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Volume 3, Number 3 March 2014 1
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Table of Contents
Society Talks and Seminar Programme
Arthur der Weduwen Andrew Eckert
Editorial Board Page 6
The Middle Eastern Front of WWI
Arthur Henderson and WWI
WWI and Impact on Women
The Archaeology and Anthropology of WWI
Controversy in Commemoration
Some Intricacies of History
Gustavus Adolphus and the Military Revolution
Winston Churchill and India
The Succession Crisis of 1553
Relations between Han China and Imperial Rome
The Tudor South West: RAMM Exhibition Review
Rebecca Chircop Michael Doyle William Tonks Emily Vine
Contributors (order of appearance) Timothy Nicolle Michael Doyle Haley Morgan Gonzalo Linares Matás Nicholas Telfer Marco Roberts Gillian Allen Arthur der Weduwen Dale James William Kløverød Griffiths Conor Byrne Thomas Davies
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Contributors’ Information Degrees, Interests, and Contact Gillian Allen is a Third-Year BA History student whose main historical interests lie in Modern European History. This is her first contribution to The Historian. She is currently writing her dissertation on the public reaction to the nationalisation of the hospitals as part of the implementation of the NHS Bill in England and Wales. Her other final year modules include a comparative on civil wars, and a specialist subject module on Winston Churchill and the British Empire. Email: email@example.com. Conor Byrne is a Second-Year BA History student. He has previously written for The Historian on topics such as Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, the fate of Edward II, medieval queens and witchcraft, and the Wolfenden Report. His main interests are Early Modern and Medieval history, in particular gender, cultural, and social history. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas Davies is a First-Year BA History student. He has previously written for The Historian on PreColumbian Pacific voyages. His interests include clashes between cultures, the military and political aspects of world empires, and tribal cultures. Email: email@example.com. Michael Doyle is a Second-Year BA History and International Relations student. He has been editorial board member of The Historian since June 2013. He has previously written for the journal on topics that range from the relevance of History as an academic discipline; to the erosion of serfdom in the late medieval period; to the social reforms enacted under the Labour government in the 1960s. His primary research interest is popular protests in England and other European countries during the late medieval and early modern periods, and the factors which underlay the increased frequency of popular rebellions during said periods. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. William Kløverød Griffiths is a Third-Year BA Philosophy and History student. He has previously written for The Historian on Churchill, Attlee and the 1945 General Election. His main historical interest is twentieth century British political history. Email: email@example.com. Dale James is a Second-Year BA History student. This is his second time writing for The Historian, having previously written on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A well-traveled student, Dale has an interest in the early modern world – especially in topics concerning imperialism, military history, and the enlightenment. Through his studies this academic year his interest in ethnic history and the history of science have also emerged. He is considering multiple avenues with regards to his Third-Year dissertation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Gonzalo Linares Matás is a First-Year BA Archaeology student. His research interests include the processes of sociocultural change in Prehistory, such as the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe and the Mesolithic period (see article published in Vol. 3.2 of The Historian). He would further like to explore issues of colonisation and cultural dynamics in both far and recent past, such as the Romanisation of Iron Age societies. Moreover, he is interested in the archaeological research of warfare 3
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and interaction in historical periods, such as the relationship between Islam and Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula throughout the Middle Ages, amongst others. E-mail: email@example.com. Haley Morgan is a First-Year student, reading for a BA History with proficiency in German. She has recently become very interested in the Early Modern History of Europe, particularly social and gender history. She is also really enjoying the Understanding the Medieval and Early Modern World module, which is a big change from her interest in twentieth century social and political history whilst at school. She also really enjoys the history of religion in the modern era. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Timothy Nicolle is a Third-Year student reading for a BA in Military History and Middle East Politics. His main interests are in British colonialism, twentieth century British Military History and Strategy, as well as more current military affairs. He is currently writing a dissertation on the structure and development of British colonial policing in the twentieth century. Email: email@example.com. Marco Roberts is a First-Year student studying BA Anthropology, with a particular interest in cultural embodiment and the significances in seemingly unimportant objects or actions, and how understanding the everyday world can help to cast a light on larger cultural issues and norms. He is also keen on comedy, and how certain social situations can create a platform for humour â€“ in this case Blackadder Goes Forth, set during the First World War.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nicholas Telfer is a First-Year BA History and International Relations student, contributing to The Historian for the first time. Currently, he is mainly studying Mediaeval History, although his other interests include Modern History, in particular involving conflict, nationalism and the complexity of interactions between nations. He is also particularly interested in researching the importance of maritime history. Email: email@example.com. Arthur der Weduwen is a Third-Year student from Amsterdam reading for a BA History and International Relations. He has been editor of The Historian since March 2012. He has previously written for The Historian on various Early Modern topics such as the Glorious Revolution, the decline of serfdom, British foreign policy, the USTC project, and the Dutch Republic in the early eighteenth century. His research has thus far focused on various aspects of Early Modern European history, but he also has great interests in global trends and the connections between History, Political Thought, and IR. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Editors’ Note Arthur der Weduwen & Andrew Eckert Dear Reader, We are very pleased to welcome you to the third issue of the third volume of The Historian, the University of Exeter’s History Society Journal. As you may have judged from the cover, this edition largely focuses on the First World War and its centenary, which has dominated the news over the past months. This is the first time that The Historian runs with a specific theme; something we hope will continue in the future. This edition also features several articles unrelated to the First World War, as The Historian remains a journal to which any student can contribute on any topic of historical interest. This issue opens with Timothy Nicolle’s comprehensive overview of the Middle Eastern fronts of WWI, focusing in part on the relevance of its closing agreements and resolutions. Then, Michael Doyle offers an interpretation of Arthur Henderson’s decision to support the war, and Haley Morgan assesses the impact of WWI on the role of women in British politics, society and economy. Next, Gonzalo Linares Matás, Marco Roberts, and Nicholas Telfer present an original view of the First World War with a multidisciplinary focus of Archaeology, Anthropology, and International Relations. Afterwards, Gillian Allen analyses controversies of commemoration of past events, and Arthur der Weduwen closes the WWI contributions with comments on some intricacies of history related to the war. This is followed by Dale James’ overview of Gustavus Adolphus and the Military Revolution, and William Kløverød Griffiths’ analysis of Churchill’s stance on Indian self-rule. Next, Conor Byrne discusses the succession crisis of 1553, and Thomas Davies presents an assessment of the relations between Han China and Imperial Rome. This issue then closes with Conor Byrne’s review of a recent exhibition in the local Royal Albert Memorial Museum. We have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s work, editing several journal issues with high-quality contributions comprising dozens of different authors from different backgrounds and degrees. This edition is the final one to be edited by the current team; Arthur is finishing his study at Exeter this year and will step down after two years as editor of The Historian, while Andrew is running for re-election in the current History Society elections. Lastly, we would like to thank our dedicated editorial board, who have worked with us for the past three issues. Their hard work is reflective of the rising standards and quality of The Historian, and we are grateful for their efforts. Please remember that applications for the editorial board will commence in April/May – please get in touch if you are interested in applying. We hope that you enjoy this edition of The Historian, and wish you happy reading. If you have any comments or questions, or wish to contribute, then please feel free to contact us at ad383 and ate202. Historically, Arthur der Weduwen & Andrew Eckert Editors of The Historian, 2013-2014 5
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History Society Talks Confirmed History Society Talk: 27 March, 5:00 pm, Amory C417: Mark Connelly, of the University of Kent, will be giving a lecture focusing on the centenary celebrations for WWI and their importance and impact today.
Upcoming Seminars ‘Resurrection men, surgeons, and anatomical practice in popular Victorian periodicals’, and ‘Sexual Science and the Uses of History’ Claire Furlong, Kate Fisher, and Jana Funke 4:00pm - 5:30pm, Wednesday 24 March Queen’s Building, LT7
‘Communication, Society, and Homiletic Writing in Anglo-Saxon England’ Inka Moilanen (Stockholm University) 4:00pm, Wednesday 26 March Amory 315
‘Race and police accountability in the 1970s and 1980s’ (Simon Peplow) & ‘Darcus Howe: A Political Biography’ (Robin Bunce) 2:00pm - 4:30pm, Wednesday 26 March Amory Building Room 219
‘Writing the Second World War’ Antony Beevor 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Wednesday 26 March Queen’s LT1
‘Ralph Thoresby: Reading and Writing Religion in early modern England’ Laura Sangha 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Wednesday 26 March Queen’s MR3
‘Incense Offerings in the Roman East’ Amelie Le Bihan (Paris Sorbonne) 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Wednesday 26 March Amory A128 These seminars are free to attend for staff, postgraduates, and undergraduates. 6
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The First ‘World’ War The importance of the Middle East Campaign, its aftermath, and why it should be remembered as significant throughout the Centenary of WWI By Timothy Nicolle
reat Britain is in a state of war with Germany. It was officially stated at the Foreign Office last night that Great Britain declared war against Germany at 7pm. The British Ambassador in Berlin has been handed his passport.1
opposite direction two cruisers of the British Mediterranean Fleet without any form of hostilities occurring.4 Aware of the imminent declaration, the British ships turned to shadow the Germans and eventually observed them passing through the Dardanelles Straights on 10 August. The Germans had previously convinced the Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha, to prevent the British following them through the straights and therefore both cruisers arrived safely in Constantinople.5 Whilst friendly with Germany, Turkey was still a neutral country and, should have been bound by the rules of war to prevent Germany passing through the straights or if they had already done so, to have sent the ships out to sea to the waiting British immediately. This diplomatic difficulty was overcome when, on 16 August, after a brief ceremony, the German ships were “sold” to the Turkish Government and became the Yavuz Sultan Selim and the Medilli.6 Therefore, it is easy to imagine that when those ships attacked Russian Odessa and Sevastopol, that Britain and France were obliged to follow Russia’s declaration of 2 November and enter the war against the Ottoman Empire on the 5th.7 This incident, like most of the subsequent campaigns in the Middle East, (the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign aside), was often overshadowed by events that occurred on the Western Front, both in terms of military
Readers of the Daily Mirror naturally could not have been blamed for failing to read beyond the paper’s headlines on 4 August 1914. However had they done so, they may have come across an article much lower down, entitled ‘Britain Commandeers Warships’ which simply stated; The Admiralty last night officially stated that the Government had taken over the two battleships, one completed and the other shortly due for completion, which had been ordered in this country by the Turkish Government.2 The readers who got this far may have wondered what the outcome in the Ottoman Empire of this “requisition” would be, especially considering the ships had been paid for by public subscription, to the value of six million pounds from schoolchildren to the elderly.3 On the same day, two German cruisers SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, making up the German Mediterranean Division, passed in the 1
How the Newspapers Reported 4 August 1914 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3532588.stm (Last Accessed: 18/02/14). 2 Daily Mirror Headlines: The Declaration of War, Published 4 August 1914 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/mirror01 _01.shtml (Last Accessed: 18/02/14). 3 Massie, Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany and the Winning of the Great War at Sea (Vintage, 2007), p. 22.
Ibid. p. 35. Ibid. p. 47. 6 S. Shaw and E.K. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Volume II Reform, Revolution and Republic (Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 312. 7 J. McCarthy, The Ottoman Turks An Introductory History to 1923 (Longman, 1997), p. 358. 5
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prioritisation and media coverage. Whilst the Western Front was crucial and the war was largely won and lost on just a small section of the 200 mile front that stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border, it is important to remember, that this was indeed a World War and not isolated to Northern France and Belgium. It would be easy indeed to think of it as the ‘European War’8 as the Americans initially took to calling it and to forget that widespread campaigns and events took place across the globe. From naval engagements in the waters around the Falkland Islands to the siege of Tsingtao, a German colony in China and even to German East Africa, where the surrender only occurred after the Armistice in Europe, conflict was widespread and far from isolated.9 As this article cannot cover even a small number of the campaigns of the First World War, it has taken the Middle Eastern Campaigns as an isolated example of one that is often overlooked in order to highlight the importance both of the events themselves, but also the subsequent effects in the conduct of campaigns, the subsequent treaties resolved, and how we can still see these reverberations today. Indeed this campaign is as important to current world affairs as the Armistice and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
and economic well-being.’ For the British and French, the colonies were also crucial sources of manpower in times of war.10 It is fair to claim that the Ottomans were backed into the “German Corner” before the war began. Indeed for the prior hundred years Britain had often been their ally, albeit in 1878 in return for the island of Cyprus and in 1882, for a favourable response to Britain’s seizure of Egypt and crushing of the anti-Ottoman “Orabi Revolt”.11 Whilst a strong Ottoman Empire controlling Istanbul, the Dardanelles and the entrance to the Black Sea prevented an expansion of Russian power, the historian McCarthy sums up ideally why the British had been on such good terms with the Ottoman Empire – simply ‘it was a nice little earner.’12 This state of affairs changed in 1871 with the German Unification under Bismarck and soon Britain was looking towards an alliance with Russia in order to contain German power. The result was a shift in alliances, meaning Britain allied with Russia and France, leaving the Ottoman Empire increasingly pushed towards Germany and the Central Powers. Therefore, Germany was needed in place of Britain to protect the Ottoman Empire from the consequences of a Russian victory.13 This goes some way to explaining why the British and French followed the Russian declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November 1914.
Origins Whilst the British referred to it as the “Great War” until the Second World War, the Germans coined the phrase “World War” early on to describe the conflict. As the historian James Gelvin states, the German strategists realised that war was being raged between rival empires with world-wide interests and that ‘these empires depended on their colonial possessions to maintain their strategic position
The Middle Eastern Front Whilst, the most important outcome of the Middle Eastern Front was the way victory was achieved and subsequently dealt with, a brief overview of the conflict shows several things. Firstly, despite the eventual outcome by 1918, the Ottomans seemed to do remarkably 10
J. Gelvin, The Modern Middle East: A History (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 171-172. 11 McCarthy, p. 355. 12 Ibid. p. 356. 13 Ibid.
http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/were-theyalways-called-world-war-i-and-world-war-ii. 9 S. Pope and E.A Wheal, Dictionary of the First World War (Pen and Word, 2003), p. 286.
