Witness History [world Service]

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
20190510
20190513
20190514
20190515
20190516
20190517
Abolishing The Army20190404

After a brief civil war in March-April 1948, the new president of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres, took the audacious step of dissolving the Armed Forces. Since then Costa Rica has been the only Latin American nation without a standing army. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from 94-year-old Enrique Obregon, who served in the military before its dissolution.

Photo: Costa Rican soldiers in San Jose after the end of the civil war, April 1948 (Credit:Getty Images)

Costa Rica dissolved its Armed Forces after a brief civil war in 1948

History as told by the people who were there

Around The World In 20 Days20190327

In March 1999 Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard made the first non-stop flight around the world in a balloon. Beginning in Switzerland and finishing over Africa, the record-breaking trip took just 20 days. Pilot Brian Jones has been telling Mike Lanchin about the highs and lows of the amazing and dangerous journey.

(Photo credit BBC)

The record-breaking balloon flight

History as told by the people who were there

Autism And The Mmr Vaccine20190321

A British doctor published an article in the leading medical journal The Lancet in 1998 that led to a global panic over the triple vaccine protecting children against measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr Andrew Wakefield linked the MMR vaccine with autism. He advocated the use of single vaccines instead while the link was explored.

Meanwhile many parents stopped vaccinating their children entirely, leading to outbreaks of measles.

In 2010 the General Medical Council in the UK found Dr Wakefield 'dishonest' and 'irresponsible' and struck him off the medical register.

Photo: Dr Andrew Wakefield arrives at the General Medical Council in London to face a disciplinary panel, July 16th 2007
(Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

How a British doctor misled the world by linking the MMR vaccine with autism.

History as told by the people who were there

Auto-destructive Art20190417

In 1959 the German artist Gustav Metzger came up with a new and subversive form of art. He called it auto-destructive art. It was art as a political weapon and a challenge to the established status quo. Metzger, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, organised a series of events in London, called the Destruction in Art Symposium, DIAS, and invited radical artists from all over the world, including a relatively unknown young Japanese American, Yoko Ono.
Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Welsh artist Ivor Davies, who helped Metzger launch the events and was himself an early pioneer of auto-destructive art.

Photo: Gustav Metzger demonstrates his auto-destructive art at London's South Bank, July 1961 (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gustav Metzger and the birth of the radical new art form in the 1960s

History as told by the people who were there

Britain's First Vegans20190423

The Vegan Society was established in 1944 by British 'non-dairy vegetarians'. They wanted to persuade other people not just to give up meat, but milk and eggs too. But the first vegans often got ill, because there was one vital element missing from their diets - vitamin B12. Kirsty Reid has been speaking to former Chair of the Vegan Society, George Rodger, about the history of vegans in the UK.

Photo: Fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses. Credit: Getty creative stock.

The Vegan Society was established in 1944 by British 'non-dairy vegetarians'

History as told by the people who were there

China's Breakthrough Malaria Cure20190313

Chinese scientists used ancient traditional medicine to find a cure for malaria in the 1970s. Artemisinin was discovered by exploring a herbal remedy from the 4th century, a small team of scientists managed to harness the medicinal properties from the Artemisa Annua plant. It can cure most forms of malaria with very few side effects and has saved millions of lives all over the world. Professor Lang Linfu was one of the scientists involved, he told Rebecca Kesby how they made the discovery in the laboratory as China's Cultural Revolution raged across the country.

(Photo; Professor Lang Linfu. Family archives)

Chinese scientists used ancient traditional medicine to find a cure for malaria.

History as told by the people who were there

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome20190412

Diners at Chinese restaurants in America in the 1960's began to report unusual symptoms, including headaches, flushing, numbness at the back of the neck.

It was linked to the man-made flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate or MSG – but it was also part of wider attitudes towards Chinese restaurants at the time.

Lucy Burns speaks to restaurateurs Philip Chiang and Ed Schoenfeld about their memories of what became known as 'Chinese restaurant syndrome'.

