Episode Archive

18 episodes of The Year That Was since the first episode, which aired on August 12th, 2019.

  • There Is No Justice Here: The Red Summer of 1919

    January 21st, 2020  |  Season 1  |  57 mins 55 secs
    1919, african-american history, american history, bolsheviks, lynching, race riots, radicals, red summer, reds, season1, wobblies

    A constant threat of violence hung over the lives of African Americans in the early 20th century, an unrelenting terror that served to deter economic progress and enforce a racist social order. But 1919 was different: violence spread out of the south into northern and midwestern cities and took the form of random, terrifying riots. But the response of African-American leaders in 1919 was also different. They decided enough was enough. The time had come to fight back.

  • Reign of Terror: The First Red Scare

    December 19th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 1 min
    1919, american history, bolsheviks, labor, radicals, red scare, reds, season1, wobblies

    Americans felt under attack in 1919 as a series of riots, strikes, disasters, and bombings hit the country. After radicals attempted to blow up the house of Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, he decided enough was enough. It was time to stop the Red Menace using any means possible. But would Americans tolerate the loss of their civil liberties in the pursuit of Bolsheviks?

  • Pie in the Sky: The Wobblies and the Fight for Labor

    December 10th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  58 mins 56 secs
    1919, american history, i.w.w., labor, season 1, wobblies

    The I.W.W. was a tough, militant, radical union, and its very existence terrified business owners, factory bosses, and the entire U.S. government. Since its founding, the law had been out to get the Wobblies. In 1919, as a record number of Americans went on strike for better wages and working conditions, would the union be able to help them? Would the union even survive?

  • Send All Available Personnel: The United States and the Great Molasses Flood

    November 26th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  59 mins 19 secs
    1919, american history, labor, molasses flood, season 1

    The Purity Distilling Company molasses tank dominated the North End of Boston, standing 50 feet tall over the surrounding tenements. Residents of the area were accustomed to the sight of tank oozing syrup from its seams and making strange rumbling noises from its depths. And one day in January 1919, life changed forever for Bostonians when the walls of the tank suddenly, inexplicably failed. Was it negligence? Or a vicious attack by anarchists?

  • The Great Tide of Our Age: Colonies, Mandates and the Failed Promise of Self-Determination

    November 19th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  50 mins 29 secs
    1919, afghanistan, china, colonies, egypt, fascism, fiume, gabriele d'annunzio, imperialism, italy, japan, korea, league of nations, mussolini, season1, vietnam

    Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points promised self-determination to colonies around the globe, raising hopes of independence and freedom for millions. But Wilson and the Allies had no intention of letting occupied peoples throw off imperialism. What would be the long-term consequences of raising the hopes and then dashing the dreams of so many people?

  • A Grubby Little War: The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire

    November 12th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  57 mins 9 secs
    1919, colonies, imperialism, iraq, israel, mesopotamia, ottoman empire, palestine, season 1, turkey, world history

    The collapse of the Ottoman Empire set off a mad scramble for territory. No one paid any attention to what the people who actually lived in the former empire actually wanted. But in the heart of Anatolia, one Turkish general was determined to preserve his homeland.

  • No Question of Undue Severity: The India Independence Movement

    October 29th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  59 mins 29 secs
    1919, colonies, imperialism, india, indian history, season 1, world history

    At the end of World War I, Great Britain promised India increased autonomy with one hand and took civil rights away with another. The furious population welcomed the leadership of a nationalist with a compelling message of non-violence and self-reliance, one Mohandas K. Gandhi. But when Gandhi organized nationwide protests, the British reacted with fear and force, especially in Amritsar, where a mob lashed out against English residents. The confrontation would end in one of the most shocking events in colonial history.

