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“WEATHER, DIS­TANCE, THE LO­CAL BAL­ANCE OF FORCES, ALL THESE SUG­GESTED AR­GENTINA WOULD WIN”

History of War - - HOMEFRONT - CM

From 8 May-15 Au­gust 2020, the Im­pe­rial

War Mu­seum is run­ning its ‘Vic­tory 75’ an­niver­sary pro­gramme that retells the story of the end of WWII in a unique way for con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences. IWM has been mark­ing the 75th an­niver­saries of VE Day, the drop­ping of the atomic bombs and VJ Day by bring­ing voices IWM’S vast sound ar­chive into homes around the world.

The pro­gramme be­gan on 8 May 2020 with a four-minute sound­scape called ‘Voices of War’ on IWM’S web­site. This brings to­gether di­verse first-hand ac­counts of VE Day from a Ja­maican RAF air­crafts­man to a Jewish Ber­liner who sur­vived Sach­sen­hausen con­cen­tra­tion camp, and even Win­ston Churchill. ‘Voices of War’ is in­tended as a fo­cal point that echoes how fam­i­lies heard how the war ended in both Europe and the Far East on the wire­less. Fol­low­ing these ex­tra­or­di­nary news an­nounce­ments, peo­ple were en­cour­aged to re­flect on a time of both cel­e­bra­tion and cau­tious re­lief in the sum­mer of 1945. They also con­sid­ered what vic­tory re­ally meant for peo­ple in fac­to­ries, fields, hos­pi­tals and homes around the world.

As part of ‘Voices of War’, com­mis­sioned con­tem­po­rary artis­tic re­sponses to the end of the con­flict have also been re­leased on the IWM web­site and so­cial me­dia chan­nels. These re­sponses, rang­ing from spo­ken word per­for­mances to mu­sic and po­etry, will ques­tion our un­der­stand­ing of what vic­tory means and rein­ter­pret these piv­otal his­tor­i­cal mo­ments for con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences.

This in­cludes its res­o­nance to­day in these chal­leng­ing times as well as sto­ries of peo­ple stand­ing to­gether dur­ing a time of na­tional cri­sis. Cur­rent artists who have re­sponded to the an­niver­saries in­clude Daljit Na­gra, in­au­gu­ral poet-in-res­i­dence for BBC Ra­dio 4 & 4 Ex­tra, ac­tivist Amina Atiq, DJ and poet Charlie Dark, and play­wright Chanje Kunda.

Diane Lees, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of IWM says, “Orig­i­nally, we had planned to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of the end of WWII in pub­lic spa­ces around the UK. Due to the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, this is no longer pos­si­ble. How­ever, the need to com­mem­o­rate this na­tional an­niver­sary and to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices made on our be­half by past gen­er­a­tions is as press­ing as ever. With ‘Voices of War’, we want the pub­lic to re­flect on this im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal mile­stone as many oth­ers did 75 years ago – in their pri­vacy of their own homes – and be part of this im­por­tant mo­ment with IWM and the rest of the coun­try.”

The third most vis­ited mu­seum in the Nether­lands af­ter the Ri­jksmu­seum and Van Gogh Mu­seum, Anne Frank House is ded­i­cated to the fa­mous WWII di­arist. The 17th cen­tury build­ing in cen­tral Am­s­ter­dam was the hid­ing place of the Frank fam­ily and four other peo­ple from Nazi per­se­cu­tion in hid­den rooms known as the Achter­huis (‘Se­cret An­nex’). Anne did not sur­vive the war but her fa­ther Otto helped to es­tab­lish the cur­rent mu­seum in 1957. Open since 1960, the mu­seum pre­serves the Franks’ hid­ing place and has a per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion about Anne’s life story.

Ded­i­cated to ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about per­se­cu­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion, Anne Frank House is an in­de­pen­dent non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion. Its web­site has a ded­i­cated page for in­ter­na­tional visi­tors who can­not cur­rently visit the mu­seum with an ex­ten­sive range of op­tions. The Se­cret An­nex can be vir­tu­ally toured on­line, in­clud­ing in vir­tual re­al­ity with the free ‘Anne Frank House VR’ app. The home that the Frank fam­ily lived in be­fore they went into hid­ing can also be viewed in 360 de­grees. In ad­di­tion to the vir­tual tours, there is an ‘Anne Frank’ video di­ary that airs in 15 episodes on Youtube and her life story can also be viewed in 20 lan­guages.

