The History Thread

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  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 12:04:46 22,256 posts
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    I have noticed the Quiz is popular on Fridays, and LB's science thread is a great idea. I've also noticed lots of people reading various historical stuff and things.

    I thought I'd make a thread to ask questions you were always too afraid lest you appear stupid.

    I'll start

    What bloody year was the bloody Magna Carta signed at Runnymeade again?
  • LeoliansBro 11 Jan 2013 12:24:00 43,745 posts
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    1213 or thereabouts?

    Go watch Ironclad, it's great for Paul Giamatti alone.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • disusedgenius 11 Jan 2013 12:27:12 5,272 posts
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    Urgh memorising dates.

    /flashbacks to GCSEs
  • TheSaint 11 Jan 2013 12:36:36 14,292 posts
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    Love a bit of history.

    US Netflix has some great Ken Burns PBS documentaries. Just finished watching one on the US civil war, it was something like eight 2hr episodes so went into a lot of depth.
  • jellyhead 11 Jan 2013 12:39:05 24,350 posts
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    Definitely have a look at Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcasts.

    They are excellent.

    This signature intentionally left blank.

  • whatfruit 11 Jan 2013 12:47:36 1,420 posts
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    Been reading Henry Mayhew's "London Labour and the London Poor" over the last couple of week. It is a brilliant series of books containing extensive interviews with a myriad collection of street folk, peddlers and workers of Victorian London.

    You can get most of them for free in pdf format from Google books.
  • Trafford 11 Jan 2013 13:19:11 5,730 posts
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    I love the Crusades me, Steven Runciman's account is a great read if you have some background knowledge.
  • andytheadequate 11 Jan 2013 13:27:30 8,112 posts
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    The best history book I've ever read is Rising 44 by Norman Davies. Academically it might not be the best the personal stories it has in it are quite amazing really.
  • Alastair 11 Jan 2013 13:32:04 15,598 posts
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    RedSparrows wrote:
    What bloody year was the bloody Magna Carta signed at Runnymeade again?
    Pretty sure it was 1215

    Not as nice as I used to be

  • Alastair 11 Jan 2013 13:35:34 15,598 posts
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    Two great historical books that I've read more than once are The Dambusters and The Colditz Story.
    Dambusters is good because it goes on beyond the dam raids to tell an interesting story about the improvement in bomb aiming, and some bonkersly brave flying.
    Colditz Story is an awesome adventure that is doubly good because it is all true!

    Not as nice as I used to be

  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 13:41:41 22,256 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    The best history book I've ever read is Rising 44 by Norman Davies. Academically it might not be the best the personal stories it has in it are quite amazing really.
    Rising '44 is a fantastic book, and Davies is a very good historian. I used it so much for my MA that it's a wreck now. I took out scores of postit notes only the other day. His Forgotten Kingdoms is very interesting, and a useful lesson in the dangers of reading history backwards.

    I am actually working on a history book myself. I can provide a prototype publishers blurb if you like. Not that there is a publisher, yet.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 13:43:01 11-01-2013
  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 13:44:26 22,256 posts
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    Also, I am fascinated by theories of history, historicism, historiography, and how the human stories tie up into neat bundles or chaotic sprawls, depending on who you talk to: it informs one enormously about various other aspects of human society.
  • andytheadequate 11 Jan 2013 13:46:07 8,112 posts
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    Surely googling a date is pretty easy...

    A few questions to discuss:

    What would have happened if Hitler hadn't invaded the Soviet Union in 1941?

    If America had shared the atomic bomb secrets with the Soviets in 1945 (or before), would the cold war have been as tense?

    Was Truman a war criminal for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (or other allied leaders and the firebombing of German cities)?

    Churchill was strategically inept. Discuss

    And a few non military ones:

    Was the Chartist movement a failure?

    Did Britain's empire help or hinder the growth of the countries it ruled?

