Category: Modern History 1900 to 2011


French Colonial Vietnam: Americas informal Empire ?

Image

Did America Let the French back into Vietnam to gain there own quasi imperial needs, lets discuss.

The American policy towards French Indochina fluctuated from the midpoint of the Second World War till the later part of 1945. Why was it then France was allowed back into Vietnam under Truman? This can be seen as a complete policy reversal under what Franklin Roosevelt envisaged through his trustee scheme. This would be worked through the United Nations and his so called Four Policemen, United States, Britain, China and the Soviet Union.  These changes are much brought around due to Truman having to trust foreign policy advisers in the state department. This is due to no real experience on the world stage, plus a developing Cold War in its infancy.

The Original policy of anti colonialism comes strongly across from a conversation Roosevelt had with his son just after American entry into the war. “That Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn’t been for the shortsighted greed if the French and British and the Dutch.”[1] This would in a way pave the way for American policy of Trusteeship and de colonization. This would be regulated by a body under a United Nations Mandate to effectively look after the colonial procession until it is seen fit to become an independent state in itself. This would give Roosevelt a lot of political backing in Indochina especially. Ironically though we need to consider the greater political spectrum this needs to play a part in the understanding of the issue. By this we will see later the need in 1945 that France was needed to play a part on the world stage. In this case in 1942 with the invasion of North Africa, a letter from the State department to General Henri Giraud stated that “The restoration of France to full independence, in all the greatness and vastness which it possessed before the war in Europe as well as overseas, is one of the war aims of the United Nations. It is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be re-established as soon as possible throughout all the territory, metropolitan or colonial, over which flew the French flag in 1939.” [2] The French government would have interpreted that they would regain their North African colonies and Indochina. Some in the state department could see the problem of not letting the French back in control of its colonies. George Blakeslee of the State department warned FDR that “If France is to be denied her position in Indochina she will be to that extent a weakened as a world power,”[3]  Roosevelt would not in some respect ignore this issue as much; he would be remarked later that “The case of Indochina is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indo-China are entitled to something better than that.”[4]  Roosevelt through his idea of trusteeship would worry Churchill especially, as these rules could effectively be transferred onto parts of the British Empire most notably India.  Churchill would try to play a big role in trying to bring Roosevelt on to his side.  Roosevelt even stated to an aid that with Churchill and his interference “I see no reason to play in with the British Foreign Office in this matter. The only reason they seem to oppose it is that they fear the effect it would have on their own possessions and those of the Dutch. They have never liked the idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of Indo-China.”[5] From that we can ascertain that Roosevelt and his policies towards Indochina are solid but the idea would change slowly, much due to influence from the US State Department.

At the Dumbarton Oaks conference we begin to see a slight change, and this can mainly be attributed to Churchill and his persistence. From this point onwards you can say that Roosevelt and his resolve for trusteeship plan would begin to change. The principles would be the same but it would revolve around the United Nations but of a colonial nation’s eventual right to independence after a certain period.  “The blueprint for the post war international system was negotiated, skirted the colonial issue, and avoided trusteeships altogether. F.D.R. in fact assigned to Indochina a status correlative to Burma, Malaya, Singapore and Indonesia: free territory to be reconquered and returned to its former owners.”  This is quite important maybe we can see a softening of Roosevelt and his policy stance, this was re affirmed by Secretary of State Stettinius  on April 3rd  1945 just after the Yalta conference said that any territory taken by the enemy will be returned to its original owner but could be placed under voluntary trusteeship. The term voluntary is vital, in some sense it could be seen as the green light for the events to come. John Hickerson, working in the state department would state that these changes to a British diplomat at the United Nations conference in San Francisco. It was so that Roosevelt could “permit a climb-down from the position that President Roosevelt had taken in conversation as regards Indochina.” [6] Why has the United States position changed though?

The major change is the global political situation at the time and deep divisions in the State Department. With the death of Roosevelt and Truman ascendency to the Presidency you would have the beginning of the Cold War and the breakdown of East and West relations. One of the most important changes to take place during the 1944 to 1945 was the replacement of Cordell Hull with Edward Stettinius, this would fundamentally change US policy. George Herring would even go as far as saying that “With the retirement of Hull in November 1944 and his replacement by the inexperienced Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., the “Europeanists” took command in the State Department. They contended that the United States could not impose its views on unwilling allies, and warned that an extended impasse on the colonial question could endanger allied agreement on an international organization.”[7] With Truman having to decide cold war policy through the use of the State Department, because of his lack of experience, would cause infighting between the two spheres of Europe and the Asiatic departments. The Europeanists would eventually win out much due to the need for the United States need to keep strong European allied base on side to combat any Soviet threat in Western Europe, a Europe first policy was put into place. Also in a sense it would seem hypercritical of the United States as in effect the Philippines and Japan were ad hoc American dependences.

