Have a go at this at home or in the classroom
Dear Historian, I’ve got a problem - can the past help me?
I’m a politician fighting a lengthy, costly and very close fought election in the USA. The thing is that, well, I was ahead and doing really well but now it looks like things are slipping away. Can history give me any comfort?
For anyone studying or teaching the Cold War the links below should help.
Useful timelines and quizzes
A good general history site and links
The BBC’s minisite
CNN’s contribution made to accompany a TV series
A typically excellent offering from the National Archives
The conflict broken down into topics
Dear Historian, I’ve got a problem - can the past help me?
I’m a religious leader, used to speaking out on issues that concern the moral and spiritual health of the country. This time, however, I’ve said something that seems to have hit a raw nerve - and many are calling for me to quit. Am I right to be feeling a bit nervous?
11 February 2008
Kang Khek Ieu was known as ‘Cambodia’s Himmler’, a torturer who oversaw the
deaths of 17,000 people. As he prepares to go on trial, he gives a chilling
insight into the Khmer Rouge - the most detailed account yet from a top
Exclusive by Valerio Pellizzari, Phnom Penh
Monday, 11 February 2008
In the West he has been called “Cambodia’s Heinrich Himmler”; since Pol Pot
himself and his lieutenant Ta Mok cheated justice by dying, he is the most
vivid symbol of the Khmer Rouge left alive. His name is Kang Khek Ieu, but
he is better known by his nom de guerre, Duch (pronounced “Doik”). This
spring, 28 years after fleeing Cambodia ahead of the Vietnamese army, his
trial for mass murder may finally get under way.
Niall Ferguson answers questions about his recent book and TV series ‘War of the Worlds’ on You Tube.read more...»
The June 6th 1982 invasion of Lebanon (codenamed Operation Peace of the Galilee) by Israeli forces was ordered in direct reponse to the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov by the Abu Nidal Organisation (Palestinian ‘terrorist’, a founder of Fatah who had split from Yasser Arafat and the PLO). Lebanon had, after the 1948-49 conflict become the home to around 100,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled from their homes in present day Israel. By the early 1980s this number had grown to about 300,000, with the PLO establishing their own area of control in southern Lebanon. It was this influence that the Israelis sought to end - with the actions of the Abu Nidal Organisation being used as a convenient excuse.read more...»
A judicial system allegedly biased against people simply because they are black. White supremacists calling for African-Americans to be lynched. Mass demonstrations led by prominent black leaders. But all this has been taking place over the past year in America’s Deep South. Unbelievable in the year that a black candidate has, for the first time, a realistic chance of reaching the White House? Or is all this a huge over reaction to a minor event? Read the stories and take a view.
Here’s your opportunity to join the 389,460 others who have signed the online petition calling on the PM to:
‘to create a new public holiday, the National Remembrance Holiday to commemorate The Fallen and our Nation, with the holiday falling on the second Monday in November each year, the day after Remembrance Sunday.’
Follow the link to add your name:
Forget the love affair between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new bride Carla Bruni. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7226646.stm). As usual history provides us with copious comparisons that outshine what the media think is unique. So, in this entry, we list five matches that make the Sarkozy-Bruni partnership seem distinctly second-rate.
Antony and Cleopatra
The last Pharaoh of Egypt and the dashing Roman general
Abelard and Heloise
A monk and a nun whose love letters became famous
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Grieving emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his late wife
Nelson and Lady Hamilton
The Admiral and his ill-fated beauty
Napoleon and Josephine
The tempestuous relationship that enthralled a continent
It looks like the Presidential election of 2008 is going to be a close run thing if the nomination process is anything to go by. Go back eight years to the controversy over GWB’s win and you get a taste of what might be coming. Take a look even further back, to 1877, and you find an ever stranger outcome to the election of 1876. The contest, between Samuel J Tilden (who won the popular vote) and Rutherford B Hayes stood at 184 electoral college votes to Tilden, with Hayes on 165. A further 20 electoral votes were in dispute, with each candidate claiming to have won in the states of Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. Allegations of electoral fraud were rife with many issues focusing on the design of the voting paper itself (remind you of anything GWB?). In some states illiterate voters were helped to make choice by symbols depicting each party. However, some Democratic ballots were found to have the Republican symbol on them (a picture of Abraham Lincoln) thereby fooling those who couldn’t read into marking the wrong box.
The controversy was settled by an informal deal that was to have repercussions for the African-American population. Hayes was given the White House on the understanding that he would remove federal troops from the southern states – where they had been ever since the Civil War. Without these soldiers Democrats were free to seize back control of state governments and end the period of Reconstruction. Blacks were pushed from any position of political influence and barred from voting by Grandfather Clauses and Poll Taxes. It would take nearly ninety years for the damage to be undone.
