The History Thread Page 7

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  • Bremenacht 16 Sep 2013 22:53:57 17,777 posts
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    Sounds rather in the style of Antony Beevor's books. I shall have a browse.

    Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present looks like a good choice.

    Edited by Bremenacht at 23:27:42 16-09-2013
  • andytheadequate 17 Sep 2013 00:21:52 8,112 posts
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    @Bremenacht - think I may buy that myself too. Apparently it is a cut down version of his 2 part God's Playground.

    Can't remember the last Beevor book I read in much detail, but I seem to remember anecdotes mainly from the generals. Davies has an awful lot from the 'normal' people, which makes it quite unique. Feel free to correct me about Beevor though, I have a book on the Spanish civil war unread on my book case, and I read Stalingrad an awful long time ago...
  • Oh-Bollox 17 Sep 2013 00:37:13 5,196 posts
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    Beevor touches on the experience of the common soldier in his books, but things are tilted more towards the upper echelons. Very good historian, apart from his D-Day book, which was sub-par.

    Feel free to correct me about Beevor though, I have a book on the Spanish civil war unread on my book case,
    I'm not sure if he's actually written two books on the SCW or just wrote one and reissued it under a slightly different title.
  • andytheadequate 17 Sep 2013 01:28:12 8,112 posts
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    RedSparrows wrote:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f54_1337075813

    History-tastic!
    That is amazing! I love historical maps, I could look at the for hours
  • President_Weasel 17 Sep 2013 01:37:31 9,172 posts
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    RedSparrows wrote:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f54_1337075813

    History-tastic!
    That was a really entertaining watch. Good idea, whoever made that.

    The Holy Roman Empire was such a ridiculous ramshackle thing. Amazing it staggered on for so long.
    And Poland-Lithuania was a bit of a shambles too. Who establishes a parliament where everyone has a veto? That was never going to work.
    And as for Sweden, tch, what sort of idiot loses Finland like that? Shameful.


    (mumble mutter Darien scheme mutter mutter trusting the French every single time they said 'let's you and England fight, we'll help honest' yes OK Scotland's past is also rather embarrassing)
  • Trafford 17 Sep 2013 07:49:50 5,733 posts
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    thelzdking wrote:
    That map video was good, it reminded me of this: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/david+woodroffe/colin+mcevedy/the+new+penguin+atlas+of+medieval+history/4300695/

    The series of historical atlases by this guy are good, if somewhat facile, although I guess that's a pitfall of the medium.
    Yeah I've got the set of those, Ancient through to Modern. Good toilet reading, ahem.
  • Trafford 17 Sep 2013 07:57:49 5,733 posts
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    The Great Siege: Malta 1565 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/075929934X/ref=cm_sw_r_an_am_at_ws_gb?ie=UTF8

    One of my favourite reads, epic tale of the Knights Hospitalers in one of the last stands of the Crusading movement.
  • RedSparrows 17 Sep 2013 11:40:59 22,257 posts
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    This is the book that really got me into history.

    It is amazing. A map of every single theatre of war, globally, with arrows and division boxes and diagrams and analysis of production by country and special forces operations and everything. It's just plain awesome.

    Fortunately I have developed since then, but it still excites me.
  • RedSparrows 17 Sep 2013 11:52:50 22,257 posts
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    Beevor is usually a great read, but I think Davies is 'better', from what I have read. Both are grand.

    Read part/came across an astonishing history the other day. Well, really, history/literary/philosophical cross-over. It was an edition of Manetti's De dignitate et excellentia hominis, which obviously I can't read, but I did read the introduction. The lady who edited it had drawn together six different versions that were scattered across Europe, and unified it into one definitive piece. Each edition was sui generis, as it were, in that they did not 'descend' from each other. I don't know why, but there we are. Nuts amount of work.
  • Bremenacht 17 Sep 2013 22:12:09 17,777 posts
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    @andytheadequate
    andytheadequate wrote:
    @Bremenacht - think I may buy that myself too. Apparently it is a cut down version of his 2 part God's Playground.

    Can't remember the last Beevor book I read in much detail, but I seem to remember anecdotes mainly from the generals. Davies has an awful lot from the 'normal' people, which makes it quite unique. Feel free to correct me about Beevor though, I have a book on the Spanish civil war unread on my book case, and I read Stalingrad an awful long time ago...
    I think it was mostly Paulus (not surprisingly, I suppose) but also ordinary soldiers, many from accounts given to Soviet interrogators. But yeah, I can't recall anything from civilians. The Fall of Berlin is more balanced, with much stuff from survivors. Less emphasis on the military actions and more on the impact on the city and the people. I need to read it again!

