Articles


. In the first half of 1940 only one question mattered in American politics. Would Franklin D. Roosevelt break with tradition and run for a third term as President of the United States? The New York Times proclaimed it as ‘the all-absorbing political riddle’. Roosevelt kept the country guessing right […]

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term and the voice from the sewer


Almost History Series 1, Episode 1 . Everywhere you turn, you see the unmistakable face of Adolf Hitler. His voice echoes in your head, broadcast from a thousand loudspeakers. His wild, gesticulating speech is reaching its foam speckled crescendo. Nazi television is everywhere. Looming over city squares, above the concourse […]

Achtung! Achtung! Nazi Germany’s dystopian experiments with TV and radio  


  In 1941, Adolf Hitler issued orders to Nazi Germany’s railway officials. He wanted them to develop a new type of railway. It was to be bigger, far bigger, than anything that had ever been seen. Trains the height and width of a suburban house and the length of the Empire […]

Hitler’s plan for monster railways across Europe



  In 1647, the new puritan government tried to cancel Christmas.n 1647, the new puritan government tried to cancel Christmas. People in Canterbury protested in a peculiarly English way with a destructive game of football. The city’s Plum Pudding Riots led to a royalist revolt and the second round of […]

How an attempt to cancel Christmas and a game of football led ...


Amongst a glittering treasury of splendours, the Habsburgs revered two objects above all others. One was a bowl reputed to be the Holy Grail and the other was a unicorn’s horn.  . A truly Imperial collection The Habsburgs were amongst Europe’s pre-eminent collectors. They collected titles (from the Count of […]

What were the inalienable heirlooms of the Habsburgs?


The Black Death was one of history’s most destructive and transformative disasters. Was it caused by an intentional act of biological warfare?   A modern-day plague The United States was under attack. In New York City, the twin towers of the World Trade Centre had been destroyed. In Washington D.C., […]

The most spectacular incident of biological warfare?



Only one Member of Congress, Representative Jeannette Rankin, voted against the resolution that brought the United States into the Second World War. Astonishingly, she had also voted against American participation in the First World War.   A clear, steady and solitary voice ‘In a clear, steady voice, Rankin voted “No,”. […]

Give peace a chance? Congress’s lone World War pacifist


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. This week, on the Vaguely Interesting Podcast, we go back to the 1930s and visit the Croydon Airport to meet the Englishman who started the Spanish Civil War. Just after seven o’clock in the morning on 11 July 1936, Captain Cecil Bebb prepared his plane for take-off. At a […]

The Englishman who started the Spanish Civil War


What happened when steam engines were placed in the tunnels of the world’s first underground railway? The Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863 and, for the first 45 years, it ran steam trains. There are few sounds as emotive as the chug, clatter and whistle of a steam train. Now that […]

Commuting hell on the underground steam railway