At the outbreak of WWII, the ancient gothic castle of Colditz was converted into a prisoner-of-war camp. Its location on a rocky spur overlooking a river made it the ideal location for a high-security prison, or so the Germans thought.
Sent to Colditz were some of the most difficult allied prisoners-of-war.
Made famous after the second world war in memoirs, films and TV, Colditz was known for its multiple escape attempts, some of great derring-do, others were feats of ingenuity and engineering.
In this episode, I'm joined by Ben Macintyre.
Ben is the bestselling author of books including Agent Sonya, SAS: Rogue Heroes, The Spy and the Traitor, Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends. Ben's new book Prisoners of the Castle: An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz, the Nazis’ Fortress Prison takes a new look at the Colditz and really fills out the story.
The evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in 1940 is one of the iconic moments of the Second World War. The miracle of the 'little ships' plucking soldiers off the beaches is regularly played out in the popular media, including the 1958 and 2017 films 'Dunkirk'. But, this is very much the British narrative. What if we turn the tables to look at the fighting from the German perspective?
Joining me once more is Robert Kershaw.
In this episode, we are looking at the closing weeks of the war in 1945. August would see the Russians enter the war with Japan, the atomic bombs dropped, and an attempted coup in Japan. The culmination of which would be the final declaration of surrender by Japan’s Emporer Hirohito on the 15th of August, followed a couple of weeks later by the formal ceremony on the USS Missouri presided over by General MacArthur.
I am joined by Barrett Tillman.
Barrett specializes in naval and aviation topics and has a prestigious back catalogue. His latest book is When the Shooting Stopped: August 1945.