Welcome to my HISTORY NERDS podcasts. I am pleased that you will be joining me on a journey taking in some of the ground I have covered over the past 20 years – in books, articles, documentaries, international class-rooms, and on tours. I recorded the first of these shows in July 2019, so feel free to check back, as I add further content…

Health warning: the consumption of content from this website may produce unwanted side-effects, such as an addiction to history. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice…

Episode 1: D-Day 75 – why the Germans failed, and the Allies succeeded

Part 1: Strategy on D-Day

The wisdom of hindsight is not always a blessing. In fact, it may mislead one into underestimating the strategic conundrum of opening a second front in Europe; as well as taking Allied success on D-Day for granted.

Part 2: Leadership on D-Day

Episode 2: The German Occupation of the British Channel Islands 1940-1945

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Resistance

Part 3: Collaboration

Part 4: Postscriptum

Episode 3: All is Fair, in Love and in War?

Allegorie der Güte. Deutsche Fotothek. CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Ethics and War: the British area bombing of Germany in World War II

Episode 4: Reflections on Leadership

The Roaring Lion. CC BY 2.0
Of Brexit, historical parallels, the appropriation of the Churchill brand, leadership trajectories and other such things

Episode 5: A foray into Empire

Alpha Stock Images. CC BY-SA 3.0
Part 1: The Empire Brand

Part 2: The twists and turns of the Idea of Empire in the West

Episode 6: Leadership & the Battle of Britain

Battle of Britain Day 2020 special edition

Upcoming shows: The Battle of Britain, The Kasztner affair and the Holocaust in Hungary (1944), Churchill, Hitler, Lenin, de Gaulle … and eventually also something on Tolstoy and Napoleon


3 thoughts on “Podcasts

  1. I have been thinking about The Few every day in recent weeks, and all the battles they fought in the skies over Southeast England 80 years ago. Today I listened to Episode 6 of your podcasts about Leadership & The Battle of Britain. It’s very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Larry. In my podcast I am interested in what made the difference in 1940. And it wasn’t the quality of the machines… The focus on the heroism of the Few is also not the right place to start, as the British pilots were not necessarily better or more motivated than their German opponents. The first thing is that the British have often been portrayed as the underdog in this fight. Fact is that they still had a number of substantial trump cards on their side, which did make a difference. As we know from D-Day, a maritime landing is a most perilous undertaking, even with air superiority over the beaches. The second thing is the leadership factor: having a strategic advantage doesn’t mean that you will win in the end. Because bad leadership can actually squander that advantage (there are plenty of examples for this in history, and in other contexts, such as business). So, my argument is that the human factor was extremely important. The British leaders pulled all the right punches, while on the German side you have indications of systemic leadership failure. They could not prevail against a sophisticated enemy. A question I don’t ask in the podcast is whether this also had something to do with the nature of the political regime… the freedom to think and act.


  2. No it wasn’t the quality of machines, but one factor I’ve read more than once was the consistent under estimation of how many aircraft the RAF still had as the Battle went on, and also Britain’s ability to build more new aircraft than Germany was able to during the Battle. These and lots of other things that by themselves were not decisive kept the Luftwaffe from accomplishing what it set out to in order to enable a land invasion of Britain.


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