20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of The United Nations
20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of The Middle East 1919-1973
20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of The Welfare State
20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of the Impact of War on Britain 1903-54
20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of The Peace Treaties
20 multiple-choice questions here for GCSE History on the topic of Warfare Through Time
Launches London - 13 June 2014...
WOW! History is a brand new CPD course that will provide teachers with a fantastic collection of resources that can be used immediately in the GCSE History classroom.
We've asked a superb team of experienced and passionate History teachers to develop their best-ever lesson resources for GCSE History. The result is a superb collection of teaching resources that students will find engaging, challenging and enjoyable.
Further information about the contributors and resources provided on the course will be added to this blog entry in the near future.
The inaugural WOW! GCSE History will take place in Central London on 13 June 2014.
Have you ever thought about studying history further? It so happens, as I am sure that many Upper Sixth students are aware, that the UCAS application process is open. If you are thinking of studying history then read on for some useful information such as tips, hints and advice.read more...»
This KS3 revision quiz has twenty questions to allow students to test their knowledge of the The English Civil War.
The recent GCSE results have received widespread media coverage. A significant feature was the increase in candidate numbers opting to take History. I have provided a little more analysis of the GCSE History candidate numbers below to illustrate which specifications were taken by the extra 37,000 students - always interesting to see how the various exam boards are getting on and how their grade performances vary!read more...»
It is 50 years since the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech and there is lot of excellent media coverage of the anniversary.read more...»
I have summarised some of the main features of the new curriculum announced last week alongside a couple of questions and queries.
Looking for ways to get your pupils really enthused about the Battle of Hastings? Want your pupils to show off their creativity? Need your pupils to enhance their communication skills and their ability to work with others? Then please read on..
Ian Mortimer is a godsend for history teachers trying to encourage reluctant students to do a bit of reading. He has an engaging, vivid style, enjoys the story and also seeks out the sort of historical nuggets that still elude textbooks. And unlike the stroppy Terry Deary he probably doesn’t mind his books being used in classes, or recommended by teachers.
Much of the study of the Cuban Missile Crisis focuses on the Soviet–US confrontation. However, it is important to remember that the UK was the third nuclear party involved in the crisis. This excellent article from Total Politics examines the role played by the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan during the Cuban Missile Crisis - it seems he was more closely involved than is typically thought.
Our GCSE & A Level History Teacher Newsletter provides email updates on tutor2u and other teaching resources of interest to colleagues teaching History at KS4 and KS5. To add yourself as a recipient, please complete the form below and then respond to the confirmation email we send you.read more...»
A fascinating story this one - twenty-one German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed. You can read about it here in The Telegraph.
It was Henry Tudor’s Birthday on Saturday!! Or would have been, if he had possessed a sort of rarefied human longevity that matched his legendary wealth. The man who founded England’s most famous and popular dynasty, the all-conquering Tudors, was born on January 28th in 1457. His mysterious, secretive personality, grasping acquisitiveness, extraordinarily canny political nouse and ceaseless intelligence gathering secured the throne for him in the most febrile of circumstances throughout 24 years of sinister rule. He bequeathed England his son, Bluff King Hal, and grand-daughter, Gloriana the Virgin Queen. He remains relatively unknown, but the brilliant book by Thomas Penn, “The Winter King”, has come as close as anything to unravelling the secrets of the first Tudor’s rule. A sort of Nixonian king who isn’t particularly likeable but is endlessly fascinating.
The Sun has got into History, with a sequence of mocked up front pages on its special website, “Hold Ye Front Page” about various significant historical events. These include:
Laurence Rees’ World War Two blog is a hugely useful resource. Regularly updated it provides indepth analysis and comparisons - all drawing on Rees’ expert knowledge. I’d recommend it as an excellent extension resource for A Level students.
This site is particularly helpful for those starting A2 courses in Tudor History. It allows you to keep track of the main figures of the period, showing in particular how their titles and job descriptions changed over time. It comes from tudorhistory.org which has a wealth of other useful information, including a blog
I attended a talk by Niall Ferguson at the RSA last Thursday - a launch event for the new Channel 4 Series which kicks off on Sunday 6th March. The audio of his talk can be found here. In the series Niall Ferguson explores how Western civilization - a clear minority of mankind - secured a lion’s share of the world’s resources, and examines whether the West is about to be overtaken by the rest. More details here - the series will be available through Channel 4 on Demand (4OD)
Most teachers are aware of the history film dilemma. There are an increasing number of really good ‘history’ films out there, both the reasonably accurate and the laughably inaccurate, and all types offer a chance to invigorate a bit of classroom work on the relevant topic. But with increasing pressure on classroom time - much of it seeping away due to January modules, university open days, the odd snow day, field trips by other departments – it really is difficult to justify devoting whole lessons to the showing of a film (if it ever really was, but who hasn’t occasionally taken refuge in one!). One solution, of course, is the glorious ‘watch this film’ homework, worth setting for the looks of bemusement followed by delight on student faces. That’s one homework that gets done! But solution number 2, and a more collective one, is the History Film Club. Some of my sixth form historians have set one up after school on a Monday evening, using the interactive whiteboards as a decent substitute cinema screen, and it is not only proving quite popular but is provoking interesting discussions afterwards. First off was “Valkyrie”, the controversial Tom Cruise vehicle.read more...»
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Survivors Fund (SURF) has launched a new education microsite which conveys the untold stories of an array of UK-based survivors of the Rwandan genocide through film.
The microsite features excerpts of interviews with an array of UK-based survivors, all of whom are playing an active role in raising awareness of the genocide and the situation of survivors today as part of SURF’s Speaking2Survivors project. Supplementing the interviews are a series of specially designed lesson activities.
The London History Network made its debut on Friday night at the Department of Education. Organised by Esther Arnott from Lampton School, the meeting saw around forty History teachers from around the capital hear excellent talks detailing example of brilliant resources and active and engaging enquiries from Richard McFahn and Neil Bates.
The next meeting will be held sometime in March. The Network’s website has more details for anyone interested in attending.
Hollywood is in love with the British monarchy again. The King’s Speech is the surprise Oscar nominee that seems to be sweeping all before it with a heart-warming tale of a reluctant king over-coming his stammer to lead his country in defiance against one of the twentieth century’s worst monsters. There’s even a cameo for Britain’s Greatest Ever Prime Minister, as he offers sage advice to the introverted future monarch. Well, quite. Just as the film is beautifully made, wonderfully directed and sublimely acted, and rightly on course for its Oscars, it also manages to show just how much history is surrendered to art in the making of historical dramas. A backlash is already beginning against its re-writing of history, and few are more trenchant than British ex-pat and enfant terrible, Christopher Hitchens, in this article for online magazine Slate.read more...»