Lo­cated in­side Carlisle Cas­tle, the Cum­bria’s Mu­seum of Mil­i­tary Life cov­ers 300 years of Cum­bria’s reg­i­men­tal his­to­ries. This in­cludes the 34th Reg­i­ment of Foot, 55th Reg­i­ment of

Foot, Bor­der Reg­i­ment, King’s Own Royal Bor­der Reg­i­ment and even the cur­rent reg­i­ment that serves the county, The Duke of Lan­caster’s. The mu­seum aims to re­in­force the strong links be­tween Cum­bria’s reg­i­ments and the lo­cal com­mu­nity by shar­ing their re­mark­able sto­ries of courage, loy­alty and ser­vice. Its col­lec­tions in­clude many medals, weapons, uni­forms, unique arte­facts, mil­i­tary art and sil­ver that date from 1702 to the present.

Al­though small, the mu­seum has cre­ated sev­eral on­line op­tions for visi­tors to par­tic­i­pate in. This in­cludes a vir­tual tour of the mu­seum and slide shows. The lat­ter in­clude his­toric pho­to­graphs of Cum­brian soldiers in colo­nial In­dia, the Bor­der Reg­i­ment at Gal­lipoli and vin­tage pho­tos of Carlisle Cas­tle it­self. The mu­seum also runs ‘Vir­tual Wed­nes­day Work­shops’ where fam­i­lies can take part in a va­ri­ety of arts and crafts ac­tiv­i­ties. In­struc­tions, ideas and templates are pro­vided to make wartime items like bunting, post­cards, medals, cam­ou­flage, hard­tack bis­cuits and even ‘Make do and Mend’ teddy bears and rudi­men­tary ‘field tele­phones’.

Peo­ple were pre­pared for the end of the war and were re­lieved when it came. They had been told by the politi­cians and the press that Nazi rule was com­ing to an end. But there was not the same eupho­ria there had been at the end of World War I. When VE Day came in May 1945 it marked the end of the Euro­pean con­flict, but the war in the Far East was to last for an­other three months.

HOW PRE­PARED WERE PEO­PLE FOR VIC­TORY? WAS IT WELL KNOWN IT WAS CLOSE AT HAND?

HOW DID PEO­PLE PRE­PARE FOR VE DAY?

Some peo­ple laid on street par­ties for chil­dren while oth­ers cel­e­brated in town cen­tres. Lon­don was busy, with the streets of the cap­i­tal packed with ex-ser­vice­men, for­eign ser­vice­men and women, and young peo­ple out to mark the end of the war. For­mal cel­e­bra­tions were muted be­cause the coun­try was still at war with Ja­pan.

moved. A num­ber of chil­dren found they had no home to go to nor par­ents to re­turn to.

WHAT WOULD THE EX­PEC­TA­TIONS HAVE BEEN FOR WOMEN WHO FOUND THEIR AGENCY DUR­ING THE WAR?

Churchill is pic­tured (in­set) de­part­ing 10 Down­ing Street on his way to in­form Par­lia­ment of the at­tacks on the French fleet the pre­vi­ous day, as part of Op­er­a­tion Cat­a­pult. Ad­dress­ing Par­lia­ment, he de­clared, “It is with sin­cere sor­row that I must now an­nounce to the House the mea­sures which we have felt bound to take in or­der to pre­vent the French Fleet from fall­ing into Ger­man hands.” The Prime Min­is­ter re­counted how French ships in the har­bour of Mersel-kébir, in French Al­ge­ria, were en­treated to sur­ren­der to the Royal Navy, but were sub­se­quently at­tacked and sunk. This move was con­demned by the French government in Bordeaux as well as the Vichy regime. The Bri­tish at­tack claimed the lives of 1,297 French sailors, but the re­moval of the French fleet kept the pre­car­i­ous bal­ance of naval power in the Mediter­ranean.

A SOR­ROW­FUL RE­PORT

Hitler is greeted by crowds out­side the Kroll Opera build­ing, shortly af­ter his re­turn to Ger­many from re­cently oc­cu­pied France. In his speech on 19 July, Hitler ad­dressed Churchill, claim­ing he should “place trust in me when as a prophet I now pro­claim: A great world em­pire will be de­stroyed” re­fer­ring to the Bri­tish Em­pire.

