Dan Snow's History Hit

Dan Snow's History Hit

History! The most exciting and important things that have ever happened on the planet. Powerful kings, warrior queens, nomads, empires and expeditions. Historian Dan Snow and his expert guests bring all these stories to life and more in a daily dose of history. Join Dan as he digs into the past to make sense of the headlines and get up close to the biggest discoveries being made around the world today, as they happen. If you want to get in touch with the podcast, you can email us at ds.hh@historyhit.com, we'd love to hear from you!


June 11, 2024 42 mins

The British weren't always imperial global players with an empire of viceroys, redcoats and industrialised trade systems. The early years of the British Empire were actually pretty chaotic; for the English in the 17th century, it was a period of exploration, rugged individuals, private companies, pirates, misadventure and failure.

Dan is joined by David Veevers, historian of Early Modern History at the University of Bangor, to e...

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On January 28, 1986, the nation watched in horror as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian selected to fly into space. The devastating tragedy unfolded live on television, shattering the dreams of millions of schoolchildren who had tuned in to witness this historic mission.

Dan is joined by British journalist and...

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Dan unravels the mystery surrounding George Mallory and Andrew Irvine's daring attempt to conquer Mount Everest in 1924 - a feat that could have made them the first to stand atop the world's highest peak. He tells the tale of Irvine and Mallory's ascent into the 'Death Zone' where they embarked on their final summit push amidst biting winds and punishing altitudes. Dan also hears from world-renowned climber Jake Norton who was part...

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June 6, 2024 39 mins

With closed borders, a totalitarian regime, electricity blackouts and widespread poverty, North Korea is a brutal place to survive; even looking at a foreign media outlet can get a North Korean citizen sent to a concentration camp. So why, in 2011 did leader Kim Jong Il allow Jean Lee, a celebrated American journalist to set up a news bureau in Pyongyang?

In today's episode, Jean is Dan's guide to North Korea. She tells him...

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Just after midnight on the 6th of June, 1944, 181 British glider-borne infantry crashed to earth in the Normandy countryside. They clambered out of their gliders and rushed towards their objectives; two German-held bridges near the D-Day landing zones. This was the opening salvo of D-Day, and their mission was vital - if they failed, their comrades would be trapped on the beaches, unable to move off the sand and vulnerable to count...

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Please note that this episode contains explicit language.

On the 29th of May, 1944, less than a week before D-Day, General George S. Patton gave a rip-roaring speech to the First US Army Group. He spoke of the indomitable American spirit and the fear that his men would inspire in their enemies. He'd given this expletive-riddled address dozens of times, and American GIs loved him for it. But this time, there was a catch; the army...

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June 6, 2024 105 mins

Dan and military historian Stephen Fischer record a moment by moment play of the dramatic and bloody first crucial hour and a half of D-day, as it happened. They breakdown the assaults across the Normandy Beaches including Sword, Omaha and Gold, where over one hundred thousand British, American and Canadian troops landed under a barrage of German fire in an attempt to turn the tide of the war against the Nazis.

Stephen's latest ...

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June 6, 2024 26 mins

In the second episode of our D-Day series, we look to the skies. In the build-up to Operation Overlord, thousands of Allied pilots in heavy bombers and fighter planes ground down the Luftwaffe and destroyed vital infrastructure. On D-Day itself, they supported their comrades on the ground and at sea in roles ranging from reconnaissance to close air support and dropped elite airborne units behind enemy lines.

To talk us through a...

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June 6, 2024 51 mins

This is the often forgotten chapter of the D-Day story.

To begin our series for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, we turn to the massive naval operations that made it all happen. On D-Day itself, 7,000 ships and 195,000 sailors undertook the gargantuan challenge of ferrying men, weapons and supplies ashore to begin the liberation of Europe. But that was just on the 6th of June - it was preceded by years of bitter warfa...

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June 4, 2024 25 mins

In the 1950s, the US government conducted a series of nuclear bomb tests in the Mojave desert, right next door to Las Vegas. Tourists flocked to the luxurious hotels of America's gambling capital to watch mushroom clouds billow over the horizon. These tests sparked an obsession with a chemical element that still inspires fear and fascination to this day - uranium.

