207 1919 - Ireland I

On January 21, 1919, the first Dáil Éireann met in Dublin and declared itself the parliament of an Irish Republic. That same day, IRA fighters in County Tipperary stole 168 pounds of gelignite, killing the two police officers who were guarding it.  

Published: Aug. 23, 2020, 4 p.m.

206 1919 - United States IV

As Woodrow Wilson recovered from his stroke, the effort to gain Senate approval for the Treaty of Versailles floundered, and the US government was without a leader.

Published: Aug. 16, 2020, 4 p.m.

1919 - United States III

As hard as it was to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles, Woodrow Wilson returned home to an even greater challenge: winning Senate approval of the treaty.

Published: Aug. 9, 2020, 4 p.m.

204 1919 - United States II

At the same time as the "Red Scare," the USA was experiencing the worst racial violence in its history. Hundreds were killed. Some claimed, without evidence, that the Bolsheviks were behind it.

Published: July 26, 2020, 4 p.m.

203 1919 - United States I

Labor unrest, racial violence, and anarchist bombs were blowing up across the USA in 1919, making many people wonder if the Bolsheviks were behind it all.

Published: July 19, 2020, 4 p.m.

202 1919 - Mexico

Political violence in Mexico tapers off after the new constitution comes into effect, although Venustiano Carranza will not give up power willingly.

Published: July 12, 2020, 4 p.m.

201 1919 - Latin America

The technological end economic changes wrought by the Great War will have major impacts even on nations that remained neutral.

Published: July 5, 2020, 4:09 p.m.

200 1919 - China

The compromise under which Japan got the German concession in China was bitterly resented in China and led to a backlash against the West.

Published: June 21, 2020, 4 p.m.

199 1919 - Japan

The Japanese, like the Italians, had territorial demands they wanted the peace conference to recognize. They also wanted the League of Nations to embrace racial equality.

Published: June 14, 2020, 4 p.m.

198 1919 - Italy II

With Italian politics becoming increasingly polarized between violent extremes, the environment is perfect for the rise of Mussolini.

Published: June 7, 2020, 4:19 p.m.

197 1919 - Italy I

After Italy's postwar territorial demands were rejected by the other Allies, Prime Minister Orlando and the Italian delegation walked out of the peace conference.

Published: May 31, 2020, 4 p.m.

196 1919 - Turkey & Greece III

The standoff between the Turks and what remained of the Allies (Greece, backed up by Britain) leads to war.

Published: May 17, 2020, 4 p.m.

195 1919 - Turkey & Greece II

As the USA, Italy, and France lose interest in the region, Britain fights to enforce the Treaty of Sèvres, relying on the Greek Army to provide the military might. Meanwhile, the political situation in Greece changes.

Published: May 10, 2020, 4 p.m.

194 1919 - Turkey & Greece I

As Allied troops took up positions in Turkey, the Allies and the Ottoman government signed the Treaty of Sèvres, which imposed a harsh set of conditions. But nationalist Turks in the interior of Anatolia were not ready to give up the struggle.

Published: May 3, 2020, 4 p.m.

193 1919 - The Near East III

The British accepted Hussein of Mecca as King of Hejaz, but when he resisted their plan to remake the Near East, they allowed the neighboring Emir of Najd to seize control.

Published: April 26, 2020, 4 p.m.

192 1919 - The Near East II

An American archaeologist coined the term "The Fertile Crescent" just three years ago in 1916 to describe the arc of lands from Mesopotamia to Palestine that were the most fertile Arab territories. In 1919, France and Britain divided the Fertile Crescent between themselves, much to the displeasure of the Arabs living there.

Published: April 12, 2020, 4 p.m.

191 1919 - The Near East I

In 1919, the Allies were poised to parcel out the lands of the Near East among themselves. But the inhabitants of the region had other ideas.

Published: April 5, 2020, 4 p.m.

190 1919 - Africa II

When the time came to determine the future of Germany's colonies, Woodrow Wilson insisted on a system of mandates that would, at least in principle, require that they be governed for the benefit of their inhabitants.

Published: March 29, 2020, 4 p.m.

189 1919 - Africa I

Africa had been known in Europe as the "Dark Continent." It was merely an obstacle to get around on the way to Asia, then a source of slaves, and finally a territory to exploit. Europeans took it upon themselves to educate Africans, but then educated Africans began to wonder why they still didn't have the same rights.

Published: March 22, 2020, 4 p.m.

188: 1919 - The USSR

In the aftermath of the Russian Civil War, Lenin introduces the New Economic Policy, the USSR is organized, and prominent Socialist Revolutionaries are prosecuted for treason. Lenin falls ill in 1923 and dies in early 1924.

Published: March 8, 2020, 4 p.m.

187 1919 - The Caucasus

The October Revolution led to the brief emergence of independent nations of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan for the first time in centuries, but their independence was not to last. Also, we look at the early days of post-Civil War Russia.

Published: March 1, 2020, 5 p.m.

186 1919 - Russia IV

The White movement collapsed rapidly over the winter of 1919-1920, leaving the Bolsheviks in control of Russia. Even the Allies had to reconcile themselves to the new order in Russia.

Published: Feb. 23, 2020, 5 p.m.

185 1919 - Russia III

The White armies opposing the new Bolshevik government in Moscow reached their peak in the autumn of 1919, when White armies were within 200 miles of Moscow and within sight of Petrograd.

Published: Feb. 16, 2020, 5 p.m.

184 1919 - Russia II

The Allies supported anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia, but once the Great War ended, the Allies were in a dilemma. Abandon the White movement, or see the conflict through?

Published: Feb. 2, 2020, 5 p.m.

183 1919 - Russia I

Bolshevik Russia and the western Allies tried to maintain cordial relations during 1918, but it didn't last. By the end of the year, Allied troops were in Russia and Allied governments were backing anti-Bolshevik forces.

Published: Jan. 26, 2020, 5:07 p.m.

182 1919 - The Baltic States

The three Baltic states manage to become the only Imperial Russian possessions--besides Finland and Poland--to win their independence.

Published: Jan. 19, 2020, 5 p.m.

181 1919 - Finland

Finland was able to win its independence from Russia peacefully, but soon after came a bloody civil war.

Published: Jan. 12, 2020, 5 p.m.

