November 7, 2018
11th November 1918. A day of euphoric celebration throughout the victorious nations. A day of fresh hopes for the aspiring nations inside the collapsing old Empires. A day of despair in the vanquished nation of Germany. History is written by the winners, but it is often driven forward by the humiliation and rage of the losers.
November 13, 2018
London, Armistace day, 11th November 1918: amidst the euphoric victory celebrations two gnarled Empire warriors plan a new campaign- to conquer the top of the world.
December 7, 2018
The Spanish Flu didn’t come from Spain, but wartime censorship elsewhere meant that Spain was the only country in Europe openly reporting deaths from the world’s worst ever pandemic virus. At the end of its one year rampage the Spanish Flu had killed 50-100 million people. So where did it really come from? And 100 years on is it still lurking among us?
January 25, 2019
Dedicated to the memory of Pawel Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdansk, November 1998 - January 2019
After 123 year of being shackled under foreign domination, with even her language banned, Poland is reborn into a dangerous and chaotic world, trying to unify three different systems in a devastated land while fighting five wars with her neighbours, including the Russian Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky. A one-handed, one-footed, one-eyed British war hero, Captain Adrian Carlton de Wiart, is sent on a mission to find out more about the new country, and meet the Polish strong man, Pilsudski, determined to lead his country through its pangs of re-birth. A task he has been preparing for his whole life.
February 16, 2019
This month’s episode goes inside the mind of George Clemenceau, the tough French 77 year old prime minister determined to make Germany pay for the devastation of World War One, and weaken it so much that it could never again threaten France. On this day 100 years ago he was shot in an assasiation attempt.
March 6, 2019
On the 6th March 1919, The Soldier Queen, the Scottish born Queen Marie of Romania, pulled into the Gare du Nord greeted by rapturous applause from a huge crowd of well-wishers. Known as a great beauty and social celebrity with a keen sense of fashion, she wowed the crowds with her Arab-inspired black satin dress. However Queen Marie was not in town simply for socialising and shopping (although she did a lot of that too), rather her primary aim was to fiercely lobby for the best settlement for Romania in the wake of World War One. Her rallying of the Romanian troops during the war and her participation in the management of the Romanian war campaign earned her the title of Soldier Queen, and she used her celebrity to great effect at the Paris Peace Conference.
April 9, 2019
This month’s podcast is about missed opportunities. Allen Dulles, a privileged young American diplomat who later became the most influential director of the CIA, decides to go on a date rather than meet Lenin the night before he is sent to Russia by the Germans to ferment rebellion. Another upper class young American, William Bullitt, actually negotiated the best terms that anyone would ever get from Communist Russia in its 73 years in existence, terms that could have prevented half of the lands of USSR falling under communist rule, but his superiors played politics with his treaty (the deadline for acceptance of which was on 10th April 1919), and the opportunity was missed. Bullitt would have his revenge on his superiors, and would later, as Ambassador to the USSR in the 1930s see at first hand the nightmarish brutality of the darkest days of Communist Russia.
May 6, 2019
170 years ago in 1839 Britain invaded Afghanistan commencing the 1st Anglo Afghan war. 100 years ago, on 6th May 1919 the third Anglo-Afghan war began, which led to the Afghans finally gaining independence and control of their foreign policy. 40 years ago the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan ending that era of independence. 17 years ago the US invaded Afghanistan. In that time the US has suffered 2,734 deaths as compared to an estimated 150,000 Afghan dead- civilians, government forces, and insurgents. The war and the deaths are ongoing… Afghanistan’s 170 year history of major powers intervening/invading in their country is ongoing…
This month’s instalment of THE YEAR podcast is about an English officer, Captain John Morris, a victoria cross awarded front line officer fresh from the trenches of the Western Front in World War One, and his first day at war on the North Western Front (now boarder between Pakistan and Afghanistan).
June 13, 2019
June 1919: Denied a lifetime
Ho Chi Minh battled for 50 years to free his native land, Vietnam, from foreign domination. First defeating the Japanese, then the French, and then battling the Americans. That journey started 100 years ago in Paris at the Paris Peace Conference, where he was working as a busboy in the Ritz Hotel. In Paris he assumed a new name - Nguyen ai Quoc (Nguyen the patriot)- and started speaking out for independence. It would be another 21 years, and 7 years after he had been officially registered as dead, that he assumed the name Ho Chi Minh (“The Enlightened One”) and the leadership of the Vietnamese resistance army, believing force was the only way that Vietnam would ever achieve its independence. This month’s episode details the start of Ho Chi Minh’s life’s mission while he was clearing up after the diplomats and politicians and bigwigs and the Paris Peace Conference.
July 12, 2019
My podcast, The Year each month tells a story from exactly 100 years ago. This month Lawrence of Arabia swaps his camel for a GIANT World War One bomber which flies him away from the Paris Peace Conference and back to the Middle East. He survives a fatal plane crash, then is stranded in Crete, then is in the first plane to cross the Mediterranean, all the while wrestling with his demons from the Arab Revolt. The story picks up where David Lean’s film masterpiece finishes.