Key Battles of American History
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Key Battles of American History

James Early
War has played a key role in the history of the United States from the nation’s founding right down to the present. Wars made the U. S. independent, kept it together, increased its size, and established it as a global superpower. Understanding America’s wars is essential for understanding American history. In the Key Battles of American History, host James Early discusses American history through the lens of the most important battles of America’s wars. James is an Adjunct Professor of History at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX. He has published one book and two scholarly articles. He is also the cohost (with Scott Rank) of the Presidential Fight Club, Key Battles of the Civil War, Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, and Key Battles of World War I podcasts.
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Oppenheimer (Part 1)
July 10, 2024 - 61 min
In this episode, James and Sean discuss the first half of the epic 2023 biopic Oppenheimer. 
Masters of the Air Episode 9
July 6, 2024 - 66 min
In February 1945, Major Rosenthal's plane is shot down over Berlin; he parachutes into no man's land and is rescued by the Red Army. The Germans evacuate Stalag Luft III, forcing the prisoners to march in freezing conditions; they are taken via train to Nuremberg before being interned at Stalag XIII. Cleven and two other officers escape, and Cleven makes it to Allied lines. Egan and the other prisoners are taken to Stalag VII and are liberated soon after. In Poznań, Major Rosenthal enters Żabikowo prison camp (which replaced Fort VII) where he sees the bodies of prisoners, as well as signs of the earlier Jewish inmates. Majors Cleven, Egan, Rosenthal and Crosby reunite at Thorpe Abbotts; they participate in Operations Manna and Chowhound to supply food to the Dutch population stricken by Hongerwinter. After the German surrender, the 100th departs for home. The series ends with a montage explaining the future lives of its central characters.  Join Sean and James as they discuss this epic and heart-warming episode.
The Manhattan Project
July 3, 2024 - 39 min
In this episode, James and Sean McIver briefly tell the story of the Manhattan Project, the history-changing effort to develop an atomic bomb and end the Second World War.
Masters of the Air Episode 8
June 29, 2024 - 44 min
In this episode, Sean and James discuss Part 8, which introduces the heroic Tuskegee Airmen into the story. In June 1944, Captain Crosby conducts operational planning for two hundred bombing missions against Wehrmacht positions in France in preparation for Operation Overlord. Working for three straight days, he passes out and sleeps through D-Day. There is virtually no resistance from the Luftwaffe. During Operation Dragoon, the Tuskegee Airmen of the 99th Fighter Squadron are downed attacking German positions at the Côte d'Azur; 2nd lieutenants Richard Macon, Robert Daniels, and Alexander Jefferson are transferred to Stalag Luft III, now under control of the SS. They are invited by Cleven to join with preparations for a potential breakout, now that the Red Army is approaching.
Into the Cold Blue with Jared Frederick
June 26, 2024 - 56 min
In this episode, James welcomes historian, author, and YouTuber Jared Frederick back to the podcast.James and Jared discuss Jared’s exciting new book Into the Cold Blue, coauthored with WW2 veteran John Homan, who flew 35 missions as copilot of a B-24 bomber crew during 1944.
Masters of the Air Episode 7
June 22, 2024 - 53 min
In the Spring of 1944, the men of the 100th are upset to learn that the number of missions required for a crew to be discharged is being increased to twenty-eight. Captain Rosenthal completes his twenty-fifth mission, but decides to reenlist. Rosenthal is placed in command of the 350th. Captain Crosby begins an affair with ATS officer Westgate. Sgts. Quinn and Bailey return to base and are exempted from further missions due to their knowledge of the escape lines. In Stalag Luft III, Major Cleven and other prisoners of war build a crystal radio to tune into the BBC news. A large group of British prisoners escape; Cleven, Egan and the other American officers are threatened that the camp will be turned over to the SS and Gestapo if there are further escape attempts.  Join Sean and James as they discuss this exciting episode.
World War 2 War Crimes Tribunals with Carl Archer
June 19, 2024 - 59 min
In this episode, James interviews Carl Archer, an attorney, history buff, and Colonel in Early’s Raiders, about the war crimes tribunals that occurred after the Second World War.
Masters of the Air Episode 6
June 15, 2024 - 53 min
In this episode, Sean and James discuss Part 6, which takes us with Egan and Cleven into a German POW camp. October 1943; Major Egan is taken prisoner and almost dies after he and other downed pilots are attacked by civilians while being marched through a bombed town. He is taken to Dulag Luft for interrogation before being transferred to Stalag Luft III. There, he meets other comrades from the 100th, including Cleven. Meanwhile, Lt. Rosenthal and his crew are sent to a country estate for relaxation and counseling, which Rosenthal resists. Captain Crosby attends a conference at the University of Oxford where he meets a British ATS officer whom he bonds with before she is unexpectedly called away.
Bermuda Code Breakers
June 12, 2024 - 19 min
When you think about key centers of code breaking activity in the Second World War, what places come to mind? How about Bermuda? It has been said Bermuda was Britain’s number-one listening post during World War II.  In this episode, commissioned by Early's Raiders Major Joan Bellfort, James discusses the British Imperial Censorship Station on Bermuda, whose censors (many of whom were women) revealed a major plot to damage American merchant convoys to the U. K.
Masters of the Air Episode 5
June 8, 2024 - 37 min
The 100th returns from the Bremen mission after taking heavy casualties. Lt. Crosby replaces Captain Payne as the lead navigator and is promoted. Major Egan leads another bombing raid to Münster just days after the Bremen mission. The mission ends disastrously for the 100th after they are intercepted by swarms of fighters. All but one B-17, piloted by Lt. Rosenthal, are shot down. Having bailed from his doomed plane, Major Egan parachutes alone into the German countryside of Westphalia. Join Sean and James as they discuss this second transitional episode, in which  Lt. “Rosie” Rosenthal replaces Cleven and Egan as the heart and soul of the “Bloody 100th”
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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
James is an Adjunct Professor of History at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX. He has published one book and two scholarly articles. He is also the cohost (with Scott Rank) of the Presidential Fight Club, Key Battles of the Civil War, Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, and Key Battles of World War I podcasts.
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