This policy change was very quick to be taken into effect Mark Bradley mentions in making sense of Vietnam that “Secretary of State Edward Stettinius told French foreign minister Georges Bidault on the 8th May 1945 that ‘Washington has no intention-and’, incredibly, ‘had never had any intention- of challenging French sovereignty in Indochina’.”[8]  This can be seen as a very much and exercise in pleasing the French government into joining the new United Nations and to in a sense keep them in the American sphere.  From this we can add that James Clement who was a leading Europeanist in the state department confirms this idea to Secretary of State Stettinius stating that “We have no right to dictate to France nor to take away her territory. We can only use our influence….to improve the Government of Indochina and conditions there but we should not interfere.”[9]  This policy of no interference would be put to the test during the initial months of the Allied move into Indochina. Truman would in effect turn a blind eye to the fact that Sir Douglas Gracey was using French troops that were part of the South East Asia Command, in American trucks to effectively put French civil service and control structure back into Indochina. Truman would even approve the movement of over eight hundred Lend Lease Jeeps on the pretext it would be impossible to remove them. To this effect we could say that the British and French in a way played the Americans hand.  John Springhall stated that “once martial law had been declared in Saigon, Gracey, with only three infantry battalions of British, Indian and Gurkha troops at his disposal, lacked the muscle to enforce his proclamation. Hence the subsequent and infamous coup engineered to restore French colonial rule in the city was the outcome of a combined Anglo-French operation.”[10]  The United States government would turn a blind eye to this issue to a point. Office of Strategic service agents were fighting alongside British and French troops to keep control of the country side from the Vietminh. Britain in itself played a part in allowing the French back into Vietnam for their colonial interests.

From what we can see is that the softening of American attitude during the late period of Roosevelt’s Presidency. This is partly due to the change of the head of the US State Department, where the infighting over policy would be changed mainly due to the balance of power moving towards the Europeanists. More ever we can see this taking effect as the fledgling Cold War begins to take shape and the need for the US government to keep its strong Colonial Powers Allies on side to combat and threat from the Soviet Union in Europe. The Trustee policy originally set out would be dwarfed by American need in this early period of the Cold War, the Americans would have to please French interests but also not to seem hypercritical about their undisclosed “Imperial” possessions in Japan and the Philippines. With this taken into account it can be said Truman did let the French back into Indochina, but only on the grounds of the advice given and the global political issue

Bibliography

Bradley P. Mark and Young B. Marilyn. Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 2008)

Ferrell H. Robert. Off the Record The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (University of Missouri Press, 1997)

Gardner C. Lloyd. Approaching Vietnam From World War II Through Dienbienphu 1941-1954 ( London: W.W.Norton & Company Ltd, 1988)

George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977, pp.97-117

Martin Thomas, review of Mark Lawrence, Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), H-Diplo, 2006.

Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Springhall John. ‘Kicking out the Vietminh’: How Britain Allowed France to Reoccupy South Indochina, 1945–46, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 40(1), pp.115–130

The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971) http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html

Footnotes


[1] Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).,pg13

[2] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971) http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html

[3] Schulzinger D. Robert. A Time for War The United States and Vietnam 1941-1975 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).,pg16

[4] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971) http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html

[5] The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1 Chapter I, “Background to the Crisis, 1940-50,” pp. 1-52. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971) http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html

[6] George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977.,pg100

[7] George C. Herring, “The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina”, Diplomatic History, 1/2, 1977.,pg99

[8] Bradley P. Mark and Young B. Marilyn. Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).,pg27

[9] Gardner C. Lloyd. Approaching Vietnam From World War II Through Dienbienphu 1941-1954 ( London: W.W.Norton & Company Ltd, 1988).,pg58

[10]Springhall John. ‘Kicking out the Vietminh’: How Britain Allowed France to Reoccupy South Indochina,.,pg7

The Edge of Union….Scotland ?

Been living under a rock the last few days, you would have noticed a certain document produced by the Scottish National Party, calling for Scottish Independence or even a system called Devo max which is basically all powers except defence and foreign affairs.  Returning to two separate states of Scotland and England, but still containing the Monarchy as head of state and the pound as the currency of choice. This would Return the Main Island of the British Isles into a system of dynastic Monarchy, not seen since the time of King James I or VI if you are from Scotland. Times of have course changed, and the power resides with each nations said parliament.