HUR­RI­CANE HERO

RE­TURN OF THE CON­QUEROR

The fol­low­ing month he was wounded when his Hur­ri­cane was shot down in ac­tion over Kent. Though his­to­ri­ans con­tinue to de­bate the of­fi­cial be­gin­ning of the Bat­tle of Britain, by July the Luft­waffe and Fighter Com­mand were en­gaged in a con­stant strug­gle for air su­pe­ri­or­ity over south­ern Eng­land.

Archie Brown’s is yet an­other book on the end of the Cold War. How­ever, in­stead of per­pet­u­at­ing the view that the So­viet Union was on the brink of eco­nomic col­lapse, Brown re­assess the sit­u­a­tion and fo­cuses in­stead on the role of the key play­ers on the in­ter­na­tional stage. Look­ing at the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatcher, Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan and in par­tic­u­lar So­viet Leader Mikhail Gor­bachev, Brown draws on in­ter­views and con­ver­sa­tions to present a fas­ci­nat­ing new view­point.

The book is sec­tioned into three parts, with part one serv­ing as an ex­tended ‘in­tro­duc­tion’, part two pre­sent­ing Brown’s main fo­cus and ar­gu­ments, and part three serv­ing as both a con­clu­sion and epi­logue. As such, part one is best de­scribed as a ‘pot­ted his­tory’ of the Cold War and pro­vides bi­ogra­phies of the three key play­ers and their po­lit­i­cal ca­reers, both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, up un­til this point. How­ever, it must be stated that this open­ing sec­tion feels far too long. The ma­te­rial out­lin­ing the pre­vi­ous ca­reers of Thatcher, Reagen and Gor­bachev feels rel­e­vant and de­tailed, lit­tered with the sec­tions of the in­ter­views and con­ver­sa­tions which are a sell­ing point of the book. How­ever, the first chap­ter, which func­tions pri­mar­ily as a ‘Pre­vi­ously in the Cold War!’ re­ally does take its time and leaves the reader yearn­ing for Brown to get to the point. How­ever I must urge prospec­tive read­ers to press on, for when the book gets go­ing it de­liv­ers its prom­ise in spades.

Where ex­plores its cen­tral premise, of re­veal­ing the role of the three lead­ers’ per­son­al­i­ties and re­la­tion­ship in end­ing the war, is where it proves the most fas­ci­nat­ing. Brown uses the afore­men­tioned in­ter­views, con­ver­sa­tions and com­ments (gath­ered from a range of sources) to chart the changing opin­ions of the trio on not only el­e­ments of for­eign and do­mes­tic pol­icy, but also to­ward each other. He ex­plores all the usual av­enues (for ex­am­ple the role of The Strate­gic De­fence ini­tia­tive, or ‘Star Wars’) but charts how these changed or af­fected per­sonal views and opin­ions.

The book comes to an in­trigu­ing con­clu­sion in the third sec­tion, as Brown read­dresses his ini­tial points and an­swers the ques­tion posed at the start: would events have oc­curred dif­fer­ently had a dif­fer­ent set of lead­ers been in charge? It’s a thought pro­vok­ing point to dis­cuss, es­pe­cially as Brown takes the time to out­line re­al­is­tic al­ter­na­tives, who po­ten­tially could have been lead­ers in­stead.

Even for those who are al­ready deeply aware of the events lead­ing up to the end of the

Cold War, is a fas­ci­nat­ing read. It may not nec­es­sar­ily provide you with in­for­ma­tion you didn’t al­ready know, though the depth and breadth of the book may yield in­ter­est­ing tid­bits of in­for­ma­tion. What

does do and does so well, is provide a fas­ci­nat­ing new per­spec­tive on al­ready well-tread ground.

A NEW HIS­TORY OF THE END OF THE COLD WAR, FO­CUSSING ON THE IN­FLU­ENCE AND PER­SON­AL­I­TIES OF THREE OF THE KEY PLAY­ERS

The Hu­man Fac­tor

The Hu­man Fac­tor

“WOULD EVENTS HAVE OC­CURRED DIF­FER­ENTLY HAD A DIF­FER­ENT SET OF LEAD­ERS BEEN IN CHARGE?”

The Hu­man Fac­tor

Hu­man Fac­tor

The

When the UK went to war with Ar­gentina over the junta’s seizure of the Falk­land Is­lands, all the signs pointed to a sound de­feat for Bri­tish forces. The war was to be con­ducted in the South At­lantic, in freez­ing in mid-win­ter tem­per­a­tures. There were also se­ri­ous con­cerns about the US ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­vid­ing sup­port for the ven­ture. “Weather, dis­tance, the lo­cal bal­ance of forces, all these sug­gested Ar­gentina would win,” says Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Sir Cedric Delves in his au­thor­i­ta­tive ac­count of the con­flict.

