The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School
THE HABS HISTORY DEPARTMENT MAGAZINE Volume 12 | 2020 | Edited by Daniel A. Levy
Foreword Welcome to the reinvented, revamped, remade version of Timeline magazine, a HABS History Department publication encouraging historical and academic interest throughout the whole school. It has been a pleasure to promote Timeline to the school and to read, judge, and compile all the submissions we had. There have been previous editions of Timeline, of course. However, in my year- and presumably so in others- there was very little awareness or enthusiasm for Timeline at that time. I decided to ask Dr StJohn if I could revive the magazine and recreate it, this time advertising it thoroughly to the school and encouraging as many submissions as possible. He accepted, and I began designing posters and assemblies to raise awareness, begin writing to the school and distributing information on Timeline through emails, designing the structure of the magazine itself, and reading and judging the various entries (apart from those submitted by Year 13s, which I asked Dr StJohn to do to avoid a conflict of interest). It is with great pride that I am now writing this Foreword at the head of a finished product. I hope that people will read through the magazine and be inspired to write more- if you are reading this, then whilst I have your attention, I want to say a few things. I genuinely believe that writing for these school competitions and magazines has real, meaningful benefits. They build up your CV, improve your reputation amongst departments, give you practice in essaywriting and submitting to further competitions, and allow you to pursue an interest. Most of all, it takes so little time in the grand scheme of things just to write about something you’re passionate about and submit it. If you’re in Years 7-10 you have absolutely no excuse for not doing so- as someone who has experienced these years and what comes belong, I promise you that you have the time. Even in Years 11-13, however, you can find time to write for these competitions and magazines and they do help. I promise. This magazine doesn’t have unlimited space, so in some cases only extracts of people’s submissions are attached. Please write to them or myself if you’d like to read the full versionmy contact is email@example.com. Please also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Enjoy Timeline and next year, if you haven’t, be sure to submit! Thank you for reading.
Editor-in-Chief: Daniel A. Levy Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Oliver Mosheim Assistant Editor: Aria Hashimi Executive Editor: Dr. StJohn
Contents Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note Page 1
Ancient History Cyrus the Great Page 5 Parza Zamani, Middle School
Age of Reformation Were the casket letters between Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell Forged? Page 8 Oscar Clark, Middle School Mary Queen of Scots Page 11 Rohun Kale, Junior School
Modern British History GOVERNMENT GAZETTE: PARLIAMENT REFORMS! June 1832 Page 12 Aarav Anil, Junior School Why did mystery fiction thrive during the interwar period? Page 14 Saul Grenfell, Junior School WW2 History Account Page 16 Sharad Patel, Junior School
Russian Revolution Why the First World War led to the outbreak of the March Revolution.
Dhilan Mehta, Middle School
The Russian Revolution Page 20
Phalgun Deevanapalli, Junior School
Contemporary History Lockdown around the world Page 23 James Lucas, Middle School ‘I Can’t Breathe’: The Awakening of Black Lives Matter Page 27 Sachin Shah, Middle School
Military History To what extent was the Spring Offensive the main reason why the Germans lost the First World War? Page 29 Sai Mehta, Middle School How did life in the trenches affect the performance of soldiers in WWI? Page 32 Suren Ramanakumar, Middle School How far did gunpowder technology change naval warfare? Discuss with relevance to at least two major sea battles or naval campaigns. Page 35 William Mace, Middle School
General History History of Hinduism Page 39 Aarav Ghosh, Junior School Divisions Page 42 Adam Smith, Middle School
‘Institutionalised Racism’ and what that means: a history of racism in the USA’ Page 45 Daniel Levy, Senior School Discussing the philosophy of history Page 53
Jack Cobb, Senior School Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today? Page 56 Jonathan Gibson, Senior School The History of Antiziganist Stereotypes: Europe’s most oppressed minority Page 58 Lucas Valladares, Senior School Weather and climate and how it shaped the past Page 60 Milo Sinclair, Junior School
Book Reviews Book Review: ‘The Creation of the American Republic 1776-87’: Gordon S. Wood Page 62 Aria Hashemi, Senior School Book Review: E.H. Carr, ‘What is History?’ Page 65 George Chadney, Senior School Book Review: On the Use and Abuse of History for Life Page 67 Oliver Mosheim, Senior School
Epilogue Page 69
Parza Zamani, Middle School
‘Cyrus the Great’
Did you know that the origin of the UN Charter of Human Rights goes back to Cyrus the Great who ruled the Persian Empire over 2,500 years ago?