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well for a nation still recovering from such a severe defeat as the Balkan wars. Despite fighting on four fronts, those of the North East and Western borders against the Russians and the British and Commonwealth forces in Iraq, Palestine and Gallipoli, and finally trying to crush an Armenian Rebellion, which had acted upon the depleted Ottoman internal military
6 November the British landed at Fao and captured the town, on 11 November, capturing Basra and securing the Persian oil fields.16 Despite these successes, the year of 1915 proved disastrous for Britain and her allies. After trying to force through the Dardanelle Straights using naval power alone and suffering heavy losses (three battleships in one day on March 18th), the British decided on the Gallipoli campaign to relieve pressure on the Russians, provide supplies through the Black Sea and try to capture the forts guarding the Dardanelles by land.17 The subsequent campaign was a disaster, particularly notable for the heavy losses among the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops. By the time of the evacuation in January 1916, there had been 200,000 casualties.18 In 1915, the British also tried to advance up the Tigris River (crucial for the movement of supplies and the need of drinking water) towards Baghdad. The Ottomans managed to stop them at the Battle of Ctesiphon in November 1915 (wittingly nicknamed by at least one British soldier as “Pistupon”).19 The British subsequently withdrew to the town of Kut, only 100 miles to the South of Baghdad, but were put under siege and finally surrendered in April 1916, the survivors all being taken into captivity.20 The British, with the appointment of Allenby as Commander-in-Chief now realised the strength of both the Ottomans and the environment, and in 1916 they reformed and advanced slowly and methodically, placing greater care on supply and logistics and
General Allenby entering Jerusalem on foot, 11 December 1917
presence, it took considerable effort and losses for the Ottoman Empire to be finally defeated.14 Given the nature of this article, we shall be looking at the campaigns where the British and their colonial allies (Australia and New Zealand chiefly) took part, namely the southern fronts of the Middle East. For the British and also importantly the Arab world, the Middle Eastern campaign started with an Ottoman attempt to capture the Suez Canal in November 1914 with only 15,000 men. Disastrously for the Ottomans, their belief that the British occupation of Egypt was so unpopular that an attack with even small numbers would cause an Egyptian uprising against the British was incorrect. By January, this attack was defeated and the British began gathering their forces to deliver a significant blow.15 At the same time this was occurring, on
Shaw & Shaw, p. 318. G. Clews, Churchill’s Dilemma: The Real Story Behind the Origins of the 1915 Dardanelles Campaign (ABCCLIO, 2010), p. 275. 18 McCarthy, p. 360. 19 D. Woodward, Field Marshal Sir William Robertson Chief of the Imperial General Staff in the Great War (Greenwood Publishing, 1998), p. 114. 20 McCarthy, p. 360. 17
Ibid. p. 360. D. Woodward, Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East’ (University Press of Kentucky, 2006), p. 15. 15
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succeeded in taking Baghdad in March 1917.21 This similar process of a slow advance was also taking place in Egypt, where on 9 December the British captured Jerusalem. The British were able to outlast the Ottomans in this slow, methodical warfare, one example being the Ottoman reliance on desert wells, whilst the British built a pipeline carrying fresh water all the way from Egypt22. By October 1918, most of Syria had been captured and the Russians had captured most of Eastern Anatolia. On 27 October 1918, the British, representing the allies as a whole, signed an armistice with the Ottomans in Mudros ending the conflict.23 It is worth mentioning that this campaign was aided by the Arab Revolt, coordinated to assist British efforts by British officers including Captain T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) who arranged the “uniting” of the Arab tribes, chiefly those of Faisal and Abdullah.
created.24 The origins of the three aforementioned important treaties, can be seen in the notion that a victorious power had a right to territorial claims and financial compensation, and the concept that nations could be divided and created through diplomatic means alone. Britain, following this principle, agreed with France between November 1915 and March 1916 to carve up the region, should they win, into “spheres of influence.” The two main individuals, Sir Mark Sykes and François George-Picot agreed that Britain was to gain
The Agreements Whilst during the course of the war there were numerous agreements, official and unofficial, between the different powers, for the British in the Middle East there were three crucial agreements; the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Balfour Declaration and the HusseinMcMahon Correspondence. All three of these have had significant impact on the Middle East and are still doing so today. These three agreements can arguably be seen to have originated in the Constantinople Agreement of 19 March 1915. From this agreement, Russia was to gain the straights and Istanbul, France was to get Syria and Britain, Persia. This never actually occurred, due to Russia’s early departure from the war following the Russian revolution and the subsequent internal chaos this
Lord Balfour and a copy of his declaration
Jordan, Southern Iraq and a small area including Haifa and Acre to give access to the Mediterranean. France was to gain Northern Iraq, Southern Turkey and Syria and Lebanon.25 While these boundaries were confirmed, the nations themselves were left to decide on internal borders for individual states. Naturally, this division of territory was conducted with little effort or consideration of the inhabitants’ ethnicity, religion or cultural ties. Furthermore, the lack of first-hand knowledge of the terrain, or indeed of existing Ottoman governance, was a severe hindrance in defining borders and internal regions.
M. Urban, Generals: Ten British Commanders Who Shaped the World (Faber and Faber, 2006), p. 229. 22 E. Dolev, Allenby’s Military Medicine: Life and Death in World War I Palestine, (I.B. Tauris, 2007), p. 24. 23 McCarthy, p. 366.
Shaw & Shaw, p. 320. McCarthy, p. 374.
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This agreement however, was conducted with the knowledge that it contradicted previously established agreements between Britain and the Arabs, in particular with King Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt. This correspondence, in the form of a series of letters between July 1915 and January 1916, agreed that if the Arabs revolted against their Ottoman “rulers” and joined forces alongside the British, besides providing guns and money to fuel the revolt, they would also guarantee an (ambiguous) free Arab state in the Arab majority areas of the Ottoman Empire. This agreement, conducted privately with the Arabs was offering the same land that was then agreed to in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. While Russia was initially part of this agreement, with the Revolution, their considerations evaporated. As well as this, the new government released evidence of the discussion between Britain and France, inciting great anger amongst the Arab populations.26 Whilst this was a private arrangement, Britain also agreed to help another group of people much more openly. On 2 November 1917, the Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, sent a letter to a leader of the British Jewish Community, Baron Rothschild. This was published a week later in the Times of London, and included a sentence stating;
competing claims. It is not altogether known why Britain would offer land to the Jewish people in Palestine, however, it could have been in consideration of the over-perceived power of the Jewish population in America and the belief that this would have an effect on President Woodrow Wilson in regard to America’s entry into the war.28 These agreements might have been thought to have been so contradictory that they would have created grave problems. Whilst they had repercussions, we must take into account that the Russian revolution had changed the balance of the treaties that had been determined before. As well as this, Woodrow Wilson had developed his fourteen points, which included the right to self-determination for all peoples and an end to private agreements between nations These proposals provoked the negative responses that might have been expected from the Empires of Britain and France, with Clemenceau’s famous opinion of the fourteen points being; ‘Even the good Lord contented Map showing the Sykes-Picot Agreement
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object27 The same land was now promised to a third group of people, all of whom now had
himself with only ten commandments.’29 The outcome of this was that at the Paris Peace Conference, many small nations and
Cleveland, pp. 162-163. D. McDowall, The Palestinians, The Road to Nationhood (Minority Rights Publications, 1994), p. 13.
J. Gelvin, The Israel-Palestine Conflict, One Hundred Years of Wart (Cambridge University Press, 2005) p. 82. 29 Ibid. p. 85.
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ethnic groups tried to gain independence, including the Zionists and Arabs. The conclusion of this conference resulted in the concept of Mandatory Territories. For the Middle East this meant that Britain would govern the area that is now Israel, Jordan and Iraq, whilst France gained Syria and Lebanon – indeed the names and “shapes” of these territories with which we are so familiar today were created under British and French rule. Whilst the nations governing the areas under “their charge” had to report to the League of Nations once a year, they had complete political and economic control. This meant that for Britain they divided the Mandate for Palestine in two, what is now today Israel and Jordan. Similarly, Iraq as it is today known, was created by merging the three Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul together. The French created a “Christian enclave” on the coast, which is today Lebanon, cut away from the Mandate for Syria. The territories were to be governed under Article 22, ‘until such a time as they are able to stand alone’ – a suitably vague time frame for territories with little say in their future or governance.30
the governing power of Syria as a mandatory territory and so Faisal was deposed by force in the Franco-Syrian war, ending in July. Because of this, another of the Sharif of Mecca’s sons, Husayn, began marching north to seek revenge. Understandably, Britain had an interest in keeping the region peaceful and as such, in the 1921 Cairo Conference decided to Appoint Faisal as King of Iraq, becoming Faisal I. The other brother, Husayn was given Trans-Jordan, which following independence in 1946, became the Kingdom of Jordan. The same family has ruled Jordan ever since.31 For Iraq, from its beginning, different ethnic groups had been merged unnaturally together, the majority being Shia Arabs. The North was largely Kurdish in ethnicity, having asked for independence in the Paris Peace Conference, but not having gained it. The appointment of Faisal I, a Sunni Arab and the British appointment of many Sunnis into governmental positions of power in a population that was majority Shia, created a divide between ruling elite and populace still continuing today and a cause for tension ever since.32 Britain soon realised the problems of this control, following continued rebelliousness and the work of Faisal I in trying to hurry independence in order to win the population around to their “foreign” king. Rather than ‘until such a time as they are able to stand alone,’ they seem to have rather abandoned Iraq to independence ahead of the other territories in 1932, although maintaining a certain presence militarily.33
The Effect on Today Besides geographically shaping and naming the region into what can still be seen today, and creating a great tension between “The West” and Arab and Jewish populations; the Mandates and their subsequent governance can be seen to be the causal factor for several of the ruling families in the region and of subsequent events in the nations once governed by the mandate system. In Syria, Amir Faisal, one of the sons of the Sharif of Mecca and the Hashemite family, had declared an Arab kingdom of Syria in March 1920 and been appointed King by the Syrian National Congress. However, the San Remo Conference later the same year had made France
Conclusion The Telegraph Online, features an article from 7 April 2013 describing the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s efforts to repair and replace the stones in the 31
Ibid. p. 182. Cleveland, p. 207. 33 Ibid. p. 210. 32
J. Gelvin, The Modern Middle East, pp. 180-181.
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Baghdad North Gate Cemetery- many of the graves being from the Mesopotamian Campaign.34 The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has 23,000 locations where cemeteries or memorials are located in 153 countries around the world.35 In Iraq alone, there are numerous sites with over 54,000 names commemorated. A lot of the damage that was done to the North Gate Cemetery was caused by a car-bomb that blew up outside the nearby embassy of Turkey – one of the ISAF members. This reflects the fluidity of alliances between nations and the effects of diplomacy, war and subsequent peace on the way different nations react with one another.36 The process in which both the war in the Middle East emerged – the various nations’ causes for involvement – and the subsequent peace treaties, show the importance of modern diplomacy. In the same way as the Treaty of Versailles paved the way for the rise of discontent in Germany and facilitated the Nationalist Socialist Party’s rise to power, the process by which territories were divided, controlled and managed by the Mandate principle, amongst other resulting treaties, created a rise of Arab Nationalism and further discontent between ethnic groups artificially bonded together in nationhood. At the time of remembrance in this, the centennial year of the commencement of the First World War, we need to remember that this conflict was a global conflict and was not isolated solely to France and Belgium. Besides the sacrifices of soldiers and servicemen of all
nations, in whatever campaign they fought, it is important to remember the significant events that occurred across the globe. For the Middle East, it is felt that what must be remembered is the way in which the defeated powers were treated and the way in which individual regions, towns and villages were treated as “spoils of war” and how this in turn led to many of the subsequent problems in the Middle East which still exist today. The importance of actions and the treatment of countries when in positions of responsibility has arguably never been more important, as we have seen in the modern world, with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must acknowledge that there are lessons that must be learnt from this past and present responsibility before deciding if and in what manner we involve ourselves in other nation’s affairs.
C. Freeman, ‘Peace in Iraq Offers Hope for Baghdad’s British War Graves’ (Daily Telegraph Online, 07/04/13) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/ir aq/9975232/Peace-in-Iraq-offers-hope-for-BaghdadsBritish-war-graves.html (Last Accessed: 18/02/14). 35 Commonwealth War Graves Commission ‘About Us’ http://www.cwgc.org/about-us.aspx (Last Accessed: 18/02/14). 36 C. Freeman, ‘Peace in Iraq Offers Hope for Baghdad’s British War Graves’.
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Arthur Henderson: The decision to join the War Cabinet By Michael Doyle the working-class.41 The party was parochial in terms of its policy agenda and trade unionists took little interest in continental affairs, leaving foreign policy to the ‘socialists’.42 To the unions, the idea of Labour becoming an internationalist party was a bourgeois interest far removed from the concerns of the working-class. On foreign policy, Labour had a rather complicated position – particularly on matters of Empire – as the trades union’s wing of the PLP possessed a considerable strain of nationalism, and were more likely to advocate war on the basis of preserving the Empire from foreign enemies.43 Given the strong patriotic and at times jingoistic passions that could be aroused amongst the working-class communities that those MPs represented, it is not surprising that there was such a strong desire to go to war. The socialist Left, by contrast, was opposed to war on the grounds that as a member of Second International, it would be endorsing an imperialist war that was pitting the workingclasses against each other at the expense of elite geopolitical interests. When one contrasts the different routes that both Henderson and MacDonald took into Labour politics, one can draw some insight into
n 2 August 1914, the Labour party organised an anti-war demonstration in Trafalgar Square.37 One of its principal speakers was the general secretary of the Labour party, Arthur Henderson. Henderson was not only general secretary of the Labour party; he was also secretary of Second International – an organisation that sought to channel workingclass hostility to war.38 Four days later, Ramsay MacDonald, the chairman of the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) resigned after the PLP decided to support the government of Lord Asquith in going to war.39 Historians have not focused in great detail on tensions between Henderson and MacDonald.40 In this article, I will contrast the differing positions of Henderson and MacDonald on the decision to go to war and make an argument as to why those tensions emerged, as well as focusing on working-class and Methodist attitudes to the First World War, and the effect it had on Henderson in adopting a pro-war stance. From the inception of the Independent Labour Party in 1900 to 1914, the party concentrated solely on establishing itself as a credible and effective parliamentary party that could advance the socio-economic interests of
Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain! A New History Of the Labour Party (London, 2010), p. 54. The historiography on the Labour party was heavily influenced by the polarisation of votes between one party based on capital and one party based on labour during the 1950s; this as Pugh explains resolved the problem of defining and explaining what stages class consciousness developed sufficiently to sustain a major political party. However, the Labour Party was not a working-class party in terms of composition, or in socio-economic background on its establishment. See Pugh, Speak for Britain! for a more indepth analysis on this intriguing aspect of the Labour Party’s history. 42 Thorpe, History of the Labour Party, p. 42. 43 Ibid. p. 105.
Andrew Thorpe, A History of the Labour Party (Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2008), p. 37. 38 Chris Wrigley, Arthur Henderson (GPC Books, Cardiff, 1990), p. 70. 39 Christopher Howard, ‘MacDonald, Henderson, and the Outbreak of War, 1914’, The Historical Journal 20, 1977, 871-891. 40 Howard, ‘MacDonald, Henderson, and the Outbreak of War, 1914’, 871-891. Howard goes on to write that up to 1977, the debate on what lay behind MacDonald and Henderson’s contrasting positions was the fate of Britain rather than the future of the Labour Party.
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MacDonald’s opposition to the war is a subjective matter. One could argue that MacDonald genuinely believed in the aspirations of European socialism, which he felt were being constrained by the balance of power structure of the international system; however, one could also argue that MacDonald made a poorly calculated political decision and rightly received the derisive opprobrium that he endured during the First World War. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1914, Ramsay MacDonald and Arthur Henderson were united in their opposition to Britain going to war in Europe. There have been several interpretations on Henderson’s volte face in those early days of August 1914.49 I do not agree that Henderson was ambiguous in his attitude to Britain’s entry into the First World War; the patriotic tide that swept the nation crystallised Henderson’s support for the war, and it did induce him to accept the offer of a place in the War Cabinet. These interpretations of Henderson’s decision to become the first Labour Cabinet minister overlook his deeply-held religious beliefs. Henderson was a devout Wesleyan Methodist lay preacher who came into regular contact with the working-class community in Newcastleupon-Tyne, as well as speaking at Wesleyan conferences across Britain throughout his life.50 This was a central foundation block in Henderson’s life, and it is difficult to believe that he would take a decision to support war on the grounds of political opportunism. His political career up to that point showed no evidence of such opportunism. Moreover, his religious beliefs and his political outlook always converged throughout his political career. One may argue that Henderson should have adopted a pacifist position, rather than a position of
why both men diverged on 4 August 1914. Arthur Henderson grew up in Newcastle-uponTyne, an area of the country steeped in the nonconformist and liberal tradition.44 He had begun his working life as an iron-moulder and then rose through the ranks of the Iron Founders Trade Union from a local branch secretary to head of the conciliation board that had been established in the early 1890s to mediate in disputes between the employers and the moulders.45 His political outlook was formed by his Methodism and his pragmatic negotiating skills in which he was prepared to make compromises if it was in the best interests of those he represented. MacDonald was a journalist whose prose was emotional and passionate in his espousal of the radicalism in which he had immersed himself whilst staying in London.46 Though MacDonald had also come from very humble roots, unlike Henderson, he had become out of touch with the working-class community, preferring to embrace a more bourgeois lifestyle. The PLP that entered the House of Commons was firmly rooted in the working-class.47 Yet whilst Henderson was the trade union conscience of the PLP, MacDonald was the leading socialist within the PLP, and was instrumental in changing the party name from the Labour Representation Committee to the Labour Party, with the intention of broadening the party’s appeal beyond its defensive class conscious trade union base.48 These early developments in the Labour party were a prelude to the bigger divergence that would occur between the two men. 44
Chris Wrigley, Arthur Henderson (Cardiff, 1990), p. 11. Liberalism in late 19th century Britain took various forms, for example, Gladstonian liberalism, Progressive liberalism etc. Henderson belonged to the working-class liberal tradition. 45 Ibid. pp. 3-8. 46 Ross McKibbin, The Evolution of the Labour Party: 1910-1924, p. 3. 47 Thorpe, History of the Labour Party, p. 20. 48 Ibid.
See Thorpe, A History of the Labour Party, p. 33; McKibbin, Evolution of the Labour Party: 1910-1924, p. 88; Wrigley, Arthur Henderson, p. 76. 50 Ross McKibbin, ‘Arthur Henderson as Labour Leader’, International Review of Social History 23 (1978), 79-101.