 

 

Above is the original concept of the Royal Badge of Union. The reason why the idea of Union failed under James was because most people thought that there would be no equal partnership between the two nations. Due mainly to England becoming a major player on the world stage with the establishment of James town and also various trading colonies in the Caribbean. You can understand Scotland fearing English interests would take priority. The Attempt to set up their own colonies failed dramatically under what became know as the Darien Scheme. ( There is some evidence that Scots believed that it was an English Plot).  After many political dealing which could fill up a few pages on the blog; and the promise of money and free access to trading markets, Scotland began to flourish under the Union over time economically that is. What really provided the tipping point is the Jacobite Rebellion, which in the end caused the defeat of the Highland system.( It is a dark period of British history.) It opened Scotland away from its backward system and began to evolve on itself into a powerhouse sector of the British state.

 

 

What is the point of this you are wondering. Well I am all for national sovereignty, and self-determination but the break up would be very messy. Who would get what. How would the debt be spilt up as the British government holds a lot of the debt. How about the mission in Afghanistan would it be a cut and run job. The UN security council seat as well do we lose it.  Not a lot of people realise England has a lot to lose as well, quite a bit of National income comes from Scotland, taxes and so on may have to go up to cover the costs. If Scotland leave the United Kingdom does not exist, as it really is these two nations. Sorry Wales.  If any one would like to tell me how the below works please tell me.

 

Her Majesty The
Queen would remain as Head of State and the social union with the remainder of the UK
would be maintained, with the nations continuing to co-operate on a range of matters.

Below is a link to the proposed referendum bill

http://www.webcitation.org/5no62m3yB

 

Maybe we could move to a more federal system, but then the issue of each nation being equal comes to mind again. Oh well in the next few years we will see a political landscape change which would take us back to pre Civil war. See you on the Battlefield. ( not advocating there would be a civil war, just being odd).

 

 

 

The Two Winstons

“… It’s our cultural bloodstream, the secret of who we are, and it tells us to let go of the past, even as we honour it. To lament what ought to be lamented and to celebrate what should be celebrated. And if in the end, that history turns out to reveal itself as a patriot, well then I think that neither Churchill nor Orwell would have minded that very much, and as a matter of fact, neither do I.”

— Simon Schama

“Would it end via Fascist coup d’état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below)?” ( George Orwell)

 

This is very much a comparative look at two at the above comment from Simon Schama.  What we have here  are two people who witnessed  the great changes of the period. You may think that they are two different people, Winston Smith ( George Orwell’s character in 1984) and Winston Churchill are in a way much one in the same, when you actually sit down and read deep into the texts of both people’s lives. This of course will all make sense in due time.

 

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When 1984 is written you have to understand there was a certain fear in Orwell’s  eyes much due to the ascension of Communism and Socialism in most European states, it is not surprising that Big Brother is oddly based on Stalin. The acronym INCOG is the Orwellian term for English Socialism.  Due mainly to his time in the Spanish Civil war. This caused Orwell to believe that it would be ether Fascism from above, or Socialism from below. In some respect this could be true, most states turned to an extreme  form of government in the 20th century.  (Ironically Poland could be classed as a military dictatorship, with the exception of maybe Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Swiss,United Kingdom, slightly France, could be considered and extreme right or left governance.)

“You and me are the same We don’t know or care who’s to blame But we know that whoever holds the reins Nothing will change, our cause has gone insane ” Muse-United States of Eurasia

Now the comparison to Churchill, how is this even possible well it is ironically the main thing that drives this comparison is the fear of an over-riding rising from ether the right or the left.  Both had this fear in the 1945 election which of course proved unfounded in the long-term effects of history. He even coined the term of some form of Gestapo would be used by the Labour Government to keep control. This of course did not happen but if you bring it down to a base level both men had the same principles in respect to freedom and choice of the common man.

I hope you enjoyed the above do comment. Next up we go back to the English Civil war to look at was King Charles a good king.

 

Battle of Britain Turning Point ?

Disclaimer: Work was done on site with filming is being done as we speak as well (also apologise for the weird paragraphing will be sorted asap)

This edition of the History Guys blog, was actually done on the site of the Battle of Britain Memorial near Folkestone Kent. Take into account the below statement made by Richard Evans.

