Podcasts

Extend your subject knowledge by listening to our podcasts by historians and other experts.  'The Great War Debate' series visited locations all over the UK and featured insights from leading historians and academics as they debated the causes, events and consequences of the First World War.

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The Great War Debate series of podcasts

Listen to this remarkable series of Great War Debates which took place at locations all over the UK and featured insights from leading historians and academics as they debated the causes, events and consequences of the First World War.

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The Great War Debate - Did Europe willingly go to war in 1914?

Listen to The Great War Debate with Prof. Dominic Sandbrook, Dr. Catriona Pennell, Prof. Thomas Weber and Dr. Ingrid Sharp, as they consider whether ordinary Europeans went willingly to war in 1914. This debate was recorded at Leicester Town Hall in October 2016.

The Great War Debate - The true face of war (what motivates soldiers)

Listen as experts delve into the true face of battle at The Great War Debate in Edinburgh. Chaired by BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban, panellists Prof Stephen Badsey, Dr Will Butler, Dr Emmanuelle Cronier and Taff Gillingham discuss the real motivators for soldiers to fight in the First World War. The debate was recorded at the National Museum of Scotland in February 2017.

The Great War Debate - Haig and the Somme

Listen to The Great War Debate’s lively discussion about Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s reputation in full, with insights from Professor Gary Sheffield, Professor Robin Prior, Professor Stephen Badsey and Dr Elizabeth Greenhalgh. The debate was recorded in Manchester in June 2016.

The Great War Debate - Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East

Find out more about the war between Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East in this recording from The Great War Debate in Newcastle, featuring insights from Dr David Omissi, Prof Rob Johnson and Dr Emma Short, alongside BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban. The debate was recorded at Discovery Museum in Newcastle in January 2017.

The Great War Debate - The strategic role of the war at sea

Find out more about the war between Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East in this recording from The Great War Debate in Newcastle, featuring insights from Dr David Omissi, Prof Rob Johnson and Dr Emma Short, alongside BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban. The debate was recorded at Discovery Museum in Newcastle in January 2017.

The Great War Debate - War on the Eastern front

Discover more about war on the Eastern Front with this recording of The Great War Debate in Barry. Listen as panellists including military historians Dan Hill and Taff Gillingham, alongside Cardiff University’s Dr James Ryan and Dr Gerwin Strobl, explore the link between German and Russian plans in Poland, the Baltic and Ukraine in 1914-18 and the later horrors of the twentieth century. The debate was recorded at The Memo Arts Centre in December 2016.

The Great War Debate - The social impact of the First World War (London edition)

Listen to this Great War Debate to discover the extent to which the First World War was an essential catalyst for social change from historians including Professor Alison Fell (Leeds), Professor John Horne (Trinity), Dr Naomi Paxton (writer and performer) and Charlotte Czyzyk (Imperial War Museums). Chaired by BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban, the event was recorded at Graveney High School in London on 1st November 2017.

The Great War Debate - The social impact of the First World War (Bath edition)

Discover the ways in which the Great War influenced societal change, as Catherine Long (Imperial War Museum), Matt Leonard (conflict archaeologist), Emma Hanna (Kent) and Toby Thacker (Cardiff) debate to what extent society benefitted from WW1. Chaired by BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban, the event was recorded at Hayesfield School for Girls in Bath on 22nd February 2018.

The Great War Debate - The social impact of the First World War (Cambridge edition)

Learn how the Great War impacted society, as Deborah Thom (Cambridge), Alexander Watson (Goldsmiths), Naomi Paxton (writer and performer) and Richard Grayson (Goldsmiths) discuss the war’s lasting effects, the difficulty soldiers faced when returning home and whether women’s progress was helped or hindered by war. Chaired by BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban, the event was recorded at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge on 7th March 2018.

The Great War Debate - The social impact of the First World War (Brighton edition)

Listen to this Great War Debate to hear historians Dr Lucy Noakes (Essex), Catherine Long (Imperial War Museums), Elisabeth Shipton (author) and Dr Chris Kempshall (Sussex) discuss how the First World War shaped society, covering themes such as the role of women, medical advances and imperialism. Chaired by BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban, the event was recorded at BHASVIC in Brighton on 22nd November 2017.

The Great War Debate - The changing role of women

Exeter’s Great War Debate questions whether the First World War was an essential catalyst for female emancipation. Exploring the new roles women adopted during the Great War, panellists including Prof Alison Fell, writer Elisabeth Shipton and military historian Dan Hill consider the extent to which women’s new rights and social standing survived the war. The debate was recorded at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in February 2017.

