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The Real Time History Podcast (formerly The Great War podcast) is hosted by Jesse and Flo from Real Time History. We are an independent production company known for The Great War channel on YouTube, the documentary series 16 Days in Berlin and Rhineland 45 and more. On the podcast Jesse and Flo interview historians from around the world on their topics and current publications to bring you the newest in historic research.
 
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show series
 
In the first episode of our new monthly series marking the centenary of the BBC, media historian David Hendy speaks to Matt Elton about the institution’s founding in the 1920s – a decade of innovation and ingenuity. (Ad) David Hendy is the author of The BBC: A People’s History (Profile Books, 2022). Buy it now from Waterstones: https://go.skimresou…
 
Duncan Stone argues that classism and racism have held back England’s summer sport for decades Duncan Stone talks to Spencer Mizen about cricket’s history of elitism – a story that, he contends, has long seen the rich and powerful dominate the sport’s evolution and image. (Ad) Duncan Stone is the author of Different Class: The Untold Story of Engli…
 
Dan Jones takes listeners on a journey through early medieval Europe, beginning with the Roman empire in a state of collapse, rocked by a changing climate and mass migration. He speaks to David Musgrove about the superpowers that emerged in Rome’s wake: the so-called “barbarian” realms that laid the foundations for the European kingdoms, the state …
 
Martin Sixsmith speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his book The War of Nerves, which explores the role of psychology in the Cold War, from propaganda and paranoia to a divided mindset and unpredictable decisions made by unstable leaders. (Ad) Martin Sixsmith is the author of The War of Nerves: Inside the Cold War Mind (Profile Books, 2021). Buy it now…
 
Were the twenties really “roaring”? If so, who actually experienced the best of the era? And were the parties really as debauched as popular culture suggests? Speaking with Emily Briffett, historian Sarah Churchwell answers listener questions about life in the United States during the 1920s. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information…
 
How can we reconstruct the experiences of enslaved people? Historian Shaun Wallace speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his work on the Fugitive Slave Database, which uses newspaper adverts for fugitive enslaved people from the American South to reconstruct the stories of those who escaped from slavery. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out info…
 
Author Robert Harris speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about Munich: The Edge of War, the new Netflix film adapted from his 2017 historical novel Munich. They discuss the real history behind the 1938 Munich conference, the challenges of reassessing Neville Chamberlain, and what it’s like seeing your book adapted for the screen. See acast.com/privacy for pr…
 
Roger Luckhurst speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about how the idea of the Gothic has evolved and mutated over time, from medieval-inspired architecture and 19th-century vampire fiction to politicised horror films. He also reveals how the genre has been used as a vehicle to explore society’s anxieties over time, from sex and gender to race and colonialism…
 
Historian Natalie Livingstone chronicles the unexplored lives of the women who shaped the famous Rothschild banking dynasty. She speaks to Elinor Evans about how – though often excluded in a patriarchal society – they forged their own paths, from influential hostesses to pioneering scientists. (Ad) Natalie Livingstone is the author of The Women of …
 
Richard J Aldrich and Rory Cormac discuss Queen Victoria’s love of espionage and her network of royal intelligence agents Historians Richard J Aldrich and Rory Cormac speak to Emma Slattery Williams about their book The Secret Royals, which explores the connections between espionage and the British monarchy, revealing how Queen Victoria utilised a …
 
In the latest episode in our series on history’s biggest topics, Professor Rana Mitter answers your questions about one of the defining events of modern Chinese history. Speaking to Rob Attar, he explores the role of Chairman Mao in the Cultural Revolution, its impact on China’s population and its legacy today. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and…
 
Dominic Sandbrook explains how the Beatles reflected 1960s Britain, from the globalisation of pop culture to a fascination with mysticism The 1960s was a time of transformation, as the grey of postwar Britain gave way to a technicolour youth culture, with screaming teenage fans, an outpouring of merchandise and a deep obsession with pop music. Domi…
 
Matthew Gabriele and David M Perry speak to David Musgrove about their book The Bright Ages, which tackles the big themes of the Middle Ages and challenges some widely held views about the history of medieval Europe. (Ad) Matthew Gabriele and David M Perry are the authors of The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe (HarperCollins, 2021). B…
 
Thomas Morris speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his book The Dublin Railway Murder, which reconstructs a strange historical cold case from 1856, revolving around a body discovered in a railway station office that was locked from the inside. (Ad) Thomas Morris is the author of The Dublin Railway Murder: The Sensational True Story of a Victorian Murder…
 
Thomas Harding discusses a little-known uprising by enslaved people in the British colony of Demerara in 1823 Thomas Harding speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his new book, White Debt, which recounts the little-known uprising by enslaved people in the British colony of Demerara in 1823, as told through the experiences of four eyewitnesses. See acast.…
 
