The city of Sarajevo lies at the heart of the Balkans in southeastern Europe in the 1910s. This part of the continent is a tinderbox. It may be 500 miles from the Austrian capital, but for the ruling imperial family, the Hapsburgs maintaining control of Sarajevo is high on their priority list today. On June the 28th, 1914, the city is preparing to host a state visit from the emperor in waiting Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It will go down as one of the most significant days in global history.
My name is Paul McGann and welcome to Real Dictators, the series that explores the hidden lives of tyrants. You'll be right there in their meeting rooms and private quarters on the battlefields and in their bunkers, up close and personal with some of history's most evil leaders. In this episode, we continue the story of Adolf Hitler's early years, the period that saw him rise from a childhood of obscurity to a young adulthood of rebellion and treason. From Noisey podcast's, this is real dictators.
In 1914, Sarajevo has been part of Austria, Hungary for less than half a century and its integration into the empire has been far from smooth. Many who live here, chiefly the Bosnian Serbs, are not content to submit to imperial rule. Instead, they want to join with the neighboring state of Serbia. Dialogue has gotten them nowhere. A radical band of students called young Bosnia decide to take matters into their own hands. Their plan is to lie in wait for the Archduke Franz Ferdinand as he parades through the city and murder him in cold blood.
Their boys or barely men. But this group of teenagers is about to upend the world order.
On the morning of June the 28th, the archduke and his wife, the Duchess Sophie, take to the streets of Sarajevo in an open top touring car. The Archduke's Bortz, an impressive handlebar mustache, is tall, ceremonial Sherko hat is perched precariously on his head. Dr. Sophie was a plutonic attached with a headscarf, so it doesn't blow off in the dry. She clutches a bouquet of flowers, a gift from a respectful dignitary. The roads are lined with well-wishers and locals straining for a sight of their future emperor.
The Archduke ALCA turned into Franz Josef Street, the car grinds to a halt right in front of a deli. A 19 year old called Gavrilo Princip steps forward out of the shadow of the deli's warning. He takes out a gun. He fires two shots. Sophie, the duchess, is the first to die, Franz Ferdinand will succumb to his wounds soon after. This assassination is the spark that ignites World War One. The delicate balance of power in Europe is broken on the 28th of July, Austria, Hungary, backed up by Germany, declares war on Serbia.
Other countries soon follow with their own declarations. The allied powers line up against the central powers, this scene is set for one of the largest and deadliest conflicts the world has ever seen. 600 miles north of Sarajevo, in the German city of Munich, men and women take to the street to celebrate the declaration of war. Many feel that war is long overdue. Germany should be deserves to be a global power. It's high time the Kaiser fulfilled the promise of the unified nation, no longer with the German empire be held back by its enemies.
Among those flocking to audience plats, Munich Central Square is a 25 year old watercolor painter, an occasional laborer. His dark hair is combed neatly to the side. In one hand, he clutches a hat. Is neat, mustache sits above a mouth that cracks into a grin. Adolf Hitler may be an Austrian citizen by birth, but in his mind, he belongs wholly to Germany. Munich is his home now. And he relishes the prospect of Germany at war, but how did Hitler end up here in Munich?
Last we heard, he was a struggling artist in Vienna. It's been one year since the young man from the borderlands moved to Germany for good. Hitler had been living in Vienna in the hope of establishing himself as an artist, but come 1913, it's clear that mission has ended in failure. Hitler has been rejected twice from Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts. When he sought to reapply as an architecture major, he was turned down again. He's failed to wean himself off the allowance he receives from his late parents estate.
His watercolour landscapes barely pay the bills, he makes up the rest, working construction shifts, doing odd jobs. He decides he's had enough of Vienna and enough of Austria. He's grown up idolizing the German empire. For a time as a child, his family lived in Bavaria. He speaks the German language with a Bavarian accent. It makes total sense that he should make Munich the largest city in the state, his home. Like so much of Hitler's early life, the precise circumstances of his crossing into Germany are shrouded in mystery.
But reading between the lines, historians believe turmoil in Hitler's personal life may play a part in his decision to leave Vienna when he does. Professor Thomas Veber. We don't really even know what Hitler was up to during his last year in Vienna. Hitler moved from Vienna to Germany, from Vienna to Munich in 1913, but he consistently and repeatedly lied about when he arrived. He would claim time and time again to have arrived in Germany in 1912, when in reality he only arrived.
