International Relations

Relations across the UK, Europe and globally are frequently changing, and have done so across our history. How these relations are recorded, monitored and treated are discussed in the collection of articles and podcasts here. The very concept of international relations is explored as are when boundaries and discussions between states and groups started to matter. What are the procedures, protocols and outcomes of a world according to the history of international relations are all under scrutiny?

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  • Film: How new is Asia’s ‘new era’?

    Article

    The 2021 Medlicott Medal recipient was Professor Rana Mitter, expert on Modern Chinese history and politics. Professor Mitter's Medlicott lecture was on the subject of ‘How New is Asia’s “new era”?’.

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  • Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1871-1918, Katja Hoyer

    Article

    Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1871-1918, Katja Hoyer, The History Press, 2021, 253 pp, £14.99, ISBN 978-0-7509-9622-8  This admirably concise book gives due weight to the whole of the period from 1871 to 1918 rather than glossing over the years between the Bismarck Chancellorship and the...

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  • The British Empire on trial

    Article

    In the light of present-day concerns about the place, in a modern world, of statues commemorating figures whose roles in history are of debatable merit, Dr Gregory Gifford puts the British Empire on trial, presenting a balanced case both for and against. In June 2020 when the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston...

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  • ‘Zulu’ and the end of Empire

    Article

    In this article, Nicolas Kinloch examines the 1964 film Zulu. He suggests what it might tell us about the reality of the British Empire and asks if it has anything to say about the era in which the film was made. One of the most successful British films of 1964...

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  • Legacies of the Cement Armada

    Article

    Steven Pierce writes about Nigeria, long known for its flamboyant corruption, some of which stems from accidents of history. Its true international notoriety emerged in 1974–75, when half the world’s concrete supply was mysteriously diverted to the port of Lagos, paralysing it for a year. This article examines how the press coverage...

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  • Out and About in Cairo

    Article

    Nicolas Kinloch guides us round the fascinating city of Cairo. Cairo has always been a traveller’s destination. That indefatigable explorer, ibn Battuta, arrived there in 1326, and declared that it was ‘boundless in its multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour...extending a friendly welcome to strangers’. Most of this is...

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  • Ancient Athenian inscriptions in public and private UK collections

    Article

    Peter Liddel introduces us to a rich source of historical information and encourages us to make some purposeful visits to museums. From the seventeenth to the mid nineteenth century, travellers from the UK explored the Mediterranean lands of ancient civilisations in search of trophies that demonstrated the achievements of the classical world. Highly...

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  • Korean Air War: Sabres, MIGs, and Meteors 1950-53

    Article

    Korean Air War: Sabres, MIGs, and Meteors 1950-53, Michael Napier, Osprey Publishing, 2021, 320 pages, £30, ISBN HB 978-1-4728-44446  Korea is known as ‘The Forgotten War’ and air warfare is usually considered a specialist area, which means that Michael Napier has taken on a daunting job in writing a history...

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  • Why was it so important to see Dunkirk as a triumph rather than a disaster in 1940?

    Article

    Karin Doull investigates the perceptions of the outcome of the Dunkirk evacuation within the contextual framework of the time at which it occurred. In May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and a proportion of the French First Army group had withdrawn, under heavy fighting to the port of Dunkirk on the...

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  • Real Lives: Surviving the War in the Soviet Union: recollections of a child deportee

    Article

    This 'Real Lives' piece is based on a series of interviews Annette Ormanczyk carried out in 2019 with Mrs Irena Persak, who was deported as a five-year-old child with her family in February 1940. As well as offering a fascinating personal account of life in the Soviet Union during the Second...

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  • German universities under the Nazis

    Article

    In this article A.D. Harvey draws out the influence that Nazism and Nazi practices had on German universities and their staff. He explores how some university professors were active members of the party while others saw a chance of advancement by becoming conduits of the Nazi ideas. Finally he considers...

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  • History Abridged: The Berlin Conference 1884–1885

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). In 2020 there was lots of talk about decolonising society...

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  • Monty’s school: the benign side of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

    Article

    Field-Marshal Montgomery has a reputation as a strong-willed battle-hardened leader, with a touch of the impetuous. Few know of his charitable side and yet in his later years this side was just as important to his activities. In this article we find out a bit more of this often simplistically...

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  • Blood and Iron: the violent birth of modern Germany

    Article

    Katja Hoyer discusses Germany’s unification 150 years ago: an event that cast a long shadow over the troubled young nation and would alter the course of European and world history. Shivering in the cold winter air that drifted in through the windows of his temporary residence in Paris, Wilhelm I, King...

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  • This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe

    Article

    This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe, Robert Tombs, Allen Lane, 2021, 203 pp, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-241-48038-0  Robert Tombs is well-known for his works on French and English history and he has turned his hand to an admirably concise history of Britain’s relationship with its European neighbours from the...

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  • The Reckoning – The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

    Article

    The Reckoning – The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944, Prit Buttar, Osprey Publishing, 2020, £30, 496 pages, ISBN HB 978-1-4728-3791-2 This is the ninth of Prit Buttar’s non-fiction books about conflict on Germany’s Eastern Front in the First and Second World wars, several of which Trevor James and I...

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  • Holding the Line: The Naval Air Campaign in Korea

    Article

    Holding the Line: The Naval Air Campaign in Korea, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, Osprey, 2021, 320p, £14-99. ISBN 9781472831736. This provides a very thorough introduction to how the politics behind military strategy operates in the United States. What we find, with extraordinary parallels with our own time, is that after the...

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  • The Last of Africa’s Cold War Conflicts: Portuguese Guinea and its Guerrilla Insurgency

    Article

    The Last of Africa’s Cold War Conflicts: Portuguese Guinea and its Guerrilla Insurgency, Al J. Venter, Pen and Sword, 2020, 210p, £25-00. ISBN 9781526772985 This book offers more than its title suggests. It is an analysis of how the longest-standing colonial power in Africa suddenly retreated after a domestic ‘coup’...

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  • Boudica at Mancetter: The Latin, the Land, The Logistics

    Article

    Boudica at Mancetter: The Latin, the Land, The Logistics, Margaret Hughes, Atherstone Civic Society, 2020, 256p, £10-00 [and £3-00 p + p]. ISBN 978-0-9551803-3-0. Enquiries to secretary@atherstonecivicsociety.co.uk One of the locational mysteries of the history of these islands is where exactly did Queen Boudica fight her final battle in AD...

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  • Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs

    Article

    David Smith investigates how the USA made such a big mistake in the Bay of Pigs. In his inaugural address, President Kennedy attempted to balance the demands of Cold War rhetoric with setting out a vision of a post-Cold War world. Praise for the speech came across the political divide, with the Republican minority leader Senator...

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