Conflicted: A History Podcast

Conflicted: A History Podcast

Untangling history’s greatest controversies. Every month, we take a hard look at the historical conflicts that raise difficult questions, stoke controversy, and send our moral compasses spinning.

Episodes

April 16, 2021 75 min
In 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the most hated man in America. As the architect of Japan’s December 7th surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military decided Yamamoto had to die by any means necessary. Two years later, over the jungles of Southeast Asia, a daring aerial ambush gave the American people the closure they craved.  But who was Yamamoto really? Did his death have any impact on the outcome of the war? ...
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Civil war has torn the Caliphate apart. In 656 AD, Aisha marches with an army at her back. Ali, newly crowned as Caliph, has no choice but to oppose her. Muawiya sees an opportunity to grab power and start a dynasty of his own. Hussein begins his inevitable path towards Karbala…and martyrdom. THE CAST: Aisha – The Prophet’s widow. “Mother of the Faithful”. Brave, jealous, and calculating. Muawiya – Governor of Syria “Son of the Li...
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The Prophet is dead. In 632 AD, the armies of Islam explode out of Arabia, led by a series of aggressive new Caliphs. The Prophet’s young widow Aisha struggles to understand her new role as “Mother of the Faithful”. Meanwhile, Ali, snubbed for the title of Caliph, grapples with his conflicting feelings of bitterness and commitment to the stability of the Muslim community. All the while, an ambitious new rival, Muawiya, schemes and ...
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When the Prophet Muhammed died in 632 AD, it triggered a succession crisis amongst his followers. After the dust settled, two divergent branches of the faith remained – Sunni and Shi’a. It is a deeply misunderstood story that has been unearthed and repackaged in the 21st century to inflame political animus and give superficial labels to complex tensions. In this episode, we will examine the very human, very relatable drama that unf...
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Fake coffee. Rotten meat. Poison milk. This is the story of a few good men and their bitter fight to make America’s food supply safe. Hounded by enemies and discredited at every turn, a handful of scientists and activists challenged the titans of the 19th century food industry – and won.  SOURCES: Blum, Deborah. The Poison Squad: One Chemists Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. 2018. Morris,...
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October 26, 2020 103 min
Tank battles, Cold War politics, and nuclear alerts. This is the epic conclusion of a two-part series on the Yom Kippur War. On October 6th, 1973, Egypt and Syria launch a brilliant surprise attack on the nation of Israel. Golda Meir struggles to restrain her generals from unleashing doomsday weapons, and Dr. Henry Kissinger navigates the perilous world of Cold War diplomacy in hopes of bringing the conflict to a swift end. Even Ni...
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October 3, 2020 85 min
The Yom Kippur War of 1973 has been described as the greatest military intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor. This is the story of how a vengeful surprise attack almost destroyed the nation of Israel. Told through the eyes of titanic personalities like Anwar Sadat, Golda Meir, and Moshe Dayan. (Part 1 of 2). SOURCES: Boyne, Walter J. The Two O’clock War. 2002. Blum, Howard. The Eve of Destruction. 2003. Klagsbrun, Francine. Lion...
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On June 5th, 1864, the Shogun’s secret police raced against time to foil a sweeping terrorist plot in Kyoto. The ensuing bloodbath would have far-reaching consequences for the future of Japan.  SOURCES: Hillsborough, Romulus. Shinsengumi: The Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps. 2005. Hillsborough, Romulus. Samurai Revolution. 2014.  Hillsborough, Romulus. Samurai Assassins. 2017.  Jansen, Marius B. The Making of Modern Japan. 2000. Ravin...
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July 29, 2020 121 min
The Marquis De Sade was a pariah in his time, a monster on the page, and a genius in death. But what crimes did the namesake of “sadism” actually commit? Where did his real-life appetites end…and his literary fantasies begin? (Explicit, obviously) SOURCES: Thomas, Donald. The Marquis de Sade. 1976. Du Plessix Gray, Francine. At Home with the Marquis de Sade. 1998. Lever, Maurice. Sade. 1994. Schaeffer, Niel. The Marquis De Sade: A...
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How the US government deliberately sent thousands of mentally-disabled men into combat during the Vietnam War. A bonus episode and companion to Episode 12: "The Good Guys". SOURCES: Gregory, Hamilton. McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War. 2015.  Hsiao, Lisa. “Project 100,000: The Great Society’s Answer to Military Manpower Needs in Vietnam”. 1989. Hastings, Sir Max. Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy (19...
