In the autumn of 1942, as Britain and the United States delicately negotiated the roles each would play in the South and Southeast Asian theatres of war against Japan, British colonial officials in London prepared to counter the American anti-colonial rhetoric which had already accompanied the first Americans dispatched to India in early 1942.
In March 2011, BBC Two broadcast a 90-minute adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s Christopher and His Kind (1976).(1) Leaving aside its possible merits and/or shortcomings, the airing of this TV-dramatisation was indicative of an on-going fascination with Isherwood’s portrayal of the decadent, Nazi-ridden Berlin of the Weimar Republic, captured most famously
‘When did the West first seek reconciliation with Communist China?’, asks the blurb on the dust jacket of Patrick Wright’s latest book, Passport to Peking.
In the beginning was Hitler.
As a field, diplomatic history is not generally known for its conceptual adventurousness. To resort to stereotypes, if representatives of the historical profession were invited to a party, the diplomatic historian would be the stiff, bespectacled man in a suit examining his host’s bookshelves in the corner while the cultural historians smoked weed in the kitchen.
In the autumn of 2011 the near-simultaneous publication of a number of books on the British Empire promised to add fresh momentum to the debate, if debate is the word, on the memories – or lack of them – that the British people currently carry for their empire.(1) Jeremy Paxman, with Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British, promised a robust, ‘clear-e
This book is a showcase for the work of some recently-successful doctoral scholars, nine of its ten contributors falling into this category. Most of them wrote their theses at British universities, but three did so in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Whatever the medievalists might say when they think you’re not listening, 20th-century European history is hard, and post-1945 history can be the trickiest bit. The decades after 1945 are much less precisely understood, in historical terms, than the decades before. They are more subject to unchallenged platitudes and uninformed controversy: they are surrounded by white noise.
In 1975 Paul Kennedy wrote that ‘yet another survey of the much-traversed field of Anglo-German relations will seem to many historians of modern Europe to border on the realm of superfluity’.(1) Even so, the intervening 37 years has seen no slackening off of the interest of both scholars and the general public in this particular international relationship.