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Titans of the 20th Century

TITANS OF THE 20th CENTURY is a biographical series telling the stories of the most powerful figures in the last century, anchored around Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler. Other figures include Mussolini, Emperor Hirohito, Mao Zedong, General Franco, David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and John F. Kennedy.

  • A New World: 1945-1949
    Friday, May 14
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    As the war finally draws to a close some of the titans are leaving the scene - Roosevelt dies, Churchill is thrown out of office, Mussolini is shot by 'partisans' and Hitler shoots himself. Harry S. Truman, a figure on the fringes, is pitched into the most powerful office in the world and asked to make a decision about a terrible new weapon. Stalin enjoys unrivalled power and sets the scene for forty years of Cold War. India gains independence which Gandhi, assassinated, never sees; and, Mao Zedong prevails in China's civil war, declaring the People's Republic in Tiananmen Square.

 

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  • A New World: 1945-1949
    Saturday, May 8
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    As the war finally draws to a close some of the titans are leaving the scene - Roosevelt dies, Churchill is thrown out of office, Mussolini is shot by 'partisans' and Hitler shoots himself. Harry S. Truman, a figure on the fringes, is pitched into the most powerful office in the world and asked to make a decision about a terrible new weapon. Stalin enjoys unrivalled power and sets the scene for forty years of Cold War. India gains independence which Gandhi, assassinated, never sees; and, Mao Zedong prevails in China's civil war, declaring the People's Republic in Tiananmen Square.
  • World War: 1941-1944
    Friday, May 7
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Everywhere on earth is now part of our story and we enter a period in history like no other which is dominated by the acts and personalities of a small group of powerful leaders: Titans. This is the time for Churchill, and Roosevelt; Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini; and, for Tojo; for their military leaders and (rarely) their opponents to dominate both public and daily life. Peripheral figures to the main game are still part of the story -- Eisenhower, supreme commander in Europe and president-to-be; and, less noticeably, a 26-year-old aboard the motor torpedo boat PT 109 sunk in the Solomon Islands in 1943: John F Kennedy.
  • World War: 1941-1944
    Saturday, May 1
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Everywhere on earth is now part of our story and we enter a period in history like no other which is dominated by the acts and personalities of a small group of powerful leaders: Titans. This is the time for Churchill, and Roosevelt; Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini; and, for Tojo; for their military leaders and (rarely) their opponents to dominate both public and daily life. Peripheral figures to the main game are still part of the story -- Eisenhower, supreme commander in Europe and president-to-be; and, less noticeably, a 26-year-old aboard the motor torpedo boat PT 109 sunk in the Solomon Islands in 1943: John F Kennedy.
  • Darkest Hour: 1938-1940
    Friday, April 30
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    The Spanish civil war reaches a bloody climax. The League of Nations seems toothless against the aggression of Italy, Germany, and Japan. Neville Chamberlain is the man of the hour - but Adolf Hitler is the man of the times. 1938 brings a group of our titans together when Chamberlain invents "shuttle diplomacy" at Munich, joining Hitler and Mussolini and thinking he has secured "peace for our time". "Good man! " telegraphs FDR. But peace is the last thing on Hitler's mind and the episode ends with war again burning across Europe.
  • Darkest Hour: 1938-1940
    Saturday, April 24
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    The Spanish civil war reaches a bloody climax. The League of Nations seems toothless against the aggression of Italy, Germany, and Japan. Neville Chamberlain is the man of the hour - but Adolf Hitler is the man of the times. 1938 brings a group of our titans together when Chamberlain invents "shuttle diplomacy" at Munich, joining Hitler and Mussolini and thinking he has secured "peace for our time". "Good man! " telegraphs FDR. But peace is the last thing on Hitler's mind and the episode ends with war again burning across Europe.
  • The Shadows Lengthen: 1934-1937
    Friday, April 23