  • Giving the Natives a Free Hand: The Irish Fight for Independence

    October 22nd, 2019  |  Season 1  |  48 mins 19 secs
    1919, colonies, great britain, imperialism, ireland, irish history, season 1, world history

    The Irish had tried to free themselves from British control for centuries, always to fail. But in 1922, the Irish Free State took its place among the world's independent nations. Learn how an election, a shadow government, and a key literally baked into a cake brought independence to Ireland--along with a bloody civil war.

  • No Cause for Panic: The Spanish Flu Pandemic

    October 15th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 8 secs
    1919, american history, history, india, ireland, season 1, spanish flu, world history

    The emergence of the flu virus that swept the globe between 1918 and 1920 was entirely unexpected, but the resulting pandemic can't be called an entirely natural disaster. Governments made decisions that made the flu much, much worse, and those decisions would have long-lasting consequences--and leave between 50 and 100 million dead.

  • Eggshells Loaded with Dynamite: Allied Intervention in the Russian Revolution

    October 8th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  20 mins 24 secs
    1919, american history, history, russian history, russian revolution, season 1, world history

    In 1919, thousands of American soldiers fought Russian troops on Russian soil--despite the fact President Woodrow Wilson had promised to allow Russia to determine its own political future. Why did the Allies rush to land troops in eastern Siberia and along the Arctic Ocean? And why have we forgotten all about it?

  • The Object of Power: The Russian Revolution and Conflict in Eastern Europe, Part II

    October 1st, 2019  |  Season 1  |  46 mins 51 secs
    1919, czech history, european history, russian history, russian revolution, season 1, sudetenland, tsar nicholas

    The world has been obsessed with the tragedy of the Romanov family for more than a century. It's easy to forget that the Tsar's family were among hundreds of thousands of people killed in the Revolution as well as in conflicts that swept across Eastern Europe. These conflicts would have lasting implications for the entire world.

  • A Gladiator's Gesture: Art after the Great War

    September 24th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  42 mins 46 secs
    1919, american history, art history, dada, european history, return to order, season 1, surrealism, world history

    In 1919, two competing art movements went head-to-head in Paris. One was The Return to Order, a movement about purity and harmony. The other was Dada, a movement about chaos and destruction. Their collision would change the trajectory of Western art.

  • Incident at Chelyabinsk: The Russian Revolution and Conflict in Eastern Europe, Part I

    September 24th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  47 mins 51 secs
    1919, czech history, czechoslovak legion, european history, history, russian history, russian revolution, season 1, tsar nicholas, world war i

    One of the strangest conflicts of the Great War happened 1000 miles east of Moscow between two units of Czech and Hungarian former POWs. What these troops were doing on the edge of Siberia is a fascinating tale of ethnic resentments, self-determination, and unintended consequences.

  • Bring in the Germans: The Fate of the Losers at the Paris Peace Conference

    September 17th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  49 mins 28 secs
    1919, austria, germany, hungary, paris peace conference, season 1, treaty of versailles, world war i

    The most important task at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference was the drafting of peace terms for the losers of the war. Germany and Austria assumed Woodrow Wilson would insist on a fair, respectful compromise peace based on the Fourteen Points. So they were shocked when the Treaty of Versailles demanded territory, demilitarization, and reparations. Is this what caused World War II?

  • Burdened with Glorious Purpose: Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations

    September 10th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  37 mins 54 secs
    1919, american history, episode 2, league of nations, paris peace conference, season 1, woodrow wilson, world history

    Woodrow Wilson believed he and he alone could end war--forever. His plan for the League of Nations would usher in an era of eternal peace. So it really hurt the president's feelings when not everyone agreed with his vision.

  • Our Fathers Lied: The Origins of World War I

    September 5th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  37 mins 46 secs
    1919, american history, bonus episode, kaiser wilhelm ii, season 1, woodrow wilson, world history, world war i

    In August 1914, the world's most powerful nations stumbled into the most devastating war the world had ever known. But why? We examine the origins of the Great War as if it were a bar fight--an analogy that makes more sense than you might imagine.