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How and Why History

History Hit's How and Why History is a lively and accessible introduction to history. Historians and writers explore the big questions about history's most significant events and personalities, from the ancient world to recent times. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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History Hit's How and Why History is a lively and accessible introduction to history. Historians and writers explore the big questions about history's most significant events and personalities, from the ancient world to recent times. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

King David

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One of the Old Testament’s most compelling figures, David was anointed as king of a united Israel, conquering Jerusalem and bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city. First renowned for his musicianship and killing Goliath, David was feted by King Saul who then turned against him. But how did David rise to power and importance? Why was the capture of Jerusalem so significant? And how sure can we be that David actually existed? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this important but elusive figure to Steven McKenzie, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Old Testament at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Oct 02 2020

25mins

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Alfred the Great

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Ever since his reign in the 9th century, Alfred the Great has been celebrated as one of the most accomplished of our kings. A learned and religious man who encouraged education, Alfred defended his lands against Viking invaders. But how did Alfred, King of Wessex become Alfred the Great? How effective was he in fighting the Vikings? And why did he burn those cakes? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this unforgettable king to historian Justin Pollard, author of Alfred the Great: The Man who made England.

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Sep 30 2020

35mins

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The South African Boer War

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From 1899 to 1902, a bloody war was fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer states – the Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State – over the Empire's influence in South Africa.  But how and why did the war come about?  How did the Boers achieve initial success?  Why did the British set up concentration camps?  Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this complex conflict to Dr Stephen Badsey, Professor of Conflict Studies at the University of Wolverhampton.

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Sep 25 2020

31mins

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The Great Fire of London

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In September 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed more than 13,000 houses, 87 Parish churches as well as St Pauls Cathedral, and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Londoners. But how did the fire start and spread so rapidly? Why did King Charles II intervene and what took him so long? And what were the social and economic consequences of the fire? In this edition of How and Why History, Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this unforgettable event in the history of London to historian Ian Mortimer, author of the Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England.

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Sep 22 2020

30mins

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The United Nations at 75

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In the aftermath of the Second World War, 850 delegates from 50 nations gathered in San Fransisco, determined to establish an organization which would preserve peace and help build a better world.  Over the last 75 years, the UN has committed itself to maintaining international peace and security, and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. But how did the UN come about? How effective has it been in maintaining peace in the world? And where might it have failed? 

Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this important development in global affairs with the leading analyst of UN history and politics Professor Thomas Weiss of the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 

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Sep 18 2020

29mins

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The Battle of Britain

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In a moment of great danger to national survival, the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large scale attacks by the Luftwaffe. So how did the Battle of Britain play out? What was Germany’s objective? And how important was it to the direction of the Second World War? To answer the big questions about this seminal moment in British history, Charlie Mills talks to Dr. Mario Draper at the University of Kent

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Sep 15 2020

22mins

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The Black Death

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Between 75 million and 200 million people died in the Black Death, or Plague, which caused social, economic and religious upheavals that had a profound effect on the course of European history. How did the Black Death come about? How did if affect particular populations? For how long did it ravage societies? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about the most devastating pandemic in history to Dr. Eyal Poleg at Queen Mary University of London.

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Sep 11 2020

16mins

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Joan of Arc

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In the early 15th century, a French village girl became a heroine for her role in the French victory during the Lancastrian phase of the 100 Years War. But it took 600 years before Joan of Arc was canonised as a Roman Catholic Saint. How did she become such a famous name in history? Why did she join the Siege of Orléans? And how did she come to be burned at the stake at just 19 years of age? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this legendary figure to medieval historian Major Imogen Corrigan.

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Sep 04 2020

23mins

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The Gunpowder Plot

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On 5 November 1605, a planned assassination attempt on King James I was thwarted. While a group of English Catholics planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament, the name of the man caught guarding the gunpowder became legendary – Guy Fawkes. But how and why did the gunpower plot come about? And why did Guy Fawkes become the most famous of the plotters? Rob Weinberg puts the big questions about this most famous of failed assassination attempts to Dr. Leonie James at the University of Kent.

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Sep 01 2020

18mins

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The Philosophers of Ancient Greece

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From the 6th century BCE, philosophy was used to make sense of the world – including astronomy, mathematics, politics, ethics, metaphysics and aesthetics.  But why did philosophy flourish in Greek culture?  How were the great philosophers received in their own time?  And how did it influence Islam, communism and even the theories of Sigmund Freud?  Rob Weinberg puts the big questions about history’s biggest thinkers to Professor Angie Hobbs at the University of Sheffield. 