Irrespective of whether Hitler was really set on this course, he simply lacked the resources to establish the air superiority that was the sine qua non of a successful crossing of the English Channel. A third of the initial strength of the German air force, the Luftwaffe, had been lost in the western campaign in the spring. The Germans lacked the trained pilots, the effective fighter planes, and the heavy bombers that would have been needed. (Evans, Richard J. “Immoral Rearmament” ).

 

The Battle of Britain, is taught in most schools in the United Kingdom as a major turning point in the second world war. How much of this is true ? Most people know the course of the battle and how in respect to the airmen involved it was a mixed affair for the Royal Airforce. Who ironically the best aces were the exiled Polish Fighter Pilots.  Interesting to note is that most military historians believe that even if the south-east of England was lost to the German Airforce the RAF would have pulled back simply to the north of London and kept up operations. Realistically it may not have made much difference to Combat operations.

Back on topic. The politically the victory showed the Americans that the British in a sense were not simply going to roll over and die. This would prompt the so-called Arsenal of Democracy. With the British fighting in North Africa and really to Hitler this was only a side-show and to a point he is right. What the Battle of Britain did provide the Allies with the most important asset. This is the form of a country sized aircraft carrier of the coast of mainland Europe.  This would help provide the basis for the Landings in Operation Torch, Italy and Normandy.  Must mention the importance of the bomber offensive, and how strategic bomber bases were used to help hit the heart of the German war machine.

Is the Battle a turning point yes to an extent, it made it much

more easier for the Allies to hit back at the Axis powers in the long-term. The short-term effects it postponed the invasion. There is no possible way that the Germans could have invaded with the air cover in place, due the massive presence of the Royal Navy.

One of our contributors turns 21 today, a big miles stone in any ones life. He typed up his Top ten moments in his 21 years on this planet, even including the ones when he was only 1 or 2 it’s still counts he was alive for them.

pictures will speak more than words in this post. 9/11 and 7/7 wont feature as well they feature in everyone’s list. (but they are important). He would like to stress these represent no political views or associations that the writer has.

1. The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the End of the Cold war

 

 

2. Princess Diana’s Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. New Labour winning in 1997

4. The First Gulf War operation Desert Storm

5. The Queen Elizabeth II  Golden Jubilee

6. Creation of the Euro

7. The Internet or the World Wide web as we know it

 

8.  Genocide in the former Yugoslavia

 

9. London Riots 2011

 

10.  The Apple I Pod

 

There are many more to name a few, but it makes me wonder for the actual short period that myself have been on the planet how much and quickly things have changed.

The Chickens Come Home to Roost

Today is of course the Ten Year mark since the 9/11 attacks on the world trade centre. First time in recent history that US soil has been attacked on such a large-scale. We here have to be very careful and this post will be heavily moderated, so any one saying the usual the Bush did it or over stuff will be deleted, straight away. We are gonna look at the Historical impact that this has had on the last Ten Years of world history.

Where do we start well 1990/1991 First Gulf war sees the start of a new world order, the cold war is over ( or is it?). United Nations fighting Saddam. A little Saudi exile offered to help drive Iraq out of Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia. This mans  name was Osama Bin laden. He was rejected and disgusted at the influx of western ideals and troops into a Muslim country. (of course there is much more to this), can be seen as the catalyst for the start of the Holy war which America did not treat seriously. In respect to Bill Clinton in the years after Bush, put together a very good plan to deal with the threat .

Now the world after 9/11 has changed drastically, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (no discussion of the later here ether). The after effects were felt in other countries like Spain and the United Kingdom. Which ironically enough are no stranger to acts of this such Through the Basques in Spain and the massive amounts of Splinter Groups in the IRA. The world has not become a safer place, ironically in that respect the Cold War could have been considered a safer period. The impact of global politics is interesting you have started to see a much more of a Gulf between European powers and America maybe excluding Britain. With the wars of the aftermath of 9/11 you can even imply this to know due to the Nato intervention over Libya, was a distinctly British and French Affair where America was very reluctant to get involved. Maybe you are seeing a two war syndrome from America just maybe.

United Kingdoms Role in the Modern World has it changed ? or will it after the SDSR cuts?

This is where the history does not go out of the Window. I don’t want to seem Like an armchair general. Hands up I am not one of them a historian yes.