Cyrus II of Persia, also known as Cyrus the Great and Cyrus the Elder was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. The empire conquered most of Western and Central Asia; it was the largest empire the world had ever seen. His reign lasted 30 year, during which he defeated the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus is said to have died in battle against the Massagetae in December 530 BC. His great success was owed to the respect he had for the cultures, religions and customs of the land he conquered. Cyrus also created a first of its kind government, where Kings, called Satraps ruled over their own land and reported to him. Cyrus the Great is most recognised for his declaration of human rights, politics and military strategy. Cyrus was born around 600 BC in a city called Anshan. His father was King Cambyses and his mother was Mandane, daughter of King Astyages of the Median Empire. According to Herodotus, a Greek historian, King Astyages had a dream of water flooding out of his daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s womb, which he took to mean the downfall of his empire. Therefore, he married his daughter to Cambyses to get her out of the way. He later had another of vines sprouting out of his daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s womb, meaning that her child, Cyrus would cause the downfall of his empire. Therefore, Astyages ordered his commander Harpagus to take Cyrus home, kill him and bury him. However, Harpagus did not kill the child and instead gave him to a cowherd called Mitridates and told him to leave the child in the mountains. The cowherd could not bring himself to kill Cyrus and instead switched him with his own baby and left his baby in the mountains. Astyages later found out about Cyrus and let him go to live with his real parents in Anshan. Astyages punished Harpagus by tricking him into eating his own son. Harpagus did not react publicly, but instead started plotting to exact his revenge. Cyrus the Great had Harpagus as his advisor, who told him to go to war with Astyages. Cyrus united the Persian tribes to fight and foolishly, Astyages had the same Harpagus advising Cyrus to be his commander. Harpagus took his revenge by convincing many members of the median army to desert or join the Persians. The soldiers still loyal to Astyages were defeated and Astyages raised another army. Unluckily for the Median King, the same thing happened to the new army and he was handed over to Cyrus. He did not kill Astyages, but instead kept him in his royal court and married one of his daughters Amytis and created the Achaemenid Empire. The King of Lydia, Croesus was not happy with this conquest, as Astyages was his brother in law. He was told that if he went to war with Cyrus a great empire would fall. He assumed that the great empire which would fall was the Persian empire, however it turned out to be his own. He went into battle in 547 BC but there was a draw and the Lydians retreated to Sardis, their capital. The Lydian King disbanded his soldiers to wait for a larger army from his allies, however, Cyrus attacked, and another battle broke out. Harpagus is said to have provided Cyrus with the winning strategy. The Lydians had strong cavalry, however horses fear camels. Therefore, he told Cyrus to have a front line of camels before any soldiers. This caused all the horses to run away from the battle, ensuring Cyrus a decisive victory. The Lydians retreated once again to Sardis, but the Persians quickly followed and laid siege, capturing the Lydian Empire after 650 years. No one knows for sure what happened to King Croesus, but it is said that Cyrus kept him in his court like Astyages and that he died a peaceful death. After several more conquests in which Cyrus captured parts of Asia minor and Mesopotamia, he went to conquer Babylonia. Legend has it that the Babylonians allowed Cyrus into their city without bloodshed and fighting, as they did not like their king, Nabonidus, for he did not respect their patron god, Marduk.
After becoming king of Babylon, Cyrus was faced with a great problem, how was he to govern all the land he had conquered? The result was that Cyrus created the first type of federal government, having units divided between Satraps, who ruled under his name. the Satraps would deal with smaller matters in their areas, and they would report larger and more important issues to Cyrus. There were 26 Satraps introduced in Cyrus’s reign. The area over which these Satraps ruled were called Satrapies, although there were other members of Cyrus’s court that travelled between Satrapies to report directly to the king. This ensured that that the Satraps never had too much power. Possibly the most notable part of Cyrus’s reign was the creation of the Cyrus cylinder. The king is said to have been very tolerant of other customs and religions, taking in part in Babylonian festivals and being blessed by their gods. He created the Cyrus Cylinder as a form of propaganda, but also the first ever declaration of human rights. It was an idea that the United Nations continued with, creating the more well known, modern version of human rights. The Cylinder declares that everyone is allowed freedom of thought and choice and all individuals should pay respect to one another. Cyrus had fought many battles in his time conquering many empires, but his death was to be in battle as well. It is said that he made a marriage proposal to Queen Tomyris of the Masagete tribe, however she refused, and both armies went to battle. Cyrus laid a trap however, killing many of the troops and the Queen’s son. The Queen then defeated the Persians and most of them were killed including Cyrus. Herodotus believed that the Queen decapitated Cyrus and laid his head in blood, to fulfil the bloodlust that had cost her a son. The remains of Cyrus’s tomb remain in Shiraz, in modern day Iran, where Iranians come from all over the country to pay their respects. As with most of Cyrus’s life, there are stories about his tomb as well most importantly how Alexander the Great, the biggest rival of the Achaemenid Empire, ordered the restoration of Cyrus’s tomb. Although the Macedonian king defeated the Achaemenids in battle 200 years after Cyrus’s reign, he was a great admirer of Cyrus. When he visited the great king’s tomb after his important victory, he saw that thieves had destroyed the tomb and stolen many things. Out of his sheer respect and admiration for Cyrus, he ordered that the tomb to be restored and rebuilt and all the possessions be replaced.
Age of Reformation
Oscar Clark, Middle School
‘Were the casket letters between Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell Forged?’