I feel that Historical Re-enactors do not get the recognition they deserve for developing Historical ideas, this is due, I think, to the majority being interested in Military History. This BBC Two Programme Victorian Pharmacy is from the people who made Victorian Farm, and thus comes with many of the weaknesses of that programme. This has, I feel far more educational potential, the practices and remedies of the Victorian era are explained simply, this is the benefit of BBC programmes produced with half a mind to the Foreign, and especially American re-sales; the commentary in simplified, allowing us to use it in the classroom. The Programme can currently be viewed on the BBCi Player, which is available in the more enlightened schools and colleges, but I personally feel that it needs editing for use in the classroom, where it can be used for the KS4 Medicine Through Time, or more generally when looking at the Victorian Era.
There is, obviously, a ‘Book to accompany the series’, [Link to Amazon Books] at £10, this is reasonable for a reference book. The book would probably be of even more use than the TV series, especially in providing good information on Jesse Boots and detailed recipes of lotions and potions, but I do not feel safe in recommending a book I have not seen yet.
This has been decribed by the BBC as ‘An Historical Documentary’, to be fair, it is of a type of Programme, not really designed as a Documentary in the usual sense, but of this type of programme, despite the drawbacks, such a having to address current Health & Safety concerns, it can be used in a useful way to demonstrate some parts of medical understanding in the Victorian era, it can also be used to demonstrate Historical re-enactment, and our attitudes towards representations of the past.
The Institute of Historical Research have produced a new website called Making History which should come in very handy, especially for UCAS personal statement writers and A-Level students looking for historical interpretations. It has a database of significant historians, and examines the significant themes that have affected history over the last hundred years, such as Cultural History, Marxist History, Social History, etc and the leading historians associated with them. There are also plenty of articles on all kinds of subjects such as Family History, Film History, History and Computing, and so on. It should make an excellent starting point for those considering historiography or preparing for university interviews and tests.
Maps ETC is a part of the Educational Technology Clearinghouse, produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida.
A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 25 maps in non-commercial school projects without further permission. All maps are available as GIF or JPEG files for screen display as well as in PDF for printing. Use the GIF or JPEG maps for classroom presentations and student websites. Use the PDF maps for displays, bulletin boards, and printed school reports.
Put simply these maps are available for educational use. The maps are grouped, and then presented in a chronological order, although there are some anomalies, it is rather time consuming to search through the maps, but the thumbnails help. This is certainly a service that can be made use of. I especially like the Google Earth Help page, which help one use these maps in Google Earth.
The Speaking2Survivors event - when students from two schools put questions submitted from schools from around the country to a survivor of the Rwandan genocide took place on Monday. Clips from the interview, arranged by question can be seen here.
Ok I know Facebook is blocked by most institutions, but only someone living in a cave for the past 10 years would be unaware of Facebook. Frontierville, is an app, continuing on the Zynga games label, games such as Cafe World and Farmville had me wasting time. I saw the educational benefits of Farmville for KS2, although had difficulty taking it further due to the 13 year limit for Facebook. With Frontierville, these problems have been overcome, as KS4 has an SHP depth study, the American West. I can see how Frontierville would be a a wonderful incentive, becoming a talking point for students studying the American West. I admit it is only a bit of fun, but have found that a bit of fun goes a long way in persuading people to put in a little extra effort. Thus this is not really a site which can be used for strictly pure educational purposes, but, rather highlights a way to communicate with students and inspire them to think differently.
July 5th 2010 sees the opportunity for young people from schools around the UK to speak to survivors of the Rwandan genocide in a web chat hosted by Survivors Fund (SURF).
Questions submitted by students will be answered by survivors now living in the UK. The responses that the survivors give will be filmed and posted on the SURF website for schools to view and learn from.
As well as young people from schools, a number of dignitaries, will be asking the survivors questions and talking about the importance of remembering the terrible events of 1994. These will include Jon Snow, Emma Thompson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Michael Mansfield QC, Lord Carey, Dan Snow and Tony Blair.
For more information on how to access the event please see the Survivors Fund website
Laurence Rees, the man behind TV series such as The Nazis: A Warning From History that I use in the classroom a lot, has recently launched a new multimedia website on World War Two. Rees uses an interactive timeline, bite-sized films and interviews with eye-witnesses and leading historians to cover the entire conflict. The site is based on a subscription model but the rate that we pay as a school is very reasonable and a big discount to that quoted.
As you may have guessed I have a soft spot for Google Streetview, well now they have stolen my idea and posted it as an application, seriously though, I like this adaptation of streetview, it is something I was looking to do as soon as Streetview became available. Basically one posts old photographs, and places them on the current streets, doing the then and Now I tried a few years back, see http://thenandnow.edublogs.org/about/additional-resources/history-pin/ for how it links to this work. I am certainly going to be using it when looking at local History, the only drawback I can see is the copyright issue of using old photographs that belong to someone else, and the ‘story’ that goes with it does not explain where the photo comes from, there are some good examples (Newcastle Theatre) is a good one.
It is certainly worth a look although it would be useful to be able to embed the link into a website.
The History & Policy website aims to connect historians, policymakers and the media, it claims it has been providing policy-relevant history since 2002.
The site was set up by Cambridge historians Alastair Reid and Simon Szreter as a forum for historians to discuss the policy implications of their research and make it accessible to non-academic audiences. It certainly has some very interesting articles from well respected and renowned Historians. This site is certainly of interest for those of us looking for the relevance of current events to Historical events, it appears that this site is not aimed at educators, but despite this I still feel it is useful.
The major strength of the site is the H&P papers section, as these are not especially long, they are almost summaries of latest thinking, something useful for those of use pressed for time, for example the Genocide: twentieth-century warnings for the twenty-first century paper did not provide me with anything new, but it neatly summarised the arguments and ideas we have been discussing regarding linking the Holocaust to other genocides, at first I though the accompanying reading list was rather limited but then quickly realised (when I looked at the publication dates) that the reading list is of the current thinking, a bonus for those of us outside Academia who are looking to keep abreast of the latest research. A further gem on the site is the News section which links the papers very strongly to news items. The events section is also of some interest. personally I would have liked to have seen an RSS feed of the News section, alas I will have to settle for Twitter updates.
This website A Vision of Britain through time provides maps, statistics and historical descriptions of almost every settlement in Britain, it is a treasure trove of statistical information which can be used for Local History study. The Historical maps section provides maps from the 19th and 20th Centuries, allowing change and continuity activities. The election results are particularly useful, providing a one stop site for comparison over time or place. The links to census reports can also be used in conjunction with the other two sections. I found the Travel writing most interesting, it is certainly a section of the site which can be used for classroom resources. The Learning resources on the site are very limited, despite this I think this site has huge potential for those of us willing to use the information provided to produce good quality classroom resources.
A neat interactive timeline here charts the development of the arms race and subsquent negotiations and treaties on disarmament.