180 1919 - Poland II

The birth of Poland was a foregone conclusion, but where its boundaries should lie was very much in dispute and led to bloodshed.

Published: Dec. 29, 2019, 5 p.m.

179 1919 - Poland I

By 1916, both sides in the Great War had declared their desire to see an independent Poland after the war. Now the time had come.

Published: Dec. 25, 2019, 5 a.m.

178 1919 - Austria-Hungary III

In this final episode on Austria-Hungary, we look at the new nations of Austria and Hungary that emerged from the old Empire. We also take a look at two young Hungarians of the time who became important figures in the US film industry.

Published: Dec. 22, 2019, 5 p.m.

177 1919 - Austria-Hungary II

In this episode, we look at the birth of Yugoslavia and the cession of ethnic Romanian regions of Hungary to Romania.

Published: Dec. 15, 2019, 5 p.m.

176 1919 - Austria-Hungary I

This first of a three-part series on the end of Austria-Hungary tells the story of the birth of Czechoslovakia.

Published: Dec. 8, 2019, 5 p.m.

175 The Paris Peace Conference

Before the Allies were ready to negotiate with the Central Powers, they had to have a "pre-meeting" among themselves to establish a common negotiating position. This "pre-meeting" lasted five months.

Published: Nov. 24, 2019, 5:04 p.m.

174 Lessons Learned III

With the War now behind us, we take a moment to reflect on its most important lessons.

Published: Nov. 17, 2019, 5 p.m.

173 The Khaki Elections

The United States had a mid-term election just before the Armistice. The UK had a general election just after. Both elections would help shape the post-war world. Also, we say goodbye to Theodore Roosevelt.

Published: Nov. 10, 2019, 7 p.m.

172 Pale Horse, Pale Rider II

The influenza virus that emerged in 1918 was more deadly than was typical for the disease. Because of the Great War, the virus was carried to every corner of the world, including into populations of human beings who had never known the disease before. The death toll was staggering. This epidemic was the deadliest in human history, in terms of absolute number of persons killed.

Published: Oct. 27, 2019, 7 p.m.

171 Pale Horse, Pale Rider I

Influenza has plagued the human race for some 12,000 years. It is caused by a virus, an infectious agent barely understood in 1918.

Published: Oct. 20, 2019, 7 p.m.

170 Très Bien

Once Bulgaria quit the war, the dominoes began to fall. By early October, both Germany and Austria were in diplomatic exchanges with the US over peace terms. When news of this became public, both of those governments experienced domestic political collapse.

Published: Oct. 13, 2019, 7 p.m.

169 Tipperary mbali sana sana

The German commanders and their African askari soldiers fought a smart and determined guerilla campaign against the British that actually lasted longer than the war in Europe had. But when news of the Armistice reached them, it was time to lay down their weapons.

Published: Sept. 29, 2019, 7 p.m.

168 The Black Day

The German spring offensives of 1918 were intended to force an end to the war before Allied numerical superiority became decisive. But the offensives failed, the German Army is crumbling, and mobile warfare has returned to the Western Front.

Published: Sept. 22, 2019, 8:04 p.m.

167 The Armistice of Mudros

It was poetic that the war would end where it began, in the Balkans. An Allied offensive against a weary Bulgaria led to an armistice, forcing the Ottoman Empire--and Austria and Germany--also to sue for peace.

Published: Sept. 15, 2019, 7:41 p.m.

166 An Unanswered Riddle

The policies of the new Bolshevik government befuddled both the Allies and the Central Powers. Both sides in the war sought better relations with Moscow, but the murders of the Imperial family signaled that the Bolsheviks were not ready to make nice.

Published: Sept. 1, 2019, 7 p.m.

165 You Die Waiting for It

The end of the war on the Eastern Front and the Italian defeat at Caporetto gave Austria-Hungary a badly needed military respite. But domestically, the country was crumbling, economically, socially, and politically. Discontent has reached critical mass.

Published: Aug. 25, 2019, 7 p.m.

164 Grim Earnest, to the Death

The length and the toll of the Great War were a tragedy, but for Czech and Slovak nationalists, they also presented an opportunity to shake off the bonds of Habsburg rule and achieve independence.

Published: Aug. 18, 2019, 7 p.m.

163 A State Not Yet Born

In Russia, the Bolshevik government succeeds in throttling the Constituent Assembly and taking full control of the national government. They find themselves up against an array of enemies, including Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been fighting in the Russian Army.

Published: Aug. 4, 2019, 7 p.m.

162 We Just Got Here

A year after the US declared war on Germany, America's contribution to the war effort was still small. Later in 1918, after working through some political and organizational difficulties, American units began to make a difference on the battlefield.

Published: July 28, 2019, 7 p.m.

161 Kaiserschlacht

Now that peace had come on the Eastern front, German soldiers were redeployed to the Western Front in one last-ditch attempt to win the war before the number of US troops on the Western Front became overwhelming.

Published: July 21, 2019, 7 p.m.

160 The Fourteen Points

Leon Trotsky challenged the Allies to state what great cause they were fighting for that justified continuing the war. With the Central Powers showing signs of readiness to negotiate, Woodrow Wilson lays out his conditions.

Published: July 7, 2019, 7:20 p.m.

159 The Liberal Crisis

The Great War was framed in the West as a fight for the future of democracy, but in this episode we ponder how the demands of war are weakening democracy at home.

Published: June 30, 2019, 8 p.m.

158 So Thoroughly Policed

We look at economic and social changes in America brought on by the war, including the Espionage Act and new restrictions on freedom of expression.

Published: June 23, 2019, 8:13 p.m.

157 A Path Strewn with Roses

Early 1918 saw both Germany and Russia each eager to make peace for their own reasons, but the power of the German military forced the Bolshevik government in Russia to accept the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Published: June 9, 2019, 8 p.m.

156 Locomotives for Heads

The October Revolution was seen at the time as merely replacing one temporary arrangement with another. But the Bolsheviks had other ideas.

Published: June 2, 2019, 8:24 p.m.

155 A Lake of Blood

Although Iran was not a belligerent in the Great War, Russian and Turkish armies clashed in Iran and the nation suffered. The Greek government split over the war question.

Published: May 26, 2019, 8 p.m.

