Archive for the ‘History’ Category


Do you know who was the founding first president of the new state of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago?

October 18th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

It was Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk – or TGM as he was often known – and this week I attended a talk given by his great granddaughter Charlotta Kotik. The event was organised by the British Czech and Slovak Association and the venue was the Slovak Embassy in London. Masaryk was already 68 when he became President […]

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A review of “The Shortest History Of Germany” by James Hawes

October 4th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

How could the almost 2,000 tiny statelets that came out of Europe’s Thirty Years War of 1618-1648 become a united nation for the first time in 1871 thanks to Otto von Bismarck before plunging the globe into two world wars which it lost before rising anew as the leader of the European Union and one […]

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Who voted for Hitler?

September 29th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I’m currently reading “The Shortest History Of Germany” by James Hawes and I’ve reached the section on the rise of Nazism in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The explosive rise in the electoral support for the Nazis was amazing – from 2.6% in 1928 to 43.9% in March 1933. Dawes invites the reader of […]

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The global flu pandemic of 1918 killed at least 50 million – but where did it start?

September 27th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The horror of World War One is estimated to have caused between 15-20 million deaths mainly in Europe but, even before the war ended, a global flu pandemic in 1918-1919 resulted in a further death toll of between 50-100 million and infected around one third of the world’s entire population. This week, BBC Two television […]

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Who has saved more lives than any other person in history? You’ve probably never heard of him.

September 17th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Edward Jenner (1749-1823) was an English scientist who lived in the 18th century. He discovered the first vaccine, which was for the smallpox virus. This disease was widespread at that time and killed many people. Those who were infected but survived were often left badly scarred. Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had caught the cowpox […]

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What happened to change the whole world in 535 AD?

August 22nd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The extreme weather events of 535–536 were the most severe and protracted short-term episodes of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 2000 years. The event is thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil, possibly resulting from a large volcanic eruption in the tropics, or debris from space impacting the […]

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Remembering the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

August 21st, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia today, there is massive media coverage of the Warsaw Pact invasion of the then Czechoslovakia – at the time, being liberalised by Alexander Dubcek – on the night of 20/21 August 1968. I remember the event very well. I was 20 at the time and becoming very interested in […]

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What do you know about the Dead Sea Scrolls?

August 20th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I recently watched an interesting television documentary about the Dead Sea Scrolls and I realised how little I knew about them: how they were found, how many there are, what they say, why they are important, whether more are to be found … You can check out 6 things you may not know about the […]

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The rise and fall of the Weimar Republic

August 4th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the last couple of weeks, I have attended a set of two lectures at London’s City Literary Institute on the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic in Germany from 1919-1933 delivered by Alison Appleby. Below are some brief extracts from my notes: What were the achievements of the Weimar Republic by 1926? Attempted […]

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Does anyone else remember the “I’m Backing Britain” campaign of 1968?

August 1st, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I’ve recently attended two lectures at the City Literary Institute in central London which took a 50th anniversary look at some of the events worldwide in 1968 when I was a 20 year old university student. Those events included the Vietnam War (especially the Tet Offensive), the assassination of Martin Luther King & Robert F […]

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