What a wonderful opportunity to explore the BBC archives, through these themed collections of radio and TV programmes, documents and photographs. One advantage of this site is that there can be no reason for SLTs in schools to block this site, making some interesting and sometimes unique broadcasts available. For example the ‘Chamberlain returns from Munich’ clip gives us a full six minutes of Dimbleby observation and explanation, before Prime Minister Chamberlain makes his now infamous statement and waves the piece of paper. Certainly this broadcast is an invaluable resource, I feel that the BBC has provided us with some special resources here.
The Synopsis for each clip provide valuable provenance, making the whole package useful. The only drawback with the site, I would foresee, is that, I for one, will be exploring in detail the interesting material, and would probable quickly fall off-task.
I think that this site can be used by teachers to provide interesting and unusual classroom resources, and can also be given to students for independent research. I would love to be able to download or embed the video and audio clips, but understand why this is blocked. The ‘Meet the Experts’ section can also be used for examining the increasingly popular aspect of assessing audio and video sources of information, an Historical skill.
Magna Carta is one of the most celebrated documents in history. Examine the British Library’s copy close-up, translate it into English, hear what our curator says about it, and explore a timeline.
The British Library, like The National Archives have gone a long way to publish their treasures electronically. These series of pages devoted to Magna Carta are wonderfully thought out, providing educators with a series of resources. The Virtual Curator provides answers to most questions one will need asking about this special document, with Claire Breay presenting a nice and friendly face, although I don’t think they have chosen the best photograph. The translation is very useful, enabling copy & paste.I especially like the Themes and People sections as these can be used for depth studies, as well as setting the document in it’s historical context. I do feel that the Magna Carta is so significant that it deserves special treatment, and the British Library has done so here.
The TimeRef website is a useful source of detailed information about Medieval and Tudor England. It has plenty of timelines and allows you to customise your own. It also has a section of 3D models and “tours” of castles and cathedrals, and a useful guide to heraldry.
Maurice Savage had an idea, as school trips became increasingly difficult he thought he would allow students to see footage of visits he had made. He quickly set up http://www.videohistorytoday.com/ the first web site dedicated to providing schools with modern, adaptable video clips recorded at places of historical interest. The site contains video images recorded on the actual sites of major historical events, his aim was to provide students with the basic ingredients to produce video essays and mini-documentaries. I became involved when he looked to publicise his materials, unfortunately this was just as the Youtube hysteria set in, so we had to find another way to allow access. This is when Maurice had the idea of putting the clips into collections, there are now seven Video Collections, designed to be used by teachers and students to help in the study of four major events in World History, and as each collection is provided on a 4GB USB memory stick these can be accessed by students and teachers. There is also a new Download facility on the site.
There are numerous ways in why the clips can be used; from the simple presentation of material to more detailed analysis, thus they can be used for KS3, KS4, A Level and University students. For example a study of the White House pits at Auschwitz-Birkenau ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sgoNS0jTL4 ), can be enhanced by the use of Video History Today footage of the site, linked to a Google Earth Placemark, setting the information in context, as well as providing an interesting alternative presentation of the information. This site contains a virtual treasure trove of material, and fully deserves recognition
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As you may be aware I am a fan of Google Street View, Google maps and Google Earth. I was therefore pleased to find Pompeii added to the list of locations. Now we can send our students on a short virtual educational visit, without the expense of hotels and flights. The ‘User Photos’ option will be useful, allowing students to take images from the site for annotation. I admit the tour does not get into the buildings, and as such is not really a virtual tour, but I do feel this is a wonderful addition, that can be used to compare and contrast. As a starter activity a search around Pompeii would motivate most teenagers. The theatre and amphitheatre are the most spectacular places to visit, but a simple stroll down some of the streets will add so much to a study of Pompeii. I even feel that the tourists and the building/restoration work, adds to the feel, giving students a greater context in which to study the site. I think this is a wonderful addition, and will enable Google maps to be used effectively in the classroom.
Like its sister site on Medicine through time from Dan Moorhouse, this site is being developed to provide links to the best teaching and revision materials available for the SHP development study of Crime and Punishment through time. Initially this will consist of linking to materials elsewhere, with regular updates and additions. In time it is planned to develop pupil guides to the key elements of the course and interactive materials to support teaching and learning.Still in its early development this site will quickly become the first stop for teachers and students following this SHP development study.
The link to other sites has become a key aspect of very good sites, for teaching has become much more collaborative, this site highlights the best of this collaboration.
I have used the Google Earth overlay a few times now, but usually with images of the past I have found, thus to find that Google has ‘stolen’ my idea, came as a suprise. In all seriousness, this World War Two overlay is a development of their overlay policy, and it certainly works, the image above of Dresden is particularly significant to me, as I used Google maps to do this some four years ago, and the resulting image had a positive impact on the students. The Warsaw Ghetto, the bombed centre of Berlin and Dresden will be the most popular images I feel, but it certainly shows what can be done. I feel sure many educators will find these overlays useful, I look forward to Google exploring other Historical events in this way.
Just after Christmas I received a message (via Twitter) asking me to write to the CEO of Prezi, to ask, nicely, if they would consider reducing the cost for educational use. I had heard about the power of Twitter, but this was the first time I took an active part - within hours there was a reply, and within days Prezi announced an Educational Licence.
As mentioned in a previous review, I have moved from Powerpoint’s linear presentation to using Prezi for my presentations, and have a few times used it in the classroom, but only as ones and twos, as I signed in for them, giving them an opportunity to play. The Educational licence, at just $59 for the EduPro, will allow schools use Prezi to its highest potential.
The educational licence has three main aspects: upgrade - EduEnjoy (500MB) had the added feature of allowing students and teachers to Choose if a prezi is private, published, or shared with selected individuals, making it useful within a school network; EduPro (2,000MB) has the extra feature of offline production.
Prezi Reuse is the second new feature, this allows a prezi to be edited by multiple users, allowing for collaboration, but also allows for updated prezis, effectively we can load a prezi, alter it and save it as a new Prezi, allowing teachers to see student progress.
Lastly the Learn Centre allows for the sharing of ideas, and information, which should allow even greater use of this tool. Overall I have been impressed by the Prezi, not just the wonderful tool, but also their response to educationalist, giving us a resource we can make use of in the classroom. My thanks go to Peter Arvail, CEO of Prezi for showing us what can be achieved with 2.0 technology.
Learning Score is an amazing multimedia lesson-planning and delivery tool. My Twitter network highlighted this to me, and although it is not a History resources, I thought it was worthwhile highlighting it. I, like many begrudge writing out lesson plans for observed lessons, interview lessons and (rarely) general lessons, I see the lesson plan as a plan of what I will do in the lesson, not as seems to be the view of SMT as a rigid blow by blow prediction of what is going to happen. I therefore think this tool will be of great benefit, after just 10 minutes on the trial version I was confident I could use it to plan and deliver lessons using it, in fact I think it would improve my lesson planning, getting me to think about the aspect of the lesson, rather than get bogged down in the aims, objectives and outcomes. I think this would be ideal for teacher training, and at just £35 it is not outside most departmental budgets. This has the feel of a tool produced by someone who knows what teaching is about, and for that reason alone I think John Davitt (the inventor) should be applauded, well done John, I am sure you will find many appreciative teachers out there.
