Tag British history

Brexit as a British State of Mind

Vernon Bogdanor— Is Britain part of Europe? Of course, geographically we certainly are part of Europe. But politically? The answer is by no means clear. Britain has long had an ambivalent relationship with the Continent. It is apparent even in the way that we speak. We speak of entering Europe

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Oblivion or Glory

David Stafford— Shortly before noon on Wednesday 26 January 1921 an express train bound for Shrewsbury in England was speeding towards the small rural station of Abermule, close to the Severn river in Wales. It was on a single-track line. A safety system used by the Cambrian Railway Company involving

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The ‘Oskar Schindler’ of Vienna

Helen Fry— 11 March 1943. In a cell at Latimer House in Buckinghamshire, two German soldiers, a lower rank infantry officer captured in Tunisia the previous year, and a paratrooper captured in Algeria a few months before, are discussing the interrogations they have undergone. The previous day, British agents had

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Looking to the Past to Find Ourselves

Michael Hattem– For a few decades, American history has played a prominent role in the most current iteration of culture wars in the United States. We saw this most recently in some of the ways that President Trump motivated his base in the 2020 presidential election. These included holding “the

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Witch Villages and Cursing Wells

Thomas Waters— Witchcraft differed from one region to the next, but it also varied over much shorter distances. Certain desolate, inhospitable or generally ominous locations were known as the favoured haunts of witches. Prolley Moor in Shropshire was a notorious meeting place for practitioners of the dark arts, as was

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The Warm South

Robert Holland— On 16 August 1822, it took Lord George Byron, his friend Edward Trelawny, a gaggle of Tuscan soldiers and a local health official an hour to find the spot on the beach near Viareggio where Percy Bysshe Shelley’s corpse had been left two weeks before in the burning

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The Secret Army Behind Enemy Lines in World War II

Helen Fry— Thousands of courageous men and women led escape lines and acted as couriers and guides across Western Europe as well as other theatres of war, including the Far East. They were prepared to work in secret, for an organization whose name, MI9 in Britain or MIS-X in America,

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Echoes of Edward in British Politics

Tom Licence— As Edward the Confessor lay dying in 1066, according to his contemporary biographer, he foresaw the Norman invasion and England’s downfall within a year. Sir Winston Churchill, in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, alludes to this prophecy at the end of his account of Edward’s reign. “The

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The Letters of King Henry III

David Carpenter— King Henry III of England, the son of King John, reigned for fifty-six years from 1216 to 1272, one of the longest reigns on record. He was nine when he came to the throne, sixty-five when he died. We know more about Henry, on a day-to-day basis, than

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The Brave Silence of Harry Rée

Jonathan Rée— Back in May 2016 I was sitting in the garden of my little cottage outside Oxford when I got an email from someone whose name I didn’t know and a place I hadn’t heard of. He explained that he was a French soldier called Jean-Luc Fleutot, and he

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