World

The modern world cannot be studied without examining the course, impact and legacy of two world wars, the resources in this section set out to look at both the First and Second World Wars in their global context. The section also includes the Cold War and its impact in Latin America, South-East Asia and parts of Africa. This period also sees the rise and fall of European imperialism and the changing nature of global politics and economics as technology brings different stories from so many parts of the world directly to us. Read more

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  • History Abridged: POTUS - President of the United States

    Article

    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). Described as the most powerfully elected office in the world, the President of the United States (POTUS) has...

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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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  • A (non-Western) history of versatility

    Article

    Waqās Ahmed broadens our perspective on where in history we might find polymaths, those who embody versatility of thought and action. While Western scholars might identify the likes of Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin as the archetype of the polymath, they have in reality existed throughout history and across...

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  • On Black Lives Matter

    Article

    2020 has been an interesting year in many ways – both as a year to make history and one that has sought to tackle many representations of the past. The Black Lives Matter campaign that has taken on new energy across the globe in response to the killing of a...

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  • Exploring Twentieth-Century History

    Article

    For a long time, history curricula on the 20th century prioritised the narrative of a slide from World War I to World War II and fascism above many other topics. But the history of the 20th century is both far more complicated and far more interesting than that. For the historians writing here, the...

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  • In Cold War Skies: NATO and Soviet Air Power, 1949-89

    Article

    In Cold War Skies: NATO and Soviet Air Power, 1949-89, Michael Napier, Osprey, 2020, 320p, £30-00. ISBN 978-1-4728-3688-5. This book will appeal to two separate audiences. At one level Michael Napier has provided in extraordinary detail the nature and development of air defence in the widest reaches of the European...

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  • 100 years of the 19th Amendment

    30th September 2020

    When the Founding Fathers of the US created their Constitution in 1787 (formally starting in 1789) they were keen to make the US a modern and fair place to live, a new start away from the restrictions of the Old World and its antiquated forms of rule. However, they also...

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  • What difference has the opening (and closing) of archives after 1991 made to the historiography of the Cold War?

    Article

    Prior to the East European revolutions of 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, commentators outside the region were largely reliant on printed material collected by specialist research libraries, informal rrangements with contacts ‘behind the iron curtain’, information that could be gleaned from visits to the region, and...

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  • How is the source base of the twentieth century different from that of earlier periods?

    Article

    Historians often debate when, exactly, the twentieth century began; that is, when the themes and trends that we have come to understand as defining this tumultuous, rapidly changing period first started, and when they ended. One place we can look to answer this question is the available primary resources that help...

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  • Real Lives: Tahereh (Tāhirih)

    Article

    Paula Kitching tells us of the incredible courage shown by Fatima Baraghani while campaigning for human rights, especially women’s rights in nineteenth century Persia. Fatima Baraghani lived in nineteenth century Persia and was a poet, a religious leader and a campaigner for women’s rights. She was born sometime between 1814 and 1919,...

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  • What is interesting about the Cold War?

    Article

    Almost 30 years after the end of the Cold War, diversity is suddenly galvanising the field of scholarly research into the Cold War. As the historian Federico Romero has argued, older, simpler interpretations ‘seem to be giving way to a looser understanding of the Cold War as an era that encompassed...

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  • Real Lives: Maria Rye’s emigration home for destitute little girls

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson explores the controversial story of Maria Rye, who founded the Female Emigration Society in 1861 in order to take ‘surplus’ young ladies to Australia and New Zealand to work as teachers and governesses. As there was insufficient demand for these, she refocused her work on taking pauper children...

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  • The great British postwar exodus

    Article

    Murray Watson uses oral history interviews to try to explain the many and varied reasaons people had for emigrating from Britain after World War II. When I was invited to write this article about postwar emigration from the UK my first action was to Google the search term ‘postwar emigration from...

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  • Immigration and the making of British food

    Article

    Panikos Panayi explores the way in which immigration has transformed British eating habits over the last two centuries, whether through the rise of the restaurant and the development of eating out, or the culinary revolution at home. Those people who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 because of...

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  • What is interesting about the interwar period?

    Article

    The years between the Armistice of November 1918 and the German attack on Poland in September 1939 were undoubtedly a period of massive transformations. Public appetite to learn about specific aspects of this era remains strong. The making of communist rule in revolutionary Russia, the tribulations of Weimar Germany, the rise...

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  • Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert 1916-18

    Article

    Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert 1916-18, Rob Johnson, Osprey Publishing, 2020, 368p, £25-00. ISBN 978-1-4728-3491-1 For those of us whose detailed knowledge of Lawrence of Arabia may have been drawn from Robert Graves’ classic Lawrence and the Arabs (1927), amplified by occasional textbook references, this really...

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  • What is interesting about the world wars?

    Article

    In the past, the two world wars have been mainly studied as military history, focused on armies, campaigns and battles. Historians have concentrated on wars in Europe and in particular on the Western Front in 1914–18 and on the war with Nazi Germany in the west. This has given rise...

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  • History Abridged: Operation Black Buck

    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). Just as the Naval Task Force had been dispatched in...

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  • Losing sight of the glory: five centuries of combat surgery

    Article

    Michael Crumplin traces developments in surgery that can be directly attributed to changes in the conduct of war. Little doubt exists that war accelerates and innovates medical care. Today, our armed services can rely upon sound medical treatment if they are sick or wounded, with survival rates of above 90%. This...

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  • Sparta and war: myths and realities

    Article

    Stephen Hodkinson explains how images of ancient Sparta have been distorted and misused. On 15 April 2017, at a violent right-wing rally in Berkeley, California, some striking ancient Greek symbols were visible amidst the swastikas and ‘Make America Great Again’ hats. Several demonstrators wore replica ‘Corinthian’ helmets, as worn by...

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