Then think why? I think it's reasonable to assume that something fundamental happened during those years and that Hitler, for whatever reason, really, really didn't want people to know about what had happened. Even in the early to mid nineteen twenties when he was talking to people very close to him, she would later say that it was really weird how Hitler would happily talk about his childhood years, but that he was always kind of blocking off once they would get to the Vienna years.
And she always felt that something personal and quite possibly something relating to encounters with Jews happened during that time. So, again, I have to stress we don't know what happened, but we do know that Hitler didn't want us to know about it. Whatever this mysterious event may be, whether it's a falling out with a Jewish acquaintance or some other kind of upheaval in Hitler's personal life, there's an additional explanation for his sudden departure from Vienna. This one is rather less ambiguous.
He's dodging the draft. Young men in Austria are required to register for army service. This is all the more important as the Hapsburg Empire gears up for the war to end all wars. Adolf Hitler, however, has no intention of serving in the Austrian army. Professor Frank McDonagh. So he should have actually been called up into the Austrian army. He says it's not because he's a coward, it's because he hates the Hapsburg Empire. He doesn't want to fight for them, he says, but he disappears because he's going to get closer with the authorities are trying to find them.
Hitler views Austria, Hungary as a Mongol empire and its army as a Mongol army. The ranks of Hapsburg forces contain faces and voices from all over Europe, Hitler loathed it. He can't stand the thought of fighting for a multicultural nation. The Austrian recruitment offices have been on his case for a while. They've been tracing his movements, following up on all the addresses he's had over the years, and the noose is tightening.
Professor Claudia Kunz, he was registered living in Linz, which is in Austria, and Hitler had not registered for the draft. He was living, in fact, life on the streets of Vienna. So rather than going home to Linz and registering for the draft, he hopped on a train and went to Munich.
Once again, Adolf Hitler's parents lend him a hand from beyond the grave as the final part of his late father's estate passes into his hands. Hitler has the means to set himself up in Germany. In Munich, the young man picks up pretty much where he left off in Vienna and for the next year or so in Munich, you look pretty much like he did in Vienna, shiftless, hanging around in coffee houses. He had enough money to stay in a rooming house.
Hitler had swerved military service. But as a child of the borderlands, he should know better than to think he's gotten away with it. The border between the two empires is fairly porous, people pass to and fro all the time. The Austrian recruiters are more than capable of tracing Hitler to Munich. They catch up with him once again, fate caught up with him, Hitler in 1913 was found out. The Lintz authorities contact the consulate. They discovered Hitler.
They brought him in. They said, OK, you've got to register for the draft or face prison. Hitler was pulled wires. He did everything he could. Finally, the day came when he had to report to the Austrian consulate in Munich and they said, no, you have to be drafted. They insist that he travels back over the border to the Austrian city of Salzburg to be assessed by the recruiting officer, that Hitler finally did agree on presenting himself for a military medical exam across the border in Dallas, Texas, back in Austria.
And that resulted in him receiving a military exemption on medical grounds to be drafted and to be actually taken to the army. You have to pass a physical. And Hitler flunked his physical, so he escaped the draft. He gets off with a doctor's note saying that he is just the soup that's got a chest complaint. So the great rabble-rousing dictator actually saves his own face to become a soldier. Whether or not he, objectively speaking, was to say it is difficult to say, but it's unlikely.
It's more likely that even though this is just a few months before the First World War, I think in a way they could see here was a guy who was extremely unwilling to serve and it was just easier to give him a medical exemption than to do anything else.
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With NetSuite joining over 24000 companies using NetSuite right now, let NetSuite show you how they'll benefit your business with a free product to her and NetSuite dot com slash info. Schedule your free product to her right now. And NetSuite dot com slash info. NetSuite dot com slash info. Adolf Hitler is free to resume his carefree Munich lifestyle. A year later, in 1914, the declaration of war finally comes, and everywhere in Europe, people sense that a war was going to come after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in June of 1914.
Tensions ran high. How could the successor to the Austrian Empire throne be murder without something happening? The end of July. War was declared. Hitler rushed to the center of Munich, joined the throngs of people cheering that the war began because it came as a relief. This is a generation that had never known war. All they had was the glorious pictures that they learned in their history book. One fateful photograph captures this moment. The crowd gathers in audience plants in Munich, celebrating the declaration of war in their midst, Adolf Hitler in later years.
