Everyday life and terror – 1937

What often gets overlooked in the examination of the great terror (and other 20th Century terrors) is the experience of ordinary people and their thoughts, fears and survival strategies. During the Cold War an immense amount of scholarship went into fathoming the internal workings of the soviet state and the reasoning of Stalin and hisContinue reading “Everyday life and terror – 1937”

Putting dictators to shame

One key aspect of British imperial nostalgia is the argument that most former colonies from the 1950s onwards were mired in corruption. Whilst countries like Kenya and Uganda saw wealth from natural resources and loans from western banks syphoned off into the accounts of presidents and generals, the purpose of this article isn’t to offerContinue reading “Putting dictators to shame”

The Eighth Airforce Over Germany: In Conversation with David Dean Barrett

Last year, David came on the Explaining History Podcast to discuss the last days of the Pacific War and the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tonight, David was kind enough to return to the show to share his expertise with me on the American air war over Europe. We discussedContinue reading “The Eighth Airforce Over Germany: In Conversation with David Dean Barrett”

Why did Stalin choose collectivisation?

In the late 1920s Stalin faced a seemingly unsolvable economic dilemma. How did the USSR industrialise, build defence industries and protect itself from a hostile world when its weak agriculture could not provide enough grain surpluses for export or to create cheap food to feed the cities? The NEP had produced a social class that,Continue reading “Why did Stalin choose collectivisation?”

Conspiracy theories old and new

One of the defining features of American political discourse in the 21st Century is the almost unstoppable rise of political lying. Throughout the Obama presidency an ecosystem of right wing think tanks, commentators and of course Fox News has propagated everything from willful distortions of events and selective readings of policy to outright fabrication. DonaldContinue reading “Conspiracy theories old and new”

The concentration of media ownership in Britain and the resulting corruption of British politics.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing journalist Mic Wright, whose newsletter Conquest of the Useless critiques the British media landscape. We explored the accumulation of media power by a tiny coterie of oligarchs and the broken state of British politics.

This Week’s Podcasts

Hi everyone, as I might have mentioned on the podcast, I’ve now got the time and the long covid recovery to start blogging again. Here’s a rundown of everything I’ve podcasted this week: Poverty, Caste and recruitment to the Indian Army during the Second World War: https://play.acast.com/s/explaininghistory/poverty-casteandrecruitmenttotheindianarmyduringworldwartwo France, Britain and the Road to Suez 1952-56:Continue reading “This Week’s Podcasts”

John Lennon and Give Peace a Chance

British song writers in the 1960s rarely ventured into the realm of politics and protest, unlike their American counterparts. The Who’s My Generation had little to say about politics and was simply a statement about the aspirations and interests of the baby boomers. John Lennon had gravitated towards politics from 1968’s Revolution onwards and inContinue reading “John Lennon and Give Peace a Chance”