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support. Yet, this is to assert that Christians have one united position on warfare; Christian nonpacifists will not justify war, yet will reluctantly accept that violence may be authorised to respond to a breach of a boundary. In this case, Henderson felt that Britain’s commitment to their allies must be upheld. Finally, the Extraordinary Committee of Privileges, which served as the highest decision making body in the Methodist church in Britain, declared in the summer of 1914, when war broke out, that they were ‘convinced that the British Government acted the part of peacemakers...and that our country only drew its sword when plighted faith and national safety left no alternative course.’51 Furthermore, the majority of Methodists supported the war because they shared the instinctive patriotism of their fellow workingclass citizens. The working-class portion of the British people gyrated from opposition to advocacy of war. At the Trafalgar Square demonstration on 2 August 1914, John Maclean, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, preached a message of pacifism laced with rhetoric on class solidarity; yet MacLean’s plea did not win over his audience. At the said demonstration a venturesome young man climbed a lamp post and tied a Union Jack to the top – an action that was received with cheers.52 It was only with Earl Grey’s inspiring speech in Parliament the following day that public opinion began to shift decisively towards going to war. Crucially, however, the PLP was overwhelmingly in favour of protecting Belgian neutrality. MacDonald, realising he was in a minority position within his own party, resigned as PLP Chairman – to be replaced by Henderson.53 Two days later, Henderson convened a special conference, where trade
unionists and representatives from Socialist and cooperative societies attended. At this meeting Henderson helped to form the War Emergency Workers National Committee, an organisation that would protect the living standards of workers and their families in the unfamiliar conditions of war-time.54 Henderson’s pragmatism and conciliatory approach was able to bring together various factions of the Labour movement and unite them in supporting the war effort. One may view the divergent positions of MacDonald and Henderson on Britain’s entry into the First World War as one man taking a principled and idealistic stand against a venture he vehemently disagreed with – sacrificing his short-term reputation and standing in the Labour Party as a consequence; in contrast to another man who jettisoned his opposition to entry due to cold calculation on Labour’s future electoral prospects and yielding to popular working-class opinion. However, in this article I hope to have demonstrated that this was not the case. Henderson, a man of working-class stock, and a staunch Methodist was guided by his political outlook. Henderson’s entry into the War Cabinet and his capacity to bring along a trades union movement, which may have created problems for the government on the domestic front, was the right thing to do. But perhaps Henderson’s great achievement was to put aside party political differences, and take a principled stance on a matter of national importance.
Michael Hughes, ‘British Methodists and the First World War’, Methodist History 41 (2002), 316-328. 52 David Silbey, The British Working Class and Enthusiasm for War, 1914-1916 (London, 2005), p. 19. 53 Thorpe, History of the Labour Party, p. 33.
Henry Pelling, A History of British Trade Unionism (London, 1992), pp. 139-40.
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The Impact of World War One on the Role of Women Politics, society, and the economy By Haley Morgan citizenship.’55 Some historians, such as Michael Willis and Paula Bartley, argue that women’s contribution to the war effort simply provided an excuse for male legislators to grant women the vote, something they had wanted to do anyway, and that it would be naïve to believe their service was the sole reason for their enfranchisement.56 Only women over the age of thirty were added to the franchise, whereas the majority of young women who had helped the war effort were still denied the vote. This was partly due to the fact that adding all women over the age of twentyone to the franchise would result in women making up the majority of voters, something the male legislators naturally objected to. Bartley also suggests that women under thirty were denied the vote because they were resented by their male colleagues for taking part in traditionally male work.57 This evidence, therefore, suggests that WWI did little to benefit women’s political situation and perhaps the Representation of the People Bill, or equivalent, would have been approved earlier, had WWI not disturbed the suffrage movement’s momentum. On top of this, the successes of the suffrage movements did not translate into an increased number of women in office. The first woman elected into Parliament was Constance Markievicz in December 1918, although she boycotted Westminster, along with other Irish Nationalists, in order to show their support for a
he fundamental role of women was significantly altered in the years preceding, during and following WWI. Women were transformed from a disenfranchised social position with few freedoms and a limited choice of domestic jobs, to comprising a significant proportion of the workforce as men left for the front. However, it is debatable whether or not the war made a lasting impact on the responsibilities of women in an economic, social and political context. By 1918 the Representation of the People Act meant female taxpayers over the age of thirty were able to vote, although it is questionable whether or not this was a direct result of the involvement of women on the Home Front during WWI. Additionally, women gained noteworthy social freedoms in the post-war era, but whether this was a direct result of the War or whether it would have happened as time progressed is also dubious. It is widely acknowledged that the role of women in the workforce advanced greatly during the war and a wider range of occupations were opened up to them as men left to fight, yet a great majority of these women were forced to leave these positions following the armistice. Therefore, there is cause to question the impact of WWI on the female role in society, politics and the economy. WWI’s impact on the female suffrage movement is hotly debated among historians. Millicent Garratt Fawcett, head of the leading women’s suffrage organisation, evidently saw the war as an opportunity for women to prove themselves worthy of the vote, saying that ‘women must show ourselves worthy of
S.R. Grayzel, Women and the First World War (London, 2002), p. 102. 56 M. Willis, Britain 1851-1918, A Leap in the Dark? (London, 2006); P. Bartley, Votes for Women, Third Edition. (London, 2008,) p. 207. 57 Ibid.
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provisional Irish Parliament.58 It appears therefore that WWI did not progress the female political position as much as it is often presumed. When it comes to the female role in society, there is no doubting that this advanced a great deal since the pre-war era. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the class system was very rigid and very few women broke the conventions. The majority were either housemaids or housewives. Women were the property of men and not permitted to get a legal divorce, apart from on very rare occasions, until 1891.59 As well as this, very few opportunities for education were available to working class women before WWI. It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that some universities accepted wealthy women for a small selection of courses, although they were taught separately from men and were not permitted to obtain a degree by the end of the course. It wasn’t until 7 October 1920 that women were first allowed to obtain official degrees from Oxford University. This was significantly due to women’s war work and the increased independence they gained from it, which proved they were worthy of equal opportunities for education as men. Society’s ability to integrate women into traditionally male workplaces during the war also proved that women were not a ‘distraction’ to men, which was one of the fundamental arguments against co-educational university colleges.60 Many women also talk in their accounts of life before and after the WWI about an increased sense of social freedom; they went out alone more, visiting pubs, restaurants and theatres. The
outbreak of war also caused an increase in the number of women smoking in public, wearing make-up and shorter skirts, even trousers in some cases, which were far more practical for manual work they were increasingly employed in. C.S. Peel, a journalist who lived from 1872 until 1934, believes this liberation was a result of the disposable income many women found themselves earning, and fewer chaperones.61 Therefore, it is clear that exposure to new freedoms during and following WWI had a long lasting, positive effect on women’s role in
society. It is unclear whether this process would have happened at this time without the setting of a World War, but it seems unlikely to have happened at such pace. As well as politics and society, the other area of life that women experienced a particular change in was their role in the workplace and their contribution to the economy. The outbreak of war saw a number of opportunities for work open up to women as thousands of men signed up to fight. This process is described by a number of historians as ‘substitution’ and ‘dilution’. This referred to using women as ‘substitutes’ for men in unskilled jobs and shifting skilled men to more demanding work whilst women ‘diluted’ the workforce in less skilled tasks.62 Many moved away from domestic service and towards the labour force to
L. Hagan, ‘Missing Voices: Women and the Three “Ps”: Politics, Prejudice and Paternalism’, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Spring, 2006), p. 13. 59 S.A. Wingerden, The Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain, 1866-1928 (Great Britain, 1999), pp. 4-8. 60 J. Howarth, ‘Women,’ The History of the University of Oxford, Volume VIII: the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 1994), pp. 345-52.
C. S. Peel. How we lived then, 1914-1918: a sketch of social domestic life in England during the war. (England, 1929). 62 M. Willis, Britain 1851-1918, A Leap in the Dark? (London, 2006), p. 268.
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work, most famously, in munitions factories. In 1914, 5,966,000 women were part of the workforce. By 1918, this figure had risen to 7,310,500 – a rise of 22%. Domestic service saw the number of females employed go from 1,658,000 to 1,258,000, a fall of 24%. These women moved to other sectors, most notably to the transport industry. In 1914, just 18,000 women worked in transport, but by 1918, this number had increased by 450%. The second most affected industry was munitions and their supplies, which saw a rise of 347%.63 There was also a significant increase in the number of women working in industry, commerce, for the national and local government and in secretarial and clerical work, which was dominated by men before the war.64 Agriculture was another sector in which women made a significant contribution towards the war effort. A range of organisations were established to replace farm labourers who had left for war, such as the Women’s Forage Corps in 1915 and the Women’s Forestry Corps and the Women’s Land Army in 1917.65 However, as with other types of war work, the majority of these organisations ended with the announcement of the armistice, leaving thousands of women unemployed. Several thousand women were dismissed from various munitions factories with just one week’s notice by March 1918. In response to this, on the eve of armistice, female munitions workers in London and Glasgow marched to protest their being laid off, although this had little effect because the authorities were preoccupied with the end of the war.66 Overall, it is clear that WWI improved women’s economic position in the short term, but had few significant, long term impacts.
Although the percentage of women in total employment had risen from twenty-four per cent in 1914 to thirty-seven per cent in 1918, it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of female war workers had left their occupation by 1920.67 It is clear that the extent of the employment opportunities very much depended on class, education and age. In some ways, there is no clear sense that WWI benefited women economically at all.68 In conclusion, it is evident that the social, political and economic impacts of WWI on the role of women were varied. The enfranchisement of women was only somewhat a result of their invaluable contribution to the war effort. Despite this, there can be no denying the fact that women as a whole were in a much improved political position by the end of the war. In terms of the economy and workplace, it is certain that their role extended during the war. There was a shift from domestic service to factory, clerical and secretarial work in particular; however, the majority returned to typically ‘female work’ after 1918. The role that women played in society on the other hand was arguably influenced most prolifically by the war. Despite these apparent developments, it is very hard to judge precisely what people at the time thought of women’s changing role in society and whether or not they perceived it as fundamentally different after 1918. Perhaps, therefore, it would be wrong to say WWI significantly changed the role of women, but instead more appropriate to say it altered it slightly, like the minute shift of a tectonic plate, with the earthquake to become evident later in 1939 when Britain was faced with yet another World War.
Ibid. A. Woollacott, On Her Their Lives Depend: Munitions Workers in the Great War (London, 1994), pp. 17-22. 65 K. Adie, Corsets to Camouflage, Women and War (Great Britain, 2003). 66 S.R. Grayzel, Women and the First World War (London, 2002), p. 106. 64
M. Willis, Britain 1851-1918, A Leap in the Dark? (London, 2006), p. 268. 68 S.R. Grayzel, Women and the First World War (London, 2002).
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The Archaeology and Anthropology of the First World War A multidisciplinary approach for the study of a global conflict By Gonzalo Linares Matás, Marco Roberts and Nicholas Telfer
he First World War was a pivotal moment in international history. After forty-three relatively peaceful years, Bismarck’s ‘balance of power’ model, where states countered each other’s power, collapsed.69 The outbreak of the First World War signaled a return to classical realism, in which war became the fundamental aspect of international relations between nation states.70 Archaeological finds, such as letters and trench art, emphasise that moods were changing and people wanted a different world. The First World War is still widely regarded as a recent event, and the vision that it can only be investigated through the vast amount of documentary information preserved is still dominant. However, with the passing of the last survivors, History is becoming the domain of Archaeology, and the interest in understanding the conflict is growing.71 Furthermore, these archaeological finds give a clear insight into global politics and aspects of social life, including alterations to suffrage and class boundaries.72 Archaeologists’ discoveries, interpreted anthropologically, help uncover how and why such a brutal war took place, and can aid explanations of the outbreak of the Second World War, as human relations often parallel
their geopolitical counterpart. The distinctive approach of newly-developed battlefield archaeology provides different and complementary information about the conflict.73 Material remains allow researchers to discover a broad range of original perspectives about everyday lives of soldiers under the terrible and violent context of war, friendship and longing. Throughout this article, a multidisciplinary approach will be followed to discuss remains left after battle, landscapes in a broad sense, the archaeology of First World War battlefields, and finishing with concerns about the role of archaeology in historical periods. First World War archaeology began as soon as the conflict ended. After the war, the League of Nations was created with the shared aim of preventing another disastrous war, by learning collective lessons.74 However, despite this subsequent ‘lest we forget’ attitude, until 1990, First World War remains were not regarded as heritage; therefore, their 75 archaeological value was not considered. Only local amateur excavations were undertaken, mainly in France and Belgium, with the aim of finding objects for profit or personal collections. After 1990, the professionalisation of First World War archaeology occurred, including scientific excavations and research projects, aided by public and political recognition of the
Walter A. McDougall et al, ‘20th-century international relations’, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (2014) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/291225/20thcentury-international-relations/ (last accessed 16 Feb 2014). 70 John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens, The Globalization of World Politics, Fifth edition, (Oxford, 2011), pp. 89-91. 71 R. Gilchrist, ‘Towards a social archaeology of warfare’, World Archaeology 35, No 1, (2003), p. 2. 72 Angela K. Smith, Suffrage Discourse in Britain During the First World War (Ashgate, 2005), pp. 93-95.
T. Sutherland, ‘Battlefield Archaeology - A Guide to the Archaeology of Conflict’, British Archaeological Jobs Resource (2005), p. 2. 74 Sir Frederick Pollock, The League of Nations (London, 1929), pp. 2-4, Baylis, Smith and Owens, The Globalization of World Politics, pp. 216-7. 75 N. J. Saunders, Killing time: Archaeology and the First World War, (Stroud, 2007), p. 10.
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trench art.80 The colossal dimensions of the conflict suggest the utilisation of a huge amount of material culture, and most of it now lies underground. There is a lot of potential for archaeological research throughout Belgium and France, reaching the Swiss border. If research is carried out extensively, the current understanding of modern warfare and that of the First World War in particular will improve considerably. Such understanding is important because of the complexities of the battlefields as both physical places and cultural images.
value of the conflict’s heritage assets and the broadcasting of some major archaeological excavations.76 This coincided with the end of the Cold War, allowing the possibility to reflect on the world’s collective past. The symbiotic relationship formed between war tourism and preservation has also led to the reconstruction of sections of the trenches, and has facilitated the funding of archaeological excavations, rejuvenating war museums and protected heritage sites in areas of conflict.77 Increased archaeological research and excavations have influenced different nations’ understanding of the war, particularly France and Britain, which have put centuries of animosity behind them to co-operate militarily by sharing defence capabilities, and to join forces to commemorate the fallen of the First World War.78 Globalisation has increased this co-operation between states to a level unprecedented in 1914, reflected by a series of commemorative programmes throughout 2014-18 by the BBC.79 The aim of excavating First World War sites is to find the remains of the conflict. The nature of these remains varies enormously, from huge earthworks such as trenches, shell craters or underground hospitals to human bodies (See Fig. 1), weapons or fine examples of so-called
Saunders, Killing Time, pp. 17-18. Richard Butler and Wantanee Suntikul (eds.), Tourism and War (Routledge, 2012), p. 292, John Schofield, ‘Monuments and the memories of war: Motivations for preserving military sites in England’ in John Schofield, William Gray Johnson and Colleen M. Beck, Matériel Culture: The Archaeology of twentieth century conflict (Abingdon, 2002), p. 143. 78 ‘UK-France Defence Co-operation Treaty Announced’, Ministry of Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-france-defenceco-operation-treaty-announced--2 (last accessed 15 Feb 2014). 79 ‘The BBC announces its four-year World War One Centenary season’, BBC Media Centre, http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2013/worldwar-one-centenary.html (last accessed 13 Feb 2014). 77
Figure 1: Mass German Grave at Gavrelle, Arras, France. Discovering bodies has allowed many previously missing soldiers to be laid to rest, invoking interest from their descendants, scattered
R. Page, N. Forbes and G. Pérez (eds.), Europe’s Deadly Century: Perspectives on 20th-century conflict heritage (English Heritage, 2009), p. 59.
