. What was taking place within the Andes earlier than Pizarro arrived that allowed this to happen? And when historical past is written by the victors, how do we all know what’s actually true?

The Muppet Revolution

November 10, 1969. It’s a Monday. Throughout the US, dad and mom and babysitters and grandparents and aunts and uncles are turning on the TV, as a result of there is a new present out right this moment for teenagers: Sesame Road. The present has now been on the air for greater than 50 years. It’s been considered by 80 million Individuals, and it’s aired in 120 nations. Some individuals name it probably the most influential present within the historical past of TV. How was Sesame Road born? And the way did it assist change the way in which thousands and thousands of youngsters be taught?

Stealing the Presidency

November 7, 1876. Somewhat earlier than midnight on election night time, the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes admits defeat and goes to mattress. The Democrat Samuel J. Tilden has swept the electoral school and by morning, he’ll nearly definitely have the votes he must win the presidency. However in a single day, the Republicans handle to vary their destiny and go on to steal the election. How did a one-legged Civil Battle veteran, a handful of telegrams and a number of the filthiest politics in American historical past flip an election? And the way did Hayes’ fateful compromise with the Democrats set again suffrage for over a century?

Disaster in Cuba

October 27, 1962. 72,000 ft above Cuba, an American U2 spy airplane flies over the island, capturing picture intelligence. It’s been 13 days for the reason that CIA found Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba, pointed immediately on the US. Soviet protection forces on the bottom catch the spy airplane on their radar. They identify it Goal Quantity 33. The lower-level Soviet officers are getting nervous that this spy is capturing vital intelligence. Unable to succeed in their common, they make the decision: destroy Goal Quantity 33. In that second, the pilot turns into the primary casualty of the Cuban Missile Disaster. How, on the peak of the Chilly Battle, did a mix of political decisions and unhealthy luck push the world to the brink of nuclear battle? And the way did management, diplomacy and probability pull us again to security?

Land of the Free?

October 19, 1814. An keen viewers information into the Holliday Road Theater in Baltimore, about to see a debut efficiency, described as a “much-admired new tune.” The composer of this tune, Francis Scott Key, had written the lyrics throughout a latest battle in Baltimore, trapped on a British ship as he watched the rockets purple glare from afar. Key wasn’t knowledgeable songwriter – a distinguished lawyer in Washington D.C., he specialised in circumstances associated to slavery, each defending enslaved individuals and slave catchers. However his actual legacy grew to become this tune, entitled “The Star-Spangled Banner.” How did Key come to observe the Battle of Baltimore play out from the deck of an enemy ship? And the way did his relationship with race and slavery form the tune we now name our nationwide anthem.

Anthrax Assaults

October 15, 2001. Senate Majority Chief Tom Daschle receives an innocuous-looking letter. It has childlike handwriting and an elementary faculty return tackle. When an intern opens the envelope, white powder spills throughout her garments and wafts into the air. Quickly after, the affirmation comes: Anthrax. This assault is one in a collection of letters that arrive at media workplaces all around the nation, simply weeks after 9/11. The letters show to be untraceable, and the investigation turns into one of many hardest and most complicated in FBI historical past. How did investigators shut this inconceivable case? And what stays unsolved to today?

Turning into the Dalai Lama

October 8, 1939. Within the Tibetan metropolis of Lhasa, hundreds of individuals have flooded into the streets to welcome the subsequent Dalai Lama, a younger boy of 4 years previous. He doesn’t comprehend it but, however he’ll turn into the non secular and political chief of the Tibetan individuals on the age of 15, proper in the midst of a battle. How does somebody so younger put together for one thing so large? And what can the Dalai Lama’s very uncommon life educate the remainder of us about what it means to be a pacesetter?