Photo credit: Plates of Chinese food (Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images)

In the 1960's American diners began to worry that Chinese food was making them ill.

History as told by the people who were there

Dennis Tito - The First Space Tourist20190415

In April 2001 an American multi-millionaire paid Russia's space agency millions of dollars to blast him into space. He spent time on the International Space Station and returned to earth after eight days in space. Dennis Tito, who was 60 years old at the time of his space flight, spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2011 about his experiences. (This is a rebroadcast)

Photo: Dennis Tito immediately after his return to earth. Credit: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images.)

In April 2001 an American multi-millionaire paid Russia to send him into space

History as told by the people who were there

Drama In The British Parliament20190326

In March 1979, the British Prime Minister James Callaghan was struggling desperately to govern with a parliamentary majority of just three. When the Conservative opposition tabled a motion of no-confidence, his party whips fought a furious - and ultimately unsuccessful - battle to keep him in power. Simon Watts listens through the BBC's archives to tales from the collapse of the Callaghan government.

Picture: James Callaghan outside 10 Downing Street (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Jim Callaghan's desperate attempts to survive a no-confidence vote in 1979

History as told by the people who were there

Ellen Comes Out20190429

Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian publicly in April 1997 – and so did the fictional character she played in her self-titled sitcom. The Puppy Episode would be watched by more than 40 million people and represented a milestone for LGBT representation in popular culture.

Lucy Burns speaks to the episode’s writer and executive producer Dava Savel.

Picture: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche attend the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 14, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on primetime American television in April 1997.

History as told by the people who were there

Emdr: The Eye-movement Therapy20190402

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy which works for many sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. The 'eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing' technique was first developed in the USA in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro. She set up an EMDR Institute and Ashley Byrne has been speaking to psychologist Dr Gerald Puk, one of its senior trainers.

(Picture: a model looking downwards. Credit: Getty Images.)

A therapy which seems to work for post-traumatic stress was developed in the late 1980s

History as told by the people who were there

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

How Little America Was Built In Afghanistan20190315

In the 1950s, US engineers were sent to Afghanistan to build a dam.

History as told by the people who were there

How Organic Farming Started20190418

In the aftermath of World War Two pesticides and chemical fertilisers started to become more widespread in the UK. Worries about the effect this would have on soil quality led Lady Eve Balfour to establish the Soil Association to promote natural farming techniques. John Butler has been a farmer all his life and he has been speaking to Dina Newman about Lady Eve and the early days of Britain's organic farming movement.

Photo: Lady Eve Balfour with some of her friends. Copyright: The Soil Association.

Worries about the industrialisation of farming post-WW2 led some farmers to go organic.

History as told by the people who were there

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings20190405

Maya Angelou's iconic first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in spring 1969. The book was an instant best-seller, and was one of the first literary accounts of growing up as a black girl in the southern states of America, including graphic depictions of rape and racism. Louise Hidalgo talks to Maya Angelou's friend and biographer, former magazine editor, Marcia Gillespie, about the book and how it helped to establish Maya Angelou as one of the great voices of her generation.

Picture: Maya Angelou holding a copy of her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1971 (Credit: BBC/WF/AP/Corbis)

Maya Angelou's iconic memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969

History as told by the people who were there

Jack Ma: The Founder Of Alibaba20190506

The Chinese billionaire set up his online shopping site in 1999. When Alibaba first started, Jack Ma and his team were working out of a small flat in Hangzhou. The BBC's Michael Bristow has been hearing from Duncan Clark, who first worked with the internet entrepreneur in those early days.

Photo: Jack Ma attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 2019. (Credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

The Chinese billionaire set up his online shopping site in 1999

History as told by the people who were there

Lenin And The Deadly Mushrooms20190312

As communism was crumbling in the early 1990s a spoof made for Soviet TV, persuaded some Russians that Vladimir Lenin's personality had been seriously affected by hallucinogenic mushrooms. The mushrooms in question were the deadly poisonous fly agaric fungi which the programme alleged Lenin had eaten whilst in exile in Siberia. Dina Newman has spoken to journalist Sergei Sholokhov who presented the TV spoof.

