Archive for the ‘History’ Category

400 years ago, Europe’s Thirty Years’ War began

June 7th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This summer, four centuries ago, three characters were thrown out of a window in Prague – they all survived – and, from this bizarre incident, a war began than ran for 30 years and caused utter devastation throughout Central Europe. The Holy Roman Empire was convulsed by a bitter conflict between the Catholic Austrian Habsburgs […]

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“A Very English Scandal” was a very English success

June 4th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I spent part of this weekend watching all three one-hour episodes in the BBC1 drama series “A Very English Scandal”. This provides an account of the gay relationship between Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe and model Norman Scott and the trial of Thorpe and others on the charge of conspiracy to murder Scott. Although I […]

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Northern Ireland: 1968 and now

May 31st, 2018 by Roger Darlington

1968 was a momentous year around the world and there are all sorts of events marking its 50th anniversary. So, earlier this week, I was at the British Library in London for a talk sponsored by the Political Studies Association when the speaker was Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin).  She came to fame with the outbreak […]

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Two of the biggest crises in post-war French history: May 1958 and May 1968

May 24th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Over the last two weekends, I’ve spent a day at the City Literary Institute in central London on a course looking at a period of crisis in post-war French history which occurred 60 years ago and 50 years ago this month respectively. In each case, the lecturer was the French Sebastien Ardouin.  He was very […]

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So what kind of man was Karl Marx?

May 5th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

All around the world – but in very different ways – people are marking today as the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx in Trier, Prussia. Although my politics have always been firmly Left of Centre, I’ve never been attracted to Marx’s ideas. I acknowledge that he is a giant in philosophical and political […]

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Who was Millicent Fawcett?

April 24th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

It’s great that today we saw the unveiling of the first statute of a woman in London’s Parliament Square where there has previously only been statues of men (11 of them). The new statute is of Millicent Fawcett – but who exactly was she? She was a campaigner for the right of women to vote, […]

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The story of German scientists Fritz Haber and Clara Immerwahr and why the use of poison gas should remain a taboo

April 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

At about 5pm on 22 April 1915, French and Algerian troops on the Ypres front in Belgium noticed a lull in the German artillery fire that had been targeting their lines. Bracing themselves for an expected infantry advance, they were puzzled instead to observe a greenish-yellow cloud drifting towards them, then lapping over the tops of the […]

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Ever heard of the African revolutionary Thomas Sankara?

April 5th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

My second granddaughter is named Kara Jo – the second name after the Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered and the first name after the African revolutionary who was assassinated. I confess that I had not previously heard of Sankara. However, as it happens, there is currently a play in London called simply “Sankara” […]

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It’s the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force

April 1st, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I suppose it was inevitable that I would grow up with a lifelong interest in the RAF and aircraft because my father was a fighter pilot in the service at the end of the Second World War although he was too young to see action. Many years later, I married the daughter of a famous […]

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The raid on Entebbe: a story you probably don’t know

March 12th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I remember vividly the raid on Entebbe when Israeli special forces freed the hijacked passengers of an Air France flight in 1976. Indeed I remember subsequently seeing two films about the audacious episode. Now a new film, entitled simply “Entebbe”, is about to hit our screens in April and this has prompted “Guardian” columnist Hadley […]

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