The Historian, Vol. 3, No. 3 across the world.81 (Photo: SAM/AFAN Service Archéologique d’Arras).82 Figure 2: The devastated landscape of Mouquet Farm, October 1916. [AWM E00006]87
When considering the landscapes of First World War battlefields it is vital to look from the perspective of what Clifford Geertz called ‘thick description’.83 This entails approaching an element, such as the battlefield, from several angles and considering numerous interpretations and meanings that it may embody. After all, to an individual with no knowledge of the First World War they are merely a collection of fields; but to those that do possess such knowledge, they are places with various embodiments of cultural memory, religious belief and ethnicity occupying the same physical space.84 This means that the significance of battlefields as cultural images depends on the audience as much as the landscape itself. It is also important to outline the distinction between the terms 'space' and 'place'. In anthropological terms, space refers to a territory with physical boundaries, whereas place is a specific location with a singular identity and a social purpose. Therefore, battlefields definitely fall into the category of 'place', as they embody complex layers of commemoration and spirituality in order to reprocess and remember the past.85 Nowadays, battlefields are especially complex because of the fact that they are ‘cultural images as well as physical places’,86 where memorials and preserved parts of the desolated landscape serve to remind us of the First World War and all the human cost that came with it (See Fig. 2).
They also serve as a ‘metaphor for the defining human activity of the twentieth century industrialised war’.88 This is why representations of the First World War in contemporary society are so poignant, due to their ability to reinforce cultural meanings.89 Portrayals of the battlefields through media such as paintings and poetry destroyed the conventional pre-war idea of romanticised heroics and bucolic landscapes,90 instead replacing it with the grim reality of the worlds of the likes of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Therefore, the battlefields became ‘new landscapes with new meanings’,91 embodying the cultural significance of acts of
Australians on the Western Front (1914-1918): The Australian Remembrance Trail in France and Belgium, AIF Memorial, Mouquet Farm, http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/poziereswindmill/aif-memorial-mouquet-farm/mouquet-farm.php# (last accessed 21 Feb 2014). 88 Saunders, Killing Time p. 64. 89 Paul Shackel, ‘Archaeology, Memory, and Landscapes of Conflict’, Historical Archaeology 37, No. 3, (Remembering Landscapes of Conflict, 2003), p. 3. 90 Saunders, Killing Time, p. 78. 91 Ibid. p. 65.
Martin Brown, ‘Journey Back to Hell: Excavations at Serre on the Somme’, Current World Archaeology 10 (2005), pp. 25-33. 82 Saunders, Excavating Memories, (2002), p. 105. 83 Clifford Geertz, The interpretation of cultures (New York, 1973), pp. 5-6, 9-10. 84 Nicholas Saunders, ‘Crucifix, Cavalry and Cross: Materiality and Spirituality in First World War Landscapes’, World Archaeology 35, No 1 (2003), p. 7. 85 Ibid. 86 Saunders, Killing Time, p. 77.
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war.92 For this reason, people still value and interact with battlefields in different ways.93 They stand for both the most noble and worst human traits, from companionship and hope to suffering and murder; it is this cultural embodiment that means contemporary portrayals of the First World War are treated with great care. For example, Blackadder Goes Forth was considered by some to be in poor taste when making comedy about life in the trenches.94 There is a strong anthropological impact of soldier cooperation on international relations. A Christmas truce united both sides by playing football in no-man’s-land. This is incredibly symbolic of the soldiers’ human sentiments and from a layman’s perspective, the futility of international power-play. As letters show, many soldiers suffered shell-shock and post-traumatic stress disorder, finding the situation their governments had put them in overwhelming, with endless deaths and friendship bonds shattered, and loyalty left questioned.95 Essentially, the battlefields of the First World War hold a much higher cultural significance than their mere physical presence. This layering of superimposed landscapes, allows different perspectives to be understood.96 However, these perspectives of the landscape as physical places and cultural images only recently developed, coinciding with the appearance of modern, professionalised archaeology and the beginning of the meticulous study of warfare.97 The research was initially
focused purely on the Western Front, especially the trench line across Belgium and France. This archaeology employs a combined methodology of forensic science, material culture studies, anthropology and political and military history throughout the process of research. The archaeology of human remains, for example, accomplished two major advances in the context of the study of the First World War. Firstly, it allowed the differentiation between intentionally buried objects and bodies and those accidentally covered after an explosion. Secondly, with the support of historical data, it can be used to determine the nationality, the division and even the name of the fallen according to their location within the battlefield and their personal belongings.98 Moreover, it has given new insights into the health and hygiene of the soldiers.99 In addition, some major discoveries have been made, such as the remains of the French writer and war hero Alain Fournier,100 some battlefield cemeteries, a tank (Deborah, D51), bunkers, the only complete subterranean British field hospital ever found,101 and, even more spectacularly, a treasure of trench art, associated with manufacturing debris, suggesting the existence of a specialised workshop.102 Along with these exceptional finds, some more mundane examples of material culture have been found, such as devotional medals,103 empty bottles, live-grenades, cow bones, etc.104 These physical remains are solely found in archaeological excavations, and are the elements
Helle Vankilde, ‘Commemorative Tales: Archaeological Responses to Modern Myth, Politics, and War’, World Archaeology 35, No. 1 (2003), p. 139. 93 Saunders, Killing Time, p. 65. 94 Emma Hanna, The First World War on the Small Screen: Representing the First World War in Contemporary Britain (Edinburgh, 2009), p. 133. 95 David Brown, ‘Remembering a Victory For Human Kindness: WWI's Puzzling, Poignant Christmas Truce, The Washington Post, 25 Dec. 2004. 96 Saunders, Killing Time, p. 65. 97 Vankilde, ‘Commemorative Tales: Archaeological Responses to Modern Myth, Politics, and War’, p. 126.
Saunders, Killing Time, p. 101. M. Le Bailly, M. Landolt, and F. Bouchet. ‘First World War German Soldier Intestinal Worms: An Original Study of a Trench Latrine in France’, Journal of Parasitology 98 (6) (2012), pp. 1273–1275. 100 Saunders, Killing Time, pp. 101-104. 101 Ibid. p. 108. 102 Ibid. p. 112. 103 Archaeological Museum Strasbourg: ‘From the Eastern Front. Archaeology of the First World War in Alsace and Lorraine’ (2013), p. 8. 104 Saunders, Killing Time, p. 106. 99
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Lawrence of Arabia).108 The conditions of the War in those regions are different from those of France and Belgium, therefore, the information they can provide is also different, complementing and broadening our understanding of the conflict. This information can be overlooked if only the big picture of bloody battles and tactical positions is considered. Personal items give a sense of the distance soldiers had travelled to fight, especially with empires like the British and French drawing men from across their colonies, particularly from India, Oceania and Canada.109 This shows the impact of a truly global war through cooperation amongst soldiers who often could not speak the same language. Poetry too, particularly by Wilfred Owen, evokes strong emotion.110 Perhaps the most potent discoveries are personal letters which often exude a sense of bitterness and resentment towards the war and governments and also desperation and longing for loved ones.111 Sentiments within these letters were often jingoistic and nationalistic, with many Canadians and Australians feeling angst towards Britain, with Gallipoli being the ANZAC’s ‘baptism of fire’.112 Furthermore, many German soldiers that returned after the war felt anger and a need for revenge, aiding the rise of Hitler’s radicalism, which later spread across Europe. Letters had an impact on domestic governments across Europe which believed censorship of these negative sentiments was vital to prevent
that provide a more intimate, humanised perspective on the conflict (See Fig. 3). Figure 3: Recovered artefacts: including high boots, 18-pounder shell case, a fuse key and a 50round bandolier. (Photo: Johan Vandewalle).105
Furthermore, First World War archaeology is widening its scope, moving beyond the Western Front towards other regions affected by the conflict: Britain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Jordan, mainly. For example, in Britain, the excavation of training camps has been very popular, where soldiers from all over the Empire trained before going to war, as well as the investigation of the coastal defensive batteries.106 In Italy, the archaeology of the First World War has developed considerably, with outstanding results, due to the excellent degree of preservation of the remains in the Isonzo battlefront in the Alps, because of the interruption of organic decay by the ice.107 In Turkey, the excavation of sites in the Gallipoli Peninsula is very relevant. Jordanian archaeology, on the other hand, is closely related to the Great Arab Revolt (1916-1918) and the military actions of T. E. Lawrence (known as
Saunders, Killing Time, pp. 225-226. ‘Impact of WWI on Sikh soldiers based on their letters’, Sikhnet, http://www.sikhnet.com/news/impactgreat-war-1914-1918-sikh-soldiers-based-their-letters (last accessed 15 Feb 2014). 110 Martin Brown, ‘Journey Back to Hell: Excavations at Serre on the Somme’, Current World Archaeology 10 (2005), pp. 25-33. 111 Emma Reynolds, ‘If you’re reading this...’, Daily Mail Online, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article2094898/Heartbreaking-letters-frontline-soldiers-camehome-revealed.html (last accessed 16 Feb 2014). 112 ‘Anzac Day’, The New York Times, 26 Apr. 1916. 109
Peter Doyle, Peter Barton and Johan Vandewalle, ‘Archaeology of a First World War dugout: Beecham Farm, Passchendaele, Belgium’, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology (2005), p. 62. 106 Saunders, Killing Time, pp. 202-209. 107 C. Renfew and P. Bahn, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, Sixth edition, (London, 2012), pp. 64-69.
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discontent, particularly to deter from the mounting death toll.113 As a result of the holistic approach to First World War investigation, new and challenging issues are arising in the fields of anthropology, archaeology and international relations.114 These demanded the development of an innovative methodology, equipped with research techniques and practices specifically for modern warfare. The archaeology of First World War is inspiring the archaeological research of violence and warfare of ancient and early historic periods,115 because archaeology considers not only the big picture of political strategy, using it instead as a framework for the study of the material culture of the soldiers, and peripheral fronts, including the conception of landscapes as cultural as well as physical places. This multidisciplinary methodology is achieving an increasing public and academic awareness of First World War battlefields, as part of both local and international parts of the historic environment and the cultural legacy of the recent past. This consideration as part of the cultural past of humanity will allow better preservation of the remains, which will become constituent elements of the trans-national memory of not only Europe, but the entire world.
Graham Mark, British Censorship of Civil Mails During World War I, 1914-1919 (Stuart Rossiter Trust Fund, 2000), p. 69. 114 Ibid. pp. 26-27. 115 Gilchrist, â€˜Towards a social archaeology of warfareâ€™, p. 1.
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Controversy in Commemoration The First World War Centenary and the remembrance of other European historical events By Gillian Allen
cts of public remembrance are commonplace in the modern world, whether they are commemorative celebrations of past victories, or solemn occasions to honour loss of life or freedom. An act of remembrance within a society can be an active engagement, as in the case of organised commemorative occasions, such as the annual celebratory march in Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne. However, they can also be more passive reminders of past events, established within societies to be retained in collective memory, such as the establishment of Memento Park in Budapest. To determine why acts of commemoration are so important but often also controversial, it is necessary to first look at the role acts of remembrance have in societies, and then to focus more specifically on what it is that makes them significant and yet potentially divisive. The impact and potential for controversy that these acts of remembrance have depends on many factors, including the time that has passed since the commemorated event, who partakes in the act of remembrance, and the nature of the commemoration itself. It would be prudent to start by considering why acts of remembrance in society are so important, in order to understand exactly why they occur regardless of any controversy which might surround them. Acts of remembrance are important because they are as much about coming to a collective understanding of a historical event as they are about mourning or celebrating the lives of those who were actually involved in them. They can, and do have a profound effect upon the societies within which they take place. It is also clear that
commemorative practices serve a functional role in positively transforming a society following a conflict, and are considered important for a number of reasons, including the belief ensuing from the rhetoric device ‘never again’, which purports that we remember in order to avoid repetition of past human mistakes.116 Commemorative practices can also provide a space or forum for the emergence and visibility of previously marginalised groups. As Leah Wing argues, commemoration efforts are thus ‘imbued with a sense of urgency to perpetuate a history or narrative of the conflict’ in a manner which emphasises a particular groups’ positive role (as a victim) or negative role (as a perpetrator) in the events.117 For example, despite the introduction and planning of many committees aimed at reconciling the past and present, such as the Historical Enquiries Team and the Legacy Commission, state-endorsed attempts to tell the stories of Nationalist versus Unionist struggles in Ireland and Northern Ireland in a neutral way have largely come to no fruition. In situations such as Northern Ireland, where the contemporary socio-political discourse is such that a contested past remains a significant issue, the development of sites of heritage and commemoration are actually important steps in understanding the events. As might be obvious, the transformation of society through acts of remembrance is rarely smooth, and often exudes controversy. The 116
Dustin Howes, ‘’Consider if this is a Person’: Primo Levi, Hannah Ardendt, and the Political Significance of Auschwitz’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, p. 267. 117 Leah Wing, ‘Dealing with the Past: shared and contested narratives in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland’, Museum International 62, issues 1-2, pp. 31-36.
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primary, and most important reason for this is that different groups of society ‘remember’ things differently depending on their age, gender, nationality, and political and religious affiliations. This necessarily colours their interpretations of events and commemorative practices, leading to contesting narratives, such as those experienced at Auschwitz in Poland following World War II, and remembrance acts experienced throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland’s contentious past. However, when attempts are made to avoid such divisions, further controversy can arise from the lack of integration of the commemorative process into an already fractured and fragile society, and significant changes in the political and social discourses of a country can exacerbate this, as was the case with the commemorative Statue Park in Budapest, Hungary. Using these three examples of acts of remembrance in Poland, Hungary, and Ireland, I hope to demonstrate just why acts of remembrance are so important, but also how they can be incredibly divisive in nature. Much controversy over acts of remembrance stems from the fact that changes in the political and social discourse of a country lead to an often contradictory dialogue existing between the remaining relics and participants of a particular event and the memories that have developed in a community. This can be aptly seen when considering the way in which exsatellite states of the Soviet Union have come to publicly remember their past. Statues and idols of these eastern European countries were once seen as the evidence of a triumphant communist regime, but are now often regarded as a tragic reminder of the oppression suffered by many. In Budapest, following the fall of Communism, there was a clear divide in the city between those who wanted to remove all evidence of the previous regime in an iconoclastic manner, and those who felt it was their duty to embrace a past
which did happen, and should be neither denied, nor forgotten. As a compromise, the government decided to open a ‘sculpture park’ which would house all the remaining statues and monuments from around the city of Lenin, Marx, and other communist heroes.118 However, as Paul Connerton notes, this creation of a separate place in which to remember had potential for controversy in that it threatened to be a case of a peoples’ struggle to remember against ‘forced forgetting’.119 However, even historiography from over a century ago has suggested that in order for some societies to overcome their past, it may be necessary to forget parts of their past, and reconstruct it in their own terms, which is what the Memento Park hopes to achieve, and why this act of remembrance is so important in a post-communist society.120
(Photo taken by Hassan Morad, Budapest, August 2013)
Acts of remembrance such as the statue park in Hungary are taken out of their original context, and kept separate from any integration within society. The controversy in a case like 118
Richard Esbenshade, ‘Remembering to Forget: Memory, History, National Identity in Postwar EastCentral Europe’, Representations (Winter 1995), p. 72. 119 Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge, 1989), p. 12. 120 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History (New York, 2005).
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this lies in the fact that a lifetime of social experience as a communist country, idolising figures such as Stalin and Lenin, has suddenly lost its usable context, and the statues represent a sense of lost freedom which needs to be overcome, or even forgotten. Indeed, as Benedict Anderson has concluded, ‘all profound changes in consciousness, by their very nature, bring with them characteristic amnesias’.121 However, acts of remembrance can be divisive not only in the nature of what is being remembered, as with Hungary, but also in how events are commemorated. A large number of factors determine how individuals or a particular group remember events. These include their age, gender, nationality, and political and religious affiliations – each of which provide differing motivations for remembering, which leads to potential for disputes over who is doing the remembering, and what forms that remembrance can, and should, take. An example of this can be seen when looking at the controversy which arose from the setting up of a Carmelite monastery on the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland for daily acts of remembrance of those who had lost their lives there. The nuns had felt that they were praying for the souls of all the departed, but especially for the Catholic victims (including Maksymilian Kolbe and Edith Stein). However, to some Jews, the establishment of a Christian institution was considered ‘at best insensitive and, at worst, offensive’.122 Critics were also quick to juxtapose this symbolic Christian act of remembrance with the silence held by the majority of the churches and their leaders during the Holocaust.
