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Posts tagged ‘World War II’

Re-educating the enemy: German Prisoners of War in Britain

By Emily Redican-Bradford

As the Second World War in Europe entered its final stages, Allied governments began to focus on how to deal with a defeated Germany. The leaders of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union were determined to eradicate Nazism, in the hope of preventing the eruption of another global conflict. In an effort to achieve this, each of the Allied powers embarked on a policy of re-education, with the aim of weakening loyalty to National Socialism amongst the Germans already in their custody: prisoners of war.

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Reorienting the Home Front: Spatial History and Collective Memory

By Clemency Hinton (@clemencyhinton)

Does the past sometimes feel ‘far away’? Can we ever ‘go back’? And ‘where’ did we come from?  These questions demonstrate that we often conceptualise and speak about history in spatial terms. That is, we describe the past as a place. History has famously been called a ‘foreign country’. Perhaps the more ancient the history, the more time we need to spend in transit – interpreting, translating, contextualising – to get there.

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Festivity amid the fighting: Christmas on the British Home Front in World War Two.

by Elly Barnett – @eleanorrbarnett

By Christmas 1940 almost all of Britain’s major cities had been hit by extensive bombing raids, amongst them the devastating London Blitz of September and the destruction of Coventry in November. 24,000 British civilians had died, and families were displaced as children were evacuated from cities and parents went to serve in the war.[1] Read more

Head Shaving during Ireland’s War of Independence

By Conor Heffernan

Troops storm into the house and forcibly evicting those inside. Screams of terror emanate from the house, growing louder and louder with each moment. Soon the house will be set on fire. In the melee that ensues, troops single out a woman known for collaborating with the enemy. Held down at gunpoint, her head is shaved. In the distance, fighters from the other side look on as she wails.

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The refugee crisis in Europe: should history drive the debate?

By Carys Brown @HistoryCarys

Heartbreaking stories of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe this summer sparked widespread demands that the UK government take more action to relieve the plight of those seeking asylum. A sense that future generations will judge critically how Europe reacts to the crisis has played heavily in debates about what the UK’s response should be. Read more

Narratives and identity of defeat: Japanese former military elite officers after 1945

by Aiko Otsuka

Aiko Otsuka is a Ph.D student in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University.

Recently in Japan, more war veterans have now started to tell stories about their atrocities from World War 2. Some Japanese war veterans have given lectures about the terrible crimes committed in Asia during the war as a way for the younger generations to understand the negative impact of war. Although more discussion by the so-called victimisers has been brought to public attention, there are many marginalised or forgotten stories concerning Japan’s atrocious past, including Japan’s occupation and colonisation in Asia.

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British Identity in Fascist Italy

by Konstantin Wertelecki

Konstantin Wertelecki is an MPhil student in Modern European History at the University of Cambridge.

In June 1940, British citizens Mr. and Mrs. Waterfield drove to the Florence railway station, just in time to catch the last train to France before Italy declared war on Britain. Bizarrely, this was their second escape from Italy; they previously fled Tuscany in 1939. But after concluding that the Italians posed no threat, they decided to return. As their daughter Kinta Beevor recalled, this was a common attitude among British expatriates: ‘Although Florence was plastered with virulently anti-British posters, few [Anglo]Florentines seemed to take them seriously.’[1] So in the face of danger, why did British citizens stay in Fascist Italy? While there are several reasons to this, among the most prominent was British expatriates’ tenacious grip on their British identity.

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The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria has closed his account

By Marta Musso

Have you ever wondered what world leaders would write in their Facebook accounts (in the pre-Obama era, of course)? Even though it’s two years old (a bygone era in the age of the internet) this post from CollegeHumor is more actual than ever. “Facebook News Feed History of the World: World War I to World War II” starts with pictures from the Crimean War and goes on to explain the causes and consequences of the two world wars up to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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