Britain's post war strategic questions
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the economic strains on Britain after six years of conflict were immense, but Britain's international commitments were if anything even greater than during the war. Imperial overstretch, the temporary re-conquest of other European colonies like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, the occupation of Germany and the involvement in the Greek Civil War, and the new realities of the Cold War world meant that Britain needed to maintain a large standing army. Many military and civilian planners also blamed British disarmament between the wars for the rise of war mongering regimes in Germany, Italy and Japan. This podcast explores the impact of the international situation on Britain's peacetime national service
Tenth Anniversary Special - Myths of the Blitz
This is the tenth anniversary episode of the Explaining History Podcast, thankyou to everyone who has listened to my lo-fi ramblings over the years, I hope you've found it interesting.This week, we explore the complex social relations at the heart of Britain's blitz experience and challenge the myth of a united and stoic people pulling together, the truth, as ever, is far more complex.
The Croat Spring 1971
Yugoslavia, a state created in 1919 and recreated from the ashes of war once again in 1945 was a federation of balkan nationalities held together after World War Two by the totalitarian Leninist Josep Tito. The fact that Yugoslavia under his leadership had liberated itself and was not dominated like the rest of Eastern Europe by the Red Army, meant that its Cold War years would be fundamentally different. Yugoslavia was affected by the wave of unrest that afflicted Eastern Europe in 1968, following the crushing of the Prague Spring. The result was the energising of nationalist movements, the most vocal of which was in Croatia, which was eventually crushed by Tito. However, from 1971 to the early 1990s, nationalism, far from being extinguished, became the force that would rip Yugoslavia apart.
Iraq and India - 1941
In 1941, Iraq was a nominally independent country, but still part of the British sphere of influence in the Middle East. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany saw the growing wave of Arab nationalism in Iraq as a powerful device to place pressure on Britain in the Middle East. As intelligence reports showed that some form of Axis intervention in Iraq was planned, the Commander in Chief of British forces in India, Claude Auchinlek, saw the subcontinent as being particularly vulnerable and argued with London that a task force be prepared from India and sent to Basra to seize control of the country's oil.
The Soviet State and the Peasants (Part Two)
The world of the Soviet peasantry was complex and seemingly contradictory, and did not easily fall into the class stratification that the new Soviet regime believed could define all social categories. The lower to middle peasants, the Serednyaks, who would both work for others and sometimes hire labour themselves presented the regime with a conundrum - were they workers or were they exploiters? The outcome of these questions would determine how this group would be treated by the regime, a fact that would have dire consequences during the era of collectivisation.
Displaced Persons in Germany -1945
When the Second World War in Europe ended in May 1945, some 40 million people, German and non German were displaced in the four occupied zones of the country alone. This podcast is the first of two recordings that explore the desperate circumstances of former forced workers, prisoners of war, displaced German civilians and camp survivors.
The Soviet State and the Peasants
In the decade after the October Revolution the relations between the Soviet government and the peasantry declined as Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky all percieved that a new 'capitalist' peasantry was emerging in the guise of the Kulak class.miCCNvDJ1GzPhPzbYgfS
Stalin and Poland - 1939
This podcast explores Stalin's plans for Poland in the run up to the outbreak of the Second World War, and Neville Chamberlain's flawed diplomacy in the aftermath of the fall of Czechoslovakia. Stalin's secret diplomacy with both the western allies and the Nazis and his determination to see Poland destroyed as a state shaped the events between March and September 1939.
Journalism, Propaganda and War - Explaining History special
In this episode we hear from writer Mary McNeil, who discusses her new biography Century's Witness - which examines the life and career of Wallace Carroll, an American journalist and contemporary of William L. Shirer and Edward Murrow.