Naval historian Kate Jamieson tackles listener questions on the Age of Sail, when sailing ships dominated global trade and warfare In the latest episode in our series on history’s biggest topics, naval historian Kate Jamieson tackles listener questions on the Age of Sail. Speaking to Kev Lochun, she covers subjects ranging from ghost ships and sea …
 
Curator Jane Desborough talks to Ellie Cawthorne about a new Science Museum exhibition, Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom, which explores the ways in which Greek thinkers sought to understand the world around them – from the oceans and animals, to the cosmos and the human body. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Edward Brooke-Hitching explores the many heavens, hells and lands of the dead from civilisations across global history Edward Brooke-Hitching speaks to Charlotte Hodgman about his latest book, The Devil's Atlas: An Explorer's Guide to Heavens, Hells and Afterworlds, exploring visions of the afterlife as imagined throughout history by cultures and r…
 
In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of conscription for women, historian Tessa Dunlop has written a new book capturing the remarkable lives of the last surviving women who served in Britain’s armed forces during the Second World War. Speaking to Emma Slattery Williams, Tessa draws on individual stories to paint a picture of what it was like to…
 
Malcolm Gaskill speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his book The Ruin of All Witches, which chronicles a little-known 1651 witchcraft case from Springfield, Massachusetts, revealing how an irascible brickmaker and his wife found themselves accused of diabolical activity. (Ad) Malcolm Gaskill is the author of The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in t…
 
Between 1550 and 1650, English trade flourished as thousands of merchants sought out trading ventures across the globe. In conversation with Emily Briffett, Edmond Smith tracks the experiences of England’s merchants and explores how their efforts as a community shaped England’s relationship with the rest of the world.(Ad) Edmond Smith is the author…
 
Murray Pittock answers listener questions about the Jacobites, and their attempts to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne. Speaking to Emma Slattery Williams, he discusses who the Jacobites were, why their risings failed, and how realistic the hit show Outlander is in its portrayal of the Jacobite cause. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and op…
 
On several occasions from the 14th to 16th centuries, hundreds of people in central Europe began moving their bodies in a strange uncontrollable fashion – often for days on end. What was behind this unusual behaviour? In the final episode of this series of History’s Greatest Mysteries, medieval historian Helen Carr describes the events of the ‘danc…
 
How did the First World War draw upon classical imagery? This month we are joined by Giles Penman (PhD student at the University of Warwick) to discuss the various ways that classicism manifested itself in imagery and objects before and after the conflict. Along the way we discuss the use of Britannia as a recruitment icon, different claims to civi…
 
Fifty years ago, in September 1971, Lin Biao boarded a flight out of the country, only to crash in the Mongolian desert shortly afterwards. Was this the result of an aborted coup on Lin’s part? And where exactly was his plane heading? In the latest in our series on history’s biggest conundrums, historian Rana Mitter answers these questions and more…
 
Thanks largely to Homer’s Iliad, the Trojan War is one of the most famous events in Greek mythology. But how much – if any – of the legend is actually true? In the latest in our series on history’s biggest conundrums, the author and classicist Daisy Dunn revisits the literary and archaeological sources to seek out evidence for the clash between the…
 
The Ninth Legion of the Roman army was last recorded in York in around AD 107. After that it simply vanished from history. To this day no-one knows what caused the destruction of this elite army unit, although many theories have been put forward. As we continue our series on history’s most puzzling events, Miles Russell explores the various possibi…
 
In December 1926, crime writer Agatha Christie left her home and vanished without a trace. When she was discovered 11 days later, Christie claimed to have no memory of what had happened. As part of our series on history’s greatest mysteries, Dominic Sandbrook discusses the case that baffled the British public and triggered one of the largest manhun…
 
Annie Gray looks back on festive food in the 20th century – from suspect dishes made under WW2 rationing to joyful postwar creations pickled in aspic and coated in piped green mayonnaise. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, for the final episode in our mini-series on Christmas food through history, she also touches on the best wartime cake recipes, Fanny …
 
Helen Fry speaks to Jon Bauckham about the remarkable life and career of Thomas Kendrick, an elusive MI6 intelligence officer who helped thousands of Jews escape Nazi-controlled Austria, before going on to mastermind the biggest Allied bugging operation of the Second World War. (Ad) Helen Fry is the author of Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6 (Yale …
 
In the final episode in our new series on the raid on Pearl Harbor, Ellie Cawthorne speaks to Robert Lyman about the attack’s immediate aftermath and long term legacy, charting the chaos the Japanese offensive unleashed and tracing events through to the present day. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.…
 
Elizabeth Stuart was beloved by Protestants and Catholics, English and Scots alike. Many clamoured for her to replace her brother, Charles I, on the throne, and one admirer even commissioned a treasonous painting of her wearing the Tudor crown. Nadine Akkerman speaks to Rhiannon Davies about this fascinating and now largely forgotten figure. (Ad) N…
 