Photo: two fly agaric toadstools. Copyright: BBC.

A spoof TV show persuaded some Russians that Lenin took too many hallucinogenic mushrooms

History as told by the people who were there

Mindfulness For The Masses20190329

In 1979 scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn opened the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, pioneering a meditative approach to treat pain and depression.  In a few decades mindfulness has gone from being a specialist element of Buddhist teaching to a billion dollar industry. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Dr Kabat-Zinn about the popularising of mindfulness to tackle the stresses of modern life.

(Photo Jon Kabat-Zinn teaching MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Medical School 1992, Credit Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn pioneered a meditative approach to treat pain and depression.

History as told by the people who were there

Nato Bombs Serbian Tv20190422

In April 1999 Nato bombed the Serbian state TV station in Belgrade, killing 16 people. It was part of a military campaign to force Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to one of the survivors, Dragan Suchovic, a TV technician, who was working at the station that night.

Photo: The damage caused by the Nato bombing on the TV station in Belgrade (courtesy of Duco Tellegen, 2015)

A survivor from the April 1999 bombing in Belgrade that killed 16 people.

History as told by the people who were there

Patty Hearst The Rebel Heiress20190401

Patty Hearst was kidnapped by an extreme left-wing group called the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. She had been held hostage for two months when, in April of that year, she announced that she had come to share their beliefs. She would go on to take part in an attempted bank robbery before being arrested and put on trial. Louise Hidalgo spoke to two women who remember the impact of her kidnapping in California in 1974.

Photo: Patty Hearst posing with a machine gun in front of a Symbionese Liberation Army flag in 1974. (Credit: Getty Images.)

In April 1974 the heiress announced she supported her kidnappers' beliefs

History as told by the people who were there

Rupert Brooke20190430

In April 1915, Britain mourned when poet and national hero Rupert Brooke died on a troopship in the Dardanelles during World War One. Often compared to a Greek god because of his blond good looks, Brooke had written a series of famous sonnets that reflected the optimistic mood at the beginning of a conflict that would claim tens of millions of lives. Simon Watts introduces the memories of three of Brooke's friends, as recorded in the BBC archives.

(Photo: Rupert Brooke. Credit: Culture Club/Getty Images)

The English poet whose death at the start of World War One was mourned by millions

History as told by the people who were there

Slaughterhouse-five20190314

In March 1969, the cult American author, Kurt Vonnegut, published his famous anti-war novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The novel is a mixture of science fiction and Vonnegut's experiences as a prisoner-of-war during the fire-bombing of the German city of Dresden at the end of World War Two. Simon Watts introduces the memories of Kurt Vonnegut, as recorded in the BBC archives.

PHOTO: Kurt Vonnegut in the 1980s (Getty Images)

In March 1969, American author Kurt Vonnegut published his cult anti-war novel.

History as told by the people who were there

South Africa's First Free Elections20190424

After Apartheid all South Africans, regardless of race, were finally able to vote for the first time in April 1994. Organising the elections was a huge logistical challenge, white supremacists staged terror attacks to try to sabotage the vote and violent clashes between rival political groups threatened to disrupt voting day. Rev Frank Chikane was on the Independent Electoral Commission, the body charged with running the elections, and he explained to Rebecca Kesby how much stress, and joy there was the day all South Africans finally got democracy.

(Photo: Nelson Mandela, leader of the ANC (African National Congress) and presidential candidate, voting in the 1994 general election in South Africa. Copyright: BBC)

After Apartheid all South Africans regardless of race finally won the right to vote.

History as told by the people who were there

Sri Lanka: A Journalist's Editorial From The Grave20190425

The assassination of newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, shocked the world in 2009. Sri Lanka's civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority was nearing its climax when he was shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes. After his murder his newspaper, the Sunday Leader, printed his final article in which he predicted his own death and wrote that the government would be behind his killing. Farhana Haider has been speaking to his widow, Sonali Samarasinghe, about press freedom in Sri Lanka.