Again I must confess my interests in this site, Dan Moorehouse is a friend and Colleague, thus I have been following the production of this site for some time. He states:
This site has been established to offer support to pupils following a GCSE course that incorporates the SHP development study in medicine through time.
and as someone who teaches this SHP development study I have been watching the resources available carefully. Dan has utilised the new Web 2.0 technology, making the integration of the resources into schemes and lessons easier, I for one follow him/this site on twitter, and would encourage students to do so also, this is but one part of the site. The recently introduced Timelines are very good for independent student research, for that end of period Homework assignment. The revision activities draws on some of the best, newest and most innovative activities available, providing useful links to valuable sites. Although still a ‘work in progress’ this site will surely become the first stop for those of us guiding out students through the SHP Development study, Medicine through Time
The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 25 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1700 to 1950s.
What we have here is genius, this is something I have done on a local level, and found it to be very useful in getting students to see and explain changes and continuity. The opacity function on the maps works excellently, enabling use of the site for presentations and student research. To be honest this feels like an early Christmas present, a new toy I can spend hours playing with, the drawback is that I feel over use would diminish its impact and it certainly has an impact.
If you or your classes like code-breaking you might enjoy this site from the CIA. There are chances to look at and solve various famous codes from history. Perphaps people who crack them quickly enough get offered a job!
The main site is full of interesting information and primary sources, especially documents on the cold war, including recently declassified Soviet material.
If you are thinking of doing some wider reading over Christmas, or have been asked what you want in your stocking, you may find inspiration at these websites. The Guardian and Telegraph History books sections have excellent reviews, often by historians, and give you a good idea of what is currently being published. Amazon.com of course has a vast range of books and you can see a few of them here.
Many thanks to Andy Lawrence for producing this Auction House starter activity quiz on warfare…read more...»
A Friend and Colleague, Sharon Artley has spent the past two years producing this, for the IWM Fellowship in Holocaust education. She has made this illustrated Glossary available for educational use.
It can be found at: http://smartleydoesit.co.uk/illustrated-holocaust-glossary/
Here’s a great starter activity from Andy Lawrence using tutor2u’s Wipeout Challenge quiz format…read more...»
This article from the Daily Mail has provoked quite a reaction amongst my history students this week. It reports on a survey which states that “Adolf Hitler was Germany’s football team manager, according to youngsters aged nine to 15,” and 12% of the children surveyed thought Remembrance Sunday is represented by the McDonalds logo. Clearly the methods used in the survey have been designed to score an easy headline, and it may help to stimulate a debate about historical significance, and the nature of using evidence in newspaper reports…
John D Clare is a prolific textbook writer, his latest textbook is for the AQA Modern World, this Heinemann published book is part of the new generation of textbooks, but this is not all, the website, which is also well established provides a much needed extra dimension for GCSE.
John will admit to teaching for a number of years, this site provides support and practical advice for students and teachers, John shares his experience. The huge advantage of this site is that one does not need to be taking the AQA course to take advantage of this experience, the advice to teachers is used by experienced teachers as well as newbies, the advice to pupils is clear and concise.
I have used some of the activities and quizzes on the site,despite not taking AQA or Modern World, the self-test activities can be used with KS3 & A Level Students, as they are can be used as they are or as foundations for later activities, I have certainly steered my GCSE & A Level students towads this site, to use it as a tool for good revision. I will also continue to use the site to stucture my courses and revsion activities for my students.
The 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism is well covered in these interactive BBC resources, including video clips from the news archives:
A major new teaching resource to support learners covering Scotland’s history has just been launched. As part of Curriculum for Excellence, Scotland’s History covers a broad range of curriculum topics, from Scotland’s early history right up to the 21st Century. Well worth a look
As the last three Great War veterans died this year, to mark the passing of this ‘World War One generation’, a national event will take place at Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day, Wednesday 11th November 2009. To encourage schools to support this significant milestone and to engage young people in the history of the WW1 generation and experiences of the passing generation, the Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with key organisations such as the IWM, are providing a range of engaging primary and secondary education resources on this site.
The resources are very detailed and will provide the basis for projects and research into this aspect of the Great War. I have used some defence dynamics www.defencedynamics.mod.uk resources in the past, and found them useful for G&T students, when I have wished to set an individual research project. With the Imperial War Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission involved in this venture, the resources and Links will be invaluable. This site is well worth noting for the the links to other sites related to this issue alone.
Engaging Places is brought to us by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in partnership with English Heritage.
This site provides ideas and resources for extending teaching beyond the classroom, both physically and metaphorically.
As someone who has worked with English Heritage and the National Trust, I am aware of the work these organisations are making to engage in a dialogue with schools and educational institutions. This site showcases some examples of this dialogue, as well as providing practical examples of how to use buildings and places to enhance learning. As this site grows I feel the resources will become even richer, certainly a site worth keeping ones eyes on.
If you missed the superb Into the Storm last night, then it is well worth catching on BBC iPlayer.
Loads of reenactments of key WW2 events in there for students, including Dunkirk, the War Cabinet, Yalta and the bombing of Dresden. The 1945 General Election is also featured prominently.
According to the programme guide:
Jeremy Vine marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by looking at its history, from construction in 1961, to the day it was finally breached on 9 November 1989.
Jeremy visits the city to examine what remains of the Wall and speaks to those who lived on both sides - East and West. He visits some of the key locations in the Wall’s history including Checkpoint Charlie; the Brandenburg Gate; Bernauer Strasse, which was cut in two in 1961; and Mauerstrasse, where the largest remaining section of the Wall exists today. Jeremy explores why the Wall went up in the first place, why it came down and asks whether the psychological scars of a divided Germany still remain.
The programme contains firsthand testimony from Germans who escaped from the East and those who helped them. It also considers what it was like to live in a state controlled by the secret police or Stasi and hears from a political reformer who was held in the notorious Hohenschönhausen prison. He considers to what extent the phenomenon of “ostalgie” or nostalgia for life in the former East Germany still exists, particularly as some former Stasi and government officials have prospered since the Wall came down 20 years ago.
There are interviews with escapee Joachim Neuman, who spent two years working on tunnels under the Wall to bring his girlfriend to the West; and escapee Irmgard Muller, who escaped from East Berlin under a false passport to be with her husband. We also hear from West Berliner Horst Seeliger, who was in East Berlin on November 9 1989, and one of the first people to cross back through the border into the West; and Vera Lengsfeld, an East German reformist politician who was imprisoned by the Stasi.
Additional contributors include historian Frederick Taylor; Sunday Times journalist Peter Millar and veteran BBC reporter Brian Hanrahan, who both covered the fall of the wall; and Ben Bradshaw, Secretary Of State for Culture, Media & Sport, who was a young BBC reporter in Berlin in 1989.