154 The Balfour Declaration

As British troops advance into Palestine, the British Cabinet formally embraces the concept of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but does not explain what that means.

Published: May 12, 2019, 9 p.m.

153 The Visionary and the Evangelist

Is it because of the Great War that Billy Sunday had his greatest revival ever? Or that peasant children in Portugal witness miracles?

Published: May 5, 2019, 9 p.m.

152 Like a River Flowing On

The Chinese government (despite its many internal problems) was willing to enter the Great War in order to reclaim concessions lost to Germany and Austria. The Allies were initially hesitant, but as the casualties mounted and the shortage of manpower became acute, Chinese civilian laborers began working behind the front lines. Later, after a U-boat attack killed hundreds of Chinese, China formally entered the war.

Published: April 28, 2019, 9 p.m.

151 The Eye of the Day

Mata Hari earned internationally acclaim as a dancer during the Belle Époque by trading on her exotic (and mostly invented) origins. But during the Great War, being mysterious and not entirely honest can get you killed.

Published: April 14, 2019, 9 p.m.

150 Caporetto

In the autumn of 1917, the Germans lend the Austrians a hand in their losing struggle with Italy. The result is the Battle of Caporetto, which undoes all of Italy's previous gains and brings the Central Powers within 20 miles of Venice.

Published: April 7, 2019, 9 p.m.

149 Passchendaele

After the failure of the Nivelle Offensive, and with Russia collapsing into chaos, the British Cabinet unleashes Haig, who begins his latest offensive.

Published: March 24, 2019, 9 p.m.

148 Peace, Land, and Bread

By autumn of 1917, the Russian Provisional Government had failed. It lost popular support, the Army was collapsing, and the Germans were advancing on Petrograd. Lenin determined it was time for the Bolsheviks to make their move.

Published: March 17, 2019, 9 p.m.

147 The Kornilov Affair

Following the July Days, Alexander Kerensky became convinced that the biggest threat to his government now loomed on the political right, and he became increasingly suspicious of the new army commander-in-chief, Lavr Kornilov.

Published: March 10, 2019, 9 p.m.

146 Chaos in the Army

The Kerensky Offensive was supposed to prove that the Russian Provisional Government was in control and that Russia could still field an effective army. Instead, it demonstrated that neither of these were true.

Published: Feb. 24, 2019, 10 p.m.

145 The July Days

The Kerensky Offensive provoked discontent among soldiers in Petrograd which triggered a Bolshevik uprising against the Provisional Government. The uprising was put down and evidence was made public that the Bolsheviks were being supported and funded by Germany.

Published: Feb. 17, 2019, 10 p.m.

144 All Power to the Soviets

With the Bolsheviks relentlessly criticizing the Russian government, the question of war aims came to the fore. When the liberals in the government couldn't give a straight answer, a cabinet shuffle followed, giving socialists more power than before.

Published: Feb. 10, 2019, 10 p.m.

143 Disabling the Russian Colossus

The Russian Provisional Government had declared a political amnesty that allowed political exiles to return home, notably Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin, who got an assist from the German government.

Published: Jan. 27, 2019, 10 p.m.

142 Lafayette, We Are Here

The US entered the war in early 1917, but it would take time for her to have an impact on the war. Brazil also joined the war in 1917, and in Canada, the political fight over conscription leads to a divisive general election.

Published: Jan. 20, 2019, 10 p.m.

141 The Cossacks Are Not Coming

By 1917, many in German and Austrian official and military circles had given up hope of winning the Great War on the battlefield and were ready to discuss peace terms. Hindenburg and Ludendorff, however, insisted that victory was at hand.

Published: Jan. 13, 2019, 10 p.m.

140 The Hindenburg Line

With Russia in disarray, and the Eastern Front in a de facto armistice, we shift our attention to the West, where the French begin the latest "final" offensive.

Published: Dec. 23, 2018, 10 p.m.

139 No Fight, No Loan

Russia's allies--The United Kingdom, France, Italy, and now the United States--were pleased that Russia was taking a more liberal and democratic direction, but they also expected Russia to honor the commitments the czar had made to them, even though those commitments were unpopular at home. Meanwhile, the new government struggled even with its most basic responsibilities.

Published: Dec. 16, 2018, 10 p.m.

138 Make the World Safe for Democracy

Even the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans was not enough to push Woodrow Wilson into supporting war, but the Zimmerman Telegram made it impossible to oppose war any further. Additionally, the Russian Revolution eliminated an unsavory ally, replacing him with a fledgling democracy that needed support.

Published: Dec. 9, 2018, 10 p.m.

137 The February Revolution

The revolutionary upheavals in Petrograd lead to the formation of a Provisional Government. Emperor Nikolai II abdicates, ending the 304-year old Romanov dynasty.

Published: Dec. 2, 2018, 10 p.m.

136 The Winter of Our Discontent

With political resentments already high, the deprivations of the harsh winter of 1916-17 cause them to boil over. The Russian Revolution has begun.

Published: Nov. 18, 2018, 10 p.m.

135 Stupidity or Treason?

When the Great War began, Russian political factions mostly united in a common front to support the war effort, as political parties did in the other belligerent nations. But when Russia's military reversals and shortcomings in leadership became too obvious to ignore, opponents of the government began to speak up.

Published: Nov. 11, 2018, 10 p.m.

134 The Zimmerman Telegram

With the Mexican Revolution winding down and the prospects of war between Mexico and the USA seeming increasingly remote, the German Foreign Secretary explores the idea of inviting Mexico to declare war on the United States.

Published: Nov. 4, 2018, 10 p.m.

133 We Win Ourselves to Death

Germany was already rationing food when the bad harvests of 1916 made the situation far worse. Running out of options, the German military decides to resume unrestricted U-boat warfare.

Published: Oct. 21, 2018, 9 p.m.

132 Guerre à la guerre

The European powers refused to negotiate, but private groups, including women's groups, socialists, and Henry Ford, pressed ahead with campaigns to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table.

Published: Oct. 14, 2018, 9 p.m.

131 This Wellsian Wonder

The automobile and the airplane, both recent inventions that make use of the internal combustion engine, become weapons of war.

Published: Oct. 7, 2018, 9 p.m.