The Great War Debate - The First World War and medicine

Listen to this Great War Debate to find out more about how the First World War shaped modern medicine, with insights from Dr Jack Davies (Science Museum), Louise Bell (National Archives) and Dr Jessica Meyer (Leeds). Chaired by TV presenter and historian David Olusoga, the event was recorded at Bramhall High School in Stockport on 12th October 2017.

The Great War Debate - Impact of the First World War on non-european peoples

Listen to this podcast for highlights from The Great War Debate in Brighton, featuring insights from Dr Catriona Pennell, Dr David Omissi, Professor Mark Connelly and Dr Santanu Das, alongside Newsnight’s Mark Urban. Hear panellists discuss the non-European peoples who took part in the First World War and the impact of this on Africa, India, North America and Australasia. This debate was recorded in Brighton in November 2016.

The Great War Debate - Impact of the First World War on Ireland

Download the full recording of The Great War Debate in Bangor, featuring Professor Senia Paseta, Professor Richard Grayson and Philip Orr discussing the impact of the First World War on Ireland. The debate was recorded at Clandeboye Estate in November 2016.

The Great War Debate - Impact of the war on everyday life in Britain

Students from around Cambridge came to listen to a lively discussion around security, liberty and censorship during the First World War, looking at how the war impacted on the everyday lives of British people. Offering their expertise were Prof Alexander Watson, Prof Stephen Badsey and Dr Matt Leonard, alongside BBC Newsnight’s Mark Urban. The debate was recorded at Churchill College, University of Cambridge in February 2017.

The Great War Debate - Peace treaties and their effectiveness

Prof David Stevenson, Dr Tomas Irish, Dr Ingrid Sharp and Dr Pierre Purseigle gathered together for The Great War Debate in Birmingham to discuss post-war peace treaties and their effectiveness at keeping the peace after 1918. The debate was recorded at Birmingham Council House in March 2017.

The Great War Debate - Remembering The Great War

Listen to Charlotte Czyzyk (Imperial War Museum), Dónal Hassett (Bristol), Chris Kempshall (Sussex) and Maggie Andrews (Worcester) discuss how we remember the Great War and its changing reputation over time. Chaired by TV news presenter John Young, the event was recorded at John Henry Newman Catholic College in Birmingham on 9th February 2018.
 

Stage 2

The War in 1914

This series looked at a number of topics relating to the war in 1914. 

The Great War Debate - The outbreak of war in 1914

This podcast features highlights from The Great War Debate which took place in London in September 2016. You can hear panellists Sir Hew Strachan, Dr Annika Mombauer, Professor John Horne and Tara Finn from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office discuss what caused the outbreak of war in 1914, alongside interviews with students and teachers who attended.

The Christmas Truce

In this podcast, Dr Chris Phillips from Leeds Trinity University discussed the Christmas Truce of 1914 and how it has been remembered ever since.

Stage 3

The War in 1915

A series of podcasts which look at aspects of the war in 1915.

War on the Western Front in 1915

This podcast looks at the war on the Western Front in 1915. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History at the University of Kent.

The Gallipoli campaign 1915

This podcast looks at the Gallipoli campaign which began in 1915. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History at the University of Kent.

The Battle of Loos 1915

This podcast looks at the Battle of Loos in 1915. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Dr Nick Lloyd, Senior Lecturer, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London.

The Battle of Loos 1915 - the German defence

This podcast looks at the Battle of Loos in 1915 from the German perspective. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Dr Robert Foley, Reader in the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London.

The 8th Lincolns at the Battle of Loos

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Nigel Atter talks about the role and experience of his grandfather’s battalion, the 8th Lincolns at the Battle of Loos in September 1915.

Stage 4

The War in 1916

This series looks at a number of topics relating to the war in 1916.

The Great War Debate - Haig and the Somme (abridged version)

This podcast is an abridged version of The Great War Debate held in Manchester in June 2016 on 'Haig and the Somme'. It features highlights from The Great War Debate’s discussion around Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s much-disputed leadership during the First World War, alongside interviews with student and teacher attendees.

The Battle of the Somme film

This podcast looks at the hugely successful film which was produced about the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History at the University of Kent.

Two divisions of the Somme in 1916

This podcast looks at the experiences of the 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Richard Grayson, Professor of Twentieth Century History at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The story of the Somme - omnibus edition

Here you can listen or download the full omnibus edition of the Story of the Somme.

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The story of the Somme 1916

Remembering the Somme. 

The story of the Somme - omnibus edition

Here you can listen or download the full omnibus edition of the Story of the Somme.