Like many colleagues we’ve been taking large groups of Year 9 pupils to the First World War battlefields for many years. Only this year did we discover the fantastic ‘Road To Passchendaele’ experience. This allows groups to dress up as Great War soldiers, eat what they ate and be guided along the route taken by Australians on October 4th 1917 as they attacked German positions. Because we had a large group we couldn’t don the uniforms but the tour was magnificent and worked its way from Zonnebeke to Tyne Cot. I’d recommend it to any colleagues planning a trip. Further details here
Andrew Chater is one of those skilled artisans who’s work is more famous than him. I feel sure most History educators are familar with the Historyfile series, which have become the standard documentary in History Classrooms, especially the five Nazi Germany documentaries of which the ‘Geordie Nazi’ is the most famous, these are the work of Andrew Chater.
Less well know are the Timelines series: Ruler and Ruled 1066-1660, Power to the People 1688-1928, Empire 1290-1948 and Changing Lives 1066-1984, they provide a thematic approach to British History, fitting into the new approach to History teaching very well. they are of a very high standard, (Andrew received a BAFTA in 2006 for the third in this series).
The website here adds to these programmes, providing additional information and materials, billed as an online-resource it can be given to students for research, or used as a classroom resources, as the transcripts from the programmes can be downloaded.
With pressure on teaching time growing, this resource can provided the overview which is becoming squeezed or sometimes overlooked, and with such a range, most aspects of British History is covered.
Anyone lucky enough to see Ian Dawson at History CPD conferences, and especially the Saturday evening session at the SHP conference, will be familiar with his active learning techniques. This site began as a place to highlight this work, but it has grown into much more than this now, providing teaching resources of all types and styles.
I have used a number of the resources myself for GCSE and A Level, and have a couple of my activities on the site. One aspect of A Level especially, and GCSE to some extent, is the pressure to concentrate on ‘chalk & talk’, these active learning activities can be taken straight off the site and used, or one can use the ideas and adapt them to one’s own circumstances.
I would reccommend this site highly, I generally dip into it every month or two, and usually find something to inspire me towards a lesson activity.
On the 80th anniversary of the Wall Street Crash, the Guardian has produced this excellent interactive guide to the events in 1929.
This ten-minute You Tube video gudies students through the events immediately following the appointment of Alexander Dubcek as leader of the Czech Communist Party.read more...»
A terrific resource from the BBC archive has recently been updated and upgraded. The Berlin Wall archive contains a rich collections of video and audio clips explaining the entire history of the Berlin Wall. An essential AV resource.
The Polish challenge to the Soviets from Lech Walesa’s Solidarity trade union is described in this 10 minute You Tube video.read more...»
If you need resources for the study of Apartheid in South Africa I recommend taking a look at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Having visited it recently, I can say it really is fantastic. You can access educational resources from their site at apartheidmuseum.org
Here are links to a series of new interactive quizzes for GCSE History courses that cover the Arab-Israeli conflict.read more...»
Test your knowledge of key names, events and concepts in the history of the Cold War with these four “wildcard”-style quizzes. We give you a partially completed term. Your task is to complete it.read more...»
Here is a collection of interactive multiple choice quizzes which help students test their knowledge of the Superpower conflicts:read more...»
This You Tube video explains the events of the 1856 Hungarian uprising…read more...»
West Germany’s intelligence service has released a collection of jokes made in East Germany during the Cold War. You can read some of the here, such as,
“If Christmas had happened in East Germany, it would have been cancelled. Mary would’t find any napppies for the baby Jesus, Joseph would be called up to the army and the three kings wouldn’t get a travel permit.”
Or, “What would happen if the desert became communist? Nothing for a while, and then there would be a sand shortage.”
The humour is pretty dry, but it reveals the way many East Germans coped with the repressive regime and their dreary surroundings - through cynicism and sarcasm. Of course, the penalty for being caught telling such jokes could be very high. The Stasi had 189,000 informants who reported any criticsm of mockery of the government, and many people were arrested and sent to labour camps.
The report is published by Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, and you can find further coverage (in English) of the events marking the anniversary of 1989 here.
This excellent short CNN video tells the story of Checkpoint Charlie…read more...»
This ten-minute newsreel video tells the “official” story of the Allied Berlin Airlift…read more...»
Today is the 943rd anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Here is a very detailed site on the causes, events and consequences of the battle. There are plenty of videos available on the subject, including this cheerful description of Harold Godwinson’s death from Terry Deary. The BBC have also provided a game, and lots of other useful information.
If you need some A level resources for units on British History between 1915 and 1978, take a look at The Cabinet Papers area of the National Archives site. There are some dedicated A level materials. The site has particularly useful sections on the origins of the NHS and the Welfare State.
Arthur Tudor has had a book written about him, which isn’t a bad achievement considering he was dead by the age of 15. It is discussed in an article on the History Today website which considers why Arthur’s memory was so deliberately forgotten during the latter Tudors’ reigns, perhaps to avoid difficult suggestions about their own mortality and the precarious positions of their heirs. The article also indulges in a bit of virtual history - if Arthur had become King and remained happily married to Catherine of Aragon, would the English Reformation have taken place? Would Arthur have been able to give the Tudors the same strong identity as his brother? We will of course never know, but this exercise in counterfactual history is helpful in identifying which factors were crucial in shaping this period.
Help your students decide whether Truman should have dropped the bomb with this source-based activity from the Learning Curve
As you know, October is Black History Month. This national celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British society, and to foster an understanding of Black history in general.
Throughout the month National Museums Liverpool holds a series of events including performances, talks, music, dance, craft activities and more, across several venues. Full details are available from the Liverpool Museums website
Over 2000 opportunities for Continuing Professional Development are being offered to those working with children and young people across England as well as people working in museums, galleries and archives by the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council).
The range of CPD activities, taking place between September 2009 and March 2010, will include seminars, workshops and mentoring/exchange activities. These aim to provide skills, knowledge and experience to enable the cultural sector to deliver quality learning programmes for children and young people.
As part of MLA’s Strategic Commissioning Workforce Skills, the CPD national programme underlines the role of the cultural sector as valued partners in the delivery the Children’s Agenda.
For further information about the CPD programme, please visit the MLA website and scroll down the page to check out opportunities within your region.
Paul Seward, Director of the History of Parliament, formerly a Clerk in the House of Commons will speak on Politics into History: Hobbes and Clarendon consider the English Civil War at Richmond & Twickenham branch meeting in the Vestry Hall, 21, Paradise Road, Richmond 8pm Thursday 15 October 2009.
The massive History of the Rebellion by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (1609-74) is the most famous contemporary history of the English Civil War; the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), best known for his towering work of political thought, Leviathan, also wrote on the Civil War in a book he called Behemoth.