130 He Kept Us out of War

With four years of peace and progressive reform and a booming economy (due to the strong French and UK wartime demand for US imports), you would think Woodrow Wilson would cruise to an easy re-election. You would be wrong.

Published: Sept. 23, 2018, 9 p.m.

129 Everywhere and Nowhere

In the wake of Pancho Villa's attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico, the US Army sends an expeditionary force into Mexico in pursuit of Villa and his fighters, commanded by Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing.

Published: Sept. 16, 2018, 9 p.m.

128 A Portuguesa

German East Africa was the last holdout among German colonial possessions. Neighboring Portuguese and Belgian soldiers, as well as South Africans, joined in to help the British, although the British were not always happy to accept their assistance.

Published: Sept. 9, 2018, 9 p.m.

127 A Terrible Beauty Is Born II

The Rising begins.

Published: Aug. 26, 2018, 9 p.m.

126 A Terrible Beauty Is Born I

Irish nationalist extremist plot an armed uprising against British rule and reach out to Germany for assistance.

Published: Aug. 19, 2018, 9 p.m.

125 Question Time

We take a break from the historical narrative this week as listener Brent asks the questions that (hopefully) you wanted answered.

Published: Aug. 12, 2018, 9 p.m.

124 What Passing-Bells for These Who Die as Cattle?

We conclude the four-part series on military moves in 1916 in the Great War with Brusilov's Offensive and the Battle of the Somme.

Published: July 29, 2018, 9 p.m.

123 Something Wrong with Our Bloody Ships

Austria begins an offensive against Italy, Russia gears up a counteroffensive in Galicia, and the British and German Navies have it out in the Skagerrak.

Published: July 22, 2018, 9 p.m.

122 They Shall Not Pass

The fighting continued at Verdun as the Russians prepare an offensive of their own to relieve the pressure on France. A German U-boat mistakenly sinks a passenger ferry in the English Channel, triggering another controversy over submarine rules of engagement.

Published: July 15, 2018, 9 p.m.

121 England's Best Sword Knocked from Her Hand

The third year of the war opens with Britain and Germany as the mainstays of their respective alliances. The German Chief of Staff tries a bank shot: cripple Britain by wounding France.

Published: July 8, 2018, 9 p.m.

120 A Line in the Sand

Turkish forces defeat a British force attempting to take Baghdad, but that doesn't stop the British and the French from divvying up the postwar Middle East. Also, the Russians advance, the Italians don't.

Published: June 24, 2018, 9 p.m.

119 The Minister without Portfolio

Venustiano Carranza is gaining momentum in the struggle over the future of Mexico, but Pancho Villa is not ready to give up. The Germans hope to lure the US into intervening, then Pancho Villa decides provoking the US is also in his interests.

Published: June 17, 2018, 9 p.m.

118 The Lunatics Have Taken Charge of the Asylum

In the neutral United States, the economy is booming and so is the motion picture business. And the most famous name in pictures is Charles Chaplin.

Published: June 10, 2018, 9 p.m.

117 What Are the French Doing?

Allied commanders on the Western Front spent 1915 developing new strategies for the Great War, and attempted to implement them in their autumn offensive.

Published: June 3, 2018, 9 p.m.

116 What Did You Do in the Great War?

With numbers of new volunteers declining every month, the British government wrestles with the issue of conscription. Across Europe, all the Great Powers are feeling the manpower and other shortages created by the war.

Published: May 20, 2018, 9 p.m.

115 Let Them Raise Hell

After the overthrow of Victoriano Huerta, the revolutionary forces in Mexico begin fighting among themselves, and Huerta himself conspires with the Germans to return to power.

Published: May 13, 2018, 9 p.m.

114 Beautiful Tightropes of Logic

Albert Einstein needed ten years to flesh out his special theory of relativity into a general theory of relativity, but when he finished, he changed our understanding of the nature of reality itself.

Published: May 6, 2018, 9 p.m.

113 Simpson's Circus

German East Africa stood strong against British attempts to capture the territory. The key to capturing the German colony was to contest German control of Lake Tanganyika.

Published: April 22, 2018, 9 p.m.

112 The Banana Wars II

Political instability and mounting foreign debts lead to US military intervention on the island of Hispaniola.

Published: April 15, 2018, 9 p.m.

111 The Bulgarian Summer

By the summer of 1915, both the Central Powers and the Allies were keen to get Bulgaria to join the war on their side. The Central Powers won the bidding war, and Bulgaria became the fourth (and last) member of the Central Powers.

Published: April 8, 2018, 9 p.m.

110 The Shell Shortage

By the spring of 1915, it was clear that the war would last for a long time and that it would be taking an economic toll on all the nations involved, and there would likely be political consequences as well. In Britain, the debate centered on whether the government was doing enough to support the French, and in particular, whether British soldiers were being supplied with enough artillery shells to get the job done.

Published: March 25, 2018, 9 p.m.

109: I Am Ordering You to Die

In early 1915, with the Western Front in a stalemate, Winston Churchill becomes the leading voice behind a plan to do an end run around the Germans and knock the Turks out of the war.

Published: March 18, 2018, 9 p.m.

108 This Isn't War!

In the spring of 1915, just before the sinking of Lusitania and in international women's conference aimed at ending the war through private diplomacy, Germany uses poison gas on the Western Front.

Published: March 11, 2018, 9 p.m.

107 Too Proud to Fight

The sinking of Lusitania and the deaths of 128 Americans was a shock. While there was little support in the US for war against Germany, there was a strong feeling that *some* kind of response was necessary. It was up to Woodrow Wilson to figure out what that would be.

Published: March 4, 2018, 10 p.m.

106 Breaking the Blockade

Germany searches for a way to break the British blockade; Britain looks for a decisive battle.

Published: Feb. 18, 2018, 10 p.m.

105 The Action of a Lunatic

In 1914, Germany and Britain held adjacent colonial territories in East Africa. When the Great War began, Britain attempted to seize German East Africa.

Published: Feb. 11, 2018, 10 p.m.

104 The Birth of a Nation

Another look at race relations in the USA. The formation of the NAACP and the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League and the re-founding of the Ku Klux Klan. And the release of D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation."

Published: Feb. 4, 2018, 10 p.m.

103 Colonialism without Bloodshed

Germany claimed Southwest Africa as a colony in 1884. This episode reviews the history of the colony through the Great War, when it was seized by South Africa.

