Tag european 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

Continue reading…

A Vanished Kingdom’s Monumental Achievement

Richard Butterwick— The ancient Roman historian Sallust pronounced, “It is better to live in perilous liberty than in tranquil servitude.” But on May 3, 1791, a path beyond the Sallustian dilemma of perilous liberty or tranquil servitude was offered to old Poland, otherwise known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Their parliament,

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

The (Mis)Fortune of “Coga the Sheep”

Nick Groom— William Harvey’s understanding united conventional classical models with new post-Paracelsian thinking, investigating blood through physical observation and examination, rather than by deferring to ancient authorities. Following Harvey’s groundbreaking work, in 1656 the architect Christopher Wren pioneered hypodermic injections by intoxicating his dog with wine injected straight into its

Continue reading…

The Battle over European Politics

Luuk van Middelaar— In the torrent of words devoted to European politics, it is possible to distinguish three basic discourses. We might label them ‘the Europe of States’, ‘the Europe of Citizens’ and ‘the Europe of Offices’. More traditionally they are known as confederalism, federalism and functionalism. Each has its

Continue reading…

Social Control, Political Power, and Epidemics

Manuel Barcia— I should probably begin this blog with a confession. A couple of days ago, when I started writing it, I had a very appropriate and colourful anecdote taken from a nineteenth-century document to begin my text. However, something rather unexpected happened between the moment those lines were written

Continue reading…

The Past and Present of Print

Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen— Does Tim Berners-Lee regret inventing the internet?  At the time, the internet was trumpeted, like any step forward in information culture, as a liberating force, an instrument of democratic empowerment. No-one foresaw the dark web, online betting, still less fake news. Citizen journalism begat

Continue reading…

European Couples: Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— On July 20, 1944, a bomb exploded in the Wolf’s Lair, Adolf Hitler’s East Prussian Headquarters. The Nazi leader survived. Hours later, he received Benito Mussolini. This would be the final encounter between Mussolini and Hitler, leaders of Europe’s most significant fascist dictatorships. It took place almost exactly

Continue reading…

When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940

Robin Prior— The year 1940 could have been disastrous for Britain and for the West. Any number of events that occurred during that year might have seen Germany victorious over Britain. As Churchill said of another series of crises in another war, “The terrible ‘If’s’ accumulate.” If the government of

Continue reading…

  • 1 2