1913: The Year Before

Ep 1-5/10

Monday 10 June to Friday 14 June



The 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War looms on the horizon. 1914 is a date forged into the British consciousness, just as it's carved into monuments the length and breadth of the UK and many places beyond.

With that awareness comes an understanding that it was the war to end all wars, shocking the culture, politics, and societies of Europe, particularly Britain, out of their comfortable progress, and reshaping everything.

In this series, Michael Portillo challenges this notion. Looking at a series of themes - the suffrage movement, the Irish question, the decline of the liberal party and the arts - he argues that to a large extent Britain was already in a state of flux by 1913, and many of the developments people think of as originating from or being catalysed by the war were actually in full flow.

In the first programme, Michael samples the atmosphere of June 1913.

Presenter/Michael Portillo, Producer/Tom Alban for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Publicity