The story of the Somme 1916 - an introduction

Listen to the introduction and then follow the individudal stories as they describe the Battle of the Somme in their own words.

Private Ted Ambrose

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Leaving for war - a father writes to his son.

Mildred (Adela) Hall

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Working in a munition factory

Image of munitions workers in World War 1

Private Donald Murray

Training

Photo of training taking place, featuring Don Murray

Sergeant Alexander Paterson

Keeping an eye on the Germans

World War 1 trench image

Captain Rowland Philipps

Planning for life after the war.

Portrait of Roland Philipps

Second Lieutenant Stewart Montagu Cleeve

Preparing for the artillery bombardment

Image of a trench cannon used in World War !

Julian Bickersteth, Chaplain to the Forces

Preparing for the artillery bombardment.

Portrait of Julian Bickersteth

Sapper George H Coward

A long night.

Portrait of George Coward

Lieutenant Cecil Lewis

A birds eye view.

Portrait of Cecil Lewis

Private Will Marshall

The Pals go over the top.

Portrait of Will Marshall Accrington

Lance Corporal Sidney Richards

Gommecourt

Portrait of Sidney Thomas Richards

Lieutenant Charles Saunders

Last letter home.

Portrait of Charles Saunders

Private Jack Cousins

Into the German trenches.

Photo of Jack Cousins laying a commemorative wreath

Sister Edie Appleton

Nursing on the Somme.

Portrait of Edie Appleton

Major Reggie Tompson

My darling mother.

Portrait of Reggie Tompson

Hans Schaefer

A german soldier writes home.

Portrait of soldier - Schafer

Second Lieutenant Evan Jack Lloyd

Fighting on the Somme pushed men to the edge of human endurance.

Portrait of Evan Jack Lloyd

Corporal Osman Flowers

Supplying the troops.

Portrait of Osman Flowers

Reserve Lieutenant Hermann Kohl

Tanks!

Portrait of Herman Kohl

Private Lionel McAdam

Créme de menthe goes into action.

Portrait of McAdam

Private John Jackson

The weather turns.

Portrait of John Jackson

Able Seaman Joe Murray

Chaos on the battlefield.

Portrait of Joseph Murray

Company Sergeant Major George Gregory

On the march.

Portrait of G S Gregory

Major William Orpen

One year on.

Portrait of William Orpen

Lieutenant General Sir Henry Rawlinson

Lessons learned

Lieutenant General Sir Henry Rawlinson was born in London in 1864. His father was a diplomat. Rawlinson was educated at Eton and Oxford before going on to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. In 1916, he was appointed to command the Fourth Army, reporting to General Haig, who held supreme British command at the Somme. After the Offensive, in December 1916, Rawlinson wrote to Lord Derby and you can hear his letter below...

Portrait of soldier - Rawlinson

Descendants stories - James Birkin

Listen to James Birkin talk about his great-grandfather, Major William Orpen and the Battle of the Somme.

Photo of James Birkin

Descendants stories - Polly Haas

Listen to Polly Haas talk about her grandfather, Lieutenant Cecil Lewis MC and the Battle of the Somme.

Photo of Polly Haas

Descendants stories - Lt General Sir Hew Pike, KCB, DSO, MBE

Listen to Lt General Sir Hew Pike talk about his grandfather, Major Reggie Tompson and the Battle of the Somme.

Image of Lt Gen. Sir Hew Pike

Descendants stories - Dick Robinson

Listen to Dick Robinson talk about his great aunt, Sister Edie Appleton and the Battle of the Somme.

Image of Dick Robinson

Descendants stories - Philip Simm

Listen to Philip Simm talk about his grandfather, George Ashurst and the Battle of the Somme.

Image of Philip Simm

Stage 6

The War in 1917

This series looked at a number of topics relating to the war in 1917.

Passchendale 1917

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Dr Nick Lloyd, from King’s College London, discusses the Battle of Third Ypres, more commonly known as 'Passchendaele'.

The diary of a Belgian priest - 1917 with the British in Ypres

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Dominiek Dendooven, from the In Flanders Fields Museum, discusses the 1917 diary of Belgian priest Achiel Van Walleghem, who was based near Ypres behind the British lines.

The role of the British army staff system in 1817

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Dr Paul Harris talks about ‘The British Army Staff System in 1917'.

French tanks in 1917

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Dr Tim Gale talks about ‘The development of French armoured warfare doctrine in 1917'.

Stage 7

The War in 1918

This series looked at a number of topics relating to the war in 1918.