The Casket Letters were 8 letters along with 12 sonnets and 2 marriage certificates that allegedly proved Mary’s guilt in murdering her husband (Lord Darnley) and having an affair and then marrying the Earl of Bothwell. They were produced by James Stewart, Earl of Moray, a year after Mary was captured at the battle of Carberry Hill, put under house arrest, and PAGE 8
subsequently abdicated. The allegation resulted in an enormous debate over Mary’s character and if the writings were real or forged. The Earl of Moray was Mary’s illegitimate half-brother and long-term advisor. Being an illegitimate son of James V, he had a weak claim to the throne so instead wanted Mary as a figurehead with him controlling Scotland. Unfortunately for him, Mary was not so keen on this and would not let him take much power. Their relationship was further weakened when Mary married Darnley, a match that Moray strongly disagreed with. This alone does not give Moray reason to want Mary convicted of murder which could have resulted from him presenting the letters. Following Mary’s abdication, and in light of his weak claim to the throne, it is possible that he thought he could mould Mary’s son, James, who was now King, and Moray was his close adviser. However, if Mary were released from house arrest due to Queen Elizabeth I’s reluctance to hang Mary, this could cause Moray to lose much of the power he had gained following Mary’s arrest. Therefore, it is possible that Moray forged the letters since he wanted more power and Mary’s child could give him an opportunity to obtain that power. It is notable that the letters were not the most reliable pieces of text due to their lack of date, signature or address especially when Mary was always known for having put her signature at the end of messages, even when dictating. The only thing that ties them to Mary is that many of her contemporaries said that her handwriting matched the handwriting on the messages. This cannot be confirmed currently because the only surviving versions of the letters are copies and the French originals have vanished. The parts of the letters that showed her love for Bothwell seem unlikely as Bothwell was a very strange choice of husband for Mary because he was the main suspect in the murder of Darnley - hanging him would have cleared any doubts people would have had about Mary being involved and by marrying him Mary was implicating herself in the murder. A contemporary politician and soldier, who was loyal to Mary, called Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange's considered that Bothwell had raped and forced Mary to marry him and others agreed with him. In the previous paragraphs I explained that the letters could have been entirely forged due to Moray’s attempt to gain more power. Whilst this is a valid theory you could expand on this and say that the letters were real but had parts added to them that caused them to look like Mary was conspiring against Darnley with Bothwell. This is because the letters conflict and have minor disagreements between them but the only real evidence of Mary wanting Darnley dead is in the fifth section of the second letter. Mary wrote about how she wanted Darnley poisoned, even though this is not the method used when Darnley is actually killed and knowledge about Mary’s bad relationship with him is potentially enough to sway someone who thought that Mary was innocent of the murder. Whilst this did not persuade Elizabeth, since Mary was in house arrest for over a decade until being hanged, it does present the possibility that the letters were real but included a forged section that aimed to convict Mary. The most likely person to write that section would have been Moray since he presented the letters and if Mary were freed from house arrest, she could have destroyed his increasing power over her son. Finally, the letters may not have been forged at all because we know that Mary had a difficult relationship with Darnley so the possibility of her having a relationship is high and we know that Mary did marry Bothwell (unless the marriage certificate was forged). I have established that only one of the paragraphs may have been forged because the fifth section of the second letter is the only part that mentions a threat to Darnley where Mary writes that she wanted to poison him. If this were Moray’s attempt to persuade Elizabeth that Mary helped to murder PAGE 9
Darnley then he did not do a good job of it - Moray would have wanted to make Mary look as guilty as possible (which he did not) but without making it seem overly obvious that the letters included a forged section. Having Mary want to poison Darnley is not sufficient evidence that she and Bothwell planned to strangle him and explode the building he was in (which is how he died). Mary found Darnley arrogant, abusive, and not without reason since one of the worst things he did was murder her friend (Riccio) in front of her. Her wanting to poison him is understandable on some level but that does not equate to what happened. Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love for Bothwell is possible and so is her hatred for Darnley but this is not enough to prove that she helped plan to murder him. In conclusion, I believe that the letters were partly forged by Moray and that he added an extra section. Whilst it is not inexplicable that Mary had an affair with Bothwell due to the character of Darnley, I am persuaded by the fact the section about her wanting to poison Darnley only appears once. I believe she did not sign the letters because of the nature of the content within them.
Rohun Kale, Junior School
‘Was it Right to Execute Mary Queen of Scots?’