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    The threat of war intensifies. War reaches Ethiopia with the Italian invasion. It threatens Europe with the German occupation of the Rhineland and annexation of Australia. Spain and China plunge into terrible civil wars. Mao Zedong leads the Chinese Communist Party to safety at the end of "The Long March" and the competing factions - Mao and Chiang Kai-shek - unite in the face of Japan's invasion.
  • The Shadows Lengthen: 1934-1937
    Saturday, April 17
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    The threat of war intensifies. War reaches Ethiopia with the Italian invasion. It threatens Europe with the German occupation of the Rhineland and annexation of Australia. Spain and China plunge into terrible civil wars. Mao Zedong leads the Chinese Communist Party to safety at the end of "The Long March" and the competing factions - Mao and Chiang Kai-shek - unite in the face of Japan's invasion.
  • Feast & Famine: 1929-1933
    Friday, April 16
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    Masking his disability in a way that would not be possible today, Franklin D. Roosevelt reaches the Oval Office. The crash of '29 morphs seamlessly into the Great Depression reaching every country on earth. Titans rise and fall in the calamitous era of unemployment and hunger: Hitler becomes chancellor in Germany; Mussolini secures absolute power; Spain begins the political convulsion that will bring Francisco Franco onto our stage (we meet 'La Pasionaria'); Stalin tightens his grip even further, with purges and show trials; and, in an increasingly unsettled India, Gandhi leads "The Salt March."
  • Feast & Famine: 1929-1933
    Saturday, April 10
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    Masking his disability in a way that would not be possible today, Franklin D. Roosevelt reaches the Oval Office. The crash of '29 morphs seamlessly into the Great Depression reaching every country on earth. Titans rise and fall in the calamitous era of unemployment and hunger: Hitler becomes chancellor in Germany; Mussolini secures absolute power; Spain begins the political convulsion that will bring Francisco Franco onto our stage (we meet 'La Pasionaria'); Stalin tightens his grip even further, with purges and show trials; and, in an increasingly unsettled India, Gandhi leads "The Salt March."
  • A New Map of the World: 1918-1928
    Friday, April 9
    1:00 am on UEN-TV 9.1
    At 71, Paul von Hindenburg is a famous general, but he's on the losing side of World War I. In his eighties, he's elected President of Germany. It is in that role that he appoints Adolf Hitler chancellor. Marshal Petain, 63, is a war hero. When the next war erupts he will be cast as a villain, leading France's collaborationist Vichy government. Gandhi has been driving an ambulance on the Western Front and Lenin is fighting to establish his young revolution. Franklin D. Roosevelt is Secretary of the U.S Navy, but in 1921 a promising career seems wrecked by polio. Adolf Hitler, 29, ends the war in a military hospital. Lenin dies in 1924 and out of the (semi) shadows steps a real titan - Josef Stalin, already 46 years old. These years of feast in the United States but famine in much of Europe are the backdrop against which our titans move - Churchill struggles to resume a political career; Gandhi, in India, begins the fight that will bring him fame and his people their freedom; Major Eisenhower is General Douglas MacArthur's chief of staff; and Ho Chi Minh is a waiter in Paris. And, Mussolini grabs power.
  • A New Map of the World: 1918-1928
    Saturday, April 3
    12:00 pm on UEN-TV 9.1
    At 71, Paul von Hindenburg is a famous general, but he's on the losing side of World War I. In his eighties, he's elected President of Germany. It is in that role that he appoints Adolf Hitler chancellor. Marshal Petain, 63, is a war hero. When the next war erupts he will be cast as a villain, leading France's collaborationist Vichy government. Gandhi has been driving an ambulance on the Western Front and Lenin is fighting to establish his young revolution. Franklin D. Roosevelt is Secretary of the U.S Navy, but in 1921 a promising career seems wrecked by polio. Adolf Hitler, 29, ends the war in a military hospital. Lenin dies in 1924 and out of the (semi) shadows steps a real titan - Josef Stalin, already 46 years old. These years of feast in the United States but famine in much of Europe are the backdrop against which our titans move - Churchill struggles to resume a political career; Gandhi, in India, begins the fight that will bring him fame and his people their freedom; Major Eisenhower is General Douglas MacArthur's chief of staff; and Ho Chi Minh is a waiter in Paris. And, Mussolini grabs power.