    Edited by andytheadequate at 13:49:35 11-01-2013
  • andytheadequate 11 Jan 2013 13:48:30 8,112 posts
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    @RedSparrows - what is the book about? I loved writing my dissertation (on the use of the atomic bomb) when I was at uni, but not sure I'd have the patience to write a book
  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 13:48:45 22,256 posts
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    Of course it is, but I didn't want to start too strongly. No worry of that now ;)
  • Alastair 11 Jan 2013 13:50:48 15,598 posts
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    Oi! I didn't google the Magna Carta date! :)

    Not as nice as I used to be

  • andytheadequate 11 Jan 2013 13:52:05 8,112 posts
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    @RedSparrows - I'm a massive history geek. I just hope others are too otherwise I'll be talking to myself :)

    And glad to hear Norman Davies is good academically as well as a good writer. It's a very rare combination

    Alistair - I didn't accuse you (well maybe I did :D), but I just meant in general. Remembering dates is all that most people think history is, which is a shame

    Edited by andytheadequate at 13:53:30 11-01-2013
  • glaeken 11 Jan 2013 13:57:03 11,137 posts
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    The other night I actually kept myself awake for ages trying to remember the name of the river Julius Caesar crossed which bought him into conflict with the senate. For whatever reason I had thought about the saying the Die has been cast just as I was going to sleep and then I suddenly could not think of the name of the river.

    It's the Rubicon

    I am not sure if this demonstrates my fascination with history or that I am mental.
  • Bremenacht 11 Jan 2013 14:02:02 17,777 posts
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    I find it interesting how history repeats itself. It never does it the same way, or for necessarily with the exact same outcomes, but so many factors prompt the same decisions and bring the same factors into deciding the outcomes. e.g. Hitler having to attempt an invasion of Russia.

    Are we allowed to lookup the Magna Carta answer yet? I certainly don't know that answer.
  • RyanDS 11 Jan 2013 14:02:27 9,199 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    Surely googling a date is pretty easy...

    A few questions to discuss:

    What would have happened if Hitler hadn't invaded the Soviet Union in 1941?

    If America had shared the atomic bomb secrets with the Soviets in 1945 (or before), would the cold war have been as tense?

    Was Truman a war criminal for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (or other allied leaders and the firebombing of German cities)?

    Churchill was strategically inept. Discuss

    And a few non military ones:

    Was the Chartist movement a failure?

    Did Britain's empire help or hinder the growth of the countries it ruled?
    He would have won WW2. Russia was responsible for 7/8 of the German casualties in WW2.

    Hmm... I think it would have been. No real reason for that though.

    Truman probably saved millions with the bombs. The nukes are actually petty firecrackers compared to what went on with the Dresden bombings etc. (Read about the firestorms etc.)

    Don't really know enough about Churchuill to comment.

    No, didn't it lead to the great reform act? At least a step in the right direction?

    Not touching the last one with a bargepole.
  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 14:03:05 22,256 posts
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    I can hardly ever remember dates, and I consider myself a historian.

    Here's some blurb, whipped up on the spot:

    'Born in Barry, 1905, Gareth Vaughn Jones should have lived the successful life of a respected journalist, with global experience. Instead, he was murdered in Manchuria in 1935, in suspicious circumstances. In the few short years between leaving Trinity College, Cambridge in 1929 and his death, he explored the tempestuous European scene, and worked for the bigshots in the USA.

    His key achievement is indicative of his most admirable traits: his curiosity and level humanism [of sorts]. He visited the USSR three times: 1930, 1931, 1933, and on the final visit contravened specific orders prohibiting movement, and walked through areas devastated by the famine created by collectivisation, one of the greatest social upheavals ever unleashed upon a nation. His reports from the Soviet Union, damning the situation, clashed with beatitudes from luminaries such as George Bernard Shaw.

    This collection of his diaries, letters and notes, fully contextualised and annotated, draws together the remarkable story of a few short years, of a man who flew with Hitler (and wasn't keen on him) and spoke with starving peasants in their huts. It is a story of a voice that spoke evenly in a time that then, and now, is seen as a period only of extremes, of for and against. It costs 300.'

    Excuse me whilst I vomit.