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The 1968 My Lai Massacre shocked Americans, but the true nature of the Vietnam War went far beyond anything the public could’ve imagined. This is the story of the war within the War, between the soldiers who brutalized Vietnamese civilians, and the unsung men who tried to stop them. SOURCES: Jones, Howard. My Lai. 2015.  Hastings, Sir Max. Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy (1945-1975). 2018.  Hersh, Seymour M. Cover-Up. 1972. Charles River...
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In 1945, the German city of Dresden was consumed in a firestorm engineered by the Allies. Many consider it to be a war crime. Others, a necessary evil. SOURCES Taylor, Frederick. Dresden: Tuesday, February 13th, 1945. 2004. McKay, Sinclair. The Fire and the Darkness: The Bombing of Dresden 1945. 2020. Charles River Editors. The Firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo. 2017. Gregg, Victor. Dresden: A Survivor’s Story. 2013. Harris, Arthur...
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May 1, 2020 25 min
A bonus episode concerning the Praetorian Guard's musical and murderous relationship with Rome's fabulous fifth Emperor, Nero. An epilogue to E10: "Kingbreakers" SOURCES: Strauss, Barry. Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine.2019 De La Bodeyere, Guy. Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome’s Imperial Bodyguard. 2017 Rankov, Boris. The Praetorian Guard. 1994 Bingham, Sandra. The Praetorian Guard. 20...
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March 30, 2020 99 min
The story of Rome through the eyes of the infamous Praetorian Guard, feared bodyguards who wielded the power and leverage to make – or break – the Emperors they swore to protect. SOURCES: Strauss, Barry. Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine. 2019 De La Bodeyere, Guy. Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome’s Imperial Bodyguard. 2017 Rankov, Boris. The Praetorian Guard. 1994 Bingham, Sandra. The Praetorian Guard. ...
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Genghis Khan and the Mongols killed millions, but were they actually woke AF? Let's tackle the surprisingly progressive (yet blood-drenched) legacy of one of history's most mysterious empires. SOURCES: Weatherford, Jack. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. 2004. Weatherford, Jack. Genghis Khan and the Quest for God. 2016. Weatherford, Jack. The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. 2010. McLynn, Frank. Genghis ...
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Car bombs, hitmen, and hunger strikes. How "The Troubles" tore Northern Ireland apart. SOURCES: Toolis, Kevin. Rebel Hearts. 1995 McKittrick, David. Making Sense of the Troubles. 2000 Coogan, Tim Pat. The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal and the Search for Peace. 1995. Edwards, Aaron. The Northern Ireland Troubles. 2014. O'Doherty, Malachi. The Trouble With Guns. 1998. Collins, Eamon. Killing Rage. 1997. Bingham, John. &...
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Wonder and warmth quickly turn to slaughter and horror as Hernan Cortes meets Emperor Moctezuma in the explosive conclusion of this two-part series. SOURCES: Levy, Buddy. Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs. Sheppard, Si. Tenochtitlan 1519-1521. 2018. Thomas, Hugh. Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico. 1993. Prescott, William H. History of the Conquest of Mexico. 1843 C...
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How a handful of mercenaries, explorers, and pirates destroyed the Aztec Empire and burnt its capital city to the ground. Two cultures collide in the first of a two-part series on the Conquest of Mexico.  SOURCES: Levy, Buddy. Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs. Sheppard, Si. Tenochtitlan 1519-1521. 2018. Thomas, Hugh. Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico. 1993. Prescot...
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The story of China’s infamous One-Child Policy, the most ambitious (and catastrophic) social engineering project the modern world has ever seen. SOURCES: Fong, Mei. One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. 2016 Evans, Karin. The Lost Daughters of China. 2008 Johnson, Kay Ann. China’s Hidden Children. 2016 Xinran, Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love. 2012 Greenhalgh, Susan. Just One Chil...
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September 15, 2019 88 min
How a single week in 1967 changed the Middle East, and the world, forever. This is the action-packed, heartbreaking origin story of Israel and the Six-Day War.  SOURCES: Oren, Michael B. Six Days Of War. 2002. Pressfield, Steven. The Lion’s Gate. 2014. Churchill, Randolph S. The Six Day War. 1967 Dana, Seif. “The 1967 Naksa: The Making of the New Middle East”. Al Jazeera. June 2016. Samuel, Sigal. “How the Six Day War Transformed ...
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