Published: Jan. 21, 2018, 10 p.m.

102 They Showed Us the Way

In 1914, the war in the West ground down to a stalemate. There seemed no sign that 1915 would be any different. Allied commanders experimented with new tactics to deal with this new warfare.

Published: Jan. 14, 2018, 10 p.m.

101 Strike a Blow Somewhere

The beginning of 1915 sees the Central Powers under something like a giant siege. What can be done to break out?

Published: Jan. 7, 2018, 10 p.m.

100 These Desert Places of the Earth

The Great War was by no means restricted to Europe. In this episode, we begin an occasional series examining the war in Africa.

Published: Dec. 17, 2017, 10 p.m.

099 Jihad

When the Ottoman Empire joined the war, it opened new strategic possibilities for the Central Powers. It also led to a declaration of jihad against the Allies.

Published: Dec. 10, 2017, 10 p.m.

098 Shackled to a Corpse

The phrase "shackled to a corpse" is often used to describe Germany's dilemma in the Great War. Surrounded by enemy nations that collectively have a greater population and larger economies, she also finds herself stuck with a disappointing alliance partner.

Published: Dec. 3, 2017, 10 p.m.

097 The Banana Wars I

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the USA was the major market for Central American coffee, cotton, sugar, and especially bananas, leading to US investment in the region, leading in turn to US involvement in Central American affairs.

Published: Nov. 19, 2017, 10 p.m.

096 The Rape of Belgium

German soldiers committed numerous war crimes against civilians in the initial offensive, especially in Belgium. The Allies made use of this for propaganda purposes, while adding lurid embellishments.

Published: Nov. 12, 2017, 10 p.m.

095 The Far Seas

When the Great War began, Germany had a number of naval units stationed around the world. These ships attempted to disrupt British shipping.

Published: Nov. 5, 2017, 10 p.m.

094 The Puritan of the North

The murder of Francisco Madero and the iron-fisted rule of Victoriano Huerta that followed might seem like the end of constitutional democracy in Mexico, but in fact the revolutionaries like the ones who had overthrown Díaz took up arms once again, and the US military occupied the Mexican port city of Veracruz.

Published: Oct. 29, 2017, 9 p.m.

093 The Twenty-One Demands

The UK and Japan had an alliance agreement, and when the Great War began, Japan was eager to enter the conflict. Aiding their ally was nice, but the Japanese were also eyeing German colonial possessions in the Pacific.

Published: Oct. 22, 2017, 9 p.m.

092 Home Before the Leaves Fall

Kaiser Wilhelm told the troops they would be "home before the leaves fall." By autumn of 1914, it was clear they would not.

Published: Oct. 8, 2017, 9 p.m.

091 The Luxury Navy

Germany invested heavily in building itself a great navy, including paying the price of a strained relationship with the United Kingdom. Now that the world is at war, how is this navy going to be used?

Published: Oct. 1, 2017, 9 p.m.

090 I Will See It Through

The Great War began as a confrontation between Austria and Russia. It soon became about a lot more than that, but for Austria, job one is defeating the Russians, or at least holding them at bay. The Austrian Army will prove incapable of accomplishing either.

Published: Sept. 24, 2017, 9 p.m.

089 A Good Five-Cent Cigar

President Wilson pushes through more reform legislation, including the Federal Reserve Act. The outbreak of the Great War creates a financial panic in the US, and Vice President Marshall pines for the days of a really good five-cent cigar.

Published: Sept. 17, 2017, 9 p.m.

088 The Miracle on the Marne

The German First Army was only thirty miles from Paris, and the final victory was tantalizingly close. But the German Army was weakening, and the French and British not so beaten as the Germans believed.

Published: Sept. 10, 2017, 9 p.m.

087 The Cossacks Are Coming!

In response to pleas from the French, the Russian Army undertakes an invasion of East Prussia in the hope of taking some of the pressure off of France.

Published: Aug. 27, 2017, 9 p.m.

086 Paris Cannot Hold Out

The failure of the French counteroffensive has the Allies in retreat across the front, and it now appears there is no stopping the Germans short of Paris.

Published: Aug. 20, 2017, 9 p.m.

085 Serbien muß sterbien

The Great War started as a conflict between Austria and Serbia. Now, amid all the other conflicts emerging as the war goes continental, Austria makes its bid to punish Serbia for the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.

Published: Aug. 13, 2017, 9 p.m.

084 So Much the Better

The French plan to respond to a German offensive was a counteroffensive into the German center. The French attempted this on August 21-23; it was an utter failure.

Published: July 30, 2017, 9:40 p.m.

083 The Flight of the Goeben

The outbreak of the Great War saw one of the German Navy's newest and most powerful battlecruisers in the Mediterranean. She was a threat to the Entente and had to be stopped. Only...what exactly is she trying to do?

Published: July 23, 2017, 9 p.m.

082 No, Whatever the Consequences

The German war plan called for a massive offensive against France that would pass through Belgium, but one of the big unknowns in German war planning was whether the Belgians would resist, and if so, how fiercely.

Published: July 16, 2017, 9 p.m.

081 Offense to the Utmost

French strategists emphasized the importance of offense and planned to respond to a German invasion with an offensive of their own. British strategy increasingly revolved around joining with France in a ground war.

Published: July 9, 2017, 9 p.m.

080 Keep the Right Wing Very Strong

A look at how Germany and Russia planned to fight the Great War.

Published: June 25, 2017, 10:27 p.m.

079 Lessons Learned II

A survey of the most important reasons why the Great War happened and why the international order failed to prevent it.

Published: June 18, 2017, 9 p.m.

078 The Lamps Go Out II

Germany mobilizes and declares war on Russia and France. As German troops move into Luxembourg and Belgium, the British Cabinet comes around and joins the war.

Published: June 11, 2017, 9 p.m.

077 The Lamps Go Out I

Russia finds the Austrian ultimatum unacceptable. Austria, egged on by Germany, pursues war with Serbia anyway.

Published: June 4, 2017, 9 p.m.

076 Today Is Better Than Tomorrow

In the four weeks following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Austrian government slowly pondered its response. Meanwhile, in the rest of Europe, the murders were already being forgotten.

Published: May 21, 2017, 9 p.m.