(Photo taken by Gillian Allen, Auschwitz, July 2013)
While the controversy of the Carmelite monastery at Auschwitz is an example of debate stemming from two competing groups of victims with different views of how this atrocity should be remembered, at the other end of the spectrum arises another problem. The issue of different groups possessing differing memories also creates problems such as those seen throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland’s conflict-ridden history; that of the contesting narratives of the victors and the defeated – between perceived victims and perpetrators. In 1690, decisive battles over the future of the English crown were fought in Ireland. This culminated in William of Orange defeating the Catholic convert King James II, securing the ascendancy of the Protestant legacy in the United Kingdom still present to this day. More than a century after the battle, in 1795, ‘The Orange Order’ was set up by Irish Protestants, primarily in order to celebrate and commemorate the Battle of the Boyne (the decisive victory of William III) on an annual basis on 12 July. This act of remembrance was important to the Unionists because it gave a supportive understanding of how the situation in Ireland and Northern Ireland had got to its present state, and as such has become an important part of Northern Irish culture. However, behind all the pageantry of the processions held in celebration on this date was
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York, 2006), p. 208. 122 Isabel Wollaston, A War Against Memory? The Future of Holocaust Remembrance (Oxford, 1996), p. 6.
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territory.127 In this case, the act of remembering is the root cause of controversy, because of the continued relevance of Nationalist versus Unionist tensions in Ireland and Northern Ireland to this day. Overall, as is clear from examination of a few specific examples, acts of remembrance are both important and often contentious. However, the controversy of each situation is very much dependent on the particular society, or group within society, that is doing the remembering. Commemoration is important for social reasons, which include the need for societies to form a collective understanding of events as part of their cohesion as a singular society. Acts of remembrance can play both a practical and functional role: firstly, the idealised concept that repetition of history can be avoided, and secondly, allowing the existence of a space for different groups to understand their past, and from that, their current identity. Controversy occurs when these acts of public memory occur in already fractured societies, as is the case in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is because the acts of remembrance instead keep open old wounds between opposing factions in society (in this case the Protestants and Catholics). While historians aim at objectivity, and will try not to draw out lessons from past events for fear of over-stepping their mark as impartial researchers, acts of remembrance are taking place in a public forum. This changes the balance from a purely academic priority of studying evidence of historical events, to a more emotive priority of gleaning a sense of meaning from historical events. It is this human element which causes so much controversy. For a case like the Holocaust, a natural human desire to read meaning into such a grand-scale loss of life, and to believe that those lives were not lost in
a firm politico-religious message: ‘The Orange Order’ represented the political movement which was determined for Northern Ireland to remain as part of the UK.123 Remembering 1690 in this annual act of remembrance is therefore naturally seen as an old Ulster custom, and yet still causes communal tension, and is a divisive factor in Northern Irish society today.124 Acts which commemorate battles have the potential to lead to sectarian pride and aggression within already fragmented societies. In this case, the Protestants view the battle as ‘a pivotal point in their history’, yet the ‘Catholics see the Protestants continued celebration…as a constant provocation and reminder of a humiliating defeat’.125 As Tony Gray argues throughout his book The Orange Order, which was written in 1972 – a key point to note because of its proximity to the start of ‘The Troubles’ and events such as ‘Bloody Sunday’ – the commemoration is what is keeping the ‘sectarian bitterness’ alive in this society.126 The culmination of this divide in society was the occurrence of what has been described as the ‘Drumcree Conflict’. Hundreds of nationalists staged a sit-down protest on Gavaghy Road to try and block the annual Twelfth parade down their street. This had not always been an arena of such social conflict, as the route of the march used to be through sparsely populated areas. However, the region grew to become a densely populated Catholic/Nationalist quarter, whose residents considered the celebrations little more than ‘triumphalist’ and ‘supremacist’ assertions of Protestant and Unionist power in their
Andrew Boyd, ‘The Orange Order 1795-1995’, History Today (1995), 16-23. 124 John Simms, ‘Remembering 1690’, Irish Quarterly Review (1974), 231-242. 125 Kevin Hughes, ‘Battle of the Boyne: An Enduring Conflict’(2001), p. 1. 126 Tony Gray, The Orange Order (London, 1972).
‘Orangemen Take Part in Twelfth of July Parades’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10592915, BBC News, 12 July 2010, [last accessed 19 February 2014].
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vain, but so that others in the future might be saved through prevention of a recurrence of the same mistakes, is perhaps the most important reason for its existence. A broader summary of this would be that acts of remembrance are important because they are considered warnings against the dangers of prejudice and discrimination. Acts of remembrance shape a society’s link with its past, whilst also contributing to its definition in the present. To conclude this piece, a current and therefore highly relevant set of remembrance events will be briefly discussed: the commemorative events about to take place to mark the centenary of the First World War. The problem of how to remember WWI in this country was recently thrown dramatically into the public sphere following comments made by Michael Gove, Education Secretary, in the Daily Mail, condemning those on the Left of British politics for ‘belittling true British heroes’.128 Specifically, Gove targeted an eminent Cambridge historian, Richard Evans, and claimed that his questioning of the legitimacy of Britain’s entrance into, and role within, the war amounted to his demeaning of the memory of soldiers who lost their lives fighting in it. Quite apart from the fact that it is definitively not only left-wing historians who question the war’s legitimacy and that this particular claim was substantiated by highly misrepresentative and misleading evidence, it nevertheless draws attention to the fact that in remembering events of such relatively close historical proximity, it is difficult to escape from the petty politics of the present. While Gove persistently attempts to portray the British in WWI as fighting for a ‘noble’ and ‘just’ cause, Evans points out that that view cannot be totally sustained. Amongst other examples, Evans notes with more than just a hint of irony, that it is hard to view Britain’s
role as nobly fighting a tyrannical foe for reasons of liberty, when one of her chief allies was Russia, whose monarch, Tsar Nicholas II, was one of the most despotic rulers in Europe at the time.129 Despite the potential for historical events, such as the First World War, to be considered in a political context, it would be fair to agree with Evans’ conclusion that ‘the arguments that will rage about the war over the coming months and years have nothing to do with left versus right’.130 Reflecting this, the government’s plans for commemoration of both British and Commonwealth involvement, beginning on 4 August later this year, can be seen to be broad, inclusive, and appropriately sensitive. They shall begin with a candle-lit vigil at Westminster Abbey, will include statesponsored battle-field visits for school-children from every state-funded school in the country, and comprise events at the Commonwealth War Graves in Belgium. Most importantly, however, as this article has highlighted as being a necessary part of remembrance and commemoration in any society, ‘reconciliation will be the theme of the events’.131
Richard Evans, ‘Michael Gove shows his ignorance of history – again’, The Guardian, 6 January 2013. 130 Ibid. 131 Maria Miller, ‘Press Release on how government will mark First World War Centenary in 2014’, www.gov.uk, 10 June 2013.
Michael Gove, ‘Why does the left insist on belittling true British heroes?’, Daily Mail, 2 January 2014.
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Some Intricacies of History Process, perspectives, and relevance in study and commemoration By Arthur der Weduwen
s 2014 marks the first year of the centenary of the First World War, this edition of The Historian is partly dedicated to the global conflict that engulfed the majority of human society between 1914 and 1918, with a variety of articles on the First World War as a unifying theme. Commemorations of historical events, and the study of history as a discipline to further knowledge and understanding of the complexities of our past, are valuable undertakings. Sadly, commemoration and study are frequently subject to misuse with the imposition of singular narratives or perspectives, isolating aspects of the past for particular ends. This can cloud our overall comprehension of shared culture and heritage. One prominent recent example is the stance taken by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, on the remembrance of the First World War. According to Gove, the ‘understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage.’ He cites the harm of fictional representations of the war in various TV-shows as ‘a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.’ Gove further states that the First World War was ‘plainly a just war,’ fought against ‘the ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war
aims and their scorn for the international order’.132 While one may rightly think that Gove confuses the First and the Second World Wars, he does not. His perspective on the ill-phrased ‘left-wing’ take on the war is not only misguiding, but loaded with a desire to reattribute values of ‘nobility and honour’ to a nationalised interpretation of British history which he regards as tainted by the ‘Lefties’ – and in doing so he disregards some important intricacies that the First World War presents. To fully understand and commemorate, one needs to adopt a broader perspective. While Gove’s intentions are not unjustifiable – above all, he seeks to point out that British soldiers were courageous and should be celebrated – he misplaces the First World War within its historical context. This is not an uncommon feature of historical analysis, and often the complex meanings and roles of an event or development are lost within the prism of a single focus. To a large extent, these perspectives often arise without due regard for chronological process, the diversity of perspectives and interrelations, and a certain relevance to current affairs. This was recognised by Christopher Hill, historian of the English Civil War and the seventeenth-century. Hill revolted against what he saw as the misunderstandings associated with the study of the English Civil War and its causes and results. In his opinion, there was a void of simple questions; ‘But why did this happen? What was it all about? Has it any significance for us at the present day?’ – all of which he 132
Michael Gove, ‘Why does the Left insist on belittling true British heroes?’, in The Daily Mail, 2 January 2014.
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believed to be insufficiently answered by the textbooks of his day (the 1940s).133 The essence of these questions grasps at the complexities of history, and the necessity of historical study to ask basic questions, but provide extensive answers. In this sense, the causes of the First World War can never be reduced to the ‘ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites’, or any other cause for that matter. Likewise, the First World War cannot be understood without a regard for the variety of different actors and players involved in the conflict. It was truly a global war, with the eruption of violence on many fronts; from Western Europe to East Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Middle East, from the Alps to the borders of Russia. Moreover, war is intrinsically a duel – there are at least two perspectives to analyse. With a conflict as extensive as the First World War, there are many more to consider. These include not only the perspectives of states or army divisions, but of those present within each group, or perhaps even those of non-participants. Within this expanding web of perspectives, the meanings of developments can further be found in a multiplicity of disciplines or approaches. Anthropology, Philosophy, International Relations, Economics, Engineering, Literature; the list goes on, as each contributes to an understanding of the machinations of past society. Lastly, the study of history and the commemoration of events are realised through an awareness of their connections and importance to the present and future. In this sense, the significance of the commemoration of the First World War is grounded in the understanding that today Europe is more secure, prosperous, equal, and cohesive than it was on the eve of 1914, and that the shared and differing values of all peoples and nations in Europe can 133
today be brought to the fore. The First World War further reminds us of the universal suffering, courage, and plight of humankind – and that there remains a lot to be done for those who are today unable to live in the freedom that Europe has experienced over the last several decades. I do not claim that the adoption of a broad focus, and an understanding of some of the intricacies of history, is straightforward. Culture, politics, language and society dictate to a large extent the length and breadth of inquiry, while a personal prejudice always complicates ambitions of balance. Yet, when we seek to study some aspect of the past, the three questions that Hill posed may provide some guidance to start at a point where all options are considered, and multiple narratives come together to provide some answers that shape a more nuanced comprehension of human society. Not only should we embrace the complexities of war and history, we should also endeavour to incorporate the perspectives and experiences of those with whom one may not always associate oneself. It is this comprehension that we should attempt to realise, as history belongs to and is made by all. In conclusion, this is perhaps captured best by Michael Morpurgo in his inspirational essay on the commemoration of the First World War: ‘We should honour those who died, most certainly, and gratefully too, but we should never glorify…There should be no flag waving, unless it be the lowering of the flags of all the nations...unless it be to celebrate the peace we now share together, unless it be to reaffirm again our determination to guard our freedom, but as far as humanly possible to do it in peace.’134
Michael Morpurgo, ‘First World War centenary is a year to honour the dead but not glorify’, in The Guardian, 1 January 2014.
Christopher Hill, The English Revolution 1640 (1940).
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The ‘Father of Modern Warfare’ and the Military Revolution The contentious role of Gustavus Adolphus and military changes in the Early Modern period By Dale James
istory has played host to many great military commanders and generals; brilliant men who have steered the course of history through a combination of tactics, innovation, and sheer boldness. In his memoirs, written during his exile on St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte is alleged to have said that ‘seven great captains have come before me’.135 These ‘great captains’ he wrote of, in chronological order, were Alexander the Great, Hannibal Barca, Julius Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Viscount Turenne, Prince Eugene, and Frederick the Great.136 However, notice that in this list Gustavus Adolphus is the first great captain of what historians would recognise as being ‘the modern era’ and that the sixteen centuries separating Julius Caesar and Gustavus Adolphus are barren of notable talent. In the eyes of some historians this is why the centuries of slow ‘evolutionary’ change have been forgotten and why Gustavus Adolphus is debated to have caused a ‘military revolution’. This article shall therefore set out with two objectives: to prove that Gustavus Adolphus II of Sweden deserved the title, ‘The Father of Modern Warfare’, but to disprove events between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries explicitly constituted a ‘Military Revolution’. In order to go about answering these two questions one needs to firstly establish the figure of Gustavus Adolphus himself, and by an
extension establish the context of this debate. Gustav II Adolf, better known by his Latinized name Gustavus Adolphus, ruled as the King of Sweden between 1611 and 1632. He is accredited with elevating Sweden to a position of immense political, military, and religious stature through his involvement in the Thirty Years’ War. Gustavus is the only Swedish monarch to have been granted the title of ‘Magnus’, meaning ‘Great’, posthumously making his full title Gustavus Adolphus Magnus. The granting of this prestigious title is not without merit as Gustavus was famous for not only being a masterful military leader but also for being a champion of his people in Sweden and of the relatively fledgling Protestant church. He was very popular among both his nobility and his troops as he was known to cross worlds and envelop himself in all rings of his society while never losing his status as a monarch.137 Gustavus and Sweden joined the Thirty Years’ War through a sequence of events, better explained by more capable historians, but suffice to say that Gustavus sought to expand the influence of Sweden through warfare and sought to protect Protestantism in Europe by preventing any potential Catholic aggression against his homeland. Warfare in the Middle Ages, in comparison to what would follow it, was much narrower in scope to the conflicts that broke out between the seventeenth and nineteenth
Jay Luvaas, Frederick the Great on the Art of War (Massachusetts, 2009), p. 1. 136 Ibid.
C.V. Edgewood, The Thirty Years War (London, 1938), p. 270.
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centuries, with many armies featuring an abundance of soldiers and cavalry over engineering and tactical feats of brilliance. Indeed this was the model that many of the belligerents of the Thirty Years’ War continued to use until Gustavus arrived in the Holy Roman Empire via the Duchy of Pomerania in 1630. However, this was not Gustavus’ first foray into warfare, for he had fought against Poland between 1626 and 1629; a campaign during which he developed and refined ‘innovations’ he brought to bear on the armies of the Habsburgs.138 The Swedish army stood apart from its contemporaries through five characteristics. Its soldiers wore uniforms and had a nucleus of native Swedes, raised from a surprisingly diplomatic system of conscription, at its core.139 The Swedish regiments were small in comparison to their opponents and were lightly equipped for speed. Each regiment had light and mobile field artillery guns called ‘leathern guns’ that were easy to handle and could be easily manoeuvred to meet sudden changes on the battlefield. The muskets carried by these soldiers were of a type superior to that in general use and allowed for much faster rates of fire.140 Swedish cavalry, instead of galloping up to the enemy, discharging their pistols and then turning around and galloping back to reload, ruthlessly charged with close quarter weapons once their initial shot had been expended. By analysing this paradigm it becomes apparent that the army under Gustavus emphasized speed and manoeuvrability above all – this is what set him apart from his opponents.141
These ‘innovations’ are perhaps best demonstrated by the manner in which Gustavus deployed his forces on the battlefield. Swedish regiments resembled the typical Spanish ‘tercio’ formations used by the majority of the Catholic armies, albeit with slight modifications.142 The regiments consisted of a central pike block flanked by musketeers, but what set them apart from their contemporaries is that the formations were shallower than, to use another contemporary example, the Dutch system, with ranked six men deep, rather than ten. This formation, called ‘swinesfeather’, presented a broader but thinner front which brought more firepower to bear on enemy formations.143 Swedish musketeers were drilled to maintain continuous fire by use of the ‘counter-march’ in which shot-starved musketeers would retreat behind musketeers ready to fire as to not
Peter Paret, The Makers of Modern Strategy, from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton, 1986), p. 47. 139 Edgewood, The Thirty Years War, p. 275. 140 C.L.R. Fletcher, Heroes of The Nations: Gustavus Adolphus (London, 1990), p. 125. 141 Herbert Fisher, A History of Europe (London, 1936), p. 621.