No Illustration, No Peace

September 30, 1765. Nearly a decade earlier than the American Revolution, delegates from 4 colonies collect within the first unofficial assembly of the Stamp Act Congress. The congress has been referred to as to reply to a brand new British tax on the colonies, the Stamp Act. It’s basically a tax on paper, and Congress’ response would be the first official act of distention by the colonies in opposition to the British. Unofficially although, the persons are rioting within the streets. And it’s this widespread protest, greater than Congress’ tempered response, that may carry the Stamp Act down. How did the Stamp Act riots turn into a spark that will ignite the American Revolution? And what does it imply that we’ve been protesting for change since earlier than America’s founding?

The Eating regimen Wars

September 24, 1955. President Eisenhower is asleep in his mattress at his in-laws’ home in Denver. At round 2 AM within the morning, he’s jolted awake by chest pains. Nobody realizes it till the morning, however Eisenhower has had a coronary heart assault. His heart specialist calms the general public and tells them that their President can be alright – with some way of life adjustments partially impressed by new, cutting-edge analysis from a little-known scientist: Ancel Keys. And that very analysis will change the way in which Individuals, and the world, will eat ceaselessly. How did Keys, an oceanographer-turned-nutrition-scientist, find yourself altering the world’s relationship with fat? And was this a change for the higher?

Grapes for Change

September 16, 1965. Cesar Chavez and the Nationwide Farmworkers Affiliation have been plotting a Mexican-American labor strike for years, concentrating their efforts within the farming group of Delano, California. However only one week earlier, Filipino farmworkers determined to strike on their very own, disrupting these fastidiously organized plans. So Mexican-American farmworkers and their households collect at a neighborhood church in Delano to listen to whether or not Chavez has decided: will they be part of the Filipinos and strike, even when they won’t be prepared? The reply is a convincing sure. What occurred when the Filipinos and Mexicans joined forces? And the way did a labor motion began by farmworkers in a small California city take the nation by storm?

World Seed Vault

September 10, 2002. Thieves have damaged into basements in two cities in Afghanistan to steal plastic containers. These containers had been holding seeds – extraordinarily very important seeds. However the thieves didn’t need the seeds and dump them. With that, a vital pure useful resource, one of the vital necessary on Earth, is misplaced ceaselessly. Right this moment, we’re in a race to save lots of the world’s seeds. How has a global coalition of scientists labored to preserve the world’s seeds? And why may they be the important thing to defending the way forward for humanity?

Thanks to our visitor, Cary Fowler, former govt director for the World Crop Belief and one of many founders of the World Seed Vault.

Shaving Russia

Sept 5, 1698. Tsar Peter the Nice of Russia returns house from a year-long European tour. When noblemen, spiritual figures and buddies collect to welcome him house, Peter pulls out a straight razor, holds it to their throats, and…forcibly shaves their beards. This occasion will go down in historical past as a primary step in the direction of Russian geopolitical energy. Earlier than Peter’s reign, Russia was an remoted nation that was largely ignored by the remainder of the world. How did Peter the Nice nearly single-handedly drag Russia onto the world stage? And the way did his nice beard-shaving endeavor result in the Russia we all know right this moment?

The First American Intercourse Scandal

August 25, 1797. Alexander Hamilton, the previous Secretary of the Treasury, has printed a brand new pamphlet. At first, readers assume that is going to be one other considered one of Hamilton’s pro-Federalist, ideological screeds. However quickly, the entire nation will notice that that is one thing very totally different: an request for forgiveness. This wasn’t a couple of crime, however an affair – the primary intercourse scandal within the historical past of American politics. Why did Alexander Hamilton brazenly confess to his extramarital actions? And if he hadn’t, how may American Historical past have unfolded in another way?

Suffrage isn’t Easy

August 18, 1920. Within the third row of the legislative chamber in Nashville, Tennessee, 24 year-old Harry Burn sits with a purple rose pinned to his lapel. He is there to vote on the nineteenth Modification, which can decide if ladies nationwide will be capable to vote. Burn’s stunning, sudden vote, “sure,” will flip the tides of historical past, despite the fact that ladies had already been voting for many years earlier than 1920, and many ladies nonetheless will not be capable to vote for many years to return. So, what did the nineteenth Modification really do for girls in America? And what, on this one hundredth anniversary, does it present us about our personal proper to vote right this moment?

