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The election of Donald Trump, the vote on Brexit and the political success of anti-establishment populist parties have led some commentators to draw comparisons with the challenges to democracy during the inter-war period. It is not necessary to be alarmist to recognise that inter-war politics in Europe and the United States can provide insights into contemporary instabilities.
With her latest book, Jordanna Bailkin makes a singularly impressive contribution to 20th-century British history. Her focus is on the various sites that were built or, more commonly, re-purposed to hold refugees who reached Britain at various stages in the 20th century.
Jim Tomlinson’s latest book distils ideas evident in his work for over three decades to present an account of how ‘in seeking to manage the economy’ British governments have ‘sought simultaneously to manage popular understanding of economic issues’ (p. 1).
For almost 30 years David Edgerton has produced a series of well-researched and ground-breaking revisionist accounts of this country's recent past, which have exposed the inadequacies and weaknesses of 'declinism' as an explanation of Britain's changing domestic and international experience since 1900.
Until recently, Britain’s first referendum on its membership of the European Community (EC), the forerunner of today’s European Union (EU), had not exactly featured prominently in the nation’s collective memory: few people seem to have known that such a vote had ever taken place at all.
As is often the case with (in)famous remarks attributed to prominent personages, there is some doubt about whether Winston Churchill ever did describe the traditions of the Royal Navy as comprising ‘nothing but rum, sodomy, prayers and the lash.’ Churchill himself reputedly denied that he had, confiding to his private secretary that ‘I never said it. I wish I had’ (p. 1).
Some 70 years after the British left India it is timely to look back at how the kings and queens of the United Kingdom came to amass one of the largest private collections of South Asian art in the world. Two conjoined exhibitions currently showing at the Queen’s Gallery do just that.
With the obvious exception of Pitt the Younger, the offspring of British prime ministers who have followed their fathers into politics have at best been pale shadows of their father. Admittedly, by my reckoning nine of them since the 1832 Great Reform Act have achieved cabinet rank, but none have seemed like potential prime ministers.
The Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 when a group of right-wing military officers launched a coup against the democratically-elected and progressive Popular Front government. The plight of the besieged Spanish Republic prompted an international outpouring of political and humanitarian activism.
Next year will mark the centenary of one of the most extreme and brutal displays of colonial power and violence, the so called Amritsar Massacre of 1919. The massacre took place in a public park called Jallianwala Bagh in the city of Amritsar where British Indian army’s Colonel Reginald Dyer on 13 April 1919 ordered his troops to fire on unarmed protestors gathered there.