(Photo: Journalists and well wishers light candles in front of a photograph of murdered editor Lasantha Wickramatunga on the first anniversary of his death 8 Jan, 2010. Credit: Getty images)

The assassination of newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, in 2009 shocked the world

History as told by the people who were there

The Al-yamamah Arms Deals20190426

A record series of arms sales from the UK to Saudi Arabia was worth tens of billions of dollars. The first al-Yamamah deal was agreed between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. But the deals were dogged by allegations of corruption. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Jonathan Aitken who was involved in later al-Yamamah deals.

(Photo: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and King Fahd in London in 1987. Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

A record series of arms sales by the UK to Saudi Arabia began in the 1980s

History as told by the people who were there

The Amritsar Massacre Of 191920190409

On 13 April 1919, British Indian troops fired on an unarmed crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in the Punjab. Hundreds were killed. The massacre caused an outcry in India and abroad, and would be a turning point for the growing Indian nationalist movement. Lucy Burns brings you eye-witness testimony from the time.

Photo: Indian visitors walk past the Flame of Liberty memorial at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Credit:Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images.

In April 1919 British Indian troops opened fire on protestors in the city of Amritsar

History as told by the people who were there

The Arctic African20190501

Tété-Michel Kpomassie, grew up in West Africa but he was obsessed with the Arctic.
When he was 16 years old he ran away from his village in Togo determined to reach Greenland..
It took him eight years but in 1965, he finally arrived. He then went north to fulfil his dream of living among the indigenous people.
Years later, he wrote an award-winning account of his odyssey, An African in Greenland, which has been translated into eight languages.
Photo: Tété-Michel Kpomassie in Greenland in 1988.(BBC)

Why a boy ran away from West Africa to live in the Arctic in the 1960s.

History as told by the people who were there

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

The Bauhaus20190508

The groundbreaking Bauhaus school of art and design was founded in Germany in 1919. It would go on to have a huge impact on architecture and design around the world, with the clean lines and minimalist elegance of its distinctive modernist aesthetic influencing everything from skyscrapers to smartphones.

In this interview from the BBC archive, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius explains his goals for the school - and the challenges involved in setting it up.

(Photo: View of one of the wings of the Bauhaus building in Dessau, taken on 30 January 2019. Credit: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

The groundbreaking school of art and design was founded in 1919

History as told by the people who were there

The Columbine Massacre20190419

On April 20th 1999 a mass shooting in the USA shocked the world and started a devastating trend of violence in American schools. 13 people were killed and more than 20 were injured by two armed school students. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Craig Scott, who survived the Columbine massacre but whose sister Rachel was killed that day.

Photo: Students from Columbine High School run under cover from police, following a shooting spree by two masked teenagers. April 20th 1999. Credit: Mark Leffingwell/AFP/Getty Images.

13 people were killed and more than 20 injured in the school shooting on April 20th 1999

History as told by the people who were there

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

The Discovery Of The Aztec Moon Goddess20190320

Electricity workers in Mexico City accidentally uncovered a massive stone sculpture in 1978. It turned out to be the Aztec Goddess of the Moon, Coyolxauhqui.
The sculpture was found in an area where the Aztecs, 500 years earlier, had built the capital of their empire: the city of Tenochtitlán. The discovery changed the face of the Mexican capital.

María Elena Navas spoke to Raúl Arana, one of the archaeologists who identified the sculpture as the Moon Goddess.

Photo: The sculpture of Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess (Getty Images)

How an accidental discovery in Mexico led to the uncovering of the Aztecs\u00b4 Great Temple.

History as told by the people who were there

The Fall Of Singapore20190311

In 1942, during the Second World War, the British colony of Singapore fell to Japanese forces. Its capture marked the start of Japan's three-and-a-half year occupation of the island state, during which many ethnic Chinese living in Singapore were rounded up and killed. Louise Hidalgo has been listening to the memories of some of those who lived through that time.