075 The Great Illusion

In the final days of peace, many European leaders were preoccupied with domestic problems as others debated whether war was inevitable, or obsolete.

Published: May 14, 2017, 9 p.m.

074 A Few Serbian Bullets

Despite warnings of possible violence, the Austrian Crown Prince travels to Bosnia to observe military maneuvers. During a visit to Sarajevo, he and his wife are assassinated.

Published: May 7, 2017, 9 p.m.

073 For Serbia We Shall Do Everything

In 1914, with victory against the Turks secured, Serb nationalist extremists look north toward Austria.

Published: April 30, 2017, 9 p.m.

072 England Is No Longer an Island

The airplane means that the English Channel may no longer be all the defense Britain needs. Women's suffrage and Irish Home Rule remain contentious issues in British politics.

Published: April 23, 2017, 9 p.m.

071 Like a Sinking Ship

Just weeks after the First Balkan War ended, the Second Balkan War broke out over the spoils. When it was over, Serbia was Russia's only remaining diplomatic asset in the Balkans, and was spoiling for a fight with Austria.

Published: April 9, 2017, 9 p.m.

070 The Schlemiel of Europe

As the small Balkan states redraw the map of their region, Austria-Hungary is largely a spectator, tied up in her own scandals.

Published: April 2, 2017, 9 p.m.

069 Some Damned Silly Thing

The small Balkan states have been coming together in alliance. Originally defensive, the allies came to a secret agreement to attack the Ottoman Empire together, while it was preoccupied by the war with Italy.

Published: March 26, 2017, 7 p.m.

068 The New Freedom

After the difficult 1912 US Presidential election, Woodrow Wilson takes office, but the women's suffrage movement upstages him with a huge demonstration the day before.

Published: March 12, 2017, 9 p.m.

067 Twilight of the Belle Époque

Alfred Binet invents IQ testing, Picasso cheers up, the Mona Lisa is stolen, and Jim Thorpe wins two gold medals at the 1912 Olympics.

Published: March 5, 2017, 10 p.m.

066 An Immense Box of Sand

Italy has been angling to secure Libya as a colonial possession for some time now. But war fever broke out in 1911, partly because of the Agadir crisis, prompting Italy to declare war on the Ottoman Empire over control of the province.

Published: Feb. 26, 2017, 10 p.m.

065 The Panther Leap

The year 1910 was relatively quiet in Europe, except in the turbulent Ottoman Empire. But 1911 saw another crisis in Morocco, and renewed tensions.

Published: Feb. 19, 2017, 10 p.m.

064 A Night to Remember

One of the greatest, and certainly the most famous, of disasters at sea occurred the night of April 14, 1912, when the passenger liner Titanic sank, taking with her about 2/3 of those aboard.

Published: Feb. 5, 2017, 10 p.m.

063 Like a Bull Moose

1912 saw a Presidential election campaign unlike anything Americans had known before or since. It was America's only true three-way race, with the added drama of a grudge match between two men who had recently been friends and allies.

Published: Jan. 29, 2017, 10 p.m.

062 To Strive, To Seek, To Find, and Not To Yield

Following Scott's acclaimed Discovery Expedition, he and Ernest Shackleton plan competing expeditions to the South Pole, along with a surprise appearance by Roald Amundsen.

Published: Jan. 23, 2017, 9:04 p.m.

061 Terra Australis

The early twentieth century saw the exploration of the remotest land on Earth: Antarctica.

Published: Jan. 15, 2017, 10:07 p.m.

060 Very Unkind of Those Canadians

William Howard Taft and Wilfrid Laurier negotiate a US-Canada free trade agreement, but it blows up when the Canadians get the idea that it is a step toward US annexation. The Standard Oil Company is broken up, US Senator "Fighting Bob" La Follette moves to challenge Taft for the 1912 Republican nomination, and "Alexander's Ragtime Band" takes the US and Europe by storm.

Published: Jan. 8, 2017, 10 p.m.

059 Ultima Thule

Explorers came to the far north first, in search of a route to the Far East, and later in search of the North Pole itself. The question of who got there first is surprisingly complicated.

Published: Dec. 23, 2016, 10:10 p.m.

058 The Republic of China

After years of unrest, an accidental revolution breaks out on October 10, 1911, that will end the Empire and establish a Republic. Japan annexes Korea.

Published: Dec. 18, 2016, 9:47 p.m.

057 In My Merry Oldsmobile

Self-propelled vehicles that can carry passengers on roads are not exactly new; people have been experimenting with them since the late 18th century. But in the early years of the twentieth century, the automobile finally becomes a practical mode of transportation.

Published: Dec. 11, 2016, 10 p.m.

056 The Heavens Themselves Blaze Forth

The year 1910 saw a fierce debate in the UK, including two general elections, over the role of the House of Lords in a modern, democratic state. The British King Edward VII passed away in the middle of the crisis, moving some Tories to blame his death on the Prime Minister.

Published: Dec. 4, 2016, 10 p.m.

055 So Far From God

Mexico began the century under the rule of the now elderly Porfirio Diaz. But Diaz was not able to keep up with changing times, and the fall of his rule is the opening chapter of the Mexican Revolution.

Published: Nov. 20, 2016, 10 p.m.

054 A Martian Odyssey

The early years of the century saw two  important comets and the biggest meteorite strike on the Earth in recorded history. There was also a lot of attention paid to the planet Mars, amid speculation that Mars might be home to life. Maybe even intelligent life.

Published: Nov. 13, 2016, 10 p.m.

053 Take Advice From Theodore

Roosevelt had pledged not to seek another term as President, and was concerned that his successor preserve and build upon his Progressive legacy. He chose William Howard Taft as his political heir, but after Taft's election, the two men would part ways.

Published: Nov. 6, 2016, 10 p.m.


The development of radio and related technologies at the beginning of the century heralded the birth of what we now call electronics, and with it, mass media.

Published: Oct. 30, 2016, 8 p.m.

051 Goodbye, Youth!

In 1908, Austria-Hungary formally annexed Bosnia, which she had been governing for 30 years. For the first time in Franz Josef's 60-year reign, Austria was gaining, rather than losing, territory. A cause for celebration, right?

Published: Oct. 23, 2016, 9 p.m.