Both men were working on their accounts at the same time; both were intimately connected with the politics of their time; and they knew each other very well. What can their work tell us about how the Civil War was explained by contemporaries? More broadly, how politics is transmuted into history - and history into politics?
6th Formers especially welcome!
Admission free to HA members: guests £2;
You may be aware that the British Museum has just opened an exhibition about Montezuma, leader of the Aztec Empire, which as you can see from the picture above, is full of spectacular artefacts and treasures, dripping with gold and precious stones.
However, the reaction has not been completely positive, as this New York Times article, cheefully summarises. Philip Hensher in the Daily Mail writes that the artefacts are as “evil as Nazi lampshades made of human skin”. Boris Johnson himself writes that Montezuma’s regime, with its devotion to human sacrifice, fully deserved to be taken over by the Spanish conquistadores in 1519.
Is it right to put objects, however beautiful, in a public exhibition if they come from such a bloodthirsty regime? Do we have any right to pass judgement on other cultures from different periods of history?
Here is a revision mutliple choice quiz for GCSE history students covering the Second World War and the events of D-Dayread more...»
If you are doing the Pilot GCSE units on Marketing Heritage or Heritage Management, you might like to show your students this video on Heritage at Risk fron English Heritage TV.
Free to secondary school teachers
Places are available free of charge to every state secondary and middle school in England. And the programme workshops are delivered regionally by world-recognised experts. For workshop participants, the CPD also offers distance learning through a Virtual Learning Environment which provides on-going resources and development opportunities.
CPD participants can also become part of a network of Holocaust educators, and a community of enquiry and exchange, with access to a set of online resources and support materials which will continue to grow and develop.
Benefits of the 2 day workshop
The CPD comprises a two day workshop. It will allow you to:
•Access effective, engaging and age-appropriate learning materials,
•Participate in regional CPD workshops at a venue near you,
•Network and share materials and expertise in an online community,
•Bring the latest developments in learning theory and Holocaust research into the classroom,
•Access national and international experts in Holocaust education,
•Continue to a Masters Level course following the CPD (optional)
Click here for more information and to apply
One of the challenges of the GCSE History option SHP is the length of the development study. Students look at an aspect of History (either Crime or Medicine) over an extended period of History, usually from the Prehisttoric to the present. I was looking for something which my students could refer back to, as well as continually update. I used Google Sketchup as I had found most other timelines got ‘clogged up’ after the 18th Century, there was just too much information in the latter part of the timeline to enable a balanced and accurate timeline. I feel sure this tool can also be used for KS3 and A Level students to produce useful timelines.read more...»
If you are looking for primary evidence on the Women’s Suffrage Movement take a look at the excellent selection from The British Library’s site Learning: Dreamers and Dissenters.
If you want a really good site to immerse your A level students in the world of research try British History Online
If you are looking for resources on Malcolm X, the New York Public Library has a great educational resource guide. These could be used in class or for independent research.
The HA London History Forum - 3rd October 2009 at the British Museum (10am-1pm)
The London History forum will focus on teaching emotive history this year. There will be a workshop and interactive software given by Laurence Rees on WWII, plus talks on the Holocaust, and teaching emotive history using film.
Price £20 - Contact Szannah Stern for more details ( She is very helpful!) : firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download a teachers pack from BHM. Ostensibly these are for younger students but I can see the KS3 pack being very adaptable for GCSE courses, particularly the coursework and teacher assessed units on the OCR GCSE Pilot.
The skill of evaluating evidence is essential for the GCSE Pilot. There is quite a paucity of evidence for the external Medieval unit. Here is an ideal opportunity to take your students to see a sample of this Treasure Trove found by a chap from my home town!
The Staffordshire Hoard contains about 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, making it far bigger than the Sutton Hoo discovery in 1939 when 1.5kg of Anglo-Saxon gold was found near Woodbridge in Suffolk. A small selection is on show at Birmingham Museum from tomorrow until 13th October. You can also see a short video on the items at BBC Staffordshire
It is absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells, Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum’s Department of Prehistory and Europe.
I have just finished reading this excellent book, written by Dr Cooper and Arthur Chapman. I will admit to buying the book for one reason, that reason being ‘Alphonse the camel’ who gets a mention. For the uninitiated Alphonse dies for the sake of Causal reasoning, and has done so in numerous of my lessons, the instigator of this bizarre, but successful, activity is Mr Chapman. I thus expected to pick up one or two ideas that I could use in the History classroom, I am please to see that I have far more than the one or two I hoped for. The strength of the book is that the case studies are very recent and have an emphasis on the use of technology, thus we are dealing with the next generation of classroom activities, using ICT from an active learning approach. Constructing History is much more than a description of practical examples, it provides the pedagological theory behind the examples, reinforcing the usefulness of the practical examples, for one does not need to replicate the activity exactly to benefit from the approach. The emphasis on personalised and collaborative learning will be useful for CPD trainers, but the e-learning aspects are the parts that most interested me. I feel the book has something for all educators in History who wish to engage, stretch and inspire their students.
Additional materials are available on the books’ webpage: www.sagepub.co.uk/cooperchapman”>www.sagepub.co.uk/cooperchapman
Two short videos from YouTube take take students through the background to, and events of Bay of Pigs in April 1961…read more...»
A conference has been held this week in Cambridge to consider the reputation of John Dee (1527-1608/9), one of England’s greatest original thinkers. He owned the largest private library in the country, coined the phrase “The British Empire”, was an expert on algebra, astronomy and navigation, advising explorers of the Northwest Passage of suitable routes to take. He was a tutor and adviser to Queen Elizabeth, introduced the first English edition of the works of Euclid, and his proposals to modify the calendar were 200 years ahead of their time.
Unfortunately…he has largely been remembered as an astrologer and an occultist - i.e. a bit of a wizard. He cast horoscopes for Mary and Philip and suggested the most auspicious date for Elizabeth’s coronation. He had a crystal ball for communicating with angels, and looked into the future using a special black mirror. He fell in with a conman and had a sequence of unfortunate adventures in Bohemia and Poland when he tried to share his angelic communications with several unimpressed monarchs. He returned to England penniless and died in poverty, cared for by his daughter.
However, Dee’s reputation, both as a scholar and a mystic has grown considerably. There is a vast amount of information on him on the internet, and you can even read some his own books. So - does he deserve to be called a Royal Wizard, or not?
Here is a podcast of David Starkey speaking on the events of 1605 (The Gunpowder Plot) for Cambridge University. It would appear that both Oxford and Cambridge have been busy creating mp3s from some of their most eminent academics, so if you spot any other good ones, please let us know.
Events, dear boy, events. And the Cold War period was packed full of them - so many in fact that GCSE History students can be forgiven for confusing Potsdam with Prague or Detente with the Domino Effect.
Here are a couple of revision crosswords which you might use with students to help reinforce core knowledge of what happened and when during the Cold War. There are two crosswords - one with 10 clues and one with 20 clues.