Richard Bonney, The Thirty Years’ War, 1618 – 1648 (Oxford, 2002), pp. 30-31. 143 Carl Hallendorff and Adolf Schuck, The History of Sweden (Stockholm, 1929), p. 238.
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interrupt the barrage of fire and to not present a sitting target to the enemy. Gustavus also added the tactic of ‘doubling the files’ when the enemy drew near, in which the rearmost ranks of musketeers moved up to fill the gaps between the frontline ranks, thereby transforming a six-rank formation into three ranks and doubling the spread of fire, greatly increasing the amount of firepower in a pinch. During this manoeuvre the front rank would kneel, the second rank would crouch and the third rank would stand. When commanded, all three ranks would fire simultaneously to deliver an utterly devastating salvo. If the enemy somehow withstood this hail of lead, the Swedish musketeers would reload behind the protection of the pikemen before they could fire again. If their enemies faltered in the face of such overwhelming firepower the Swedish soldiers and cavalry would draw close quarter weapons and charge the shattered enemy line, all the while supported by their regimental artillery that could be moved forward with ease to support the advancing Swedes.144 The Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631 was the first time that the reformed Swedish army employed these innovative tactics to devastating effect. Despite their Saxon allies being routed by the Habsburg cavalry, the battle was a massive victory for the Swedish. The Battle of Breitenfeld was a significant event not because of what it had physically achieved but because of what contemporaries thought it had achieved. It was as though Gustavus, through this decisive victory in such a ‘revolutionary’ manner, had made a bold statement that the Habsburg dynasty, that long standing bastion of Catholicism, had been defeated and its latest crusade against Protestantism had been utterly crushed. Breitenfeld is the event which bore Gustavus’ name into the hearts and minds of his contemporaries and would later write his name 144
into the books of European history. Two hundred years later, in the relatively liberal nineteenth century, a monument was erected on the battlefield near Leipzig, bearing the phrase: ‘Glaubensfreiheit für die Welt, rettete bei Breitenfeld – Gustav Adolf, Christ und Held. Am 7. September 1631.’ This roughly translates to: ‘Freedom of Belief for the World, salvaged at Breitenfeld, Gustav Adolf, Christian and Hero. 7 September 1631.’145 The similarities between the Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish armies highlighted is no mere coincidence as it has been argued that many of the innovations Gustavus heralded were either not his own creations or were acts of miraculous accident.146 Gustavus perfected lessons from his counterparts as much as he innovated. Some historians have argued that the innovations of the Swedish army during the Thirty Years’ War came about as a result of a lack of resources, problems that Gustavus managed to turn into advantages.147 That is to suggest that the reduction in the size of regiments was down to a shortage of soldiers, that the lightening of cavalry armour was a result of a lack of sturdier armour, and that the cavalry reliance on swords over pistols was made necessary by a lack of pistols.148 However if this is argument holds true, and considering the contemporary logistics of waging wars on foreign soil it might well so, then it does not detract from the legacy of Gustavus Adolphus and only serves to reiterate his brilliance as a military leader for turning deficiencies into victories.149 Although some of the innovations Gustavus is attributed with are dubious at best, 145
Edgewood, The Thirty Years War, pp. 302-3. Geoffrey Parker, Military Innovation and the Rise of the West: 1500 – 1800 (Cambridge, 1996), p. 23. 147 Richard Brzezinski, The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (Oxford, 1993), p. 55. 148 Ibid. 149 Martin Van Creveld, The Transformation of War (New York, 1991), pp. 111-113. 146
Fletcher, Heroes of the Nations, p. 128.
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his status as a brilliant commander, an influential and adored statesman, as man of great integrity and one of the greatest European monarchs in history are not open to debate. His sudden and decisive victories against the Habsburgs and the Holy Roman Empire by utilizing arts of warfare hitherto unsuspected are why the centuries of slow evolutionary change that preceded him have largely been forgotten or neglected by historians. As Napoleon unwittingly suggested, Gustavus Adolphus was simply the first identifiable great commander of the modern age and this is why he is referred to as ‘The Father of Modern Warfare’. It is a grandiose title but if one chooses to engage the past on its own terms and considers contemporary elements it is a valid title to bestow. This brings us to the second question this article set out to address: the ‘military revolution’. Ever since the term was first coined by Professor Michael Roberts in 1955 during a lecture at the University of Belfast, it has been contested between historians.150 Michael Roberts’ thesis places what he calls ‘the military revolution’ between 1560 and 1660 and breaks it down into four distinct areas of revolutionary change: tactics, strategy, increased scale of warfare, and the increased impact of war on societies.151 At a first glance it appears that Roberts’ thesis, especially in the case of the Thirty Years’ War and Gustavus Adolphus, is resoundingly accurate as it not only fits the time scale but also fulfils all four tenants of the theory. Roberts’ thesis has since won over many historians such as Geoffrey Parker and Peter Paret, who have respectively gone on to either expand the theory in the case of the former or merely acknowledge it in the case of the latter.152 Geoffrey Parker expanded Roberts’ thesis by
expanding the timeframe of the military revolution by a good two hundred years and by placing more emphasis on the improved construction of military fortifications. The former of these expansions in particular has understandably drawn fire from historians who were either dubiously curious about the original theory or who outright denied it. Among these historians is our university’s own Professor Jeremy Black who has written extensively on military history, composing many books on the subject. Jeremy Black’s critique of the military revolution thesis is multi-pronged.153 Firstly and most obviously, a revolution taking in excess of three centuries to reach fruition renders the very use of the term invalid. Secondly, the development of warfare was more of a slower evolutionary process rather than a sudden Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld
revolutionary one.154 Thirdly, the theory is far too ‘Eurocentric’ and fails to take into account innovations and key events beyond the western world.155 Fourthly, advances in the scale of warfare and in military technology and strategy could have not solely facilitated political and 153
Jeremy Black, War in the Early Modern World, 1450 – 1815 (London, 1999), pp. 2-6. 154 Jeremy Black, European Warfare in a Global Context (London, 2007), pp. 2-4. 155 Jeremy Black, Rethinking Military History (London, 2004), p. 66.
Geoffrey Parker, The "Military Revolution" 15601660-- A Myth?, The Journal of Modern History 48, No. 2 (June, 1976), p. 195. 151 Ibid, p.196. 152 Paret, The Makers of Modern Strategy, p. 37.
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societal change; rather the opposite is more plausible.156 Fifthly, the time period under scrutiny should be 1660 – 1760, not 1560 – 1660.157 Finally, would changes in warfare not have naturally progressed as military technology improved and populations expanded, much like the way subsistence was broken in England during the agricultural revolution? However, this is not to suggest that Jeremy Black is entirely hostile to the concept of the military revolution; rather he dislikes the term because it is too simplistic, emphasis is misdirected, and that the proposed timeframe is both excessively lengthy and inaccurately placed in history.158 Geoffrey Parker presents an amicable defence to the first of Black’s criticisms by drawing a comparison to the agricultural and scientific revolutions by stating; ‘Not all revolutions in history are alike. In the political sphere, one expects a “sharp, sudden change or attempted change in the area of political power”. Dramatic changes in other spheres, however, take far longer and present more complexity because they affect, almost by definition, more than one country.’159 Parker’s use of the scientific revolution as a crutch in this instance is probably not the best idea as that historical term itself remains under scrutiny for similar reasons. Parker’s defence also fails to fully address the issue of Eurocentricism as, despite acknowledging that changes came to ‘more than one country’, the countries he affiliates with the military revolution are still exclusively European. However, one can argue that the process of the evolution of warfare in the Early Modern World could arguably come to revolutionise the world as its contemporaries
knew it. The grand victories of Gustavus Adolphus using quasi-revolutionary tactics and strategies amplified the contemporary reaction to his battles and therefore give one the impression that his actions during the Thirty Years’ War were revolutionary when, in reality, they were not. The problem therefore, in conclusion, lies in the definition of this process as there certainly were changes in warfare between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries but they were hardly a ‘revolutionary’ change as we might recognise one. The term ‘revolution’ is too grandiose for an evolutionary process that took centuries to conclude among numerous other fallacies and therefore the concept of the ‘Military Revolution’, despite containing some truth and potential for discussion, ultimately unravels.
Jeremy Black, European Warfare, 1494 – 1660 (London, 2002), p. 44. 157 Jeremy Black, War in European History, 1494 – 1660 (Nebraska, 2006), p. 28. 158 Clifford Rogers, The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe (Colorado, 1995), p. 6. 159 Parker, The Military Revolution, p. 157.
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The Obstinate Winston Churchill: Why did he oppose his own party’s leaders over India? By William Kløverød Griffiths hurchill’s Wilderness Years in the thirties are today remembered as a time he prophesised with singular clarity the grave risk of German rearmament. For good reason he has been favourably remembered for opposing his party leaders over appeasement. However, it was hostility towards Indian selfgovernment that caused his initial break with the Conservative leadership. This article will examine why Churchill adopted such an obstinate stance over India. It will present the belief, common at the time, that Churchill was driven merely by an opportunistic wish to destabilise Stanley Baldwin’s leadership of the Conservative Party. However, it will then demonstrate why Churchill was in fact sincere over his opposition to Indian self-rule. This sincerity stemmed from a romanticised ideal about what the British Empire meant, and were mired in his days as a soldier-journalist in India in the 1890s. Churchill’s opposition to the government’s policy on India may be seen as opportunistic, as his campaign against Indian self-government seems to have been motivated by a wish to destabilise the Conservative leadership.160 In 1929, Churchill had written to his wife that the only remaining post he longed for was the premiership.161 In the context of the Conservatives being beaten in the 1929 General Election and Baldwin’s government giving way to Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour minority government, Baldwin’s position was weak and
Churchill perceived that there was an opportunity to destabilise him.162 Conservative morale was low; Jenkins argues it was at least as low as in 1906, which had been a far larger defeat. Many Conservatives now longed for more excitement than ‘honest Stan’ could give them.163 In addition, a series of by-election defeats for the Conservative Party against Lord Beaverbrook’s Imperial Free Traders weakened Baldwin’s position still further.164 It seems clear then that an experienced politician like Churchill, who had by this time held so many
Ian St John, ‘Writing to the Defence of the Empire: Winston Churchill’s Press Campaign against Constitutional Reform in India, 1929-1935’, in Chandrika Kaul (ed.), Media and the British Empire, Palgrave (London, 2006), p. 105. 161 WSC to Clementine Churchill, 27 Aug 1929.
R.R. James, Churchill: A Study in Failure, 1900-1939, Weidenfield and Nicolson (London, 1970), p. 188. 163 Roy Jenkins, Churchill, Macmillan (London, 2001), p. 433. 164 James, Study in Failure, p. 188.
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painted him as an opportunist.172 By allying himself with the press-baron Lord Rothermere, Churchill gained the support of the Daily Mail, but he also made it appear that he was fighting for the Conservative leadership, not for India.173 This image emerges clearly in the Manchester Guardian’s coverage of his final break with Baldwin after a fiery speech over India in January 1931, in which they suggested that ‘Lord Rothermere has at last found a leader for his party and Mr. Churchill a party for his leadership.’174 This does not seem entirely unfounded, as Lord Rothermere wrote to Churchill after his resignation saying that the leadership was just within his grasp.175
important government positions, was indeed ‘looking for something new to bring him out into the limelight’.165 Churchill’s choice of the policy on which to oppose Baldwin also casts light on him as an opportunist. Despite his opposition to Tariff Reform early in his career, he placed no ultimatum on Beaverbrook’s Imperial Free Trade stance, essentially a policy of preferential tariffs. Churchill was uncharacteristically accepting of this issue, telling Harold Nicolson that he felt too old to fight it.166 Nevertheless, it was with great energy that he shortly afterwards plunged into opposition to Indian self-rule. Baldwin had accepted Labour’s proposition of working towards Indian self-government on a provincial and national level, with British control limited to Vice Regal and military affairs.167 This had made Churchill ‘almost demented with fury’.168 Despite Churchill’s anger at Baldwin’s decision, there can be no doubt that he calculated that imperial causes had greater resonance in the Conservative Party; Churchill shared more common ground with Conservative MPs over India than opposition to tariff reform in a potential leadership bid.169 It was not in his power to lead the charge against tariff reform, and therefore India provided a useful mantle for his attack on Baldwin.170 It was easy to brand Churchill, a man who had changed party twice, as being driven by personal ambition and his opponents used this to their full advantage.171 Nor did Churchill help his own image; his choice of allies certainly
Even more damning was the fact that Churchill, throughout the debate, demonstrated a depressing ignorance regarding the situation in
George Lane-Fox to Lord Irwin, 21 Jan 1931. Harold Nicolson diary, 23 Jan 1930. 167 Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Volume V: The Prophet of Truth 1922-1939, Hillsdale College Press (Hillsdale, 2009), p. 352. 168 Samuel Hoare to Lord Irwin, 7 Nov 1929. 169 St John, ‘Writing to the Defence of the Empire’, p. 105. 170 Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Volume V, p. 373. 171 James, Study in Failure, p. 184. 166
Richard Toye, Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, Macmillan (London, 2007), pp. 282-3. 173 James, Study in Failure, p. 204. 174 ‘Mr. Churchill Breaks Away’, Manchester Guardian, 30 Jan 1931. 175 Lord Rothermere to WSC, 31 Jan 1931.
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India.176 Although Moore argues that Churchill was shocked at the idea of Indian self-control in 1919, it is by no means apparent that this was the case.177 Indeed, Churchill seems to have had few grave concerns over the implementation of the Montague-Chelmsford proposals.178 Hyam argues that Churchill was only interested in colonial affairs when the duties of office required it.179 For instance during his years as Chancellor of the Exchequer, from 1924 to 1929, Churchill had shown little interest in Indian affairs.180 This speaks volumes about his opportunism in choosing India as the political weapon to use against Baldwin and the Conservative leadership. Churchill’s lack of knowledge over India threw him into the arms of the diehard group of the Conservative Party, which Gopal, rather generously, estimates to consist of almost half of the Conservative MPs.181 Churchill certainly felt that his ideas were gaining traction. Immediately after giving his ‘Middle Temple Lawyer’ speech to the West Essex Conservative Association, he informed Clementine that he felt ‘the whole spirit of the Conservative Party’ was behind him.182 The speech is now infamous for describing Gandhi as a ‘half-naked fakir’,183 it also awoke reaction at the time; the Manchester Guardian talks of the violent attack on Gandhi and quotes Churchill’s speech at length.184 Churchill at last had a
power-base in the Conservative Party; he was in a position to pose a serious threat to Baldwin and the Conservative leadership – so much so that Baldwin considered resigning in March 1931.185 The fact that events overtook Churchill is not evidence of a lack of opportunism; rather it speaks of Baldwin’s political adroitness. Baldwin regained the whip hand after a series of important speeches, most notably when he denounced the press-barons Beaverbrook and Rothermere.186 His position was further strengthened by his candidate’s victory in Westminster St George over Beaverbrook’s candidate. Baldwin entered a National Government with Labour in August 1931 and in the ensuing general election support for Churchill within the Conservative Party plummeted.187 The fact that Churchill was left with little parliamentary support after the election must not be read as evidence that his original motivations were not personal ambition and opportunism. However, it could be argued that Churchill was sincere in his opposition to Indian self-government. The fact that Churchill knew so little about India paradoxically meant that he believed the arguments with even more conviction. It seems that he was mired in a romanticised image of what the British Empire in India meant. This nostalgic view of empire, formed in his early days in India, may be seen in the two main reasons for his grave misgivings about Indian self-rule. Firstly, he believed that Indian self-government would bring about harm to India, and secondly he worried about the harm of losing India to the British Empire. He was consistent in these two warnings throughout the campaign.188 It is important to be cautious in ascribing motives to historical characters, but it seems Churchill was more motivated by his
Sarvepalli Gopal, ‘Churchill and India’, in Robert Blake and Roger Louis (eds.), Churchill, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 1993), p. 123. 177 R.J. Moore, The Crisis of Indian Unity: 1917-1940, Oxford University Press, (Oxford, 1974), p. 6. 178 Gillian Peele, ‘Revolts over India’, in Gillian Peele and Chris Cook (eds.), The Politics of Reappraisal: 19181939, Macmillan (London, 1975), p. 123. 179 Ronald Hyam, Understanding the British Empire, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 2010), p. 335. 180 Gopal, ‘Churchill and India’ p. 458. 181 Ibid. p. 460, 182 WSC to Clementine Churchill, 26 Feb. 1931. 183 WSC, speech of 23 Feb 1931. 184 ‘Mr. Churchill on India’, Manchester Guardian, 24 Feb 1931.