050 The Prison of Nations

We take a look at the convoluted ethnic makeup of Austria-Hungary as well as some of the principal Austrian cultural figures of the time.

Published: Oct. 9, 2016, 9 p.m.

049 Tales of Old Vienna

The Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary struggles to remain relevant in the quickly changing nineteenth century.

Published: Oct. 2, 2016, 9 p.m.

048 The Flight of Icarus

Wilbur and Orville Wright, working out of the limelight, succeed in developing the first heavier-than-air craft capable of carrying a human being on a controlled flight.

Published: Sept. 25, 2016, 9 p.m.

047s Documents

This 1870-ish American poem shows us something of the public attitude toward those who were working to build a flying machine during this period.

Published: Sept. 21, 2016, 12:06 p.m.

047 Icarus Rising

Surprisingly, small-scale flying machines have been around for centuries. It was not a question of theory, but an engineering problem: finding the right materials and designs to build a craft capable of carrying a human being through the air.

Published: Sept. 18, 2016, 8 p.m.

046 Deeds Not Words

Despite the Liberals winning a landslide election in 1906, the political situation in the UK was turbulent. Liberal constituencies were jockeying for favor. The new Labour Party and the working classes were increasing in power. The women's suffrage movement was getting militant, even violent. And the Irish Question hung over everything.

Published: Sept. 11, 2016, 8:59 p.m.

045 The God of Dance

Sergei Diaghilev's most enduring influence on twentieth century art was the Ballets Russes, a modern ballet company he created, starring the greatest male ballet dancer of the twentieth century and Diaghilev's lover, Vaslav Nijinsky.

Published: Aug. 28, 2016, 9 p.m.

044 Charlatan and Charmer

In the early twentieth century, the Russian Sergei Diaghilev was the "bad boy" of the Russian art world. It's safe to say he was the most important figure in twentieth century art who was not himself an artist.

Published: Aug. 21, 2016, 9 p.m.

043 Carry a Big Stick

The United States intervenes militarily in Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America. A great earthquake strikes San Francisco, triggering racial discrimination and an economic downturn. The Brownsville Affair. And Roosevelt takes "In God We Trust" off the $20 coin.

Published: Aug. 14, 2016, 9 p.m.

042 A Square Deal for Every Man

After breaking the Vice Presidents' curse, Roosevelt begins his second (and last) term as President. 1906 proves to be a good year, as Roosevelt gets much of his legislative agenda through Congress.

Published: Aug. 7, 2016, 9 p.m.

041 Fear God and Dread Nought

The launch of HMS Dreadnought sparked multiple naval arms races, most notably in South America. It also intensified the existing race between the United Kingdom and Germany. At the same time, British and Russian diplomats hammer out their own entente.

Published: July 31, 2016, 8:55 p.m.

040 Moments of Tension

France has been angling to turn Morocco into a protectorate. The German government decides to interfere, hoping to drive a wedge between France and Britain.

Published: July 24, 2016, 9 p.m.

039 You Are All Wrong

The Entente Cordiale smoothed relations between Britain and France, but created complications for Britain's relations with Russia and with Germany. Britain makes overtures toward both of those countries, in the hope of repeating its diplomatic success with France, but these early overtures do not go so well.

Published: July 17, 2016, 9 p.m.

038 The Politics of the Future

After nearly 20 years in power, the Conservatives can no longer keep a lid on changing British society. But the Liberals have to contend with the rise of the Labour Party.

Published: July 10, 2016, 9 p.m.

037 Year of Wonders

Albert Einstein published four papers in 1905 that turned modern physics upside down and established him as the greatest scientist of the century.

Published: June 26, 2016, 10:09 p.m.

036 Lessons Learned I

A review of what lessons we can take away from the war, with an emphasis on what lessons were not learned, to the grief of many.

Published: June 19, 2016, 9 p.m.

035 Mighty Good For Me, Too

Russia's Second Pacific Squadron finally reaches the western Pacific, and meets a catastrophic end. US President Theodore Roosevelt brokers a peace agreement between Japan and Russia.

Published: June 12, 2016, 9 p.m.

034 We No Longer Have a Czar

The Japanese fund dissenters in  Russia. A peaceful protest in St. Petersburg becomes "Bloody Sunday." Admiral Rozhdestvensky struggles against the odds to bring his fleet into the Pacific, and the Japanese win the Battle of Mukden, possibly the largest battle in world history, until this time.

Published: June 5, 2016, 9:32 p.m.

033 The Mountain Where Your Souls Lie

Japanese forces move north and oust Kuropatkin and his armies from Liaoyang. Port Arthur falls after a six-month siege and a bloody assault on 203 Hill.

Published: May 22, 2016, 8:14 p.m.

032 Red Sun Rising

The Japanese First Army defeats the Russians at the Battle of the Yalu River and advances from Korea into Russian-occupied Manchuria. The Japanese Second Army lands on the Liaodong Peninsula and advances north, while the Japanese Third Army moves south to begin the Siege of Port Arthur. Russian commanders quarrel among themselves. The small Russian Vladivostok Squadron proves surprisingly troublesome.

Published: May 15, 2016, 9 p.m.

031 The Ruler of the East

Russia has 100,000 soldiers in Manchuria, and is pressuring Japan's interests in Korea. When diplomacy fails, Japan launches as surprise attack on the Russian Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur (Liushunkou).

Published: May 8, 2016, 9 p.m.

030 The Concert of Europe

Europe has managed to keep the peace (more or less) for some 85 years now. Remarkably, she has done that with no formal peacekeeping structure; just a willingness among the great powers to come to the negotiating table when necessary. But how long can that last?

Published: May 1, 2016, 9 p.m.

029 Die Waffen Nieder!

There has not been a general war in Europe since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. But military technology has grown frighteningly effective. Is war now obsolete? Is it time to find other ways of resolving differences, or else perish?

Published: April 24, 2016, 9 p.m.

028 What Is Going to Happen to Me?

A look at Russia during the late 19th century, during the reign of Emperor Alexander III, with a special emphasis on the coming of age of the crown prince and his wedding to Alexandra.

Published: April 17, 2016, 9 p.m.

027 Too Soon to Thank God

Slavic people occupy half the land area of Europe, and Slav nationalism is going to be a driving force in the history of the 20th century. This episode explains the history of the Slavs, with a special emphasis on the most important Slav nation: Russia.