Many thanks to Andy Lawrence for producing these resources which we are about to make available as part of a comprehensive PuzzlePack on the Cold War for GCSE History students
Do you have students who don’t know their Arms Races from their Eisenhower?
Here is a matching activity which can be used to help students test their knowledge of the main historical characters involved in the Cold War. There are two puzzles - one has 10 people listed; the other has 15 people. The aim is to match the person with the clue!
A way to introduce a topic, give an overview or just get them to read content to be discussed in lesson.
This actually works and students do like doing it!
Students are given two or three sides of text, or a section of a text book.
Students are split into groups of three. There is a reader, a writer and a runner.
Each group is allocated a pack of ten question cards
(different colour for different groups). The same ten questions are in each pack
The cards are kept at the front of the classroom
When the teacher says, ‘Go!’ The runner runs to get a card and takes it back to the group
The reader is busily reading the text ( although more often than not the whole group end up reading it)
When they find the answer the writer runs to the front with the written answer.
The teacher checks that the answer is correct and then the runner is allowed to take the next card.
It is best if the cards are shuffled so that they do not all have the same card at the same time.
The first group with all the cards gone is the winner.
Plenty of material from the Horrible Histories BBC programme has made its way to YouTube. This sketch for example imagines what Georges I II III and IV would be like if they auditioned for the X-Factor… There also plenty of links to other sketches from the series.
PS: Here is an interview with Terry Deary, creator of the Horrible Histories books.
Superb interactive and animated Historical maps.
Tomorrow is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Dr Samuel Johnson. Dr Johnson House in his birth place, Lichfield, Staffordshire, is hosting a series of events to celebrate the occasion.
Visit Dr Johnson House site for more details.
Here is a further article (From Dominic Sandbrook in the Telegraph) worrying about the decline of history teaching in schools. He criticises the government’s “Yo! Sushi” approach to the subject, “in which schools randomly pick unrelated historical topics like saucers from a conveyor belt, instead of studying our national story as a continuous narrative, which is how any sensible person sees it.”
He believes students would be better served by a more narrative approach giving a greater overview of our national story, and recommends H E Marshall’s “Our Island Story”, although this was first printed in 1905. The complete text is now available here on the internet.
UPDATE: Too busy to read? You can download the entire book for free and listen to it on your MP3, alongside other classic books. Have a look here!
A discussion forum for students, run by History educators for students
A presentation application, which provides so much freedom.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has lots of lesson plans, activities and worksheets to download. Take a look particularly at An Historical Enquiry for History Students (Secondary)
Apply for the new Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge.
For the purpose of the Quality Badge they define Learning Outside the Classroom as “the use of places other than the classroom for the teaching and learning of young people aged 0-19” This includes experiences that take place in:
•School grounds: for example gardening
•The local environment: for example land and streetscapes or places of worship
•Places further afield: for example museums and galleries or field study and environmental centres
•Residential places: for example summer camps or expeditions
You can also check out which establishments hold the LoTC Quality Badge when planning trips.
‘What do you think we should learn in history today?’
Tackling pupil-led historical enquiry more effectively. Tuesday 10 November 2009, 9.30am - 3.30pm Bottisham Village College, Cambridge
A Lead Practitioner Seminar led by Kate Hammond, Head of History at Bottisham Village College and SSAT Lead Practitioner. The Lead Practitioner network supports the transfer of effective and innovative practice in schools through seminars, run by teachers for teachers.
Do you do want to start a SHP GCSE or Pilot GCSE coursework unit using the built environment? These grants may interest you.
If you are considering writing a unit on Heritage Marketing or Presenting the Past for the GCSE History pilot have a look at The National Football Museum We are always being challenged to enthuse those boys - this could be just what you are looking for!
The Berlin Wall fell on 9th November 1989. The Imerial War Museum North is commemorating this historic watershed with a photographic display. See information here
For help assessing OCR pilot GCSE History take a look at Teacher’s TV - KS4 History - Assessment for Learning
www.biography.com is an excellent way to introduce A level students to research. Students can be asked to research the backgrounds, aims, methods and achievements of early Black activists such a Booker T Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph, Ida B Wells-Barnett…
Obviously this site could be used with many different topics.
Wordle generates “word clouds” from text. Describing itself as “a toy” this application disguises it’s full power. The ‘Word Clouds’ can look very pretty, and would in themselves suffice as a display, but the uncanny ability to highlight the key words in the text can be most useful in a classroom.read more...»
The History Today Magazine Website
The weekend has thrown up two contrasting stories about the state of History at the moment. The Booker prize shortlist has been announced and is entirely made up of historical fiction, including “Wolf Hall”,Hilary Mantel’s account of the rise of Thomas Cromwell. Clearly there remains a great interest in popular history within the general public and amongst more serious literary figures.
However, as has been noted below, the same edition of the Observer also announced that the teaching of history as a standalone subject is declining, with 30% of schools now combining it with other subjects to create “humanities” lessons or similar. The Historical Association, which organised the report, has announced that “History faces Extinction” unless action is taken. (Futher comment from the editor of History Today here)
Is this an exaggeration? Should history teachers be worried? Or will the British public always have a fascination with the past, whatever they learn at school?
The SHP promotes History as a subject and a discipline, it provides one of the two GCSE History options. The SHP website is in the process of re-construction, but does contain a number of teaching ideas and activities from leading proponents. The website provides information on the structure of the SHP; its regional advisers and fellows. The website also provides information on the conferences and educational publications which have become such an inspiration to History educators. I feel this site will become one of the essential websites for History teachers.
A worrying article in The Observer that seemingly shows History in danger at GCSE.
I’ve put together a couple of one minute revision videos for my GCSE studens on the conferences at Yalta & Potsdam. They can be found here.
Today is the 8th anniversary of “9/11”, when terrorists hijacked aircraft to attack the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. President Obama has attended a memorial service at the Pentagon, and Vice-President Biden laid a wreath at Ground Zero. Today is now known in the US as the “National Day of Service and Remembrance”. However, 8 years on, is people’s attitude to this event now changing? Can it now be described as an event “from history”? Certainly this year’s intake of Year 7s (aged three at the time) have no memory of it. Perhaps the inauguration of President Obama makes it easier to consign 9/11 to a previous “chapter” of history. What do you think, and what are your memories of the day?
On another note, there was a documentary on BBC2 last night about the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. It approached the subject, through its narrative and interviews with key figures, clearly a historical event. Is this too soon, and when is it acceptable to treat events in the past as history?
The charity Survivors Fund (SURF) is undertaking a preliminary survey amongst UK teachers to develop a greater understanding of if and how the Rwandan genocide is taught in schools. Your input into this research will be greatly appreciated, if you can spare the time to answer the following brief ten questions via the link here. Thank you.