(map of British Dependent states. Not forgetting you Falkland islanders+ the independent zone on Cyprus)

The United Kingdom has lost its Empire yes, we are not a major player as compared to America or dare I say the new rising countries. I gonna use a term used by a friend of mine who I meet during University. He was an Indian called Bobin. ” Britain is like the wise old grandfather, sitting back and watching the world around him, wise and been there before. America and China and even my own nation are trying to run before they can walk. Britain is that nation which plays nations off each other for the benefit of the rest” I was very flattered by that statement. British Policy is always two-fold to protect national interests, whether they be Economic or mineral. Also lastly it is to make sure that one single power dominates, to provide a balance. You may think of god how can the United Kingdom go up against the likes of America and Russia etc. Economic terms no. That statement may seem counter-productive to my own argument.  Take a look at the above map of British dependencies on the world stage that we ether have military bases or naval ports on. The effective striking power of the United Kingdom across the world is impressive. Naval power even though how small the navy is in today’s world can easily project power from these alloted points. Mind you not on two fronts, that is what we have Nato and god bless America.  Even though we have proved we can conduct operations with out US help. Sierra Leone, Falklands, the Troubles which provided most of the counter insurgency work we see now days, hell give us the credit for Libya America took much a back seat no matter what the US media tells you.

It comes to my view that weather like it or not we should turn back to this original policy of reacting when needed, but keep the balance of power. It sounds crazy as hell to you readers but that is what most non UK people in the world see us maybe except the French, that’s no national biased right there. Always blame the French, answers to that on a post card please.

We need to take the approach of the British policies before the two great wars. ( yes we were a great power then and I don’t mean go and colonise countries) . I mean protecting British interests and shipping through the use of the Royal Navy (80% of our goods come from the merchant shipping it hasn’t changed since the time the Navies conception) , and have in effect a small army but ready to expand at the call of a conflict that arises, but make sure that force is equipped to fight different roles. conventional or counter insurgency.  That is the way forward to provide that balance but protect our colonies ;), but to also if needed scale up the force needed through the territorial army, if you want it to be a military perspective.

Disclaimer:  Some views in this topic may seen different to the ones posted in the previous entry. This is due to this covering Britians role after the cuts have been put through in my view.

Here we go Again 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14741844

Today we find out that more people from the armed forces, are losing their jobs due to the recent SDSR. Now of course we don,t want this post to turn into a political debate. my view is like right what the hell is going on but that is just me. I explain our little island nations role in the world later. Odd enough as it sounds it has not really changed. TIme for the historical perspective.

As we all know the United Kingdom is fighting as they say its most desperate fighting since the Korean War. Now this pretty much is true and we all have this talk of high-tech weapons, and equipment and that we need to give our boys the best that they can have. This much is true, but what we have to understand which i don’t think many people understand, and dare ever our leaders at the top. Besides the obvious that Afghanistan has never been conquered we all know that bit. What we forget it is a conflict that is from a different time and age, but it needs one thing man power and to get a little bit dirty, no matter how much technology who have on your side. I am talking about the Boer War it has remarkable similarities to the current conflict only from a British strategic view. It takes grunt work on the ground you throw bodies at it. Sounds bad but if you want to win that is what you need, if you want to win that type of war.

Now take the blockhouse system(images above). Built-in south africa during the conflict what it basically represents in a modern view is Nato Patrol bases. Deny the enemy movement into the local population. I am not advocating the concentration camps which were used hell no that would create more problems than good. ( Americans were the first to use them in the Spanish-American War it recently came to light).

After the Boer conflict massive army reforms were needed, and the expansion of the Territorial army. Hmm it does sound all very recent to modern-day events. The army was cut back down again as well no need for it the Navy was there to provide the wooden wall.

(the two pictures oddly look similar)

Now also there were medical reforms, and much tougher reforms for people to join the army due to the poor medical health of the nation. Now of course this is a conflict comparison and well, with world co-operation during the Opium wars. With nearly every great power on the world stage actually working together. ( I shall post this amazing image when i dig it up). No one saw the mess that would follow in 1914. No one if you take it from the so-called Joe blogs perspective in the street.

Now we fast forward

Has anybody heard of the 1920’s coalition the last peace time coalition government, was Conservative government, cleaning up the mess of the nations finances. (How times change) any way below is the worst cuts in the History of the British armed forces. Oh dont forget our hero Winston Chuchill and his ten Year rule. Below is an account of the spending cuts made during the last worst cut Back in UK military spending. And No one Saw World War Two coming till it was a bit late ether. We just dont know what is gonna come out from around the corner.