Published: April 10, 2016, 9 p.m.

026 America's Coming Out Party

The 1904 World's Fair helped define America in the 20th century.

Published: April 3, 2016, 8:09 p.m.

025 I Am the King

Pablo Picasso begins his career in Paris, the city of the 1900 Exposition and Olympic Games. Turmoil in Morocco gives the French an opportunity to move in, but first they need to come to an understanding with the British.

Published: March 20, 2016, 6:54 p.m.

024s Documents

Finley Peter Dunne's Mr. Dooley expounds on international courts, and argues that what we really need is an international police force.

Published: March 17, 2016, 6:51 p.m.

024 How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

Roosevelt tours America and runs for re-election. Ugly racial violence erupts in the South. An American citizen is kidnapped in Morocco, and somebody thought, "This would make a great movie."

Published: March 13, 2016, 9 p.m.

023 Making Italians

The remarkable unification of Italy in the nineteenth century was complete, but the problem of uniting these disparate peoples of the peninsula, who over the course of centuries had grown accustomed to thinking of themselves as different nationalities, into one nation.

Published: March 6, 2016, 10 p.m.

022 La Forza del Destino

 La nascita della Italia moderna  

Published: Feb. 28, 2016, 10 p.m.

021 A Man, a Plan, a Canal—Panama!

We return to the USA to take a look at some more issues facing President Roosevelt. Possible war crimes in the Philippines. Cuban independence. The Colombia Panama Canal. A major coal strike. And, most important, Roosevelt's prospects in the 1904 election.

Published: Feb. 21, 2016, 10 p.m.

020 Heart of Darkness II

After securing international recognition of his claim to the Congo, King Leopold sets to work to extract as much wealth as he can from the Congo in the most brutal ways imaginable. He is eventually exposed, but walks away a billionaire.

Published: Feb. 7, 2016, 10 p.m.

019 Heart of Darkness I

King Leopold II of Belgium, having decided his ambitions are far greater than the "small nation of small people" he reigns over, sets out to swindle for himself a colony in Africa.

Published: Jan. 31, 2016, 10 p.m.

018 The Spectre Haunting Europe

As working class conditions seem to be getting worse instead of better, a new political movement emerges, advocating intervention on behalf of the poor, oppressed, and disenfranchised.

Published: Jan. 24, 2016, 10 p.m.

017 Such a Bully Pulpit

Theodore Roosevelt becomes President and at once begins turning everything upside down. Scott Joplin writes an opera about it.

Published: Jan. 17, 2016, 10 p.m.

016 Assassin's Creed

Theodore Roosevelt becomes a war hero, and Vice President of the United States. An anarchist assassin takes the life of the President, William McKinley.

Published: Jan. 10, 2016, 7:52 p.m.

015 Taels I Win

Reinforcements from the Western nations turn the tide in the fight against the Boxers. But will they get to Beijing in time?

Published: Jan. 3, 2016, 6:21 p.m.

014 The Righteous and Harmonious Fists

A grassroots uprising against foreigners develops in China in 1900, a result of outrage over Chinese territorial concessions and foreign missionary activity.

Published: Dec. 20, 2015, 7:44 p.m.

013 The Christian Century

At the beginning of the 20th century, a fault line develops in Protestantism, especially in the USA, over the role of ancient Scriptures in a modern church.

Published: Dec. 13, 2015, 10 p.m.

012 The Empire Strikes Back

Frustrated on all fronts, the British mobilize the enormous resources of their Empire in a bid to defeat the Boers once and for all.

Published: Dec. 6, 2015, 10 p.m.

011 Moving Like the Wind

The British get the war they want with the Boer republics in South Africa, but the Boers turn out to be more than the British can handle. At first.

Published: Nov. 22, 2015, 10 p.m.

010 Lest We Forget

Britain is still very much a class-bound society at home and a military power abroad. A look at the state of the Empire in the late 19th century, with a special emphasis on Ireland and South Africa.

Published: Nov. 15, 2015, 10 p.m.

009 Dark Clouds

What are cathode rays? X-rays? Radioactivity? How old is the Earth? Inquiring minds want to know. Also, in an age when only men can vote, the greatest scientist of the time is a woman. And Polish. Take that, haters!

Published: Nov. 8, 2015, 10 p.m.

008 J'Accuse...!

France at the turn of the century was rocked by the Dreyfus Affair, where an innocent soldier was convicted of treason, and the Army went to incredible lengths in its refusal to acknowledge what became increasingly obvious.

Published: Nov. 1, 2015, 8:34 p.m.

007 La Belle Époque

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Published: Oct. 25, 2015, 9 p.m.

006 White Man's Burden

As relations between the Americans and the Filipinos degenerate into open combat, the war to liberate Cuba becomes a war to subjugate the Philippines.

Published: Oct. 18, 2015, 7:42 p.m.

005s Documents

...and imbued with firm confidence in Divine Providence, we hereby mutually bind ourselves to support this Declaration with our lives, our fortunes, and with our most sacred possession, our Honor....

Published: Oct. 15, 2015, 6:39 p.m.

005 Islands or Canned Goods

So, are the US and the Filipino rebels allies or not? When the US and Spain start doing deals, there are no Filipinos at the table.

Published: Oct. 11, 2015, 9 p.m.

004s Documents

Three documents referenced in this week's podcast on the Spanish-American War: The letter from the Spanish ambassador, McKinley's message to Congress, Joint Congressional Resolution.

Published: Oct. 7, 2015, 9 p.m.

004 Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

The United States intervenes in the Cuban revolt against Spain. But what does this mean for the Philippines?

Published: Oct. 4, 2015, 9 p.m.

003 Touch Me Not

This episode looks at the history of the Philippines through the start of the Spanish-American War.

Published: Sept. 27, 2015, 9 p.m.

002 A Place in the Sun

Germany is pretty much a world leader in everything at the beginning of the 20th century. 13 Nobel Prizes in 10 years. Top that, everyone else!

Published: Sept. 20, 2015, 9 p.m.

001 Age of Empires

We take a brief look at the world as it is on 1 January 1901--the birthday of the twentieth century.

Published: Sept. 13, 2015, 9 p.m.

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