Mary Queen of Scots should have been executed as queen of Scotland in 1567 because she married her husband’s murderer, James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell. On the 10th of February 1567, James brutally murdered Lord Darnley, and just 3 months later, Mary married him. It was unjust of her to do so, and we know she didn’t just marry him because he forced her to, because in the final battle between Elizabeth and Mary queen of Scots, Mary surrendered herself and said she would die if they let Bothwell live. Since she married him, she should have been unsuitable to rule. Also, Mary should have been executed because Elizabeth’s spies found letters sent from Mary about the plot to kill Elizabeth. Plotting to kill a monarch was the largest crime at the time of all in the 16th Century, especially since Elizabeth was her cousin, and her family definitely would have definitely not approved of it. For the pure reason of plotting to kill the queen, which was considered high treason, Mary queen of scots should have been executed. On the other hand, Mary Queen of Scots shouldn’t have been executed as she wasn’t part of the original plots to depose Elizabeth, despite suspicion, and the only reason she joined them was because she was imprisoned at Loch Leven castle for 18 years, and being queen, Mary would have said imprisonment wasn’t right for her. She loved Elizabeth like a sister, but power drove them apart and caused spite between them. Mary Queen of Scots should not have been executed as she wasn’t the one who killed Lord Darnley. Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence, Mary didn’t kill him, and when she found out she needed another husband, so she found the Earl of Bothwell, despite his deceitful personality and association with the murder of Lord Darnley. As the death penalty was only an option for murder, and at the time she wasn’t involved with it, she shouldn’t have been executed. In conclusion, Mary Queen of scots should have been executed, as she was plotting to kill Elizabeth, despite how desperate she felt.
Modern British History
Aarav Anil, Middle School, email@example.com
‘GOVERNMENT GAZETTE: PARLIAMENT REFORMS! June 1832’ LORD JOHN RUSSELL’S Reform bill has finally been given royal assent, on his third attempt to pass this bill. The first was on the 1st May 1831, when Russell spoke for two whole hours about the Whig Government reform bill. ‘I wish to stand between the two opposing parties; those who think that reform was unnecessary and those who believe that universal male suffrage was essential,’ was a quote from this speech. This bill proposes many changes to the way the seats will be distributed. Alongside a limited extension of the vote, it also proposed a redistribution of seats and the removal of rotten boroughs, which were under the control of an aristocrat and were subject to corruption. For the first time, seats will be given to growing industrial sites such as Manchester and Leeds, as well as smaller towns such as Whitby, which will be given a seat to represent the shipping interest. Many additional seats will also be added for counties to represent the respectable propertied opinion. This distribution of seats makes it easier for the people who live outside the capital to express their worries to Parliament. However, for Russell and his colleagues, it was the representation of interest, not population that mattered, for it is key to balancing the population and restoring its confidence in Parliament. As Russell said in his speech in 1831, ‘This reform will not advance democracy,
but it will make the constitution harmonize with the present state of people and will make the country’s aristocratic leaders responsible for the wider public,’. This quote means that the bill will allow the MPs to empathize with the people and understand their worries and concerns, so they can act on them and, essentially, improve the welfare of the country as a whole. Focusing on interest will benefit the people more due to the fact that if the interests of the country are taken care of, the people will automatically become happy. The Bill is essential for the people to trust the Parliament, which is even more important now than ever before due to the ongoing Industrial Revolution. This is pivotal to the Reform bill to be a success as the bill will almost completely change the way that the country was run. Therefore, it is a must that those who are going to be affected (the people) had to agree with these rules, or the system will immediately fall into disarray and the country will descend into ruins. Hence, in order to reform the country’s Government, Russell had to explain how the changes would affect the people positively and will help those who need it. If the people do not agree, they will probably stick to the way of life that has kept them alive and happy so far, though to what extent is not certain, and the bill would be a failure. This reform is perfectly timed as the people are slowly adapting to the new Revolution, and this shows the people that the Parliament is also adapting for the needs of the people. It shows that though the world is changing, the Parliament is still striving to help the people through all circumstances and will boost the people’s confidence in their Government. However, some resistance was mounted by Conservative philosopher and member of the Royal Society Sir Richard Vyvyan, who believed in some minor reformation, but thought that what Russell was doing was far too much. He believed that it was not ‘safe at any time to attempt any major change’ in the system and that reform was a ‘fearful experiment’. He felt that the population was divided because of economic difficulties and not a political situation whose answer was a total political reformation, meaning that even after the reform, the conflicts will still remain. Despite these arguments, the Whigs were granted royal consent to carry out this reform, whereas Vyvyan battled against it until the end. He said that if the bill was passed, that ‘I do not believe that any earthly power can save this country from a social revolution,’ which meant that he was sure that if the bill was passed, the people will eventually revolt. Currently, however, Vyvyan is believed to be keeping his seat in Parliament, even though he has lost against Russell and his reform. The changes proposed by Russell will do nothing but aid us through this new Revolution and will help us improve our way of life by reducing the amount of corruption in the ruling government and also taking care of the wider populace’s interests and concerns. Russell’s reforms will improve the representation of the people and increase the Parliament’s accountability.
Saul Grenfell, Junior School, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Why did mystery fiction thrive in the interwar period?’