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Sep 01 2020

31mins

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Genghis Khan

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Genghis Khan was one of the most feared and most famous warrior kings in history. But how did he rise to power to become the Emperor of the Mongol Empire? How did he unite many of the nomadic tributes of North-East Asia, and then conquer most of Eurasia? Why is he considered a hero in modern-day post-Communist Mongolia? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this notorious figure to military historian Major Gordon Corrigan.

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Aug 28 2020

23mins

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Oliver Cromwell

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Having led the parliament of England’s armies against King Charles I, and seen to it that the king was executed, Oliver Cromwell went on to rule the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658. But how did Cromwell rise to play his part in the overthrow of the monarchy? Why did he take on Ireland and Scotland? And why is he now considered one of the ten greatest Britons of all time? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this controversial figure to historian Dr. Rebecca Warren.

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Aug 25 2020

28mins

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How World War Two Shaped The Modern World

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With the end of the Second World War 75 years ago, the task of rebuilding shattered nations had to begin. But the years that followed saw the coming of the Nuclear Age, the Cold War, decolonialism and the rise of American supremacy. How exactly did World War II shape the modern world? Charlie Mills has been putting the big questions about the post-war period to Dr. Charlie Hall at the University of Kent.

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Aug 24 2020

21mins

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Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages

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In the Middle Ages, the Holy Land, as well as sites in Europe and around Britain became popular sites for pilgrimage. It was believed that praying at shrines or in front of holy relics could absolve you of your sins, cure your illnesses, or help you on the way to heaven. Why was pilgrimage so important in the Middle Ages? To find out, History Hit’s Rob Weinberg went to Canterbury Christ Church University to speak to Dr. Sheila Sweetinburgh.

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Aug 18 2020

30mins

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The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

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In the aftermath of the Second World War, Germany was divided and, as the Cold War escalated, a concrete barrier physically and ideologically divided Berlin. But how did Berlin come to be split by a wall? How did East Germans try to get across into the West? And how did the Wall finally come down. History Hit’s Laura McMillan asks the big questions to Dr. Katrin Schreiter, Lecturer in German and European Studies at Kings College London.

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Aug 14 2020

33mins

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Europe's Witch Craze

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In 1597, King James VI of Scotland published a compendium on witchcraft called Daemonologie that laid down the kind of trial and punishment these practices merited. But why was there a witch craze in Europe? How were witch hunts triggered? Who were the victims? And why did witch trials spread to America? History Hit’s Rob Weinberg asks the big questions on this dark but fascinating period to Professor Miri Rubin of Queen Mary University of London.

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Aug 11 2020

28mins

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America, Japan and the Atomic Bomb

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On 6 August 1945, an American B29 bomber dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Three days later, Nagasaki was at the receiving end of a second American A-bomb. Why did America decide to hit Japan with two atomic bombs? Why were these two cities the targets? What were the implications for ending World War II and starting the Cold War? History Hit’s Rob Weinberg puts the big questions about this seminal event to Kevin Ruane, Professor of Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Aug 04 2020

32mins

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The Red Scare

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In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy was the public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fuelled fears in the United States of widespread Communist subversion. McCarthy believed Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the US federal government, universities and even extended into Hollywood. But why did America fear communism so much? Who was McCarthy? Why were so many film stars and writers targeted? Rob Weinberg puts the big questions about this critical period to Dr. Mitch Goodrum of Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Jul 31 2020

23mins

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Charlemagne

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Charlemagne was one of history’s most ruthless and ambitious warriors – King of the Franks, then King of the Lombards, conqueror of the Saxons, leading to the Pope crowning him Roman Emperor. But plenty of blood was spilled along the way. So how did Charlemagne manage to unite much of Europe? Why did the Pope crown him emperor? How did his legacy inspire Adolf Hitler? History Hit’s Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this hugely influential figure to Dr. Sinead O’Sullivan of Queens University Belfast.

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Jul 28 2020

32mins

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The Rise of the Monasteries

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In the Middle Ages, Christian monasteries played an integral role in the generation and spread of knowledge. Scholarship flourished behind monastery walls and monks became experts in a wide range of fields, including astronomy, medicine, even beer-making and beekeeping. But how and why did monasteries became such important centres of learning and literacy? Rob Weinberg asks the big questions about this fascinating development in history to Eyal Poleg at Queen Mary University of London.

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Jul 27 2020

24mins

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