HISTORY This Week

HISTORY This Week

www.history.com/this-day-in-history
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.


Killing Fairness
Aug 3 • 27 min
August 4, 1987. The Federal Communication Commission’s leadership has come together in Washington D.C. to decide the fate of a vital issue: fairness. For the previous 40 years, the FCC has attempted to ensure that TV and radio broadcasters present both…
Convert or Leave
Jul 27 • 27 min
July 31, 1492. In cities, towns and villages across late medieval Spain, whole districts have emptied out. Houses abandoned, stores closed, and synagogues—which until recently had been alive with singing and prayer—now sit quiet. Exactly four months…
Public Enemy #1
Jul 20 • 23 min
July 22, 1934. John Dillinger, America’s most famous outlaw, is gunned down by federal agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Dillinger’s death is the final act in a crime spree that involved multiple prison breaks, dozens of bank robberies, and…
Destroyer of Worlds
Jul 13 • 27 min
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…
Operation Mincemeat
Jul 6 • 25 min
July 10, 1943. 150,000 British and American soldiers storm the beaches of Sicily in the first Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe. But the Nazis…aren’t really there to put up a fight. Hitler thought the invasion was coming for Greece. The Nazis have…
The Great Stink
Jun 29 • 23 min
June 30th, 1858. London is a world city, a global center of trade and commerce. But there’s something less glamorous going on in this bustling metropolis: the smell. Every inch of the city smells like rotting, human waste. And this smell is actually…
Pride & Protest
Jun 22 • 23 min
June 28, 1970. Hundreds of people start to gather on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s West Village for an anniversary celebration. One year earlier, in that very same spot, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police, sparking a revolution. Now, LGBTQ+ people…
Freedom Summer, 1964
Jun 15 • 27 min
June 21, 1964. James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, three civil rights activists in their early twenties, are reported missing in Mississippi. They are part of the first wave of Freedom Summer, a massive voter registration campaign in the…
“Have You No Decency, Sir?”
Jun 8 • 23 min
June 9, 1954. Senator Joseph McCarthy has accused the United States Army of having communists within its midst. After rising to power during a time of great fear in America, McCarthy’s name has become synonymous with anti-communism – and with baseless,…
A Century of Stigma for Black America and Mental Health
Jun 1 • 24 min
June 1, 1840. U.S. Marshals are going door to door conducting the sixth-ever census in the United States. This year something is different – this is the very first time the U.S. government is asking a question about mental health. But the results are…
A Gilded Age Apocalypse
May 25 • 24 min
May 31, 1889. It’s raining in Johnstown, PA, causing some small flooding. But the townsfolk were used to it – this city of 30,000 was nestled in a valley between two rivers. What happened next was something every person in Johnstown feared, but hoped…
Captain Kidd and the Nazis
May 18 • 24 min
May 23, 1701. Captain William Kidd is hanged at Execution Dock in London. His death sentence cements his legacy as one of history’s most notorious pirates, but he went to the gallows claiming to be an innocent man. And he may have been telling the truth.…
To Fight a Virus, and Win
May 11 • 26 min
May 14, 1796. Edward Jenner puts a theory to the test: can contracting one disease save you from another? Jenner goes down in history as the man who brought us one of the greatest advances in modern medicine: the vaccine. Its discovery led to the…
Beethoven’s Silent Symphony
May 4 • 29 min
May 7, 1824. One of the great musical icons in history, Ludwig Van Beethoven, steps onto stage at the Kärntnertor Theater in Vienna. The audience is electric, buzzing with anticipation for a brand new symphony from the legendary composer. But there’s a…
The Hunt for the Hunley
Apr 27 • 22 min
May 3, 1995. The Hunley has been missing for over 100 years. This Civil War submarine and all eight of her crew disappeared after completing the first successful submarine attack ever. When a team of divers finally locates the wreck in the mid ‘90s, it…
Introducing: Hope, Through History
Apr 23 • 3 min
Welcome to Hope, Through History with Jon Meacham. This limited series explores some of the most historic and trying times in American history, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments…
When the Environment United Us
Apr 20 • 22 min
April 22, 1970. Nearly 20 million Americans come out in solidarity for one of the largest mass movements of the century. It was called Earth Day. And 50 years later, we still celebrate this day. But in 1970, this call to action crossed the aisle and…