Everyone is familiar with the eccentric Belgian Poirot, and the complex plot of Murder on the Orient Express, but almost 100 years on, was there a reason for the ‘Golden age’ of mystery fiction in the interwar period? After the Great War, 22 million were dead and another 20 million were injured. Many soldiers didn’t make it back to their families, and people in Britain were in a time of discomfort, feeling that they personally obtained nothing from a war which took 5 years and the lives of members of their family. But economically, the war brought prosperity to some, especially in Britain and the US. The Treaty of Versailles, signed by the Allied parties and Germany, promised that Germany would pay 132 billion marks - which is over £300 billion in today’s money - to the Allied powers for civilian damage. Whilst this placed Germany in a terrible state, it caused great cultural change and technological advance in the ‘roaring twenties’ with considerable impact in London, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. There were lots of new inventions. Before the war, automobiles were rare and very costly, thought to be luxury goods. But afterwards, the Ford Motor Company mass produced the Ford Model T and had sold 15 million units by 1927. In the eight years from 1923 to 1931 car ownership in Britain almost trebled from just over 300,000 to over 900,000. Radios also were revolutionary at the time, and whilst expensive, were valued. Cinema and sound films expanded in the twenties as well. While this change was great for society, many were left confused and couldn’t keep up with the fast pace of ground-breaking change. This led to a boom in mystery fiction. Why mystery novels? They are books centred around death, with the main theme that people who appear kind and trustworthy shouldn’t be trusted at all. But they can give a sense of comfort to the reader. As an example, let’s use Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Only one crime is committed which is the poisoning of Emily Inglethorp, and as we travel through the story Poirot, and his assistant
Hastings learn more about the death and the people surrounding it, and we eventually learn who did it. Whilst the book, and most other examples of mystery fiction, are centred around death or a crime, everybody learns the culprit at the end, who gets to face justice, leaving everyone satisfied. People whom you trust, might not be worthy of it at the end, but uncertainty is resolved. Themes in this book are shared in other mystery fiction and Agatha Christie was one of the best-selling and most widely translated authors of the time. This is because she mainly wrote about local and community crimes, also referred to as ‘cosy’ mysteries. These don’t involve death larger than the local town, village or manor house which gives a sense of comfort and warmth when the community is free from crime at the end. I think the reason why mystery fiction prospered in the interwar period is that after a devastating war like no other had killed 20 million with long trench warfare and new weapons like the mighty tank introduced in the process and many were finding it hard to keep up with the rapid change of the roaring twenties, there was great uncertainty which mystery fiction could solve by giving comfort, justice and order to an environment of uncertainty. People wanted things they could cope with which could get resolved and mystery novels were on a local, domestic scale and both of these factors gave reassurance in a fast-moving, troubled time, which boosted mystery fiction as it was exactly what people were looking for. If you look at the best-selling authors of the twenties: A.E.W. Mason, C.H.B. Kitchin, Agatha Christie, R. Austin Freeman, SS Van Dine, Dorothy Sanders and Earl Derr Biggers, you will notice that they all come from Britain and America, countries going through rapid change, and also heavily scarred from the Great War. When you next see the elaborately moustached Poirot on the TV or go past a Dorothy Sanders or an Agatha Christie on the shelf in a library, realise that there’s more to the fiction than an impossible murder, but a comfort to people during uncertainty, in the aftermath of a war during a period of great change.
Sharad Patel, Junior School
‘WW2 History Account’
I’m going to die. That’s what I’m thinking right now. The air raid is set off again, followed by the agile spitfires. Gunshots are firing above my head as I’m sprinting to the Morrison shelter as fast as I can. Whilst I pant I feel terrified of the V1 bombers. They scare me to death. I’ve been told that they keep flying until they run out of fuel. After that, KABOOM. You’ll never see daylight again. Mam told me that if you hear it coming, you should start to count the seconds. If it has been ten seconds, it’s missed you. You’re lucky. Alicia (my sister) is here now. We both cling to each other for comfort. Mam still isn’t here. I’m now concerned about her as she is usually the first here. All I can do is wait. As for my father. Well, he died at war. He was one of the unfortunate soldiers who died at Dunkirk. War has been raging for two long years. I have lost so many people close to me now, that I wouldn’t mind dying. Finally, mam is here. We all hug on to each other. We cherish these moments, as they could be our last. The gunshots still fire above our heads. Anxiously, we wait for the air raid siren. The dogfights would usually be over by now. Suddenly, I’m hearing a noise. It doesn’t sound like an air raid. Mam is talking. She tells me it’s a V1 bomber. I cling on to my family desperately as we count. 1 2 3 4 5
WW1 and the Russian Revolution
Dhilan Mehta, Middle School
‘Why the First World War led to the outbreak of the March Revolution.’