The Battle of Amiens and the First World War

The first of two special podcasts by Prof Sir Hew Strachan, commissioned by the programme to mark the centenary of the Battle of Amiens which was fought in August 1918.

The Battle of Amiens, 1918

The second of two special podcasts by Prof Sir Hew Strachan, commissioned by the programme to mark the centenary of the Battle of Amiens.

From Amiens to Armistice a General reflects

From Amiens to Armistice - A General Reflects' is based on the diaries of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, commander of the British Fourth Army. It has been specially commissioned to mark the centenary of the Battle of Amiens in 2018.

The War in 1918

This podcast looks at the war on the Western Front in 1918. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History at the University of Kent.

The Spanish Flu pandemic

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, historian Dr Jane Orr talks to the podcast about the 'Spanish Flu' pandemic which killed up to 100 million people across the world between 1917 and 1919.

Stage 8

Peacemaking in Paris

A series of podcasts looking at the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles.

Stage 9

The War at Sea, including 'Forgotten Wrecks'

A series of podcasts which looked at aspects of the war at sea, including a series from the Maritime Archaeology Trust's 'Forgotten Wrecks' project.

The Royal Navy and the the British War effort

David Morgan-Owen of the Defence Studies department, King's College London discusses the role of the Royal Navy in the British war effort during the First World War.

Royal Navy strategy in the North Sea

David Morgan-Owen of the Defence Studies department, King's College London discusses the Royal Navy strategy in the North Sea during the First World War.

The War at Sea - Forgotten wrecks project introduction

This podcast introduces the war at sea and the Forgotten Wrecks project. It has been written and produced by the Maritime Archaelogy Trust as part of their First World War centenary Forgotten Wrecks project and is posted here with their full permission.

Airships and the War at Sea

This podcast discusses the war at sea and the role of airships. It has been written and produced by the Maritime Archaelogy Trust as part of their First World War centenary Forgotten Wrecks project and is posted here with their full permission.

The sinking of the SS Indian City

This podcast tells the story of the SS Indian City which was sunk in March 1915.It has been written and produced by the Maritime Archaelogy Trust as part of their First World War centenary Forgotten Wrecks project and is posted here with their full permission.

Uboats in the First World War

This podcast discusses the role of U-boats in the First World War. It has been written and produced by the Maritime Archaelogy Trust as part of their First World War centenary Forgotten Wrecks project and is posted here with their full permission.

The sinking of the SS Ballarat

This podcast tells the story of the SS Ballarat which was sunk in April 1917. It has been written and produced by the Maritime Archaelogy Trust as part of their First World War centenary Forgotten Wrecks project and is posted here with their full permission.

Stage 10

Other aspects of the First World War

A series of podcasts which looked at some other aspects of the First World War.

Animals in the First World War

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Lucinda Moore a picture researcher at the Mary Evans Picture Library, discusses the role of animals in the First World War.

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig - the historiographical debate

This podcast looks at the historiogrpahy surrounding the reputation of Field Marhsal Sir Douglas Haig. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History at the University of Kent.

Women in Europe in the First World War

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, historian and author Dr Vivien Newman talks about the role and experience of women in Europe and Britain during the First World War.

Psychological survival in the trenches

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, clinical psychologist Dr Peter Hodgkinson discusses how soldiers coped with the psychological stress and strain of trench warfare during the First World War.

Sniping in the First World War

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Martin Pegler, former Senior Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries, discusses sniping and field-craft in the First World War.

Stage 11

Medicine in the First World War

This series looked at a number of topics relating to medicine in the First World War.

Shellshock

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, psychiatrist and medical historian Dr Stefanie Linden discusses the diagnosis and treatment of shellshock by doctors in Britain and Germany.

The Great War Debate - The First World War and medicine

Listen to this Great War Debate to find out more about how the First World War shaped modern medicine, with insights from Dr Jack Davies (Science Museum), Louise Bell (National Archives) and Dr Jessica Meyer (Leeds). Chaired by TV presenter and historian David Olusoga, the event was recorded at Bramhall High School in Stockport on 12th October 2017.

Stage 12

Continual Professional Development

This series was been created to provide CPD opportunities for teachers of the First World War.

Battlefield Tourism

In this podcast, created for the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' series, Dr Stephen Miles discusses battlefield tourism on the Western Front based on his new book The Western Front : Landscape, Tourism and Heritage.

Research using War diaries

This podcast looks at how to use British Army unit war diaries to research the actions of units and individuals in the First world War. It has been written and produced for FWWCBTP by Richard Grayson, Professor of Twentieth Century History at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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