HISTORY This Week

The HISTORY® Channel

This week, something momentous happened. Whether or not it made the textbooks, it most certainly made history. Join HISTORY This Week as we meet the people, visit the places and witness the moments that led us to where we are to we are today.

  • 29 minutes 43 seconds
    Reflecting on History

    August 14, 2023. The HTW team is ready to talk. In a special episode that wraps up Season 4, Sally asks the people behind the scenes about lessons they've learned from telling hundreds of true stories about the past. It’s a great conversation you’re not going to want to miss. 

     

    And when you’re finished, please fill out our listener survey: bit.ly/htw2023.


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    14 August 2023, 9:01 am
  • 38 minutes 8 seconds
    History’s Undelivered Speeches

    August 8, 1974. President Richard Nixon sits in the Oval Office, addressing the American people. He tells them: I’m going to resign. The news is shocking, but not unexpected. Today, it might even seem inevitable. But in the days leading up to the big decision, Nixon himself didn’t know what he would do. At night he roamed the halls of the White House, torturously weighing his options. He even ordered a speechwriter to draft a statement announcing his refusal to resign. Sally Helm sits down with political speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum to talk about this curious kind of a document: a speech that could’ve changed history if only it had been given. They discuss what Nixon, and two other speech givers, would have felt preparing multiple drafts, as they faced an uncertain future, and how the world would be different had these speeches been given.


    Special thanks to our guest: Jeff Nussbaum, author of Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History.


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    7 August 2023, 9:01 am
  • 48 seconds
    Special Announcement

    We’ll be back next week with a regular episode, but please listen to this for an important HTW update!

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    4 August 2023, 9:01 am
  • 31 minutes 23 seconds
    The Donner Party Turns Deadly

    August 4, 1846. A few months into their journey from Illinois to California, a group of pioneers encounters trouble. They’ve just found a note from their guide. It essentially says, “That shortcut I told you to take through the Wasatch Mountains – don’t.” The setback disastrously delays their trip. Weeks later, when they reach the Sierra Nevada, it’s dangerously late in the season. Soon, a winter storm traps them in the mountains. What did they have to do to survive? And what’s the truth behind the legendary Donner Party?


    Special thanks to our guest: Daniel James Brown, author of The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride.


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    31 July 2023, 1:02 pm
  • 31 minutes 17 seconds
    Destroyer of Worlds (Replay)

    July 16, 1945. It happened within a millionth of a second. In the New Mexico desert in the early morning hours, a group of scientists watched in anticipation as the countdown began. It was silent at first, yet hot and unbelievably bright. Then came the sound. The first-ever atomic bomb explosion... was a success. How did scientists working on the Manhattan Project create what was then the most powerful weapon in history? And how did the bomb’s existence forever change our sense of what human beings are capable of?


    Thank you to our guest Dr. Jon Hunner, a professor emeritus of U.S. history at New Mexico State University and author of Inventing Los Alamos: The Growth of an Atomic Community and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West.


    This episode originally aired July 13, 2020.


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    25 July 2023, 9:01 am
  • 35 minutes 23 seconds
    Barbie for President!

    July 29th, 1992. The Baltimore Sun runs a feature about a surprise candidate in the upcoming presidential race: Barbie. The 11.5-inch icon of girlhood and glamor is running for office – and flying off the shelves. But how did a plaything become important enough to make national news? To answer that question, we take you on a journey through doll history, from French porcelain beauties to cherubs that stood for women’s suffrage. And of course, the doll who taught us how fun life in plastic could be. How did these dolls revolutionize play and even politics? And what do they have to tell us about ourselves? 


    Special thanks to our guests: Florence Theriault, doll expert and founder of Theriault’s antique auction firm; Pat Wahler, author of The Rose of Washington Square: A Novel of Rose O'Neill, Creator of the Kewpie Doll; and Robin Gerber, author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.




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    24 July 2023, 9:01 am
  • 30 minutes 34 seconds
    John Muir’s Quest to Save the Great Outdoors

    July 19, 1869. Naturalist John Muir watches the sun rise over the Sierra Nevada mountains. He’ll write in his journal of the stirring birds, glowing treetops, and even rocks that “seem to thrill with life.” He’s so taken with this landscape that he’ll decide to stay in the Yosemite Valley and try to protect it with the only weapon he has: the pen. How did Muir collide with the political forces of his day and help bring about National Parks as we know them? And how did he change the way many Americans think about the natural world?


    Special thanks to our guest: Dean King, author of Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the Friendship That Saved Yosemite.


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    17 July 2023, 9:01 am
  • 30 minutes 13 seconds
    The USS Indianapolis’ Secret Mission Turns into Tragedy

    July 16, 1945. It’s the summer of 1945 and World War II is underway. The USS Indianapolis has just set out from Mare Island on a top-secret mission. The famous vessel is delivering enriched uranium and other components of “Little Boy” to Tinian Island. The mission is technically a success, but for the men aboard the Indianapolis, the challenges are just beginning. On July 30, the ship is struck by two Japanese torpedoes, stranding its sailors at sea. For three and a half days, survivors are left floating in the Pacific Ocean, fending off sun exposure, dehydration, and shark attacks – and waiting for help. Were any able to survive? And could this attack have been prevented?


    Special thanks to our guest: Sara Vladic, co-author of Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man. She’s also the director of the documentary USS Indianapolis: The Legacy.


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    10 July 2023, 9:01 am
  • 29 minutes 49 seconds
    Chasing Utopia

    July 8, 1843. Amidst the rolling hills of rural Massachusetts, a group of Transcendentalists come together to form a collective built around self-perfection and reverence for nature. And on this day poet Ralph Waldo Emerson stops by for a visit. Their name for this experimental Eden? Fruitlands. But every Eden has its fall, and by the time autumn winds blow over their 90 acres, the Fruitlanders are in trouble. How did a group of thinkers, writers, and educators come together to form one of the most famous utopian failures of the 19th century? And what can we learn from their attempt?


    Special thanks to our guests, Richard Francis, author of Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia. And Catherine Shortliffe, Engagement Manager of the Fruitlands Museum and the Old Manse at The Trustees.




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    3 July 2023, 9:01 am
  • 32 minutes 15 seconds
    The Tupperware Queen

    July 2, 1957. At the annual Tupperware jubilee in Florida, company VP Brownie Wise is admiring her handiwork. 1,200 people have convened on her private island for a luau—complete with live lobsters, orchid leis and prizes for Tupperware’s top sellers. Most of the people here owe their job to her. That's because Brownie perfected a sales strategy that has made the innovative plastic product famous. Not to mention a cash cow. She's famous, too: Fortune and CBS News have hailed her as a savvy corporate leader. But tonight, at this fabulous celebration of the company's glittering success, storm clouds are gathering. How did a single mom from Michigan turn a simple household product into a juggernaut? And how did all go wrong? 


    Special thanks to our guests: Alison Clarke, design history professor at University of Applied Arts - Vienna and author of Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America; and Bob Kealing, author of Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire.


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    26 June 2023, 9:01 am
  • 35 minutes 12 seconds
    Two Fathers, One Fight (Replay)

    June 21, 1998. Father's Day. At the Church of the Atonement in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Jon and Michael Galluccio are ready to tie the knot, in front of family, friends, reporters, and one lone picketer. The Galluccios are already public figures—a few months earlier, they had secured the right for gay and unmarried couples to jointly adopt children. And today, they pull up to their wedding in a minivan, with their son in tow: as a family. How did this family come together? And how did their son's adoption end up changing the lives of other families all across the country?

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    19 June 2023, 9:03 am
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