    Looking forward to trying the Davies book. I hope I can keep track of the names!
  • andytheadequate 17 Sep 2013 22:36:53 8,112 posts
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    @Bremenacht - one of the really nice touches in Rising 44 is that he uses the code names for the Poles so it is easier to remember. There's an appendix with the real ones if you want to reference them. Not sure whether he does anything similar in his other books though.

    Really looking forward to reading the Beevor book i have, especially as I know so little about the Spanish civil war

    Edited by andytheadequate at 22:41:08 17-09-2013
  • RedSparrows 18 Sep 2013 00:15:09 22,257 posts
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    One word to summarise Poland: shafted.

    Although it wasn't necessarily whiter than white before, obviously.
  • Madder-Max 18 Sep 2013 00:31:11 11,640 posts
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    Anyone seen The Battle of Westerplatte? If not you should.

    99 problems and being ginger is one

  • imamazed 20 Sep 2013 09:36:06 5,533 posts
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    I know it was prompted by self-interest as much as anything, but I can't help but well up with national pride when I read Palmerston's defence speech on the Don Pacifico Affair. One of the great statesmen:

    "We have shown that liberty is compatible with order; that individual freedom is reconcilable with obedience to the law. We have shown the example of a nation, in Which every class of society accepts with cheerfulness the lot which Providence has assigned to it; while at the same time every individual of each class is constantly striving to raise himself in the social scale - not by injustice and wrong, not by violence and illegality - but by persevering good conduct, and by the steady and energetic exertion of the moral and intellectual faculties with which his Creator has endowed him. To govern such a people as this, is indeed an object worthy of the ambition of the noblest man who lives in the land; and therefore I find no fault with those who may think any opportunity a fair one, for endeavouring to place themselves in so distinguished and honourable a position. But I contend that we have not in our foreign policy done anything to forfeit the confidence of the country. We may not, perhaps, in this matter or in that, have acted precisely up to the opinions of one person or of another - and hard indeed it is, as we all know by our individual and private experience, to find any number of men agreeing entirely in any matter, on which they may not be equally possessed of the details of the facts, and circumstances, and reasons, and conditions which led to action. But, making allowance for those differences of opinion which may fairly and honourably arise among those who concur in general views, I maintain that the principles which can be traced through all our foreign transactions, as the guiding rule and directing spirit of our proceedings, are such as deserve approbation. I therefore fearlessly challenge the verdict which this House, as representing a political, a commercial, a constitutional country, is to give on the question now brought before it; whether the principles on which the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government has been conducted, and the sense of duty which has led us to think ourselves bound to afford protection to our fellow subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those who are charged with the Government of England; and whether, as the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong."
  • TheMayorOfJugs 20 Sep 2013 09:40:09 3,337 posts
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    So is this thread like the history channel then, you all discuss haulage, ghosts, aliens and pawn shops?
  • RedSparrows 20 Sep 2013 09:42:11 22,257 posts
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    Feel free!
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 20 Sep 2013 09:48:41 37,766 posts
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    I'm not saying it was aliens.

    But it was aliens.

    Follow me on Twitter: @MrTom
    Voted by the community "Best mod" 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  • andytheadequate 20 Sep 2013 10:03:46 8,112 posts
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    @imamazed - I love hearing politicians talk about the values of liberty and democracy when so few people in the country had a vote at the time!
  • TheMayorOfJugs 20 Sep 2013 10:13:07 3,337 posts
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    MrTomFTW wrote:
    I'm not saying it was aliens.

    But it was aliens.
    Are you Mel Gibson?
  • imamazed 20 Sep 2013 10:13:33 5,533 posts
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    @andytheadequate Quite. As I say, the speech is riddled with self-interest but in being so displays Palmerston's brilliance is courting public opinion; to disagree with him is to be un-British.

    And yet despite me knowing all this the final line - "so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong" - still feels like a thing of beauty to me and actually makes me proud to be British. All it really is is a defence precipitated by a disastrous and arrogant piece of foreign policy, but Palmerston made it so much more than that. Whilst he would only stay in power for a few months after this at the foreign office, he laid down the groundworks (or at least added to the ones he had already laid down) for his inexorable rise to PM.

