Standing in an open car, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip drive through Berlin, waving to cheering crowds. Meanwhile, staff at Hotel Adlon are busily preparing for the royal visit. The year is 1965 and it is the first time since 1909 that a British monarch has visited Germany.
The footage is in black and white; it is jerky and white stripes are visible, but watching it even almost 60 years later, the mood and significance of the visit are evident. DW plans to show these and other historical moments on its new YouTube channel starting July 30.
"Histotainment," a combination of the words 'history' and 'entertainment,' is the order of the day. These include media formats like documentaries, history podcasts, historical novels and computer games with historical plots that aim to convey our past in an engaging way. In other words, this is where history becomes cool and more present than ever.
'History Stories' and 'Arts Unveiled'
"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday," wrote Pulitzer Prize winner and 1938 Literature Nobel Prize laureate Pearl S. Buck. With the help of the past, the new YouTube channel aims to help people better understand and classify the present. "DW History and Culture" also presents previously unseen historical images and tells stories that everyone thinks they know, but which reveal so many previously unknown details that viewers are bound to be astonished.
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The channel wants to be the platform where people interested in history can find information about various historical events, eras and individuals. To this end, old recordings, images and soundtracks are unearthed from the depths of the archives and retold in new media formats — putting events into perspective with utmost care in an entertaining way.
One of the new formats uploaded weekly to the new English YouTube channel is "History Stories," a retro format that uses archival footage to put past events in a new context. The channel features well-known and not-so-well-known episodes from culture, politics, business and science that date back years and still have an impact today. Some programs are also produced in German for the "DW Deutsch" and "DW Deutsch+" TV channels. From the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to the beginning of the legendary Love Parade,the topics are diverse and explored in-depth.
The second format, which will appear together with "History Stories" is called "Arts Unveiled." Its episodes are based on newly-filmed material about historical aspects, answering fascinating questions in the form of an explainer. "Why will Stephen King probably never win the (literature) Nobel Prize" "Why does everyone actually love the pop band ABBA?" and "Why did Adolf Hitler idolize the music of Richard Wagner?"
A documentary on Berlin being a metropolis for transpeople will soon air on the DW YouTube channel 'History and Culture'. "It's no news that there is a great deal of audience interest in videos on historical topics. So it made sense for Deutsche Welle to develop a new product that focuses exclusively on this genre," said Rolf Rische, director of the Culture and Documentaries department at DW.
"This also makes sense because, as a public service broadcaster and member of the ARD broadcasting network (Germany's national broadcaster), we have large and magnificent film archives at our disposal. And there are still many treasures to be unearthed there," he added.
Both formats officially launch on July 30.
Author Rayna Breuer
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