From 1989 to 1993 a historical investigation became news in tabloid and broadsheet media alike as argument raged over the merits of the combatants in a struggle over who might have done what over a few days in 1945. The case of ‘the Cossacks’ has been perhaps the single most prominent example of historical investigation to be turned into journalism, not only in the acres of newsprint devoted to the story and based upon the several books on the subject but also in a programme in the BBC historical series, Timewatch. We will come to the part played by Timewatch 1 shortly; first, the background.