This photo will become central to Nazi mythology. Hitler will track down the photo and have it published far and wide, claiming it as proof of his unshakable commitment to the German military coups.
And years later, Hitler asked his private photographer to look over all the pictures of the crowd in the Munich and downtown Munich cheering when the war came. And finally, with a magnifying glass, his photographer, Heinrich Hoffman, found a picture of Hitler with a big sort of handlebar mustache cheering in the crowd.
This photograph started to be used by Nazi propaganda in the late 1920s. And the reason why they use this is because it kind of classified or epitomized this idea that Hitler was just a man in the crowd. He was just an ordinary German. And it was the experiences of those four years that brought this man from the crowd into being the leader of Germany.
Hitler may have dodged the draft, but that's not to say that he's a coward. Despite his maneuverings, he's not actually opposed to the idea of joining up as a soldier. In fact, he relishes the prospect of taking up arms. It's just that for him, it's crucial who he fights for.
Germany and Austria may be on the same side, but as far as Hitler is concerned, there is only one empire to which he will attach his colors. The German empire all day long.
Adolf Hitler served in the German armed forces during the First World War, which is extremely strange because Hitler was in fact, until 1932, no German citizen.
So why would this Austrian citizen serve in the German armed forces?
He sees himself as German and he also sees Austria as German. He thinks Austria should be united with Germany, something that he achieves later on. So it's kind of like natural for him not to want to fight for the Hapsburg Empire. And so he says he far prefers to fight for Germany.
Munich's conscripts are part of the Bavarian army. The Bavarian army is a subsidiary of the German forces. So it's the Bavarian army Hitler wants to be part of.
He wanted to fight for Bavaria.
He wanted to fight for his country, and he wanted to live out on the relic life he'd read about when he was a boy, reading about history as a kid or as a teenager, as someone growing up in the borderlands of Germany and Austria, he genuinely thinks that all Germans belong under one roof, that Austria, Hungary, as this multi-ethnic dynastic empire, is just a kind of weird thing and that he definitely does not want to serve them. But he wants to serve the fatherland.
He wants to serve the country that would hopefully, if victorious, help to bring all Germans together under one roof.
So he volunteers among circumstances that have never been quite resolved. He's being accepted into the Bavarian army because, I mean, of course, tactically, they shouldn't have really allowed a foreigner to serve, but they did accept him.
We don't quite know whether they just didn't look at whether he did have German citizenship, whether Hitler's claim that he had received special dispensation from the office of the Bavarian king is true, or whether just the expectation of local recruiter was what the Austrians are Germans and we can really use any volunteer. However, that might have been Hitler ends up in the Bavarian army.
Like many boys at the time, Hitler was raised on tales of military heroism, German greatness. But it's one thing to read romantic accounts of war. It's another thing entirely to become a soldier yourself.
He, of course, has never been trained at this point, so he is trained over the next few weeks, both in Munich and in a military training ground outside of Munich. And then in late October, he's being sent together with this newly established unit, the Sixteenth Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. He's being sent to Belgium and it is then there that his regiment would serve throughout the war.
For 400 miles, the Western Front stretches all the way from the North Sea down to the Swiss border. This will be the decisive arena of conflict. Young German soldiers, like their allied counterparts, arrive in Flanders with their heads full of glory. The war has been marketed to them as a great adventure, a chance to see the world to play their part. In Germany's coming of age, soldiers on both sides of no man's land dig their positions into the earth.
The scales soon fall from their eyes. The reality of war is quite different from what the old tales would have you believe.
Trench life is very, very hard. The trenches were deep. They were muddy. The soldiers had to dig their own trenches. Sometimes they would spend days. Nothing would happen all quiet on the western front and then they would get the order to go over the top and to the enemy fire and risk their lives so often lose their lives. And then the battle would be over. They dig trenches. They would return to their work sometimes days when nothing would happen at all, and there they would be stuck in their trenches deep in mud.
A 25 Hitler is slightly older than many of the recruits he is happy to serve. Hitler never achieved his goals as an artist. His adopted fatherland means everything to him. In later years, Hitler will encourage the notion that he spends the war right at the front line, charging around the trenches with his comrades or hunkering down under heavy fire before heading over the top to vanquish the hated enemy. But in reality, his career as a soldier was quite different from that the reality of his First World War service was kind of very different one.
