SURVEY Please fill in a survey to help us improve our media player

second world war

  • Audio contentRegister of 30,000 women in the snow at Ravensbrueck camp, a drawing by Violette Lecoq 1946. Catalogue reference: RW2-2

    Never Forget: The Holocaust and Nazi Persecution

    In this talk – held as part of Holocaust Memorial Day – record specialists Ela Kaczmarska and Lauren Willmott shed light on the atrocities committed during this dark period of history and the millions of victims who were persecuted by the […]

  • Audio content1939-register

    Using the 1939 Register: Recording the UK population before the war

    The preparations had been made well in advance. Now Britain was at war, and as the uniformed army prepared to face the enemy, a civilian army was mobilised at home. National Registration Officers, registrars, and 65,000 enumerators set about the […]

  • Audio contentDunkirk: from disaster to deliverance, by Sinclair McKay

    Dunkirk: from disaster to deliverance

    Drawing on fresh new interviews with Dunkirk veterans – soldiers and sailors – plus unseen private correspondence and diaries, author Sinclair McKay delves into a pivotal historical moment and beneath the myth. The story of how a raggle-taggle flotilla of […]

  • Audio contentSOE: Lord Selborne's correspondence (catalogue reference HS 8/944)

    Special Operations Executive (SOE) service – some alternative sources

    Have you been unsuccessful in searching for a personal file for someone in SOE or perhaps you found a file containing little detail? There may be alternative or supplementary sources. This talk suggests ways to identify these sources and find […]

  • Audio contentCover of 'Winter Games', by Rachel Johnson

    Writer of the month: Suddenly, all roads led to Munich, 1936 – why I wrote Winter Games

    Rachel Johnson discusses the writing of Winter Games. Rachel is a columnist, bestselling novelist and the ninth editor of the world’s oldest women’s weekly, The Lady magazine. She was educated at St Paul’s Girls’ School and New College, Oxford. She […]

  • Audio contentA screenshot of

    Locating London’s wartime past:

    Bomb Sight uses geography to link together The National Archives’ Second World War Bomb Census maps for London with photographs and personal narratives from other sources, within a web-mapping and mobile application that can be used by students and citizen […]

  • Audio contentImage from cover of 'Stalingrad' by Anthony Beevor

    Writer of the month: Stalingrad and Berlin – researching the reality of war

    Antony Beevor discusses his experience of researching the reality of war. Antony Beevor is an author whose books include: Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson, Wolfson and Hawthornden Prizes); Berlin The Downfall; The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia); D-Day – The Battle […]

  • Video contentDig for Victory

    Dig For Victory

    An appeal to everyone during wartime to ‘Dig for victory’ by cultivating vegetables for the good of the country and their own better health. Context The tide of war was beginning to turn in 1942 in Britain’s favour. However, German […]

  • Audio contentCatalogue reference: MPL 1 450 (1) - D-Day fighter patrol area map

    Writer of the month: Hunting for spies in The National Archives

    In our first Writer of the Month talk, Times journalist Ben Macintyre discusses his latest book Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (Bloomsbury, 2012) and how he turned his research into a published work. Ben Macintyre is […]

  • Audio contentPlan of Operation Frankton, attack on Axis shipping by canoe (the Cockleshell Heroes) December 1942, cat. ref. DEFE 2/218

    A Brilliant Little Operation: The full story of how the Cockleshell Heroes mounted the greatest raid of WW2

    This talk was given by Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and UN High Commissioner for Bosnia, and author of ‘A Brilliant Little Operation: The full story of how the Cockleshell Heroes mounted the greatest raid of […]

  • Video contentSessions for Schools: Noor Khan as a wireless operator

    Sessions for Schools: Noor Khan as a wireless operator

    Noor Khan (played by actor Chandrika Chevli) talks about her experience as a wireless operator. This clip is available to students in preparation for a Key Stage 2 videoconference ‘Noor Khan: Behind Enemy Lines’

  • Audio contentinf3-133-britain-strikes

    Total war

    This talk focuses on the concept of total war, what it means, and what it has meant over the past 200 years, with particular reference to the First and Second World Wars, the Boer War, the American Civil War and […]

  • Audio contentRed Cross disinfectant soap 1909, cat. ref. COPY1-284 (272)

    The British Red Cross and its archives

    The British Red Cross has long recognised the importance of its history and archive collection, maintaining an archive since the late 1960s. The talk outlines the history of the British Red Cross and show how this has left a record […]

  • Audio contentAnderson Shelter design, cat. ref. HO 205/207

    Necessity, the mother of invention: Britain’s response to the demands of total war 1939-1945

    This talk is about British invention and innovation during the Second World War – providing the tools to fight the war. Clive Hawkins is a Military Specialist at The National Archives, where he has worked for 35 years. View the […]

  • Audio contentTNA(PRO)HO338-27 WORLD WAR II BLITZ(Bomb damaged building London)

    Exploding the mysteries of the Bomb Census

    Was your family or local area affected by air raids during the Second World War? This talk explains how you can research details of bombing incidents using the maps, photographs and other records originally made for the Ministry of Home […]

  • Authors


You can find help on how to download and listen to our podcasts in our quick guide to getting started. If you wish to re-use any part of a podcast, please note that copyright in the podcasts and transcripts in some cases belongs to the speakers, not to the Crown. Please contact the Copyright Officer with queries. If commenting, please be aware of our moderation policy.


Select an option to receive our free podcast series, using either RSS or iTunes. See our help guide for more information on podcast subscription.