Gopal, ‘Churchill and India’, p. 460. Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Volume V, p. 398. 187 Gopal, ‘Churchill and India’, p. 460. 188 Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Volume V, p. 357. 186
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nostalgic, albeit out of date image of India, than sheer political interest. Churchill was concerned that the Indian elite in the Indian National Congress was a group completely unrepresentative of the Indian people.189 He described the Congress as a ‘highly artificial and restricted oligarchy’.190 For this reason it would be a grave mistake to ‘entrust the welfare of the great masses to the Indian political classes.’191 It is important to note that Churchill’s views regarding the Indian Congress were not uncommon: Lord Curzon, Viceroy to India 1898-1905, had called the Congress an ‘unclean thing’, unrepresentative of
leading to violence and harm to the Indian masses.194 The Cawnpore riots between Muslims and Hindus, at the end of March 1931, which left up to a thousand people dead, served as evidence of the impossibility of a harmonious India without British rule.195 In addition, Churchill believed that the Hindu treatment of the untouchables was a severe flaw in giving India self-government.196 The Indians would tyrannise the untouchables if Britain were not there to protect them.197 Ideas of race were all too prevalent in Churchill’s rhetoric.198 Churchill still believed vehemently in the civilising mission and the superiority of the British race.199 He warned that if British authority were destroyed, railway services, irrigation, public works and famine prevention would all perish along with British rule.200 According to Churchill the British Empire, which had built up its responsibility in India over the last 150 years, had a duty to the ‘three hundred and fifty millions of helpless primitive people’ to remain in charge of Indian affairs.201 This is supported by Churchill’s antiquated belief that the Hindus were incapable of ruling properly. He had read Katherine Mayo’s book Mother India, published in 1927, with great interest and seems to have agreed with the main arguments of the book. 202 Mayo believed that Hindu men were made incapable of holding the reins of power due to their sexual excesses.203 His friend Lord Birkenhead also believed that it was foolish to give Indians self-
Churchill feared the potential effects of Indian selfrule: the Cawnpore Massacre, 1857, below
the people because it was led by a ‘microscopic minority’.192 Churchill’s anxiety regarding the oligarchic nature of the Congress links to his concerns over the treatment of minorities in India; he argued that the Muslim population would be in grave danger if they were not protected by Britain.193 It seems that Churchill was genuinely concerned about extremism
Toye, Lloyd George and Churchill, p. 282. Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Volume V, pp. 401-2. 196 WSC, ‘Peril in India’, Daily Mail, 16 Nov 1929. 197 Gilbert, Martin, Churchill: A Life, Pimlico (London, 2000), p. 501. 198 Lawrence James, Churchill and Empire, Weidenfield and Nicolson (London, 2013), p. 183. 199 James, Study in Failure, p. 199. 200 Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, Volume V, p. 399. 201 WSC, speech of 23 Feb. 1931. 202 Toye, Churchill’s Empire, pp. 173-4 203 Ibid. p. 173. 195
WSC, speech of 23 Feb. 1931. Quoted in Ronald Hyam, Britain’s Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation: 1918-1968, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 2006), p. 62. 191 WSC, speech of 23 Feb. 1931. 192 Quoted in Hyam, Britain’s Declining Empire, p. 62. 193 Richard Toye, Churchill’s Empire: The World that Made Him and the World He Made, Macmillan (London, 2010), p. 174. 190
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rule.204 Churchill, then, was by no means alone in holding these views, but the fact that even the Prime Minister and his own Conservative leaders now believed it was time to discuss Indian self-rule, speaks volumes about how Churchill’s attitudes were old-fashioned.205 In order to understand these attitudes regarding Indians, Churchill’s lack of contemporary knowledge served him well in making these claims. The fact that he had not returned to India since 1897, illustrates how the impressions he formed then remained with him throughout his career. Another reason Churchill opposed selfgovernment for India was because of the damage it would do to the British Empire. During a visit to America before his India campaign started Churchill had been perturbed by the idea, prevalent in the US and Canada, that Britain was in decline.206 Churchill worried that Indian selfrule would mean that ‘The British Empire would pass at the stroke of a pen out of life into history’.207 The Labour government seemed unable to respond to problems in the British mandate of Palestine and in Egypt. In response to bloody riots in Cairo in the summer of 1930, Churchill referred to Britain’s obligation to foreign countries to maintain order.208 He was also concerned with job losses in Britain if India was at complete liberty to set its own tariffs on British goods.209 Churchill feared that two million jobs would be lost in the cotton mills210 and that the greed of the Indian mill owners would spell doom for Lancashire cotton
production.211 Although he was no longer an MP in Lancashire it still seems that he felt some nostalgia for his old days in that area as MP for Oldham and Manchester North-West. For these reasons it seems that Churchill was sincere in his opposing his party leaders over India. It is nonetheless worth pointing out that Churchill was too ambitious a politician to fight an obviously lost cause; when he entered the India debate, he must have had some hope of winning it.212 There was a moment in the campaign when Churchill felt that he could challenge Baldwin successfully. Nevertheless, even as it became apparent that the fight was damaging his political career Churchill still persevered.213 The massive majority of the National government after the 1931 general election made Churchill’s task increasingly difficult. By the time the India Bill eventually passed in 1935 Churchill had damaged his political career to the extent that he was not offered a post in Baldwin’s government.214 Therefore, it must be emphasised that, while Churchill would not have entered a fight with absolutely no hope of winning it, the fact that he stuck by it for so long must be read as his sincerity over the importance of the British Empire maintaining power in India. In order to understand this sincere belief in the British Empire it is important to consider how this belief originated. Gopal argues that Churchill’s underlying belief in the importance of empire in India stemmed from his days there as a subaltern.215 There is a great deal to be said for this argument; it highlights how Churchill’s perceived ignorance over India was in fact an assortment of misty recollections of his subaltern days. This romanticised image of India emerged
Ibid. p. 174. Hyam, Britain’s Declining Empire, p. 62. 206 Henry Pelling, Winston Churchill, 2nd ed., Macmillan Press Ltd (London, 1989), p. 345. 207 Hyam, Britain’s Declining Empire, p. 63. 208 ‘Mr. Churchill on Egypt and India’, Manchester Guardian, 17 Jul 1930. 209 ‘Mr. Churchill on India’, Manchester Guardian, 27 Mar 1931. 210 Hyam, Britain’s Declining Empire, p. 63. 205
‘Mr. Churchill on India’, Manchester Guardian, 27 Mar 1931. 212 St John, ‘Writing to the Defence of the Empire’, p. 105. 213 Ibid. p. 106. 214 James, Study in Failure, p. 212. 215 Gopal, ‘Churchill and India’, p. 457.
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with great force when he perceived the empire to be threatened. The charge that Churchill’s lack of knowledge regarding India demonstrated his opportunism does not ring true. Rather, his sincerity emerges from how he clings to this genuine, albeit out-of-touch, image of India. Von Tunzelmann describes Churchill as the most pigheaded of all British politicians at the time;216 he was indeed pigheadedly sincere in holding onto his image of India. In conclusion, Churchill’s motives for opposing his party’s leaders have often been regarded as opportunistic. His lack of knowledge regarding India is frequently cited as evidence that Churchill was merely using his opposition to Indian self-government as a mantle with which to attack Baldwin and the Conservative leadership. However, this article has demonstrated that, paradoxically, Churchill’s lack of knowledge over India made it all the easier for him to believe his own arguments. When Churchill saw an imminent threat to the British Empire, his romantic view, formed as a subaltern, came to the fore. Therefore, strangely, Churchill’s lack of contemporary knowledge over India in fact made him all the more sincere in his worries about the diminution of British control. Regardless of normative judgements we attach to some of his more unacceptable beliefs about India, there seems little doubt that he believed in them. For this reason Churchill was sincere in his opposition to Indian self-rule. There was perhaps more truth than even Baldwin realised, when he said that Churchill ‘has become once more the subaltern of hussars of ’96.’217
Alex Von Tunzelmann, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire, Simon and Schuster UK Ltd (London, 2007), p. 89. 217 Stanley Baldwin to J. C. C. Davidson, 13 Nov 1930.
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The Succession Crisis of 1553 Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, and the ‘Deuise for the Succession’ By Conor Byrne
he Tudors were plagued by succession crises. Henry VIII’s quest for a male heir is infamous, for it involved an unprecedented break with the Roman Catholic Church and the making of three marriages and countless executions, before his son Edward was finally born to Jane Seymour in 1537. Mary Tudor agonised over ways to prevent her halfsister Elizabeth from inheriting the crown before her fatal illnesses and childlessness made that goal impossible; and Elizabeth herself banned discussions of the succession numerous times on pain of royal displeasure and disgrace. However, the greatest Tudor succession crisis perhaps occurred in the closing months of the reign of Edward VI in the early summer of 1553. This article explores this particular succession crisis which should be viewed as unprecedented in terms of its very nature: whereas Henry, Mary and Elizabeth responded to succession crises from the particular problem of their own childlessness and sought marriage (Elizabeth was, famously, involved in several negotiations) to solve the succession difficulties, Edward attempted to solve the issue by advancing his cousin, Jane Grey; prima facie an individual of no particular prominence in the Tudor dynasty. This article also questions whether religion did play as great a role in Edward’s thinking as has traditionally been believed to have been the case, since in paying great attention to customs of law and inheritance, it suggests that it was questions of illegitimacy, held by both Henry VIII and later his son, that directed the policies concerning the ‘Deuise for the Succession’ in 1553.
An understanding of sixteenth-century beliefs dictating inheritance, gender, and monarchy is necessary to fully understand the events of 1553. Because the 1553 crisis involved several female claimants resulting from a lack of male candidates, it is essential to consider the relevance of gender and attitudes to womanhood. Three years before his death, in 1544, Henry VIII had named his infant son Edward as his heir, to be followed by his sisters Mary and Elizabeth should their younger half-brother prove childless. Although the will nominated the two sisters as claimants to the throne, it did not in fact legitimise them, and they remained bastards.218 This was essential, because Henry 218
See Eric Ives, Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery (Oxford, 2009), for an understanding of this crucial difference.
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had taken it upon himself to nominate successors to the throne; meaning that he could, theoretically, choose someone aside from his own children. This was crucial to Edward’s later policies concerning the succession, for his father’s example perhaps encouraged him to designate his cousin, rather than his sisters who were his successors by law, as successor. Because Mary and Elizabeth were bastards, their dynastic situation remained uncertain.219 Alongside their precarious statuses, the girls were not favoured by either Henry or Edward because of their gender. Sixteenth-century polemicists doubted that women could rule, and ‘prevailing models...were not propitious’.220 Crown and church-office holders were predominantly male and, in this patriarchal society as argued by Retha Warnicke, women were deemed incapable of autonomous political action alongside their biological inferiority to males.221 England had not yet seen a queen regnant to disprove this consideration. In this context, the desire of Mary and Elizabeth’s father to prevent his daughters’ accession, if possible, can be understood. Extant evidence suggests that Edward shared similar opinions to his father regarding this issue of his sisters’ illegitimacy. Sir Edward Montague, chief justice of the common pleas, testified that ‘the king by his own mouth said’
that he planned to alter the succession because his sisters bore the ‘shame’ of illegitimacy.222 He also expressed a concern that, were either of his sisters to marry a foreigner, ‘the laws of the realm’ and ‘his [Edward’s] proceedings in religion’ might be undermined.223 Thus Edward decided to alter the succession, penning a ‘deuise for the succession’224 in which he stipulated that, in the wake of his death, the crown should pass to the male heirs of his father’s niece Lady Frances Brandon, and in the possibility of Frances not bearing male children, to the male children of her eldest daughter Lady Jane Grey, and so on.225 As his death approached, however, and it became clear that
Mary had been declared illegitimate on the annulment of her father’s marriage to her mother Katherine of Aragon in 1533. Although she was later reconciled to her father, in 1536, her written agreement that her parents’ marriage was invalid served to confirm her bastard status. The younger Elizabeth was bastardised on the annulment of her parents’ marriage and on the eve of her mother Anne Boleyn’s execution. Like Mary, she remained illegitimate during the remaining years of Henry VIII’s reign. 220 See John Knox’s The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558); a polemical work which claimed that female rule was contrary to the Bible. 221 Retha Warnicke, ‘Elizabeth I: Gender, Religion and Politics’ (History Review, 2007; accessed online at http://www.historytoday.com/retha-warnicke/elizabeth-igender-religion-and-politics; last accessed 12 January 2014).
Lady Jane Grey 222
Dale Hoak, ‘Edward VI (1537-1553), king of England and Ireland’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed online at http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8522?docPos=1; last accessed 12 January 2014). 223 Ibid. 224 This can be accessed online at http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/edward6devise.h tm (last accessed 17 February 2014). 225 Ives, Lady Jane Grey, p. 321; David Loades, John Dudley Duke of Northumberland 1504-1553 (Oxford, 1996), pp. 238-9.
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neither Jane nor her teenage sisters would bear male heirs before the transfer of the crown to the next monarch, Edward altered the wording so that Jane herself and her sisters could inherit. That there was a religious dimension to the 1553 ‘Deuise’ there is no doubt. Although historians dispute the actual involvement of Edward himself in the development of Protestant policies in England during his reign, it is apparent that he himself was devout. He was later termed a ‘godly imp’ by John Foxe.226 Ives recently challenged the suggestion that Edward excluded his elder sister Mary from the succession solely on the basis of her Catholic religion, for as he rightly argues, Elizabeth, who was known to have been a practitioner of the Protestant faith, was not subsequently advanced in the succession to the detriment of her elder sister.227 Certainly Lady Jane Grey’s reformist faith played an essential role, but the premise of this article is, drawing on aforementioned precedents of law and inheritance, that Edward actually favoured Jane’s claim because he viewed both of his sisters as illegitimate and thus unfit to inherit the throne. Controversy rages as to what extent Edward himself masterminded the ‘deuise for the succession’ and was able to pressure councillors and lawyers into enacting the changes which would allow Lady Jane to become queen of England, or whether it was John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, with a vested interest in the succession (his son was married to Jane), who devised and manipulated the conspiracy to his own advantage. Ann Weikel, for example, suggests that Edward and Northumberland worked together in the initial stages of the succession crisis, because of their fears of the destruction of Protestantism should Mary succeed to the throne; but claims that, as
the king began to deteriorate in the early summer, ‘Northumberland took the lead in bullying councillors and judges into approving the altered succession’.228 These changes to the succession directly contravened Henry VIII’s Third Succession Act of 1543 and have been characterised by some historians as being both bizarre and illegal.229 That Northumberland had a strong interest in the policies of the succession there is no doubt, for were Lady Jane to inherit the crown, his son would become king consort of England, which would consequently result in unprecedented power and influence for the Dudleys at court. But emphasising the supposed dominant role played by Northumberland, and by extension underestimating the role of the fifteen-year old king, is to misrepresent the historical evidence. Extant evidence suggests that the king, even as he lay dying, ‘with sharp words and angry countenance’ commanded Montague and the other judges to accept the device and enact the changes put forward in it.230 The king then arranged for leading councillors and lawyers to sign a bond subscribing to the device in his presence, in which they faithfully agreed to perform Edward’s will following his death.231 As David Starkey has asserted in relation to the crisis of 1553, ‘Edward had a couple of co-operators, but the driving will was his’.232 The king made his final appearance in public on 1 July, five days before his death, 228
Ann Weikel, ‘Mary I (1516-1558), queen of England and Ireland’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed online at http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18245?docPos=2; last accessed 25 January 2014). 229 Jennifer Loach, Edward VI (New Haven, 1999), p. 163; W. K. Jordan, Edward VI: The Threshold of Power. The Dominance of the Duke of Northumberland (London, 1970), p. 515. 230 Hoak, ‘Edward VI’. 231 Ives, Lady Jane Grey, pp. 160-1. 232 David Starkey, Elizabeth. Apprenticeship (London, 2001), p. 112.