    Edited by imamazed at 10:14:16 20-09-2013
  • andytheadequate 20 Sep 2013 10:16:51 8,112 posts
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    It's a superb speech, I'll give you that. Was Palmerstone the guy who had a 'gunship diplomacy' approach to foreign relations?
  • imamazed 20 Sep 2013 10:20:54 5,533 posts
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    andytheadequate wrote:
    It's a superb speech, I'll give you that. Was Palmerstone the guy who had a 'gunship diplomacy' approach to foreign relations?
    That's the popular view, yes. Well, it's pretty accurate in actual fact; but it's a lot more complicated and nuanced in reality.
  • RedSparrows 14 Oct 2013 15:51:43 22,257 posts
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    Before I ask someone int'own, can anyone recommend a bloody good book on the depression of 1929-193? in the USA? A good overview would be perfect, especially if it examines political reaction to the crisis, both in government and outside it.
  • Bremenacht 21 Oct 2013 01:33:19 17,777 posts
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    From http://www.eurogamer.net/forum/thread/223292...

    arials101 wrote:
    Noam Chomsky spends quite a lot of this book talking about the people that the USA has either directly (bombing/invading) or indirectly (giving guns to puppet governments/militant groups/aid blackmail) killed people all over the place since the 1940's, especially in Central America and Asia. He argues that the USA will happily destroy a democratic government or support a dictatorship, keeping the USA powerful by suppressing and slaughtering others.

    I would have thought somewhere like New Zealand would be relatively guilt free. The Maori have fared better than Native Americans except for a bit of war, post contact illnesses and land grabbing a few hundred years ago.
    I asked what advanced civilisations had no blood on their hands. There are probably many lesser civilisations who kept themselves to themselves, but even then - how many would have become what they are based on inter-tribal warfare, or some other blood-letting on a lesser scale.

    I'm sure Noam Chomsky's book is quite correct in what he writes. But compare US behaviour (and motives) to it's enemy - the Soviets.

    @DrStrangelove

    DrStrangelove wrote:
    Again, I don't want to downplay Soviet and especially Chinese atrocities. But what I reproach the USA for is that they claimed to be better, to defend freedom and democracy, but in fact were no better. In direct conflict, they almost annihilated third-world countries, in indirect conflict, they overturned countless democratically elected governments and replaced them with brutal dictatorships.

    They claimed to fight against the old nazis, but they soon found them useful in West Germany and beyond. No matter if someone's a nazi or a military dictator, as long as he's anti-communist, he's one of our guys. And at least from how I understood it, the USA militarily provoked the Soviet Union more often than vice versa.

    The Soviet Union was bad enough, but imo the USA were at least the same, if not worse.

    Edit: yes, the Soviets were bad with their involvement in overturning/conquering smaller countries, as was China. But the USA always claimed they were better, but they weren't. And that casts a different light on "opposing soviet ambitions", if you ask me. What is that worth if "the good guys" aren't any better than the bad guys?

    Edit 2: A nice example is Iran. USA and UK helped overthrow Moussadeq and installed a repressive Shah regime. After that was overthrown by Islamists, they supported Saddam Hussein in a war of aggression against Iran that left between 500,000 and one million dead. So in what way, at least in foreign "policy", are we better than the Soviets?
    Ok. How about the invasions of Poland, Hungary and Czech? Also, do you really want to get into numbers of people killed as a result of Soviet or Communist influence? A lot more than by Americans or by American influences, I'd suggest. (Unless death by effects of over-eating are included, in which case I'm not really sure)

    Also, every point in your original post can be applied to the Soviets.
  • Bremenacht 21 Oct 2013 01:39:13 17,777 posts
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    DrStrangelove wrote:
    arials101 wrote:

    I would have thought somewhere like New Zealand would be relatively guilt free. The Maori have fared better than Native Americans except for a bit of war, post contact illnesses and land grabbing a few hundred years ago.
    I have no idea about the Maori, but it can't get much worse than what happened to the North American natives. That's including what happened to Meso- and South-Americans. At least it seems like there were more natives left in South and Meso-America than in North America, where they're almost extinct.
    Eh? There are probably more native North Americans now than ever. Also, the most significant impact on North American natives was by Europeans!
  • Deleted user 21 October 2013 01:49:04
    There are probably more people with Native American ancestry nowadays, but you only need to be around 1/8th to be considered one on a census, so it's hard to tally. Their culture is threatened with extinction, at any rate.
  • RedSparrows 21 Oct 2013 08:44:55 22,257 posts
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    I don't find it very useful to try and tally up body counts. Are we suggesting that the 'empire' that has killed say, only a million less, by direct or indirect means, is the one we want to hitch our wagon to without reservation?

