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Seven Great History Topics for Explainer Videos

19. Sep 2018

7 great history topics for explainer videos

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Topics for explainer videos are infinite! There is just so much to explain about the world we live in. So, let’s consider a few fascinating subjects, a few serious issues and a few fun things that will be great history topics for explainer videos. You can check out some unusual, science, and sports topics as well!

Seven Great History Topics for Explainer Videos

1. Isadora Duncan

American dancer Isadora Duncan is known as “The Mother of Dance”. Her work had a profound impact on the art of dance. Her style is still performed to this day, as the aesthetic and pedagogical principles of Isadora’s work were adopted by choreographers and dancers worldwide. But, why on Earth do people in the medical profession refer to injury caused by the entanglement of neckwear as “the Isadora Duncan Syndrome”? Is it a reference to her dance techniques, or could it have anything to do with her untimely death in 1927? Her life story is fascinating, with many highlights. Unfortunately, there were also tragedies (like when her children drowned in the care of their nanny, in 1913, when their runaway car went into the River Seine). So, why not make an explainer video that examines her career, achievements and personal life in great detail?

2. Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin is a series of 24 comic albums created by a Belgian cartoonist, Hergé. His creation was one of the most popular comic series in Europe in the 20th century. Tintin has been published in more than 70 languages, with sales of more than 200 million copies, and has been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film. But where does Tintin come from? There is so much to explain about Tintin. Who was Tintin’s “older brother”? Who was Hergé? Did this comic strip disseminate far-right, fascist viewpoints? Why was the first Tintin adventure set in the Soviet Union? Why was the second one set in the Belgian Congo? (And why was this adventure, in later decades, accused of racism?) And, what about subsequent Tintin stories – what were their ultra-conservative agendas? There is so much to explain about Tintin! This is indeed a great topic for an explainer video!

3. Lord Lucan

His estranged wife was attacked at their Belgravia house. The family’s nanny was bludgeoned to death. Lord Lucan vanished that same night, in 1974. Three days later his car was found abandoned at a cross-channel port. Lord Lucan’s disappearance has remained a mystery for more than 40 years. Who was Lord Lucan? What happened on that fateful night? And most importantly, where is Lord Lucan? Many alleged sightings have been reported around the world and many theories put forward: he lives in France; he lives in Cape Town, South Africa; he lives in Ireland, to mention but a few places where “Lord Lucan has been spotted”… Or, did he shoot himself? Was he fed to a tiger named Zorra, at his friend’s zoo, Howletts? Did he jump from a cross-channel ferry? What happened to the man? To this day, the mystery of his disappearance has not been solved. An explainer video may reveal what really happened to Lord Lucan… (Despite his missing status, a death certificate was issued in 2016, after a long wait, to allow Lord Lucan’s son to inherit the title that is lawfully his!)

4. Stalin’s Great Purge

From 1936 to 1938 the Russian people suffered greatly in what is known as “The Great Purge”. It involved large-scale arrests and executions of the people of the Soviet Union. No one was safe. Communist Party members, Red Army leaders, peasants, and ordinary working class citizens were all under suspicion of crimes against the communist state. (Ultimately even Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, did not survive the purges!) No one knows for certain how many people were murdered during Stalin’s Great Purge, but it is estimated to be more than 1 million. During the peak period of 1937-1938, Stalin’s secret police executed more than 1,000 people per day, most with a shot to the back of the head. Why did Stalin have his own people killed by the thousands? An explainer video may give us the answer…

5. Crossing the Rubicon

Crossing the Rubicon” is a phrase that means “to pass a point of no return”. But this phrase’s history goes back to Roman times! The river Rubicon marked the boundary between Italy and the province of Gaul. Julius Caesar was governor of Gaul. Governors were obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy. But, in January 49 BC, Julius Caesar ignored this explicit order and brought his 13th legion across the river. Julius Caesar deliberately broke the law and made armed conflict inevitable. Why did he do this? The Senate deemed it an act of treason and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate. What happened next changed Roman history forever: the crossing of the Rubicon precipitated a Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Caesar becoming Roman dictator, and to the rise of the imperial era of Rome. Indeed an excellent topic for an explainer video!  

6. Teddy Bears

In November 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt went on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi. He was the guest of honor, but it became clear that Roosevelt was not having much success. So, a bear was cornered by others, clubbed, and tied to a willow tree, for Roosevelt to shoot. Roosevelt was not having any of it! He deemed this to be unsportsmanlike and refused to shoot the bear. A political cartoon of the incident appeared in the paper. A toymaker was inspired to make small soft bear-cub toys. He sent one to the president and received permission to use Theodore Roosevelt’s name for these new toys. “Teddy’s bears” were placed in the toy shop’s window and the toys were an immediate success! The rest is…history! This iconic children’s toy, celebrated in story, song, and film makes a great history topic for an explainer video.

7. Queen Anne

Queen Anne ruled over Great Britain from 1702 to 1714. She was the last Stuart monarch. Political rivalry during her reign was intensified by uncertainty over the succession to her throne. Despite 19 pregnancies only five children were born alive, and, of these, only one son survived infancy. Then, on his 11th birthday, the young prince fell ill… and died 6 days later! His death, in 1700, ended Anne’s hopes of providing herself and her empire with a successor. The queen’s advancing age and her infirmities made the succession a crucial issue. So, in 1701, the Act of Settlement designated who her successors would be. But what would this mean for the history of the throne of England? Queen Anne’s reign seriously needs an explainer video to explain what her life was like and how it impacted on the history of British monarchs.