iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Episode 1

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Episode 1

Episode 1 of 3

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 17 October 2011

" Germany as we understand it, unified and strong, only came into existence a mere 140 years ago. Before then ? Well there was Bavaria and Prussia, Saxony, Baden Wurttemberg, Pomerania, Westfalia, Schleswig Holstein .this list is extremely long. And defining where one bit ended and the next began - well, it was utterly bewildering."

Misha Glenny presents a three part history of Germany before the world wars, revealing how weak and fragmented it used to be.

The series starts with the siege of Magdeburg of 1631, when a city the size of Paris was burnt to the ground. The events of the Thirty Years War hugely influenced later German nationalists, as Swedes, French, Danish, Spanish and huge numbers of Scottish mercenaries rampaged through the area we now call Germany.
"Germany was in many ways more sinned against than sinning," concludes contributor Simon Winder.

Misha Glenny is a former BBC central European correspondent and winner of a Sony gold. The producer is Miles Warde, who collaborated with Misha Glenny on previous series about the Alps, the Habsburgs and Garibaldi.

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Germany in Europe

    Programmes looking at the challenges facing modern Germany and providing context.

Germany in Europe

German flag

Programmes looking at the challenges facing modern Germany and providing context.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.