Susan Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 (London, 2000), p. 180. 227 Ives, Lady Jane Grey.
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aged sixteen years of age.236 Edward’s desire for the triumph of Protestantism, however, was realised, in the succession of his elder sister Elizabeth, whom he had tried so determinedly to prevent from attaining the English crown.
when he showed himself at his window in Greenwich Palace. Although he had been believed to have been ‘much amended’ in May, the Imperial ambassador reported weeks later that ‘the matter he ejects from his mouth is sometimes coloured a greenish yellow and black, sometimes pink, like the colour of blood’.233 On 6 July, the king died aged fifteen at Greenwich Palace. The Reformation writer John Foxe created the legend that Edward’s last words, faithfully conveying his devout Protestantism, were ‘I am faint; Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit’.234 The government initially did its best to conceal the king’s death, particularly from his sister Mary, in order to implement the stages to Lady Jane’s accession.235 Edward’s determination to prevent his Catholic sister Mary, whom he regarded as illegitimate, from succeeding to the throne ultimately proved futile. The regime of Queen Jane collapsed within days as more and more of the population rallied to the popular Mary’s cause, and by 19 July she had deposed Jane. In August 1553 Northumberland was beheaded for treason. In October, Mary was crowned queen in a magnificent ceremony in London. The outbreak of Wyatt’s rebellion in the early months of 1554, directed against the news of Queen Mary’s planned marriage to the Spanish Catholic Philip, sealed the fate of Lady Jane and her husband, although neither had anything to do with it. The Queen, after much agonising and deliberating, agreed to the demands of her Imperial councillors that Lady Jane and Guildford should be executed in order to ensure the security of both the monarch and the developing Catholic state. On 12 February 1554, Jane, ‘the traitor-heroine of the Reformation’, was beheaded for high treason on Tower Green,
‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’ (1833), by Paul Delaroche
Loach, Edward VI, p. 159. Ibid, p. 167. 235 Weikel, ‘Mary I’. 234
Albert J. Pollard, The History of England (London, 1911), p. 111.
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A Tale of Two Empires Relations between Han China and Imperial Rome By Thomas Davies Jin Shu, written in the seventh century.240 These accounts describe the Romans in similar terms to Chinese people and tell of the wondrous goods they had to offer. It speaks of a kind of reverse Orientalism:241 a fascination and romanticism with lands to the West. In contrast, there appear to be no Roman accounts of China or if there are accounts, they are not very well known. Pliny’s vague description of the Ceres or ‘Silk People’, the historical consensus being the Ceres were the original producers of silk, as ‘red haired with blue eyes’ is much more inaccurate than any description given by Chinese writers of Romans, even if the term did not apply to the silk creators until later.242 It would seem that the Chinese knew more about the Romans than vice versa or if they did, they didn’t see them as important to write about. The few interactions that did occur between the two empires were based on the Silk Road trade routes that linked the Mediterranean to the Middle East and the Middle East to China. Rome’s merchants were a near impossible sight in China itself but ‘a trickle of Roman wares’ ended up in Chang-An.243 The key trade commodity between the two empires was, of course, silk, which was traded far and wide along the Silk Road to the extent that Romans ‘never went without silk’.244 Interestingly the
hina and Rome were two of the greatest powers in the ancient world. Both dominated the political and cultural spheres of their regions and despite many similarities between the two empires they are often seen as separate rulers of their worlds, and certainly not possessing a shared history. However, China and Rome held some knowledge of each other and there were relations between the two powers. In this article I will assess the extent of the economic and diplomatic relations between the empires and discuss why these relations were present and ultimately why they were only limited. Before the first century C.E. China and Rome had no knowledge of each other. The furthest West that Chinese merchants had travelled before that time was Afghanistan.237 The few Chinese accounts of ‘DaQin’ which translates as ‘Great China’, as Rome was referred to (there is some debate over exactly what part of the empire the authors were writing about), are flattering to say the least.238 The three primary texts that describe Rome in any detail are Fan Ye’s Hou Hanshu, written in the early fifth century which used borrowed information from military reports,239 Yu Huan’s Wei Lue, written in the third century and presumably based on second hand information from merchants and travelers, and Fang Xuanling’s
K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51 (2011), p. 299. 241 Orientalism: A term used to describe Western fascination and romanticisation of the Eastern world. See Edward Said’s Orientalism for further details. 242 W. Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, (Cambridge, 2010), p. 110. 243 L. Petech, ‘Rome and Eastern Asia’, East and West 2, No. 2 (Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO), July 1951), p. 75. 244 J. Thorley, ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at Its Height, 'Circa' A. D. 90-130’, Greece
D.D. Leslie & K.H. Gardinier, ‘“All Roads Lead to Rome”: Chinese Knowledge of the Roman Empire’, Journal of Asian History 29. No. 1 (1995), p. 73. 238 K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51 (2011), pp. 269270. 239 J.E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. xvi.
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Romans unraveled and rewove the silk into a fine cloth and sold it back to their unwitting Chinese creators.245 Beyond this, however, archaeology has revealed little other trade goods of a similar significance; the occasional pot or vase has been found in Europe but nothing that indicates a strong exchange.246 Naval routes on the Indian Ocean existed, far smaller than the land trade, but worth mentioning. Silk was a valuable commodity and a symbol of the elite in Rome, so despite this very specific demand both empires began to look to find out more about their distant neighbour. The Chinese viewed the Romans as selling ‘jade… pearls… coral… amber… glass’ and more, so perhaps the Chinese had a greater desire to explore and trade, given the wealth that they saw, or thought they saw, in Rome.247 There is recorded diplomatic contact, or at least attempts at such, between the two empires. The first recorded attempt at contact was by Chinese Gan Ying who at the behest of the Protector-General was sent to DaQin in 97 C.E.248 Ying, however, never reached Rome’s borders having being warned by frontier sailors not to cross the sea, resulting in a failed mission.249 The second recorded envoy was Roman, sent in 166 C.E. The Hou Hanshu records that ‘Andun (Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius) sent envoys beyond the frontiers… this was the very first time there was communication’.250 However, both the Hou
Hanshu and the Wei Lue are short of detail on what was discussed.251 Ironically in fact, the Hou Hanshu’s comment of events states: ‘the tribute brought was neither precious nor rare’ and suggest that DaQin was perhaps not as magical a place as it had been implied.252 Modern historians have suggested that these were not official envoys but merchants looking to trade with China, and Luciano Petech goes so far as to say that the ‘tribute’ was scraped together in Malaya.253 Despite this mild intrigue nothing noteworthy appears to have come out of this delegation; it seems to have been noted by the
The Han Empire and trade routes to the Roman Empire
Chinese only for personal interest rather than out of historical importance. In the Wei Lue another foreign delegation is noted in 133 C.E. but these came out of Kashgar (modern day Tajikistan)
& Rome, Second Series, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Cambridge, Apr., 1971), p. 71. 245 Ibid. p. 77-78. 246 L. Petech, ‘Rome and Eastern Asia’, p. 75. 247 F. Ye, Hou Hanshu, trans. in J. E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. 25. 248 K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51 (2011), p. 299. 249 It is unclear which sea the Hou Hanshu refers to but it seems likely to have been the Persian Gulf given the proximity of the sea to listed Iranian cities. 250 F. Ye, Hou Hanshu, trans. in J.E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later
Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. 27. 251 Ibid. and Y. Huan, The Weilue, trans. by J. E. Hill, Weilue: The Peoples of the West, (2004), http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/weilue/weilue.ht ml#section11 (accessed 7 January 2014). 252 J.E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. 27. 253 L. Petech, ‘Rome and Eastern Asia’, East and West, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO), July 1951), p. 74.
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and seem to have little to do with Rome.254 Thus it would seem diplomatic contact between the two nations was extremely limited, and given that these were the two preeminent powers of the ancient world, it may be worth considering why they never established firm relations. The first reason is the obvious geographical limitations of contact. Certainly it would be highly unlikely for a Roman merchant to travel the vast distances from Roman territory to the Han Empire when they could sell their goods at greater convenience in Middle Eastern or even Indian cities as they were said to have done in the Hou Hanshu. In this sense, Roman goods made their way to China on the Silk Road, but not necessarily by Roman hands.255 Furthermore, there is no record of any Chinese merchant or explorer travelling beyond Parthia beside Gan Ying as Merv (in modern-day Turkmenistan) is suggested to be the final stopping point for Chinese merchants.256 Beyond silk, Rome and the Han did not trade in large quantities, nor did they create a necessity for contact as the goods were handled by the Soghdians, Kushans or Parthians as ancient ‘middle men’ between the two empires.257 Thus, there was little need for direct relationships as neither empire was a directly trading on a significant scale that demanded regulation and protection. A second reason is the political geography of the east at the time. The Hou Hanshu and Wei Lue make reference to the role
of ‘Anxi (The Parthian Empire), wishing to control the trade in multi coloured silks’ in blocking Roman attempts to contact China.258 The Parthian Empire straddled the overland trade routes that ran through the East, and since the suggested travel routes in the Hou Hanshu and Wei Lue suggest that Chinese merchants generally travelled overland, the conflict between Rome and Parthia would likely not only have made it necessary to stop Chinese trade with Rome, but also made overland trade in that region more dangerous and less reliable.259 Furthermore, Roman routes described by Pliny and Ptolemy are vague at best.260 Since the diplomacy that occurred in 166 C.E. occurred shortly after the Roman victory against the Parthians it seems likely that that victory allowed Rome to look further east in hope of gaining further trade with China.261 However, even into the third century there are accounts of other Romans reaching China; jugglers in 220 and a merchant in 226, suggesting there was still interest in China and there would be a small section of the population willing to explore despite the wars.262 The factor that seems to be most significant however, was the fall of the empires involved. The period of Han relations with the West ended in response to conflict with nomads 258
F. Ye, Hou Hanshu, trans. in J. E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. 27. 259 F. Ye, Hou Hanshu, trans. in J. E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. 27 and Ibid. and Y. Huan, The Weilue, trans. by J. E. Hill, Weilue: The Peoples of the West, (2004), http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/weilue/weilue.ht ml#section11 (accessed 7th January 2014). 260 D.D. Leslie & K.H. Gardinier, ‘“All Roads Lead to Rome”: Chinese Knowledge of the Roman Empire’, Journal of Asian History, Vol. 29. No. 1, (1995), p. 75. 261 F. Hirth, referenced in K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51, (2011), p. 300. 262 L. Petech, ‘Rome and Eastern Asia’, p. 74.
K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51 (2011), p. 301. 255 J. Thorley, ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at Its Height, 'Circa' A. D. 90-130’, Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Cambridge, Apr., 1971), p. 75. 256 Ibid. 257 L. Petech, ‘Rome and Eastern Asia’, East and West, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO), July 1951), p. 75 and J. Thorley, ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at Its Height, 'Circa' A. D. 90-130’, Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Cambridge, Apr., 1971), p. 75.
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from the Mongolian steppe known as the Xianbi.263 The Han Empire never fully recovered, its power destroyed by political chaos and local rulers fighting for power. The last Han Emperor abdicated in 220 C.E. and China went into a 60 year long period known as the Three Kingdoms that led eventually to a disunited China for nearly 300 years. With this in mind, the most logical explanation follows that the development of relations between Rome and China, which may have been possible in the wake of Roman success against Parthia, was altogether unfeasible given the political troubles of the Han Empire and the rapid demise of its power. Furthermore, as the fourth century progressed, Rome infamously fell into decadence and focused on maintaining its empire against internal and local threats, which ended any further trading opportunities.264 It would seem that the relationship between these two great empires was built on the trade of one tradable material and consisted of very little beyond that. Both empires never fully understood their trade partner, and no formal relations were ever established due to distance and Parthian intervention. The ultimate collapse of the Han and the decadence of the Romans brought an end to the safety of the Silk Road and perhaps an end to the European knowledge of Asia until the establishment of the Pax Mongolica in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.265 These links were relatively thin but present nonetheless, and they give a view of an interconnected East and West that sometimes is lost in popular history.
J.E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, (Booksurge Publishing, 2009), p. xvi. 264 K. Hoppal, ‘The Roman Empire According to Ancient Chinese Sources’, Acta Ant. Hung. 51 (2011). 265 J. Thorley, ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at Its Height, 'Circa' A. D. 90-130’, p. 71.
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‘West Country to World’s End’ RAMM exhibition review: ‘The South West in the Tudor Age’ By Conor Byrne
he Royal Albert Memorial Museum has been voted Museum of the Year before, and its latest exhibition entitled West Country to World’s End: the South West in the Tudor Age substantiates why this museum is renowned in artistic circles for being both exciting and enriching. The museum was established in 1868 and today holds significant collections in zoology, anthropology, fine art, local and overseas archaeology, and geology. Being an avid lover of all things Tudor, I went along to the RAMM to check out this exhibition, and I wasn’t disappointed. When I arrived, I was treated to a talk which lasted around an hour in which some of the key features of this particular exhibition were looked at in greater detail and context. The talk, delivered by Professor Sam Smiles of the University of Exeter, centred on the suggestion that, in studying the Tudor period, too much attention has been granted to the court and to London, the seat of monarchical and aristocratic power, and not enough to the provinces. The South West region of England played a particularly significant and vibrant role in the Tudor age, and Smiles feels that this is well worth exploring further. During the Elizabethan ‘Golden Age’, people of the West Country were innovative in their endeavours. The talk explored the roles of important individuals such as Francis Drake, who sailed to the ‘World’s End’ in pursuit of glory and riches, while Walter Raleigh took settlers to a new world. The talk also focused on the greatest Elizabethan portrait painter, the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard, and scholar Thomas Bodley (the Bodleian Library in Oxford is named after him). Hilliard served at the court of both Elizabeth I and James I and his
paintings have been held to exemplify the visual culture of late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century England. Bodley was born in Exeter in 1545 and later moved with his family to Geneva to escape the persecutions of Protestants under Mary I. He returned to England when Elizabeth succeeded to the throne and in 1600 he re-
founded the library at Oxford, named after him in his honour. Alongside recounting the adventures and exploits of these enigmatic individuals, the talk discussed the role of goldsmiths, plasterers, carpenters, masons and lacemakers, and the key role they played in the South West. The exhibition includes items from the Bodleian Library, the British Museum, the British Library, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Trust, the Royal Collection, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Royal Museums Greenwich; including images of the Armada, several of Hilliard’s miniatures, and items produced by goldsmiths. It is particularly exciting that materials from such a wide range of museums have come together, in offering enriching 52
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insights into the very real importance of the Southwest in the Elizabethan age and after. In particular, items relating to the Spanish Armada of 1588 provide fascinating glimpses into the danger posed to the western counties, which were ultimately able to defeat the threat of Spanish invasion. The exhibition is well worth seeing, particularly because it focuses on an aspect of the Tudor age not centred on the court, Henry VIII, or his six wives. Although the charismatic Henry and his sexual and political scandals are both fascinating and entertaining, it’s important to look beyond national history and the rather narrow political confines of the court and seek out the lives of individuals living in other areas of the country – London was, after all, only one city in a diverse realm. Studying regional history, as the exhibition proved, offers new insights into the Tudor age from the perspectives of different individuals. The exhibition rightly emphasises that intriguing insights into industry, politics, the economy, and society in the sixteenth century can be attained by looking in greater detail at other areas of England. As a specialist in the early modern period, particularly Tudor history, I found this exhibition particularly exciting and thought-provoking for these reasons – I am quick to admit that I confine the majority of my research to the Tudor court and the individuals operating within it! The South West, clearly, enjoyed an adventurous and exciting history in the Elizabethan age.
Current and future exhibitions include: Taonga: Maori Treasures of the Natural World (till 8 June) Awake Through Years: Four Southwest Wood Engravers (till 23 March) Exeter’s Fine Art Collection (till 6 April) Gilbert & George: Artist Rooms (From 22 March, till 22 June) British Wildlife Photographer Award (from 29 March till 20 July) Intimate Worlds: Exploring Sexuality through the Sir Henry Wellcome Collection (from 5 April to 29 June)
The exhibition featured from 26 October till 2 March.
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The third issue of the third volume of The Historian, the University of Exeter History Society student-led academic journal.
Published on Mar 20, 2014
The third issue of the third volume of The Historian, the University of Exeter History Society student-led academic journal.