“Houston We’ve Had a Problem”
Apr 13 • 27 min
April 14, 1970. Apollo 13 is a quarter million miles from Earth, speeding towards the Moon, when a sudden explosion rocks the ship. Against all odds, the astronauts pull off one of the most remarkable survival missions in NASA history. On the 50th…
The First Flight Around the World
Apr 6 • 22 min
April 6, 1924. Four planes rest in the water, preparing for take-off. At 8:30 AM, they pick up speed and hit the air. Eight pilots have begun a dangerous mission: to be the first to fly around the world. This will change our future in a way that few could…
The Deadliest Pandemic in Modern History
Mar 30 • 20 min
April 5, 1918. The first mention of a new influenza outbreak in Kansas appears in a public health report. That strain, later called the Spanish Flu, would go on to kill at least 50 million people worldwide. In a time before widespread global travel, how…
When Basketball Meets Jim Crow
Mar 23 • 20 min
March 28, 1939. Two teams are facing off for the final game of World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago, the first professional tournament to feature both white and black basketball teams. This is several years before the start of the NBA, and…
How Lady Luck Saved Vegas
Mar 16 • 20 min
March 19, 1931. Las Vegas is a small, desert town of a few thousand. And it’s not doing so well. In fact, people are worried it might turn into a ghost town. But then something big happens: Nevada decides to legalize gambling. And the ground begins to…
The Real Assassination of Caesar
Mar 9 • 18 min
The Ides of March, 44 BC. Ancient Rome’s most powerful dictator, Julius Caesar, is running late to a senate meeting. When he arrives, senators surround him and stab him 23 times. The assassination of Caesar has been told and re-told for centuries, but the…
Lionel, Stevie and Tina Walk into a Studio…
Mar 2 • 23 min
March 7th, 1985. “We Are the World” hits the shelves. It’s an instant hit, breaking the top of the charts and making music history. This one song has the star power of 45 of the biggest singers of the era: Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner,…
The DNA Debate
Feb 24 • 18 min
February 28, 1953. Two scientists, James Watson and Francis Crick, burst into a bar and exclaim that they have discovered the secret of life. But there was another person involved in the discovery of DNA’s double helix, a scientist named Rosalind…
A Mole in the CIA
Feb 17 • 21 min
February 21, 1994. Early in the morning, FBI agents assemble near the home of Aldrich Ames. They wait for him to leave his house and then they pounce, arresting one of the deadliest double agents in CIA history. He received almost $2 million from the KGB,…
The Legacy of an Oscar
Feb 10 • 21 min
February 11, 1940. Hattie McDaniel becomes the first-ever African American to be nominated for, and then win, an Oscar. Her legacy is complicated. And the Oscar itself has been missing, mysteriously, for almost fifty years. What did it take for McDaniel…
When Black Men Won the Vote
Feb 2 • 18 min
February 3, 1870. The 15th Amendment is ratified, which establishes the right to vote for black men in America. While Jim Crow laws would grip the south by 1877, there was a brief, seven-year window of opportunity. Half a million black voters turned out…
Surviving Auschwitz
Jan 26 • 26 min
January 27, 1945. This week, we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, one of Nazi Germany’s largest concentration and extermination camps. Auschwitz has since become a symbol for the Holocaust itself, but what did liberation…
The Apple Ad That Changed the World
Jan 20 • 17 min
January 22, 1984. Apple launches the first Macintosh computer, with a showstopping Super Bowl commercial. The ad itself was revolutionary, but the product it launched almost single-handedly brought computers into the mainstream, changing the world as we…
The Great Boston Molasses Flood
Jan 13 • 16 min
January 15, 1919. Boston PD receives a call: “Send all available rescue personnel…there’s a wave of molasses coming down Commercial Street.” The bizarre flood decimated Boston’s North End. How did it happen? And why does it still affect us all today?…
Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined…
Jan 10 • 20 min
January 11th, 1964. The US Surgeon General announces: smoking is killing us. It’s an announcement that changed the course of American public health – and took years to finally come out. But it was only the beginning of an uphill battle to take down an…
Introducing: HISTORY This Week
Jan 2 • 1 min
This week, something momentous happened. Whether or not it made the textbooks, it most certainly made history. Join HISTORY This Week as we turn back the clock to meet the people, visit the places and witness the moments that led us to where we are today.…