American Experience Poster

(1988– )

Episode List



10 Jan. 2017
Command and Control
An account of an incident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Ark., in 1980 that almost caused the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead 600 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The near-calamity was kicked off when a socket fell from the wrench of an airman performing maintenance in a Titan II silo and punctured the missile, releasing a stream of highly explosive rocket fuel. Included: first-person accounts of USAF personnel on the scene.
24 Jan. 2017
Rachel Carson
A profile of scientist and writer Rachel L. Carson (1907-64), whose 1962 book "Silent Spring" helped launch the modern environmental movement.
31 Jan. 2017
The Race Underground
Engineers overcome challenges to construct America's first subway system in Boston.
7 Feb. 2017
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City explores the intertwined narratives of the worst domestic terrorist attack in the U.S. and the anti-government movement that inspired the actions of Timothy McVeigh, including two standoffs with law enforcement with tragic outcomes - Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. On April 19, 1995, McVeigh, a former soldier deeply influenced by the literature and ideas of the radical right, set off a truck bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring 675 others. Oklahoma City traces the events ...
14 Feb. 2017
Ruby Ridge
Shortly before dawn on August 21, 1992, six heavily armed U.S. marshals made their way up to the isolated mountaintop home of Randy and Vicki Weaver and their three children on Ruby Ridge in Northern Idaho. Charged with selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns to an undercover agent, Weaver had failed to appear in court and law enforcement was tasked with bringing him in. For months, the Weavers had been holed up on their property with a cache of firearms, including automatic weapons. When the federal agents surveilling the property crossed paths with members of the ...
10 Apr. 2017
The Great War: Part 1
Explore America's tortured, nearly three-year journey to war. In August 1914, a war unprecedented in size and violence broke out on the European continent. Ever the idealistic diplomat, Wilson vowed to keep his country out of "the Great War." His neutrality was supported but reports from Europe began to challenge America's delicate position. From behind the battle lines came reports detailing German atrocities in Belgium and France: history's first chemical attack and the sinking of the British liner Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. But Wilson stood firm, asserting ...
11 Apr. 2017
The Great War: Part 2
Americas entry into World War 1 is recalled, including the speed of mobilization.
12 Apr. 2017
The Great War: Part 3
Chart the ways in which the bloodiest battle in American history, and the ensuing peace, forever changed a president and a nation. In the fall of 1918, the deadly flu swept through cities at home and at the front. When the tide of war turned, the Germans wanted a cease-fire on Wilson's terms. On November 11, 1918, the war was over, but for Wilson, the last fight remained. He negotiated the terms of the peace treaty and won the world over to his League of Nations, but felled by a stroke, he failed to convince the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, with tragic ...

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