Historian Dr. James Rogers unfolds untold military stories through the 20th century

The first series of Untold History has Dr. James Rogers at the helm as it goes through the personal histories of war. Through the weapons and their impact on societies around the world the viewer is provided a lens through which to view the human experience of war.

DIAS Fellow James Rogers from the Center for War Studies, at University of Southern Denmark spends a lot of his time with military drones and modern weapons as the focus of his research. An interest that for the average Joe at first wouldn’t align a lot with troubling weapons deployed during the Second World War. But as the series works its way up through the 20th century with selected points of impact, the correlation between the concerns regarding the drones of today and earlier troubling weapons becomes clear.

Unfolding untold history

In the first episode the viewer meets Joseph Kennedy Jr, the older brother of President John F. Kennedy. Joseph tested drones during the Second World War. Unfortunately, things do not go according to plan.

The object was to guide the drone towards a secret German V3 site in France, but it explodes before Kennedy Jr. and the co-pilot escapes the craft, and as a result both are killed.

“The story of Joe Kennedy Jr is a fascinating one. This was a man who was said to be destined for the White House (instead of his brother). But he died a hero, defending the people of London from the V3 supergun,” James Rogers tells.

His research focuses on drone warfare, contemporary security policy, and the history of warfare. In Untold History he acts as both producer, writer and actor while he brings the viewers throughout the European continent and 20th century. With that, and his already extensive resume, he can be said to be quite the jack of all trades.

Repercussions of D-day

76 years ago, on June 6, 1944 Operation Overlord began when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.

By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. The day will forever stand as an impressive masterpiece in the sense of the extensive planning and strategy.

“D-Day was a turning point in the Second World War, one which paved the way for victory. We hear a lot about the victors (and rightly so) yet, there were also a lot of people who were gathered up as Prisoners of War during this period. In the latest episode, we find out what happened to these PoWs when they were sent to prison camps in the UK,” James Rogers explains.

This week’s episode follows German and Italian PoWs who were sent to the UK to live out the war. James Rogers visits Camp 83 – Eden Camp in Yorkshire to take a closer look of the story and lives of the prisoners of war.

The whole series can be watched at the website HistoryHit.tv and is free to access – watch it here.


Dr. James Rogers is Fellow in War Studies at Danish Institute for Advanced Study, at University of Southern Denmark. Additionally, he is Associate Fellow within LSE IDEAS, at the London School of Economics and Special Advisor to the UK Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and a UK MoD Defence Opinion Leader.

Previously he has been Visiting Research Fellow at Stanford University, Yale University, and the University of Oxford. James is the Co-founder and Co-Convenor of BISA War Studies, the War Studies section of the British International Studies Association.

Read more about James Rogers and his work here.