    Edited by RedSparrows at 14:04:03 11-01-2013
  • Bremenacht 11 Jan 2013 14:03:12 17,777 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    What would have happened if Hitler hadn't invaded the Soviet Union in 1941?
    Fuck me. Maybe I should try refreshing before I post!
  • Bremenacht 11 Jan 2013 14:05:36 17,777 posts
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    RyanDS wrote:
    He would have won WW2. Russia was responsible for 7/8 of the German casualties in WW2.
    He would have lost, because the Soviet Union would almost certainly have invaded Germany. Hitler effectively preserved Western Europe as we know it. His dream of EU was achieved and -ironically- the Germans are in charge.
  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 14:06:17 22,256 posts
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    RyanDS wrote:
    andytheadequate wrote:
    Surely googling a date is pretty easy...

    A few questions to discuss:

    What would have happened if Hitler hadn't invaded the Soviet Union in 1941?


    Was Truman a war criminal for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (or other allied leaders and the firebombing of German cities)?

    He would have won WW2. Russia was responsible for 7/8 of the German casualties in WW2.


    Truman probably saved millions with the bombs. The nukes are actually petty firecrackers compared to what went on with the Dresden bombings etc. (Read about the firestorms etc.)
    .
    If Hitler hadn't invaded the USSR in 1941 there's nothing to suggest he wouldn't have done in 1945.

    The nukes were not petty firecrackers. Dresden took thousands of air craft over several days. The atom bomb took one carrier. The crimes, if they are seen as such, are the same: the murder weapon is different. The whole Allied bombing campaign, or rather, mainly the British part, is an intriguing case and much more useful to discuss than counterfactuals.
  • RedSparrows 11 Jan 2013 14:06:46 22,256 posts
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    Bremenacht wrote:
    RyanDS wrote:
    He would have won WW2. Russia was responsible for 7/8 of the German casualties in WW2.
    He would have lost, because the Soviet Union would almost certainly have invaded Germany. Hitler effectively preserved Western Europe as we know it. His dream of EU was achieved and -ironically- the Germans are in charge.
    'EU', 'Reich' and 'The Third Reich' are all very different things...
  • Bremenacht 11 Jan 2013 14:10:18 17,777 posts
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    Heh. Well, having a union of European states is what I meant, but cba to type. And of course, the intentions/factors that led to that outcome were very different. But -and this is what I find interesting- an EU was formed, as he wanted.
  • Bremenacht 11 Jan 2013 14:10:41 17,777 posts
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    (Or think he wanted; now where did I read about that..)
  • Alastair 11 Jan 2013 14:12:12 15,598 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:

    Alistair - I didn't accuse you (well maybe I did :D), but I just meant in general. Remembering dates is all that most people think history is, which is a shame
    I certainly agree that there's more to history than remembering dates. That just happens to be one I remember.
    More interesting is understanding why it happened and why it was important. Or what the impact was at the time.

    Not as nice as I used to be

  • Dougs 11 Jan 2013 14:12:27 67,134 posts
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UMedd03JCA
  • andytheadequate 11 Jan 2013 14:15:24 8,112 posts
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    Bremenacht wrote:
    RyanDS wrote:
    He would have won WW2. Russia was responsible for 7/8 of the German casualties in WW2.
    He would have lost, because the Soviet Union would almost certainly have invaded Germany. Hitler effectively preserved Western Europe as we know it. His dream of EU was achieved and -ironically- the Germans are in charge.
    The Soviets were far too weak in 1941 to invade Germany as they had murdered all their officers and been given a bloody nose by Finland. In 1941/2 they were on the brink of collapse, The only reason they survived was sheer bloody mindedness. Without the fighting spirit caused by Hitler's invasion they would have been utterly useless invading Europe (just look at the previous 300 years of Russian history to see how incompetent the Russian army was when fighting a war of aggression).

    Stalin had very little interest in conquest, unlike the revolutionaries before him who wanted to spread the revolution. Everytihng Stalin did before, during and after the war was to give the Soviet Union a security blanket and sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, especially Poland.

    I imagine Hitler would have kept invading counties until he overstretched and had the whole world against him. I imagine it would have taken many years longer though

    Edited by andytheadequate at 14:16:24 11-01-2013
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