military history

The Evacuation of Dunkirk

With a huge number of British Expeditionary Force troops stranded in one location, a massive evacuation operation was undertaken. While it was considered a success, the costs to the Allies were high.

The Battle of France and the Flight to Dunkirk

Retellings of the Dunkirk rescue often leave out how the Allied forces got into such a predicament, with a huge part of the British Expeditionary Force stranded. Today, we'll talk about the lead-up to WWII and its relentless progression into France.

Six Impossible Episodes: Soldiers, Snipers and Spies

This installment of our impossible episodes series features a set of stories that are all about front-line heroism. Most of them are listener requests.

Three Nuclear Close Calls

There have been many moments in history when the world came perilously close to a full-scale nuclear war, due to false alarms or miscommunication. One such moment is the only known time that a head of state has activated their nuclear briefcase.

Mongolian Princess Khutulun

Khutulun's story is a little bit cloudy, in part because it’s many hundreds of years old, and in part because accounts of her life involve a combination of propaganda and an outsider’s interpretation of it.

Six Impossible Episodes: Déjà Vu Edition

We often get requests for topics that are so similar to existing episodes that they would sound like repeats. Here are six that will probably sound very familiar to regular listeners.

Anglo-Cherokee War

During the French and Indian War, a clash between Cherokee tribes and the British -- who had been allies -- slowly escalated on the southern end of the larger conflict.

Zheng He and the Treasure Ships

Zheng He led expeditionary voyages from China in the 15th century. While there are many tall tales about his accomplishments, his actual life was pretty spectacular without them.

WASP of WWII with Dr. Katherine Sharp Landdeck, Part 2

The duties of the women of the WASP evolved over time, and some of them were quite dangerous. And once the program ended, there were -- and still are -- controversies over whether the women involved should be recognized as military veterans.

WASP of WWII with Dr. Katherine Sharp Landdeck, Part 1

The Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII was formed to see if women could fly military aircraft, and potentially free up male noncombat pilots to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Our expert guest reveals that there's so much more to the story, though.