Picture: British soldiers surrender to Japanese forces in Singapore in 1942. (Credit: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Image)

Life under Japanese occupation in Singapore during World War Two.

History as told by the people who were there

The First Democratic Elections In The Ussr20190319

On March 26th 1989, Soviet citizens were given their first chance to vote for non-communists in parliamentary elections. Democrats led by Boris Yeltsin won seats across the country. Dina Newman spoke to Sergei Stankevich who was one of the successful candidates.
This programme was first broadcast in 2014.

(Photo: Boris Yeltsin on the campaign trail. Credit: Vitaly Armand. AFP/Getty Images)

Soviet citizens voted in democratic elections for the first time in March 1989.

History as told by the people who were there

The First Home Pregnancy Test20190325

A female designer working for an American pharmaceutical company came up with the idea in the 1960s, but her bosses didn't like it at first. Margaret Crane has been telling Maria Elena Navas how she had to develop her designs on her own after being told that women couldn't be trusted to use a home testing kit properly.

Photo: Margaret Crane's first home testing kit. Credit: National Museum of American History.

A female designer working for a pharmaceutical company came up with the idea in the 1960s

History as told by the people who were there

The First Play On Broadway Written By A Black Woman20190416

'A Raisin in the Sun' opened on Broadway in 1959. It had an almost exclusively black cast and a black director too. The playwright, Lorraine Hansberry, based it on her own family's story of being forced out of a white neighbourhood in Chicago. The title is from a poem by African American poet Langston Hughes about a dream deferred - 'does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?'.

Photo: Still from the 1961 film version of the play A Raisin in the Sun featuring Sidney Poitier (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Audio: With thanks to WFMT radio and the Studs Terkel radio archive.

'A Raisin in the Sun' by Lorraine Hansberry had an almost exclusively black cast too.

History as told by the people who were there

The Malayan Emergency20190503

In 1948, British colonial authorities declared a State of Emergency in the territory of Malaya, now part of Malaysia. It was in response to the start of a Communist rebellion. From their bases in the jungle, Communist fighters carried out hundreds of guerrilla attacks across the country, targeting Malaya's valuable rubber estates, tin mines, and infrastructure. Alex Last speaks to Gus Fletcher, a decorated former Special Branch officer in Malaya, about his memories of Britain's attempt to combat the communist threat, which became seen by some, as a model for counter-insurgency.
Photo: A photograph taken by a British sergeant on patrol in the Malayan jungle.. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The struggle against a Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1950s

History as told by the people who were there

The Man Who Invented Wingsuits20190410

The wingsuit is the ultimate in extreme sports clothing. An aerodynamic outfit for BASE jumpers and skydivers it allows them to free-fall for longer before opening a parachute. Skydiver Jari Kuosma developed the first commercial wingsuits and he has been speaking to Jonathan Coates about how exciting, but also how dangerous they can be.

Photo: Jari Kuosma. Copyright: BBC

The wingsuit is the ultimate in extreme sports clothing, for BASE jumpers and skydivers

History as told by the people who were there

The Man Who Made Marilyn Monroe Dance20190408

Choreographer Jack Cole had a huge influence on musical theatre and Hollywood films - most memorably with Marilyn Monroe in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But much of his inspiration came from Indian dance. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to the American actress and singer, Chita Rivera, who danced with him.

Choreographer Jack Cole had a huge influence on musical theatre and Hollywood films

History as told by the people who were there

The Millionaire Nazi War Criminal20190318

The story of how one of the wealthiest men in the Netherlands was exposed as a Nazi war criminal. In the 1970s, Pieter Menten was a respected art dealer, but it was revealed that during the Second World War, he had led mass killings in eastern Poland. We hear from Dutch journalist, Hans Knoop, whose investigation into Menten caused a national scandal and finally led to the millionaire's arrest.