The Geddes Axe 

Taxation per head per annum (brackets contain todays value)

1919;£18 (£539.46)

1920;£22(£659.34)

1921;£24(£719.28)

Cost of Combined UK armed Forces 1922; £190 million(£5,694,300,000.00)

National Debt 1922 ; £359.8 million£10,783,206,000.00

Office of National Statistics

Interesting Read article on the topic: Henry Higgs, ‘The Geddes Reports and the Budget’, The Economic Journal, Vol. 32, No. 126. (Jun., 1922), p. 252 http://www.jstor.org/pss/2223277


The Female is always Deadlier than the Male

“This will be updated over the week ”

I have noticed something, in history. If you annoy a women you will suffer the wrath of a women.

Here are two very scary female Leaders from history.

Oh god run for cover its Maggie . Incoming handbag. No matter what your view this women could handle as she called the wets in her Government.

Ah, Margaret Thatcher, “she has the eyes of Caligula but the mouth of Marilyn Monroe.” (French President Metorond)

I dont want to get into what she did wrong and what she did good as that will just degenerate into a mess. I think what we can all agree on if you love her or hate her ( hmm a Marmite thing) she is probably one of the few politicians in British history that stop by her guns and how many can you say that about these days. Miss Clinton hell no, Angela Merkel of god no.   She sandbagged her way into the history books, on a side note the famous handbag sold for over a few thousand pound.

Next is Cleopatra

This woman was different. I refer to Mark Anthony and her love affair. She was so powerful to split the mighty Roman Empire into a civil war, all through the use of her looks and charm.( There is much more to it but our resident ancient Historian is away on Holiday at the moment) it is quite interesting. How women use their looks to gain influence and can easily bring down and empire or create one. You women make the best Assassins as well, also spies during the second world war. Have provided many  stories in some cases sleeping with the enemy to gain information.

In the words of Electra King “I always had a certain power over men”

 

Coming soon

Boudicca and Female Tribal Warriors (it is gruesome what they did to Roman solders)

Queen Elizabeth

 

Big Question, everyone after having a bit of a clear out of the History guys top-secret base.  I have stumbled across old text books from the many years I spent at school. Since all of the History Guys team went through the same god dam system and was taught the same topics year on year; It bored us all to tears and put a lot of people of History because of it.

So we want to open a debate on what should be taught in British Schools at GCSE or A level.

You need to pick Ten topics that you would like the education system to cover and why. Dont say for example Just the Tudors or Romans that would be to large and area to cover, try to pin it down.

Below are my Ten areas that should be included, in the teaching of History at schools. Big Word here is included i not saying replace the rise of Hitler , World War one etc and that just extra topics to mix it up.

1. The Norman Conquest: simple really you only cover this in slight detail or not at all. I would spread it out to the period before the conquest to include the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex etc. then carry on to the period after

2. English Civil Wars: Could easily be done much better than just spreading two weeks on the subject. Also a not so slanted view towards Oliver Cromwell being the god guy and Charles Stuart being the bad guy . That Really annoys me.

3. The Crusades: explains the obvious frictions between different religions and of course highlights many of the Issues that happen today.

4. Life in the French Revolution and the Rise of Napoleon: Oh god a major period which shaped modern Europe, in its political context and set the paving work for many of todays modern states. Hell it has a lot of blood guts and gore for the kids to really get their teeth into. Plus crazy clothes, and bad teeth.

5. European Age of Exploration and Colonisation: The expansion of Empires via the use of Trade, independent Companies, dare i say the East India Company , or the Hudson bay company as an example. I admit that is a big topic but has lots of different areas to cover.

6. The End of the Cold War: It is amazing why this hasn’t been done, please notify me if a school does do it. Kids need to know why Europe is not divided between east and west and be asked if it was Reagan or Gorbachev. ( They do the start of the Cold War but not the end how odd)

7. The Spanish Civil War: Okay I put this in here because I enjoy the topic. It is really a major point in 20th Century history. You also have the Chance to show the children animal Farm and the homage to Catalonia and why certain parts of Spain don’t like each other. Barcelona Vs Real Madrid isn’t just a football match 😉

8. Protestant and Catholic England in the Tudor period: I don’t really need to explain that simple enough to understand

9.  The Fall of the Roman Empire: Okay that does sound very big but it would explain why Europe would fall into a dark age and how most nations have influences from said people.

10. Spying and Espionage During World War One and Two: Explaining how both sides used espionage and agents during the conflict. Also excuse to show and read early James bong books and films, if you know Mr Flemings History that is.

 

Well that’s my ten topics it covers a bit of everything. Leave your comments and your own top ten