Take a look at the campaign to have Tilden proclaimed as the ‘Real 19th President’.
This is an interesting story run by the BBC today that has been doing the rounds for months. Rumours have been spreading around the world through discussion boards, email and chat rooms alleging that the government is about to ban Holocaust education in schools for fear of offending Muslims. It is not. Holocaust education remains compulsory for all schools in England.
Studying the Holocaust can be overwhelming. Quite apart from the emotional impact of the terrible events it is the scale of the tragedy in terms of numbers of lives, the enormity of the loss, the complexity of the narrative, the breadth of the geography, the numbing myriad of perpetrator motivation and so on that makes the events so difficult to fathom. Nevertheless, I think that there are ways of understanding both the enormity of the events whilst still maintaining a connection with the human story.
As part of the Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Education Fellowship (something that I would wholeheartedly recommend to all teachers) I’m trying to produce what I pompously call an ‘online exhibition builder’ that will, I hope, eventually be available on the IWM’s website. The important part, however, is that the source material that I am fortunate to be using comes from the unqiue Blechner archive. Essentially the archive consists of around 250 letters and documents that all tell the story of one family - a mother, father and four sons - and what happens to them during the Holocaust. Whilst the letters certainly tell the story of fear, separation, loss, desperation and hope they also hint at the overall narrative. The stories contained within the archive include depictions of deportation, transports, refugees, concentration camps, murder and escape. I would recommend a visit to the website, compiled by Anthony Blechner, that tells the tale of one family caught up in the unique tragedy…
Please visit http://www.blechner.com/
For information on the IWM’s Holocaust Education Fellowship visit http://london.iwm.org.uk/upload/pdf/FellowshipHolocaustEducation2007v1.pdf
Tonight Baroness Thatcher was awarded with a lifetime achievement award (whatever that means) by David Cameron at the Morgan Stanley Great Briton Awards. Read the story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7220424.stm
But as more and more A Level History courses now include topics on Thatcher’s Britain it might be worth considering at what point currents affairs become history. Are we too close to events to be able to unravel Thatcher’s legacy both domestically and internationally?read more...»
January 27th is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It is also day when the Holocaust is remembered in the UK and around the world. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, responsible for the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day in this country, runs events and provides advice to schools and local community groups who wish to have their own commemoration.
So, even if your school is not holding an event you can still show your support for Holocaust Memorial Day 08 by visiting the Trust’s website and lighting a virtual candle.
Apparently the police are incensed that teachers have got a bigger pay rise than they have - a whopping 2.45%.
Whilst the discontent might show itself in the coming weeks in the shape of a few grumpy coppers it will be nothing in comparison to what happened in 1918-19 when the police went on strike. The walk out was in protest at poor wages and other conditions…and the action of the bobbies caught the government off guard. Within twenty four hours 12,000 men - just about the entire Met Police at the time - were on strike.
With troops patrolling the streets the government, under Lloyd George, frantically searched for a solution and eventually caved in. Will Gordon Brown face a similar situation in eighty years on?
...that US President Franklin D Roosevelt met British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at a wartime conference in Casablanca. The ten day meeting in French Morocco, which was codenamed SYMBOL, most significantly ended with an agreement entitled the ‘Casablanca Declaration’. This committed the Allies to settle for nothing less than the unconditional surrender of the Axis forces. In setting out the declaration to the American people FDR told them:
‘...that the only terms on which we shall deal with an Axis government or any Axis factions are the terms proclaimed at Casablanca: “Unconditional Surrender.” In our uncompromising policy we mean no harm to the common people of the Axis nations. But we do mean to impose punishment and retribution in full upon their guilty, barbaric leaders… ‘
The officials at the conference had several dilemmas to sort out. The key questions centred on what kind of split of forces between the Far East / Pacific and Europe / North Africa and where, if at all, a second front should be opened. Essentially, and for possibly for the last time, the British held sway. The American delegation found themselves agreeing to devote their major efforts to the European theatre although without launching a major invasion of north-west Europe in 1943.
I read in the news today that a computer capable of working through 63 million calculations per second has been unveiled in Edinburgh. The machine will, according to the report, help scientists ‘develop life-saving drugs and model climate change and epidemic patterns.’
Getting machines tackle highly complex problems is nothing new. During the Second World War the British created ‘Colossus’ - a huge calculating device that was aimed at cracking the German’s ‘Fish’ ciphers. Whilst the use of Colossus was most famously associated with Alan Turing other pioneers of this kind include Charles Babbage, Konrad Zuse and John von Neumann.
Learn more here:
Welcome to the new History blog.
The idea behind the blog is to both widen and deepen the historical understanding of GCSE and A Level historians. The blog will feature a mixture of entries on historical events, historians and issues that might help with exams, coursework or just understanding history for its own sake. I hope it proves to be useful…