Richard Bosworth answers listener questions on the authoritarian ideology that emerged in Italy a century ago How was Mussolini able to seize control in Italy a century ago? What differentiated Italian Fascism from Nazism? And is the term “fascist” bandied around too much today? In the latest in our series answering your questions on history’s bigg…
 
Dejan Djokic reflects on the brief 1991 war that saw Slovenia secure independence and helped set in motion the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia. In conversation with Rob Attar, he explores the events both as a historian and through his own memories of being a Yugoslav conscript based in Slovenia at the time. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-o…
 
From Twelfth cakes to creepy greetings cards and booze-soaked desserts, Annie Gray guides us through festive feasting in the Victorian era. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, for the third episode in our mini-series on Christmas food through history, she also touches on turkey, trifle and whether the Victorians really did “invent Christmas”. (Ad) Annie G…
 
Historian Mark Mazower explains how the Greeks secured an unlikely victory against the Ottoman empire in their 1820s fight for freedom. Speaking to Rob Attar, he also reveals how the dramatic events of two centuries ago would have a profound impact on the future of the European continent. (Ad) Mark Mazower is the author of The Greek Revolution: 182…
 
In the latest episode in our new series on the raid on Pearl Harbor, Ellie Cawthorne and Gavin Mortimer chart how the attack unfolded on 7 December 1941, sharing the stories and eyewitness accounts of those involved, from Japanese pilots and US navy personnel to army nurses and top commanders. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out informati…
 
John Callow discusses the tragic case of the Bideford witches, the last women in England to be executed for the crime of witchcraft In 1682, three women – Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards and Mary Trembles – became the last in England to be hanged for the crime of witchcraft. John Callow speaks to Kev Lochun about how circumstance and ill-fortune…
 
As we approach the 1900th anniversary of the building of Hadrian’s Wall, Rob Collins answers listener questions on Britain’s most famous Roman fortification. Speaking to David Musgrove, he tackles the big issues about the boundary’s creation and purpose, as well as looking at everyday life on the wall. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out …
 
Stephen Walker tells Rhiannon Davies about the history of animals in space, from fruit flies and monkeys to Laika the Soviet space dog Thousands of animals paved the way for human space travel. But for many of them, it was an incredibly painful – or deadly – experience. Stephen Walker tells Rhiannon Davies about this overlooked chapter of space exp…
 
Taking in glamorous dinner parties and decadent “wine-chocolate”, Annie Graytransports us back to a festive feast from the Georgian era. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, for the second episode in our mini-series on Christmas food through history, she also touches on dangerous parlour games and complaints about Christmas being “too commercial”. (Ad) Ann…
 
Mary Sarotte tells Spencer Mizen about her new book Not One Inch, which reveals how diplomatic missteps after the fall of the Berlin Wall soured US-Russian relations and fuelled the rise of Vladimir Putin. (Ad) Mary Sarotte is the author of Not One Inch: America, Russia and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate (Yale University Press, 2022). Buy it…
 
In the latest episode in our new series on the raid on Pearl Harbor, Steve Twomey speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about the immediate run-up to the attack, revealing how inch-perfect Japanese planning and complacent oversights by American military figures combined to leave Pearl Harbor naval base a sitting duck for Japanese bombers. See acast.com/privacy…
 
In the latest episode in our new series on the raid on Pearl Harbor, Dayna Barnes speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about the United States in the years and months leading up to the attack. They discuss the American perspective on the disintegrating relationship with Japan, get to grips with US thinking on the eve of the attack, and ask: why was the Americ…
 
Were medieval attitudes to sex really that different from our own? Historian Katherine Harvey speaks to Elinor Evans about the sex lives of ordinary people in the Middle Ages – from how sexuality was governed by ideas about sin, to the “love magic” that was thought to trick people into bed. (Ad) Katherine Harvey is the author of The Fires of Lust: …
 
Historian David M Kennedy answers listener questions and online search queries about the Great Depression, the economic crash that devastated the United States and other countries across the globe in the 1930s. In discussion with Rhiannon Davies, he covers topics ranging from the fate of minorities to the staggering unemployment statistics of the t…
 
Robert Sackville-West describes attempts to identify the bodies of the dead after the devastating battles of the First World War Historian Robert Sackville-West describes the searches to identify – and in some cases, return – bodies of the dead after the devastating battles of the First World War: a service that provided important closure for many …
 
From brawn to plum pottage, Annie Gray takes us back to the raucous world of festive feasting in the medieval and Tudor eras. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, for the first episode in our new mini-series on Christmas food through history, she also touches on subversive merrymaking, spectacular dinnertime entertainments and hefty meat pies. (Ad) Annie G…
 
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