The 1st World War started in 1914, by the leaders of Germany and Austria- Hungary. Germany believed it was unfair that they had the smallest empire- a handful of territories in Africa, and other worthless islands. Whereas, Britain had Canada, South Africa (amongst many other major African countries), Australia, India, New Guinea and Jamaica, to name a few. Britain, France and Russia formed the Triple Entente Alliance. The reason why Russia got involved in the war was because of the Franco- Russian Alliance, which stated that if France or Russia was attacked, they would support the other country. In this case, France was attacked. When Russia entered the war, it suffered enormous casualties, and Russia’s resources became scarce as their sea routes were cut- off by the enemy. So, Russians had almost no food, no heat in most cases, and minimal money. Inevitably, this led to rioting, and huge protests to end the war, but the Tsar didn’t and Russia were still losing. People were dying, hungry and cold, this is what ultimately led to the revolution and the Tsar abdicating in 1917. PAGE 17
One reason why World War 1 (WW1) led to the outbreak of the March Revolution was because of the political impact of military failure. Aside from the Tsar unable to rule Russia effectively, as the war continued, the quality and successfulness of the Russian Empire’s Government and Army was called into question. The Tsar believed Russia’s poor performance in the war and were losing because he wasn’t commanding the Russian Empire’s Army. By commanding the army, he now took direct charge, so he had to take responsibility of all losses. For these reasons, now he could blame it on ‘bad generals’, and their incompetence. Whilst he was gone to the war, he left the Tsarina- his wife, and Rasputin- a monk from Siberia. The issues around this was that the Okhrana were chasing Rasputin around for strong sexual misconduct, which the Tsar allowed to pass, and the Tsarina was extremely influenced by him, so the decisions she made for the country, we can assume that Rasputin had a lot to do with them. Furthermore, there were problems with Tsarina Alexandra. Alexandra was not very popular in Russia; she was reserved and awkward in public. More importantly, the Tsarina was actually a German Princess, and many were suspicious as to where her loyalties lay in the war situation. After the Germans seized control of the majority of West Russia, the Russian Government ministers and the public lost confidence in the Tsar and Tsarina’s Governance and reached the conclusion that Rasputin was too influential to the Tsarina and made bad decisions, on a home front. So, Felix Yusuport, the Tsarinas’ youngest son, and other family invited Rasputin to a party. The nobility decided he needed to die, so gave him cyanide cake, but this didn’t work, so he was shot, but this was too late. Now, the people didn’t follow orders from the top of the social hierarchy in Russia. Now, there was peasants protesting and were angry, about various factors of the war that impacted their day to day life, but peacefully. In this situation, an army would be deployed to keep control, but they refused to fire, as the real army had been shipped off to war and peasants were brought in to fire on fellow peasants. This obviously dd not happen, they refused to fire, and shot their officers. They were known as the Volinsky Regiment. This eventually led to the collapse of the Russian Government. Another reason why WW1 led to the outbreak of the March Revolution was the economic dislocation caused by the war. From the start of the war, Russia’s economic problems and situation got progressively worse. In the Winter of 1917, all trains were directed to supply arms, not materials and goods for cities. Factories had no resources- vital raw materials from overseas could no longer reach Russia, this resulted in shortages of raw material and finished goods. So, with the little material the state had, they used it to make food, weapons and ammunition for the Russian Army, however the army still faced a major shortage. The underdeveloped railway system Russia had developed was taken over by the government for the war effort. Therefore, with no resources virtually, the factory workers of Petrograd couldn’t work, and subsequently earn no money. In this current situation, food prices rocketed, and extremely high inflation occurred, leading to deaths from starvation. In the Winter in Russia, in 1917, it was approximately averaging at -40 degrees Celsius and there were immense fuel shortages, or none at all, so people died from hypothermia. Consequently, rioting in St Petersburg broke out. Usually, as previously stated, above, in this climax, the army would be brought in to kill the rioters. However, the professional, highly- trained army had been all shipped off to the war, 15 million strong, so a new Volinsky Regiment was created, out of the peasantry, and were sent to kill rioters in St Petersburg. Without a plan devised, at all, they thought we’re shooting our own men, they’re fighting for our cause, so they instead shot their own officers. The Tsar tried to return immediately, but this new army stopped his train from coming in, and was forced to abdicate. They stopped obeying the Tsar, and the Russian Government had collapsed.
These were the two crucial reasons that the March Revolution occurred- the poor financial situation, the poor governance and performance of the state at war.