He served as an infantryman during the first battle of the war because that was an extremely bloody battle as a result of which his unit had to be totally rebuilt and in the rebuilding of the unit. He was moved to regimental headquarters and he became a dispatch runner for the regimental headquarters.
Hitler does not spin the war. Shooting it out in no man's land for most of the conflict is a messenger, a courier.
Well, Hitler was not a foot soldier. Hitler was a messenger. He started off on a bicycle and he ended up on a motorcycle. Hitler's job was to go from the trenches and take messages to the officers who were further back in the line.
And later on in Mein Kampf, he talked about his hard four years as a front soldier living in the trenches. That's not quite right. In the days before, reliable electronic communications via wire. It was always important to send human couriers from a general to the officers in the field. There were always two couriers dispatched, taking separate routes because the likelihood was fairly strong. One of them would be shot and killed or wounded. And Hitler performed that task.
Hitler may go on to exaggerate his war service, but he is undoubtedly brave in the course of four years service in France and Belgium. He will receive the iron cross of first and second class in 1916. The Battle of the Somme claims over one million casualties among the endless list of injured Germans as one Adolf Hitler. Standing in the dispatch runners dugout takes a piece of shrapnel to the leg when an enemy shell explodes nearby. Hitler's superior officer in the regiment, a Jewish lieutenant, incidentally, called Hugo Gutman, is the man who recommended him for military honors.
Recovered from the blessed Hitler is glad to return to his unit and assimilate back into the soldierly life. And Hitler spent a lot of his time then painting watercolors, and then suddenly there would be periods of intense activity where Hitler would risk his life running a vital message from headquarters to the second in command.
It was an odd life because it was quiet, punctuated by intense engagement and activity.
And that seems to be a pattern that Hitler adapted to over the years. Hitler in coffee houses would spend days listlessly sleeping late in the morning, going in to have some coffee and tea, and then that he would speak and he would come to life speaking and then he would relapse into kind of boredom and reading.
He lived according to an erratic pattern which made the life of a soldier probably very compatible with him. And in fact, between the time he was a teenager and the time he was first served as chancellor, Hitler had no regular employment at all except as a soldier. The military is giving Hitler the solidity and the sense of purpose that his life has largely lacked up to No. Peter loves the Bavarian army, but at this stage, there was no inkling of the leadership roles he will go in to embrace his first and his only promotion during the war, he was promoted to being a fighter jet fighter.
I mean, say it's a kind of private, first class military rank. The rank implies that during the entirety of the war, Hitler never had any command, anything over anyone else. And in fact, his commanding officers did not see any kind of leadership quality in Hitler. Many other dictators come to power through the military. They ascend through the ranks, then take control of the government. But Hitler is no charismatic general, he's miles off that. His commanding officers respect him, but in the ranks amongst the privates and infantrymen, Hitler's reputation is rather less positive.
Hitler's buddies from those days always thought he was odd. First of all, he didn't smile. He was very, very serious. He read a lot. And they also noticed that Hitler never got letters from home, even at Christmas. He didn't go on leave to visit his family.
He's an outsider who keeps his distance from the others. During lulls in the fighting, the troops are sometimes allowed to visit the nearby towns. If Hitler does go along, he avoids drink and refuses prostitutes to the bemusement of some of his peers. Hitler even then presented himself as the model of virtue. He didn't drink, not even beer. He didn't smoke. He absolutely remained pure. He said, I am only devoted to my fatherland. I am married to my fatherland as a vegetarian, a non-smoker, sexual abstinence.
He was this image of virtue, of self-discipline, which of course doesn't match his actual lack of self discipline. He never kept a schedule. He couldn't keep his record straight. But he emphasized over and over again he was so uncorruptible that he never even had a bank account. He presented himself as the epitome of high morality. Within a few months of Hitler's having become a soldier, it was Christmas time and that first Christmas in 1914 was famous because without any particular coordination, there was silence up and down the front, a couple of thousand miles of front, and the soldiers from both sides declared an informal Christmas truce.
They didn't fire. They put up white flags and they got together a kind of soldierly way to celebrate their common Christian holiday. Hitler thought that was treason. He said he would not go near such a sign of weakness and Hitler hated it. But in that he was almost alone. Most of the soldiers still felt some kind of camaraderie, even with the enemy soldiers. Not for Hitler.