Photo: Pieter Menten photographed in 1977.(credit: National Archives of the Netherlands)

How the Dutch art collector Pieter Menten was exposed as a war criminal in the 1970s

History as told by the people who were there

The Rise Of Hindu Nationalism20190411

In 1990 the president of Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, LK Advani, embarked on a political and religious rally called the Rath Yatra or chariot march. Championing a politics based on Hindutva or militant Hinduism. Farhana Haider has been speaking to RK Sudhaman a journalist who covered the journey and followed the rise of the BJP.

Photo LK Advani during rath yatra 15/10/1990 Credit: Getty Image

The consolidation of the BJP as one of the major powers in Indian politics.

History as told by the people who were there

The Rise Of Viktor Orban20190322

Viktor Orban, now the populist Hungarian Prime Minister, was an anti-communist youth leader in 1988. Over the years his party has become increasingly nationalist. His former friend and fellow activist Gabor Fodor shared personal memories of Viktor Orban with Dina Newman.

Photo: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his annual state of the nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, 10 February 2019. Credit: European Press Agency.

Viktor Orban, now the populist Hungarian Prime Minister led a democratic movement in 1988

History as told by the people who were there

The Secret Nazi Past Of Kurt Waldheim20190328

Witness History talks to the American lawyer who led the investigation into the secret Nazi past of former United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. Kurt Waldheim was standing for election to the Austrian presidency when the allegations first emerged in the New York Times in March 1986. Lawyer Eli Rosenbaum, on whose information the New York Times story was based, tells Louise Hidalgo how he helped to expose the truth about Waldheim's wartime record and how UN war crimes files naming Kurt Waldheim had lain hidden for decades in the vaults while Waldheim was UN Secretary General.

Picture: Kurt Waldheim talking to voters in Vienna in 1986 during his campaign for the Austrian presidency (credit: Jacques Langevin/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

How former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim's secret Nazi past was exposed

History as told by the people who were there

The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu20190507

On May 7th 1954, French forces surrendered after a bloody 56-day siege of their base at Dien Bien Phu in the north of Vietnam. Their defeat by the communist independence movement, the Viet Minh, signalled the end of French colonial rule in Indochina. We hear from two veterans who fought on opposing sides in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. (Photo: A French military Red Cross helicopter preparing to land, while French soldiers try to defend their positions in Dien Bien Phu against the Viet Minh, 1954 Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The French surrender at the siege of Dien Bien Phu ended their colonial rule of Vietnam

History as told by the people who were there

The Sinking Of The Belgrano20190502

The Argentine ship, General Belgrano, was sunk by a British submarine during the Falklands War on 2nd of May 1982. 323 people died in the attack. Dario Volonte, now an opera singer, was one of the survivors and he spoke to Louise Hidalgo about the attack.

Photo: The General Belgrano. Credit: Getty Images

The Argentine ship was sunk by a British submarine during the Falklands war

History as told by the people who were there

The War On Drugs20190509

The first 'war on drugs' was launched by US President Richard Nixon in 1971. He described drug abuse as a 'national emergency' and asked Congress for nearly four hundred million dollars to tackle the problem. Claire Bowes has been speaking to one of Nixon's policy advisors, Jeffrey Donfeld, about an approach to drugs which he describes as more 'find them and help them' than 'find them and lock them up'. And how he convinced the President to roll out a nationwide programme of methadone treatment for heroin addicts.

Photo: US President Richard Nixon (BBC)

The first 'war on drugs' was launched by US President Richard Nixon in 1971.

History as told by the people who were there

The Warship Lost For More Than 300 Years20190403

In 1628, at the height of Sweden’s military expansion, the Swedish Navy built a new flagship, the Vasa. At the time it was the most heavily armed ship in the world. But 2 hours into its maiden voyage, it sank in Stockholm's harbour. It remained there for more than three hundred years, until its discovery in 1961. Tim Mansel hears from the former Swedish naval officer, Bertil Daggfeldt, about the day that the warship was recovered in near-perfect condition.

Image: The Vasa after its recovery (The Vasa Museum)

The discovery of a 17th century Swedish warship, the Vasa, in near perfect condition

History as told by the people who were there