The Start of Hip Hop

August 11, 1973. At 1520 Sedgwick Avenue within the Bronx, 18-year-old DJ Kool Herc performs his first New York Metropolis occasion. The dance ground is packed, the power is wild, and Herc provides the efficiency of a lifetime that includes one very particular innovation on the turntables. Herc and the partygoers don’t comprehend it but, however this occasion will go down in historical past because the delivery of one of the vital widespread musical genres so far—hip hop. How did this occasion give method to a multi-billion greenback business? And the way has hip hop turn into a lot greater than the music?

Killing Equity

August 4, 1987. The Federal Communication Fee’s management has come collectively in Washington D.C. to resolve the destiny of a significant challenge: equity. For the earlier 40 years, the FCC has tried to make sure that TV and radio broadcasters current either side of the political points mentioned on their airwaves. However by the Eighties, the political panorama has modified, and the Equity Doctrine will quickly be no extra. Right this moment, we speak to 2 of the foremost gamers who fought on either side of this nice debate to elucidate what the Equity Doctrine really did, why it died, and the place precisely that leaves us right this moment.

Convert or Depart

July 31, 1492. In cities, cities and villages throughout late medieval Spain, entire districts have emptied out. Homes deserted, shops closed, and synagogues—which till just lately had been alive with singing and prayer—now sit quiet. Precisely 4 months earlier, the King and Queen of Spain issued an edict: by royal decree, all Jewish individuals in Spain should convert to Catholicism or go away the nation, for good. Why had been the Jews expelled from Spain? How did Spaniards, after which the world, begin to think about faith as one thing inherited, not simply by custom, however by blood? And the way does this second assist us perceive the problem of assimilation right this moment?

Public Enemy #1

July 22, 1934. John Dillinger, America’s most well-known outlaw, is gunned down by federal brokers exterior the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Dillinger’s loss of life is the ultimate act in against the law spree that concerned a number of jail breaks, dozens of financial institution robberies, and multiple violent shootout. However regardless of all the cash Dillinger stole and the deaths he triggered alongside the way in which, the general public nonetheless adored him. How did a person named “Public Enemy #1” turn into a nationwide darling? And the way did the pursuit of John Dillinger make method for the fashionable FBI?

Destroyer of Worlds

July 15, 1945. It occurred inside a millionth of a second. Within the New Mexico desert at 5:30 within the morning, a gaggle of scientists watched in anticipation because the countdown started. It was silent at first, but sizzling and unbelievably vibrant. Then got here the sound. The primary-ever atomic bomb explosion… was successful. How did scientists engaged on the Manhattan Challenge create what was then probably the most highly effective weapon in historical past? And the way did the bomb’s existence ceaselessly change our sense of what human beings are able to?

Operation Mincemeat

July 10, 1943. 150,000 British and American troopers storm the seashores of Sicily within the first Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe. However the Nazis…aren’t actually there to place up a combat. 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 concerned a corpse, false identification, and a single eyelash—change the course of WWII?

The Large Stink

July thirtieth, 1858. London is a world metropolis, a worldwide middle of commerce and commerce. However there’s one thing much less glamorous occurring on this bustling metropolis: the scent. Each inch of town smells like rotting, human waste. And this scent is definitely killing individuals. However nobody is doing something about it. Till right this moment. How did short-term pondering result in a lethal drawback? And the way did an unlikely chief lastly get London out of this very literal mess?

Satisfaction & Protest

June 28, 1970. Lots of of individuals begin to collect on Christopher Road in Manhattan’s West Village for an anniversary celebration. One 12 months earlier, in that exact same spot, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police, sparking a revolution. Now, LGBTQ+ individuals have come right here once more, to not riot however to march in celebration of who they’re and simply how far they’ve come – one thing which may have been unthinkable if Stonewall hadn’t taken place. How did the Stonewall riot have such a huge effect on queer activism, and the way did the group go from raid to parade in only a 12 months?

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