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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  • 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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  • What have historians been arguing about... decolonisation and the British Empire?

    Article

    Decolonisation is a contested term. When first used in 1952, it referred to a political event: a colony gaining independence; it has since come to describe a process. When, where and why this process began, however, and whether it has ended, are all fiercely debated. Is it about new flags...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Why White Liberals Fail: United States politics in an election year

    Article

    Paula Kitching interview with Professor Anthony J. Badger about his latest book. 2024 is an election year in the United States. For many in the UK and around the world the US political system can be confusing, with simple processes seemingly more complex than you would expect. It is not just the system...

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  • Will China Democratise?

    Article

    Michael T. Davis compares the parallels between the democratic expectations, or possibilities, of modern-day China with Britain's democratic evolution from the eighteenth century to the emerging democracy of the nineteenth century. The future is an unfamiliar place for historians. Yet we stand on the edge of an historic shift away...

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  • Winston Churchill and the Islamic World: Early Encounters

    Article

    Winston Churchill had a major impact on British and world history in the twentieth century. A great deal has been written on his roles in the two world wars and on many aspects of his career. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to his relations with the Islamic world....

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  • Women, War and Revolution

    Article

    On the surface, the period 1914 to 1945 seems to have encompassed massive changes in the position of women in Europe, in response to the demands of war and revolution. Yet historians have questioned the extent of the transformation, since the acquisition of the vote, as well as improvements in...

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  • Women’s friendship in late eighteenth-century America and its relevance to lockdown

    Article

    Rowan Cookson offers us the opportunity to compare our contemporary anxieties with a stressful era in American history. Eighteenth-century women’s friendship is worth considering at this time. In my undergraduate dissertation, I concluded that white wealthy women’s friendship in eighteenth-century America equired long distance communication, involved labour and perpetuated race and class...

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  • Writing Lilian Harrison into history

    Article

    In this article Matthew Brown and Pablo Scharagrodsky introduce us to the little-known story of Anglo-Argentinian swimmer Lilian Harrison, who in 1923 became the first person to swim the 42km from Uruguay to Argentina at the estuary of the Rio de la Plata. Her story shows how she had to battle against not only tides and...

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  • Writing the First World War - Podcasts

    Multipage Article

    The Writing the First World War event in partnership with the English Association and the British Library took place at the British Library in London on April 14th. Over 80 teachers attended a wonderful day of stimulating professional development which was kicked off by a thought provoking take on how...

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  • ‘Power to the people’? Disputed presidential elections in US history

    Article

    Michael Dunne reveals the complex background to the modern elaborate constitutional process of electing a United States President. On Wednesday, 20 January 2021, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America.  In years to come these simple words may seem prosaic and...

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  • ‘Savages and rattlesnakes’ Washington, District of Columbia: A British Diplomat's view 1823-5

    Article

    Henry Unwin Addington, a nephew of the former British prime minister, Henry Addington, had joined the Foreign Office at the age of 16 in 1806. After serving in various junior diplomatic posts in Europe he learnt in 1822 that he was to be promoted to secretary of legation in Washington....

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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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