    You have to go deeper. At the fundamental level, however, in terms of philosophy and culture, I'd far rather live in Western Europe than either the USSR or the USA. And that is the historical font of massive oppression. And so on.
  • andytheadequate 21 Oct 2013 12:56:14 8,112 posts
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    I think people are mixing up domestic and international relations. I'm sure no-one doubts that America was a better place to live in than any of the Eastern bloc countries, even though they were far from perfect (pre-civil rights, for example). The repression in the Soviet Union was far worse than anything in 20th century America. However, their foreign relations were almost exactly the same as the Soviets.

    The Soviet Union had a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe where they set unpopular, repressive dictatorships. They got involved in foreign wars (Afghanistan) to further their interests, funded rebels/terrorists in third world countries and were involved in a dangerous arms race that could have destroyed the world (e.g. placing nukes in Cuba). They often did this whilst trying to claim the moral high ground by claiming they were the great hope for the working people.

    On the other hand, America had a sphere of influence in South America where they set unpopular, repressive dictatorships. They got involved in foreign wars (Vietnam, Korea) to further their interests, funded rebels/terrorists in third world countries and were involved in a dangerous arms race that could have destroyed the world (e.g. placing nukes in Turkey). They often did this whilst trying to claim the moral high ground by claiming they were the great hope for the "free" world.

    America genuinely did not understand their hypocrisy. At the Yalta Conference in 1945 they tried to prevent the Soviets setting up a sphere of influence on their borders as they believed in democratic selections, they but refused to acknowledge they were doing exactly the same in their spehere.

    Edited by andytheadequate at 12:57:37 21-10-2013
  • RedSparrows 14 Jan 2014 16:44:43 22,257 posts
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    So with Gove banging on about WW1, and me stumbling across an old UKIP document from 2010 that says things like (fucking love the first sentence):

    13.2 UKIP will make high quality teaching of British history in schools mandatory. UKIP believes all UK citizens must learn a common history and draw from a unified heritage. The patchy and biased teaching of history in schools, often very anti-British, is a major problem for a cohesive society.
    I was thinking: what, to you, is 'patriotic' history? To Gove and UKIP, it seems to be consist of a mix of being broadly positive towards Britain, concerned more with justifying very particular historical events and trends than explaining anything in a wider context, damning towards alternative readings that diverge from a strict narrative, being useful as a tool in society for political-cultural ends, and so on.

    Essentially, it's just one reading of history that demands pre-eminence over all others because it's perceived to be more loving of the nation. That's it, as far as I can tell - even when others within the nation think differently. Gove might be somewhere near a point, just about, when he points out that German expansionism was dangerous - it was, speaking in Anglo-centric terms, and it's important not to dismiss the war as a giant accident, devoid of concrete historical intentions and desires. But to pretend he means one must be more aware of context, to keep the details in mind even in the face of overwhelming national grief, is wrong: he means Britain woz 'right', deal with it. Patriotism, apparently.

    The annoying thing is, is that I consider myself somewhat patriotic, and most certainly do not agree with this kind of analysis. If patriotism means love, love must not be blind. I don't 'love' Britain, but I am very grateful for it in many ways, and I am deeply attached to places and people here. Being critical of something about Britain, perhaps from its past, is not hatred - it's critical affection, to me, because you criticise the things you want to be better.

    To me, patriotic British history, if such a thing can/should exist, is looking honestly at the intentions, thoughts, ideas, actions and responses of British people to events within and without Britain, and to try and understand them as much as possible. Basically: common garden historical inquiry, with the recognition that all historians are subjective, flawed. If a judgement is made, by the historian or otherwise, so be it: if it's damning, it's damning because our current standards, as Brits, are different now. If it's positive, then that's all to the good. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more - the shrouding of a very particular historical narrative in the cloak of 'loving objectivity'.

    What do you guys think?

    Edited by RedSparrows at 16:45:08 14-01-2014

    Edited by RedSparrows at 16:47:02 14-01-2014
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