The story Nazi propaganda would tell of the relationship of Hitler and the men of his regiment was that he was extremely well liked. The story is being told as a kind of band of brothers where everyone saw him as one of their brothers in where everyone developed politically like him. The reality was very, very different. The reality was that the man in the trenches, or at least a lot of them saw him as a marcheline literally is a rear area or pig.
Rear area pig ATAP enshrined in German. That means someone who takes it easy away from the real fighting. Those consigned to the trenches at the front think Hitler has got it easy, what the fellow soldiers say is that he sits around all day waiting to take a message because the message is all day. He's about twenty seven.
They call him Uncle Dolph because they say he seems to be a man who's in his mid 40s in his outlook on life. So he's a very unusual soldier, really.
He's not one of the lads as I mean, being a dispatcher, there is no free pass, but it's a damn sight better than spending day after day, week after week sinking into bloodstained mud. At least Hitler has a bed. At least he sleeps with a roof over his head. The man in the trenches thought that Hitler had a cushy job here, all these kind of lazy guys behind the trenches to have a cushy life, but because they schmooze with the officers, they get all the honors, while none of us who are in the trenches and who are far more courageous get any of that.
And it was because of that that they saw in Hitler a tough marcheline. Indeed, Hitler's wartime comrades will continue to cold shoulder the Austrian writer long after the end of World War One.
So after the war, when Hitler first attended a veterans meeting of the regiment in high hope of being able to recruit men to his political party, he quickly realized that he was kind of still controlled by the majority of them and that, for instance, Jewish officers were not the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the regiment of the the First World War. Nazi propaganda put up this huge reunion and marched through Munich of this regiment. But one man who is missing is Adolf Hitler.
I first thought when I found out about that, that, well, Hitler probably had some important business of state to attend to. But then I found evidence that that wasn't the reason I found a postcard. The wife of one of his closest peers wrote to an up close peer of his where he was saying why it's such a pity Hitler couldn't attend the meeting. But as long as so many people in the regiment have no support and understanding for Hitler, she understands quite well why he can't do so.
It will demonstrate an extraordinary ability to spin the truth of his will use his just up war record, will become a key part of his political identity.
The story that we're telling you is that it was in the trenches of the First World War, that National Socialism was born and that Hitler was just an ordinary man who, like all other Germans, were radicalized and politicized by the war, that it was really only his extraordinary talents, said genius, as a leader that knocked him out and allowed him to become a leader in the aftermath of the First World War. So the point is not whether Hitler was a coward.
He was not in the position. He was ostracized. He was an extremely good soldier. He was extremely conscientious in what he was doing. And he seems to have been quite daring.
But the crucial point is, is that this kind of image of Nazi propaganda of Hitler whizzing from trench to trying to machine gun fire is wrong. With few, if any, human friends, in some ways, Hitler, the soldier is more comfortable around animals than humans. One day at the front, a small white terrier from the British line finds its way into the German trenches. When Hitler arrives with the day's dispatches and is greeted by the dog, he's instantly smitten.
He takes the beast under his wing. He calls it Fuser Little Fox. The only close tie he seems to develop then was with a stray fox terrier, a little dog to whom Hitler spoke and seemed to understand Hitler and obey Hitler and was devoted to Hitler.
Those are all traits that Hitler certainly appreciated 20 years later.
You're right. I used to watch him as if he'd been a man. It was crazy how fond I was of the beast.
Hitler was a dog lover. He had dogs all of his life. I mean, the last dog I was called Blondie, not the pop singer, but but he had this dog called Blondie, who's with him in the bunker right at the end. People said he loved dogs more than he loved people. And it's largely true, his colleague said that, you know, he cared about his dog more than he cared about them.
One day, as this unit relocates to a different section of the line, a railroad official office, Hitler, 200 marks for futsal.
He refuses no amount of money could prise his beloved pet away, but when he leaves the station with his fellow troops, he realizes little futsal has been stolen. He is devastated. The war drags on and on by nineteen eighteen four grinding years are finally approaching something of a conclusion.
Hitler served unusually long in the war right from the start to the end, so many people were broken by the war, but not Hitler. You continue to function and to function well right until the summer of 1918. But it seems that even then, finally, it broke Hitler as well. On October the 14th, as on many other days, Hitler is dispatched to the line with his usual messages. A gas shell, ARC's through the air above the German soldiers.