The Tate Modern currently has an impressive collection of Soviet Propaganda posters on display. There are images from the 1917 Revolution through to World War 2 and are well worth seeing. They can be found on the 5th floor in room 11 of the “States of Flux” exhibition (free entry). More details can be found here. This website doesn’t show the pictures but googling the names of the artists mentioned quickly finds some good examples. www.soviethistory.org is another good source for images (and general source material for GCSE and A Level courses)
Today is the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission, which on 20 July 1969 successfuly landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. There is of course a huge amount of material on the web for the anniversary, including contributions from the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and NASA itself. This article puts the conflict firmly within the context of the Cold War, showing that Kennedy’s speech in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was a clear response to American fears that the USSR was dominating the space race. It was thought that such a mission would help to rebuild national prestige and restore Kennedy’s reputation after the recent debacle at the Bay of Pigs. After Kennedy’s assassination it almost became a sacred duty for Lyndon Johnson to fulfil this pledge, despite the massive expense of the Apollo programme
Interesting piece from the BBC here about the previous campaigns that the British Army has fought in Afghanistan. Will the outcome be the same this time around?
For people with UCAS and university interviews on their mind, Summer is a good time to find inspiration by reading some history books.
David Aaronovitch of The Times has helpfully made some recommendations, which include “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson, which looks at the global history of finance and “The Birth of the Modern World 1788-1800” by Jay Winik, which considers the connections between the momentous political events of the late 18th Century. Both books would obviously provide helpful parallels with our current political and economic problems.
Tudor Historians may find “Mary Tudor:England’s First Queen” of interest as it takes quite a sympathetic view of her and David Starkey’s “Henry-The Virtuous Prince” looks closely at the often neglected early years of Henry VIII’s life.
EH Carr’s “What is History” is the classic introduction to the nature of the subject and some ideas of historiography. Although it was published 48 years ago, it still contains many stimulating ideas to get the historian thinking. Other books that follow similar ideas, often written in response to Carr, include Geoffrey Elton’s “The Practice of History, Richard Evans’ “In Defence of History” and John Tosh’s “The Pursuit of History”. More information about these ideas can be seen at the Institute of History’s special section on “What is History” here and in the Open University’s website here.
If you are looking for further inspiration on what to read, check the “History Reviews” sections of the newspapers. Here is a link to the The Guardian’s History Books section. The Institute of Historical Research also has an extensive Reviews Section
Please pass on any recommendations for books you have enjoyed, and happy reading!
The 2nd Earl Haig, son of Douglas Haig, died yesterday. His life, not as controversial as his father’s, saw him imprisoned in Colditz in World War Two before becoming a renowned artist and staunch defender of his dad’s reputation. Read an obituary here
A fantastic resource here from the Times and Sky News which follows Britain’s involvement with nuclear weapons and contains great pictures and film clips.
Robert McNamara, the controversial US Defence Secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, died today. He is probably remembered most for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the escalation of US involvement in Vietnam - a policy that his own son protested against and McNamara later regretted. The BBC and CNN carry interesting pieces on him.
Father Patrick Desbois, a French priest, has spent the past 7 years searching for the truth about the largely unrecorded genocide in Ukraine during World War II. he has found over 800 execution sites and has interviewed a thousand local people who witnessed what happened. See the documentary here
Time Magazine has published Ten things you didn’t know about Henry VIII. The article is rather fussily put together, but there is some good information buried in there (e.g. Henry had 5 sets of bagpipes, he suggested that those who committed murder by poison be boiled to death, he banned betting after his soldiers lost too much money.) It also gives you a good insight into how America views him - are there any noticeable differences between this and the British perspective?
This article from the BBC, comparing an iPod to a Sony Walkman from 30 years ago, may seem an odd choice for a history blog. However the author (a 13 year old boy) treats the Walkman at first as if it is some archaeological artefact from the middle ages. It is interesting to see how rapidly technology changes but also how quickly people become ignorant of their immediate past - not necessarily the big political events but the small details that seemed important to our culture at the time but are quickly forgotten. What other forgotten items deserve to be reconsidered?
There was a very interesting entry on the IB blog recently about how Twitter can change history…in this case in Iran. On a more mundane level can it be used to help History students? As a classroom teaching tool I think that the jury is out on that one but it is certainly worth eager students following a few of the Tweeters below:
...and, of course, the tweet from the Hampton History Dept
It would be interesting to hear about any other tweeters that people follow.
This article from yesterday’s Times is a valiant attempt to defend the Victorian era from its critics and promote it as the greatest era in our history. As Michael Gove is a Conservative MP it definitely fits with his party’s views and alludes to the Thatcher era. There have been many comments on this and Daniel Finkelstein’s Comment Central here carries some from writers such as Matthew Parris.
A great-looking blog from an American and Civil War History buff, see here. Yesterday he included an article from the Washington Post with some new releases from the White House tapes. Makes for some interesting reading…
Excellent short clip from the BBC provides an overview of some of the key D-Day locations
Pupils at my school have set up a project to mark the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. They would like to ask people ‘Why Should We Remember’ what happened in Rwanda in 1994 as a way to raise awareness of the events and the continued plight of survivors. They would like to collect as many responses as possible and are aiming for 8,000 - 1 for every 100 people who were murdered in 1994.
It would be great if a few people could give the kids a response and maybe encourage others to do so.
You can respond at www.whyshouldweremember.org
Many thanks for your help!
The pioneering computer that helped to crack German codes during the Second World War is being rebuilt. Hear an interview and see some pictures on it here.
News reports of a large Israeli airforce exercise that many believe is a dry run for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations mirror the raid that was carried out on Iraq in 1981. Read the story of the daring attack on the Osirak reactor here.
Read the story of Britain’s oldest survivor of the First World War trenches here.
One of the world’s largest collections of aerial photography is being moved from Keele to Edinburgh.
More than 10 million military photographs are stored in The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives, or Tara. Most were taken by surveillance aircraft in World War II.
On an audio slideshow military historian Ian Daglish, and retired Wing Commander Michael Mockford, explain the significance of just a few of the photographs from the war. See it here.
Why Should We Remember? is a collaborative project that brings together Year 9 pupils from state and independent schools. The students, from Hampton School in Middlesex and their counterparts at Hampton Community College, have researched and written a book about the terrible genocides of the last century. In the course of their research they have interviewed survivors and witnesses of the genocides including the Holocaust and the tragic events in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and, currently, in Darfur.
Alongside these first hand accounts come the thoughts of forty well known figures including Tony Blair, David Cameron, Stephen Fry, Polly Toynbee, Boris Johnson, Niall Ferguson and Jackie Ashley - all of whom give their personal response as to Why we should remember?
For further information and to find out how to support this project please visit the Why Should We Remember? website here.
The History blog has been offline for a while due to a trip to Israel. Over the next few days there’ll be entries on events in Jeruslaem, Massada and the Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem…
Channel 4’s First World War microsite has got some excellent revision pointers on it. Take a look.