Phalgun Deevanapalli, Junior School
‘The Russian Revolution’
The Russian revolution showed how people could transform the country with their ideas for a better future that would benefit the underprivileged and would ensure a legacy that future generations would use to better humanity. Marx's critical theories about society, economics and politics – collectively understood as Marxism – hold that human societies develop through class struggle. In capitalism, this manifests itself in the conflict between the rich (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour power in return for wages. Marx predicted that, like previous socio-economic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its selfdestruction and replacement by a new system known as socialism. There are differences between Marx’s system (also known as Communism) and Socialism: • A theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs is called communism... • In communism, people aren’t allowed to own property, whereas in socialism people can own the personal property. • The main aim of communism is to build a classless society and abolish the capitalism... •As communism also has a strong affiliation with the political system, in it the management of resources is done by elected people. As the First World War loomed ominously on the horizons, many sections of the country had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocracy. Nicholas II was a deeply conservative ruler and maintained a strict authoritarian system. Individuals and society in general were expected to show self-restraint, devotion to community, deference to the social hierarchy and a sense of duty to the country. Religious faith helped bind all of these tenets together as a source of comfort and reassurance in the face of difficult conditions and as a means of political authority exercised through the clergy. The lower classes are expected to pray to God and hope he will bring through these bad times, thereby as Karl Marx famously said, “Religion is the opium of the people.” Opium is an illegal drug which has been known to nullify the senses, this time it is religion which is the powerful drug. Perhaps more than any other modern monarch, Nicholas II attached his fate and the future of his dynasty to the notion of the ruler as a saintly father to his people. The outbreak of war in PAGE 20
August 1914 initially served to quiet the prevalent social and political protests, focusing hostilities against a common external enemy, but this patriotic unity did not last long. As the war dragged on inconclusively, war weariness gradually took its toll. Although many ordinary Russians joined anti-German demonstrations in the first few weeks of the war, hostility toward the Germans and the desire to defend their land and their lives did not necessarily translate into enthusiasm for the Tsar or the government. Russia's first major battle of the war was a disaster; in the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg, over 30,000 Russian troops were killed or wounded and 90,000 captured, while Germany suffered just 12,000 casualties, with minimal captures. However, Austro-Hungarian forces allied to Germany were driven back deep into the Galicia region by the end of the year. In the autumn of 1915, Nicholas had taken direct command of the army, personally overseeing Russia's main theatre of war and leaving his ambitious but incapable wife Alexandra in charge of the government. Reports of corruption and incompetence in the Imperial government began to emerge, and the Imperial family became widely resented. Tsar Nicholas was blamed for all of these crises, and the little support he had left began to crumble. As discontent grew, the State Duma (which is the lower house of the Federal Assembly, the parliament of the Russian Federation) issued a warning to Nicholas in November 1916, stating that, inevitably, a terrible disaster would grip the country unless a constitutional form of government was put in place. Nicholas ignored these warnings and Russia's Tsarist regime collapsed a few months later during the February Revolution of 1917. One year later, the Tsar and his entire family were executed. Trotsky was a key figure in the political turmoil in Russia at the time, as he worked with Lenin. He was born on 7 November 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine, then part of Russia. His father was a prosperous Jewish farmer. Trotsky became involved in underground activities as a teenager. He was soon arrested, jailed and exiled to Siberia where he joined the Social Democratic Party. Eventually, he escaped Siberia and spent the majority of the next 15 years abroad, including a spell in London. In 1903, the Social Democrats split. While Lenin assumed leadership of the 'Bolshevik' (majority) faction, Trotsky became a member of the 'Menshevik' (minority) faction and developed his theory of 'permanent revolution'. After the outbreak of revolution in Petrograd in February 1917, he made his way back to Russia. Despite previous disagreements with Lenin, Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks and played a decisive role in the communist takeover of power in the same year. His first post in the new government was as foreign commissar, where he found himself negotiating peace terms with Germany. He was then made war commissar and, in this capacity, built up the Red Army which prevailed against the White Russian forces in the civil war. Therefore, Trotsky played a crucial role in keeping the Bolshevik regime alive. He saw himself as Lenin's heir-apparent, but his intellectual arrogance made him few friends, and his Jewish heritage may also have worked against him. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (22 April 1870 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin, was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as head of government of Soviet Russia (similar to prime minister) from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a communist, he developed a variant of Marxism known as Leninism.
Born to a moderately prosperous middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin embraced socialist politics following his brother's 1887 execution. He was expelled from Kazan Imperial University for participating in protests against the Russian Empire's Tsarist government. So, he devoted the following years to a law degree to gain some understanding of political science and to study what he was to be protesting about. He moved to Saint Petersburg in 1893 and became a senior Marxist activist. In 1897, he was arrested for sedition (conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch) and was exiled to Shushenskoye for three years, where he married Nadezhda Krupskaya. After his exile, he moved to Western Europe, where he became a prominent theorist in the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). In 1903, he took a key role in a RSDLP ideological split, leading the Bolshevik faction against Julius Martov's Mensheviks. Encouraging insurrection during Russia's failed Revolution of 1905, he later campaigned for the First World War to be transformed into a Europe-wide workers revolution, which as a Marxist, he believed would cause the usurping of capitalism and its replacement with socialism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar and established a Provisional Government, he returned to Russia to play a leading role in the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the new regime. The revolution ultimately led to the establishment of the future Soviet Union as an ideocracy; however, the establishment of such a state came as an ideological confusion, as Marx's ideals of how a socialist state needed to be created were based on the formation being natural and not artificially incited (i.e. by means of revolution). Leon Trotsky said that the goal of socialism in Russia would not be realized without the success of the world revolution. A revolutionary wave caused by the Russian Revolution lasted until 1923, but despite initial hopes for success in the German Revolution of 1918â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19, the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic, and others like it, no other Marxist movement at the time succeeded in keeping power in its hands.