Dan is joined by Lucy Jane Santos, author of 'The Atomic City: La...

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June 3, 2024 38 mins

"I came. I saw. I conquered".

Perhaps the most famous Julius Caesar quote of all time. But after hearing all about his bedroom antics, it takes on a slightly...different meaning.

From Cleopatra to his three wives, to male lovers, to mistresses - Julius Caesar definitely slept his way around Rome.

Today Kate is Betwixt the Ancient Roman Sheets with Emma Southon, to find out all about his rampant sex life.

This podca...

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This is the story of a bloody mutiny aboard the Boston-based schooner, the Rising Sun. The ship had been on a routine smuggling voyage before it was violently seized by three opportunistic crew members. They had their sights set on the lucrative cargo she carried, but below decks, the Rising Sun hid an even more sinister secret; 15 terrified enslaved people, held in the ship's hold as the mutiny raged overhead.

Dan is joined by ...

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May 23, 2024 1 min

June 6th marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and Dan Snow's History Hit is it by bringing you its biggest series yet. From now until May next year, we'll be marking the pivotal moments from D-Day to VE Day. This was the titanic struggle that saw the Allies advance from East and West to crush the Third Reich and hasten the end of the most terrible war in history. 

Join us as we take you through the Battle of N...

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Jane Seymour is a paradox. Of Henry VIII’s six wives, she is the one about whom we know perhaps the least. She was the most lowly of the queens, but she had royal blood. She's often described as plain and mousy and lacking opinions, but when we do see her in the sources, she tends to be doing something that shows agency, while wearing some very flashy clothes indeed. So what can we make of Jane Seymour?

In this episode of Not Ju...

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May 20, 2024 37 mins

2/2. The British Empire aggressively pursued the opium trade well into the 19th century, fueling an addiction epidemic within China. The Qing government was determined to stamp out this destructive trade, leading to the First and Second Opium Wars. But the British Royal Navy was at its apogee, and re-exerted British control over the Chinese state. In the infamous final chapter of this story, British and French forces looted and des...

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May 19, 2024 50 mins

1/2. Victorian readers were captivated by descriptions of smoke-filled opium dens among backstreet brothels and pubs in London's East End in Oscar Wilde novels. Opium use in Britain in the 19th century was widespread and while opium dens were scarce, Victorians could buy opium over the counter in chemists as treatments for headaches, coughs and even as a sleep aid for babies. Opium was important to the British Empire's health but m...

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Dating from 1467-1603, the Sengoku or ‘Warring States’ period is known as the bloodiest in Japan’s history; an era of continuous social upheaval and civil war which transformed the country. Shogun-led authority was shattered and 150 years of murder and betrayal followed as fearsome warlords ruled local territories with unflinching ruthlessness. 

In the first episode of this series delving into the history behind the la...

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A mix of treacherous seas, navigation errors, and historical intrigue led to one of the Royal Navy's darkest nights. Dan travels to the Scilly Isles to tell the tragic tale of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and the 1707 naval disaster off the Isles of Scilly that caused a staggering loss of over 2000 men. Dan ventures out to the place where the ship went down to see this dangerous stretch of sea for himself. He discovers how this c...

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In the summer of 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. As the Germans drove towards Moscow, a catastrophic Soviet defeat seemed imminent - a defeat that would have made the Allied liberation of Europe virtually impossible. To keep the Allied victory in sight, Roosevelt and Churchill assembled a crack team of diplomats to secretly travel to wartime Moscow and negotiate with the intractable Stalin.

Dan is joined by Giles Milton, ...

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May 12, 2024 50 mins

The title of Caesar has echoed down the ages as the pinnacle of absolute power and perhaps even tyranny. A single man at the head of a nation or empire with untouchable power. But how powerful were they really and why are they seen as an example to follow when many of the men who became Caesar met a bloody end? Dan is joined by the legendary classicist Mary Beard to explore the history of the first twelve Caesars. They discuss how ...

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