Delves had been in com­mand of D Squadron 22 SAS since the start of 1982. There was noth­ing to sug­gest that within a few months his men would be wag­ing war at the gate­way to the Antarc­tic. Yet in April, D and G Squadron found them­selves steam­ing south to re­cap­ture the Bri­tish de­pen­den­cies.

The au­thor ex­plains that early on in the con­flict, the ini­tial con­cerns were re­versed when they per­ceived se­ri­ous de­fects in the en­emy forces. In spite of op­er­at­ing close to home, with a ca­pa­ble navy and mod­ern air force, their ar­range­ments were crude and tac­ti­cally in­ef­fec­tive, sug­gest­ing low lev­els of mil­i­tary ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing.

Delves take the reader step-by-step though D Squadron’s cam­paigns up to the Ar­gen­tine ca­pit­u­la­tion on 14 June, start­ing with South Ge­or­gia in late April, fol­lowed by the oper­a­tions in Mount Kent, at­tacks on the Ar­gen­tine airstrip on Peb­ble Is­land and then fi­nally on to Port Stan­ley Har­bour.

One of the most poignant events de­picted in the book is un­re­lated to bat­tle ac­tions. This was the burial of Delves’s SAS com­rade-in-arms, John Hamil­ton, killed on West Falk­land a few days be­fore the Ar­gen­tine sur­ren­der. The au­thor says it was de­cided not to fire a vol­ley in sa­lute “so as not to dis­turb John’s peace. We were done with all that, for now, un­til per­haps called upon again. We re­mem­bered. Then we left”.

IN MAY 1982, BRI­TISH TROOPS WENT INTO BAT­TLE IN THE SOUTH AT­LANTIC WITH THE ODDS STACKED AGAINST THEM. THIS IS THE STORY OF THE WAR AS EX­PE­RI­ENCED BY D SQUADRON, 22 SAS

Jus­tinian I – also known as Jus­tinian the Great – is per­haps the most fa­mous of all the Byzan­tine Em­per­ors. In his lat­est book, his­to­rian Peter Heather re­con­sid­ers the reign and legacy of Jus­tinian, his quest to re­cover the lands of the fallen West­ern Ro­man Em­pire and whether his con­quests ul­ti­mately led to the fall of the East­ern Em­pire.

As Heather ex­plores the po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary his­tory of Jus­tinian’s reign, he dis­putes two key ar­gu­ments that have been fre­quently put for­ward by other his­to­ri­ans. Firstly, he be­lieves that the wars of Jus­tinian were not driven by his de­sire to re­unify the Ro­man Em­pire but rather to ex­pand his ter­ri­tory, just like the other rulers of his time. Se­condly, he de­ter­mines that the East­ern Em­pire be­came vul­ner­a­ble to Per­sian and Arab in­vaders in the 7th cen­tury be­cause of out­side in­flu­ences, not be­cause Jus­tinian had over-ex­panded his em­pire and de­pleted its re­sources.

By re­assess­ing Jus­tinian and his achieve­ments along­side the wider con­text of the pe­riod in which he lived, Heather of­fers a deeper un­der­stand­ing of his reign and his ar­gu­ments are con­vinc­ing – for read­ers who al­ready know this pe­riod of his­tory well, this book will def­i­nitely be thought-pro­vok­ing.

Heather sup­ports his ar­gu­ments with a plethora of tex­tual and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sources and he also in­cludes an ex­ten­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy. At the same time, he has man­aged to pro­duce a well-writ­ten nar­ra­tive that is en­gag­ing and easy to read, mak­ing this book ac­ces­si­ble to any­body with an in­ter­est in Jus­tinian, not just aca­demics.

A COM­PRE­HEN­SIVE RE-AS­SESS­MENT OF JUS­TINIAN’S REIGN

Soldiers of the 1st Bat­tal­ion, Bor­der Reg­i­ment cross the Chind­win River in Burma, Jan­uary 1945. The reg­i­men­tal his­tory is told in the mu­seum

Carlisle Cas­tle is over 900 years old and was the last English fortress to un­dergo a siege dur­ing the Ja­co­bite Ris­ing of 1745-46

Anne Frank pic­tured in her school pho­to­graph in 1941

Ron­ald Rea­gan and Mikhail Gor­bachev sign the INF Treaty

An Ar­gen­tine sol­dier gives the ‘thumbs up’ in April 1982

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