HISTORY This WeekHistory



Reflecting on History

Mon, 14 Aug 2023

August 14, 2023. The HTW team is ready to talk. In a special episode that wraps up Season 4, Sally asks the people behind the scenes about lessons they've learned from telling hundreds of true stories about the past. It’s a great conversation you’re not going to want to miss. 


And when you’re finished, please fill out our listener survey: bit.ly/htw2023.

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History’s Undelivered Speeches

Mon, 07 Aug 2023

August 8, 1974. President Richard Nixon sits in the Oval Office, addressing the American people. He tells them: I’m going to resign. The news is shocking, but not unexpected. Today, it might even seem inevitable. But in the days leading up to the big decision, Nixon himself didn’t know what he would do. At night he roamed the halls of the White House, torturously weighing his options. He even ordered a speechwriter to draft a statement announcing his refusal to resign. Sally Helm sits down with political speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum to talk about this curious kind of a document: a speech that could’ve changed history if only it had been given. They discuss what Nixon, and two other speech givers, would have felt preparing multiple drafts, as they faced an uncertain future, and how the world would be different had these speeches been given.

Special thanks to our guest: Jeff Nussbaum, author of Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History.

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Special Announcement

Fri, 04 Aug 2023
We’ll be back next week with a regular episode, but please listen to this for an important HTW update!

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The Donner Party Turns Deadly

Mon, 31 Jul 2023

August 4, 1846. A few months into their journey from Illinois to California, a group of pioneers encounters trouble. They’ve just found a note from their guide. It essentially says, “That shortcut I told you to take through the Wasatch Mountains – don’t.” The setback disastrously delays their trip. Weeks later, when they reach the Sierra Nevada, it’s dangerously late in the season. Soon, a winter storm traps them in the mountains. What did they have to do to survive? And what’s the truth behind the legendary Donner Party?

Special thanks to our guest: Daniel James Brown, author of The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride.

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Destroyer of Worlds (Replay)

Tue, 25 Jul 2023

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 sound. The first-ever atomic bomb explosion... was a success. How did scientists working on the Manhattan Project create what was then the most powerful weapon in history? And how did the bomb’s existence forever change our sense of what human beings are capable of?

Thank you to our guest Dr. Jon Hunner, a professor emeritus of U.S. history at New Mexico State University and author of Inventing Los Alamos: The Growth of an Atomic Community and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West.

This episode originally aired July 13, 2020.

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