Those troops, lucky enough to be knocked unconscious by the blast, are unaware of the mustard gas filling the air as the yellow haze clears enough to make out the scene.
The wounded cover the floor. Adolf Hitler is among them.
Hitler was subjected to a mustard gas attack late in the war. We don't even know exactly how this happened. It seems reasonable to argue that when he and a few men from his unit were close to the frontline, that they were poisoned by German mustard gas, that the wind was coming from the wrong direction. So it was blown back into their faces. Hitler, as well as a number of other men, were exposed to mustard gas. They were taken back by medical orderlies to their own lines.
And from there, they were taken straight to your dress station and from there back to Germany, Hitler declared.
Later, he was blinded. He passed out. He woke up in a field hospital and he couldn't see. Several days later, far from the battlefield. Over 600 miles away in the small town of possible in northern Germany, a cold soft breeze blows in off the Baltic Sea, rattling the doors and windows of a German military hospital. Inside on one of the wards, Adolf Hitler sits propped up in bed around him, the bustle of nurses and doctors treating the wounded.
The effects of mustard gas can be debilitating. It can cause permanent damage to the eyes. It's very painful. It makes the skin burn and itch. Hitler will later describe this moment as his lowest ebb. Blind and in agony, he's a victim of war. There is undoubtedly incapacitated. But it may well be that his injuries are psychological rather than physical. We should ask ourselves, so what really did happen, yes, Hitler was exposed to mustard gas.
There are strong indications that Hitler was treated for psychosomatic blindness.
So, in other words, yes, for a loss of eyesight, but not one at that point anymore resulting from the mustard gas, but from the impact of war, from this being a kind of psychological condition in here, the indication is that even Hitler, the man who had served in the war for four years, finally had been broken by the war, that he was suffering from psychosomatic blindness. Hitler will spend the rest of his life policing the historical record of what exactly went on at the hospital.
He will go to extreme lengths to suppress the truth, and Hitler would do his best throughout his life to police the story of what was happening during that time. In fact, he also made sure that his medical file from that time that that would be removed from the archives after 1933. And it seems that it was burned by one of his aides in nineteen forty five. So we no longer have the original almost everyone or everyone really who was treating him or close to him during that period, either mysteriously died or committed suicide under unknown circumstances, including the doctor who treated him.
After my book on Hitler, the First World War came out of the grandson of an American doctor in California approached me, who amongst the records of his father or grandfather had notes he had taken in a meeting with the senior German doctor who claimed that he had seen the medical file and that supposedly confirmed that she had suffered from psychosomatic blindness in. The German doctor was the brother of the guy she was running the archive in which the medical file was held.
So this story is certainly highly plausible. Whatever the precise nature of his injuries, Adolf Hitler is well and truly out of action. He's hundreds of miles from the front, bedridden in hospital, helpless at this point, it's hard nigh on impossible to believe he will become one of the most malevolent dictators in all of history. But Hitler will recover from his physical injuries and from his nervous breakdown. Soon, he will take his first steps into the world of politics.
It's a world he will come to rule with terrifying surety. In the next episode of Real Dictators, Hitler gets the news he's been dreading as he learns that the war has ended. Revolutions break out across Germany as the Kaisers regime is swept away. Back home in Munich, disenchanted and disillusioned Hitler drinks in far right conspiracy theories. Soon he'll meet a man who will change his life.
This middle aged morphine addict, a newspaper editor, will perhaps more than anyone else, shape Adolf Hitler into a tyrant in waiting. That's next time. Real dictators. Real dictators is presented by me again. The show was created by Pascal Hughes, produced by Joel Did our editing and music by Oliver Beams with Strings recorded by Doree McCoole, sound design and mix by Tom Pink with EDIT Assembly by George to follow Noisette podcasts on Twitter for news about upcoming series.
If you haven't already, follow us wherever you listen to your favorite shows or check us out at Wing Dictators Dockum. Learning from mistakes is important, but then you prefer to learn from the painful mistakes of others. I'm Tim Harford, host of Cautionary Tales, the podcast that looks for valuable lessons from great crimes and disasters of the past. You're right with cavalryman of the Light Brigade, as they charge headlong towards certain death, you'll fly on a doomed airliner hijacked by idiots, attend the trial of the art forger who fooled the Nazis and uncover the deeds of a doctor who paid friendly housecalls to his patients while really planning their murders.
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