Immortalised in popular culture by the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical of 1978, Eva Perόn lived an astonishing life. From an illegitimate birth in poverty stricken rural Argentina, Eva, by way of a brief acting career, married the country’s future president, and reached the highest echelons of Argentinian society. Feted on her “Rainbow Tour” of Europe in 1947 as First Lady, she met heads of state, dignitaries and the Pope. In Argentina, her Foundation gave scholarships, built homes, hospitals, and other charitable institutions, and gave her almost saint like status. Her tragic death from cancer at the age of 33 was by no means the end of the Evita story, which continued to have profound effect on Argentina, its politics and its people far beyond her early death. Evita remains one of the most fascinating and influential women of the 20th century.
The Space Race
Born out of the rivalry of opposing Cold War ideologies, the Space Race was a momentous chapter in human history. Between 1957, when the Soviets were the first to launch an artificial satellite into earth orbit, to the final moon landing by the United States in 1972, the Space Race brought about astonishing technological advances, and achievements of immense skill and courage on the part of the astronauts and cosmonauts who rode the rockets to space. President John F Kennedy’s dramatic challenge in 1961 to NASA and its contractors to build spacecraft to fly astronauts to the moon and back by the end of the decade seemed at the time to be science fiction, and how that feat was duly accomplished is one of mankind’s greatest stories.
The Battle of Britain and Operation Sealion
A different perspective on our “Finest Hour”, the Battle of Britain. Whilst the courage, skill and sacrifice of the pilots of Fighter Command is unquestionable, were German forces in fact capable of achieving a successful seaborne invasion of Britain in 1940? Has the contribution of both the Royal Navy and Britain’s land forces (as portrayed by Dads Army) in preventing an invasion been underestimated by popular history? And to what lengths was the British Government prepared to go in the event on an invasion being attempted?
The Cold War
The conflict that defined and shaped the modern world. From its origins in the wartime conferences between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, to the Iron Curtain, to the Berlin airlift, to the U-2 incident, to the Cuban missile crisis, to the space race, to the Vietnam war, to the KGB versus the CIA, to Thatcher Reagan and Gorbachev, to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, the Cold War dominated the world’s political landscape for more than 40 years. It is a story of tyrants, power struggles, missile gaps, subterfuge, spies and superpower summits, but finally a story of how ordinary people changed the course of history.