Chalke Talk

The podcast from the Chalke Valley History Festival
Released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings


Chalke Talks for REGION: Europe


  • 04. THE PARIS PEACE TREATIES
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    This talk by Dr Peter Caddick-Adams for senior pupils at the Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, challenges some assumptions about the aftermath of the First World War. The armistice in 1918 was a truce but fighting continued in Eastern Europe and the Middle East for several years. He explains that the Treaty of Versailles […]

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  • 05. HERODOTUS: THE FATHER OF HISTORY
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    The ‘Father of History’ was a Greek living in Persia in the 5th century BC but was the first person to write down the stories from the past. Herodotus’ Histories remains one of the richest and most read books of all time, and in this talk renowned classicist Professor Paul Cartledge discusses the life of […]

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  • 09. ISTANBUL: A TALE OF THREE CITIES
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    Award-winning historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes gives a captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul based on meticulous research gathered over a decade and brand new archaeological evidence. A ground-breaking history of this world-class city from its very beginnings in Neolithic times through 8,000 years of human habitation to the present.

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  • 10. FIGHTING WITH THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
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    Jean Jammes was a schoolboy in 1944 when, that summer, he joined the Resistance group led by his father in the countryside around Épernon. Involved in numerous actions of sabotage, he also helped capture three German officers and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. In this very special event he talks to Peter Caddick-Adams about […]

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  • 13. THE CRUSADES AND MEDIEVAL WARFARE
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    In this talk for senior schools, Professor Jeremy Black gives an insight into the motivations of the Crusaders. In addition to the notion that Jerusalem should be ‘freed’, this period saw the expansionism of European feudal society, a new role for the papacy, and developing commercial opportunities, as well as a desire to protect Constantinople. […]

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  • 14. APPEASING HITLER: CHAMBERLAIN, CHURCHILL AND THE ROAD TO WAR
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    On 30th September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. He declared it was ‘peace for our time’, but within a year Britain was at war with Germany. Tim Bouverie gives a compelling reappraisal of the immense drama of those […]

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  • 16. A BRIDGE TOO FAR: A VETERAN OF ARNHEM
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    Peter Clarke was a glider pilot who landed and then fought with his fellow airborne troops at Arnhem in September 1944. Here, in conversation with Paul Beaver, he talks about and discusses his memories of that doomed battle and the remarkable story of what followed.

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  • 18. THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONS
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    In this talk for senior school pupils, Jonathan Fenby outlines the causes of the French Revolution which began in 1789. He explains that this was the beginning of a cycle of revolutions followed by counter-revolutions and discusses how the French liked to believe that their country was a beacon of humanity with progressive values of […]

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  • 19. GAME OF QUEENS: THE WOMEN WHO MADE SIXTEENTH CENTURY EUROPE
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    Best-selling Tudor biographer Sarah Gristwood turns her expert eye to the Renaissance courts of Isabella of Castile, Margaret of Austria, Katherine of Aragon, Marguerite of Navarre, Anne Boleyn, Catherine de Medici, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary Stuart and others. An extraordinary cast of women who held power throughout the Continent in the face of great […]

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  • 23. THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND LEGACY
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    The First World War still captures the imagination, but how do you paint a picture of people that are long gone? How do you put their existence in context with the manner in which they died, so that future generations retain a connection to the human impact of WW1 that transcends tales of strategic success […]

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  • 26. D-DAY: BY THOSE WHO WERE THERE
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    In this moving event to mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, two veterans of that campaign talk about their experiences with Stuart Tootal, former commander of 3 Para in Afghanistan. Fred Glover (1926-2020) was the only British infantryman known to have fought with the French Resistance while David Render (1925-1917) served with the Sherwood Rangers […]

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  • 30. THE BURNING CHAMBERS: THE FRENCH WARS OF RELIGION, HUGUENOTS v CATHOLICS
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    Kate Mosse discusses one of the darkest periods in French history. The Wars of Religion began in 1562 and ended, after millions had been massacred or displaced, with the Edict of Nantes in 1598. She examines the power struggles between Catholic and Protestant factions in Carcassonne, Paris, London and Amsterdam and how this dark history […]

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  • 33. SOLDIER, SPY: A SURVIVOR’S TALE
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    Victor Gregg (born 1919) had an extraordinary war and his adventures did not end in 1945. In this very special event, he discusses with Rick Stroud what it was like fighting in North Africa, escaping the ruins of Dresden where he had been a prisoner of war on the night the city was bombed, and […]

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  • 34. THE DREYFUS AFFAIR
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    In this talk, best-selling author Robert Harris turns to one of the key scandals in French history, the Dreyfus Affair. Discussing this infamous miscarriage of justice that rocked France in the years before the First World War, he brings new insights to this world of secret service dealings, cover-ups and betrayal…

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  • 36. THEY CALLED IT PASSCHENDAELE
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    Lyn Macdonald remains revered as the great chronicler of the human experience of the Western Front and has recorded interviews with more veterans of the First World War than any other. In this talk she returns to the subject of her first book, the Battle of Passchendaele, fought over a hundred years ago in 1917, […]

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  • THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE CHILDREN: EGLANTYNE JEBB
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    Eglantyne Jebb not only helped save millions of lives, she also permanently changed the way the world treats children through the foundation of Save the Children. Clare Mulley brings to life this brilliant, charismatic, and passionate woman, whose work took her between drawing rooms and war zones, defying convention and breaking the law, until she […]

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  • ARNHEM: THE BATTLE FOR THE BRIDGES, 1944
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    The battle of Arnhem, the great airborne fight for the bridges in 1944, was a courageous strategic gamble that failed. Britain’s best- selling historian Antony Beevor, using often overlooked sources from Allied and German archives, reconstructs the terrible reality of the fighting and questions whether this plan to end the war could ever have worked, […]

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