James Lucas, Middle School
‘Lockdown Around the World’
Quarantine has had a huge impact on our daily lives, not just here in England or HABS, but everywhere around the world. I thought it would be interesting to compare my daily routine with some of my friends who live in different countries, so I asked them to give me a brief insight into what a typical quarantine day would look like. From Leo’s productive day in Palo Alto, to Lucy’s action-packed twenty-four hours in Melbourne and Kit’s lockdown in Dubai, all of them have found ways of keeping educated and entertained during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Leo is 13 and lives in Palo Alto, California, with his mum, dad, two younger siblings and a dog. He wakes up and then eats breakfast, usually waffles and fresh fruit, made by his dad as his mum begins work very early. After breakfast, he starts online school on Zoom, like me. However, instead of having individual periods and following his regular timetable like I do, Leo’s school has certain ‘blocks.’ This means that instead of having every lesson every day, they spend a few hours per lesson each day, and have each lesson fewer times per week. Sometimes, Leo will have ‘open blocks’ in his schedule. He will often use this time to go outside, walk his dog, or socialise with his friends from the end of their driveways. Rules there seem less strict; he can exercise more than once a day and chat with friends as long as they keep apart. They can also travel further and for longer to go for walks. Lunch is made using meal kits, which are delivered to the house. Californians are used to having a lot of food deliveries and this has continued during lockdown. After lunch it is more online school, which finishes a bit earlier over there, at 3pm. Leo will then watch T.V followed by an indoor workout (whilst watching Survivor, his favourite show!) and make dinner with his mum. In the evening, he watches the news, walks the dog or plays a board game and then goes to sleep. At the weekend, Leo and his siblings have to do chores that their nanny would normally do but she is not allowed to work right now. Their family also goes for bike rides and hiking in the hills. Whilst he is anxious about when he might return to school and misses seeing his friends, he said he feels lucky that he lives near nature and can still be outside. *** Lucy is 12 and lives in Melbourne, Australia with her mum, dad and older brother and sister. She is keeping her usual routine in place so is woken up by her alarm at 7:30, just like she would on a normal school day. She then has a shower and hears her parents returning form the shops, as they go early to buy food before queues start. Lucy’s breakfast is a bit different from Leo’s; she will have eggs if they are available and if not she has bread with hummus and tomatoes. After breakfast, she starts school work in her bedroom. This will involve video calls with her class and after she has been assigned work for the day, she will do it for around 1 hour and 20 mins until her break at 9:55. At 10:15 she returns to her iPad for her next class. It stays like this until 12:55 when she has lunch, which is usually a salad. After that, she goes and sits in the sun for a while until it is time for her final lessons. When her school day is over mid-afternoon, Lucy plays the piano, goes for a swim in her pool, reads, beats her dad at football in the garden, draws and goes for a run before she is interrupted by a call from one of her friends and they talk until it is time for dinner. For the rest of the evening she reads and chats to her family until she drifts off to sleep. *** Kit is aged 10 and lives in a compound in Dubai with his mum, dad, younger sister and cat. Kit’s day is again fairly similar to my other two friends, but in Dubai, the lockdown rules are stricter. His parents need to apply for a permit to go outside in order to buy food, which is only allowed once every three days. The police will then check at the supermarket whether or not they have a permit. They also have to wear gloves or a mask, even in the car. PAGE 24
Kit wakes up at 7:00 and has breakfast, before starting school. He does homeschool on Sunday to Thursday, with his ‘weekend’ on Friday and Saturday. He has Zoom calls and takes pictures of his work to send to his teacher, much like we do at HABS. He works from 8am until 1pm and does a wide range of subjects, including Arabic, Moral Education and Special Projects. His school day is shorter, starting and ending earlier due to the hot climate. He works at the dining room table and his sister works in the study. When his school is finished he Zooms or Skypes his friends and plays games with them on his iPad. At first, his friend who lives next door would come over and bounce on his trampoline with him, but then that was forbidden as the rules became stricter. So now he practises on his own and has perfected lots of tricks during the lockdown. He also has water fights with his family; it is very hot there already. Ramadan has also just started. Due to Dubai being a Muslim country, this would usually mean that the school days are even shorter, but it does not affect online school. *** It seems that for a lot of children around the world, our daily routines are actually quite similar. We are all receiving remote learning from our schools, although the length of the school day and subjects studied varies. We are all allowed some kind of outside exercise, with California’s rules being more relaxed than in the U.K. Dubai is the strictest of the three, with a permit being required to travel and gloves and masks must be worn at all times. Everyone is still managing to obtain food supplies and talk to their friends via technology. In many ways, quarantine has not been very enjoyable. I and all my foreign friends are used to doing a lot of sport and we are all really missing playing and watching it. Leo is a very keen tennis player so is missing this the most. My friends in Australia and Dubai are used to going to the beach and being out on boats, which they cannot do at present. All of us are really looking forward to being able to see our friends. Everyone in California seems to be worried about how President Trump is managing the situation, but have faith in their technology companies to solve a lot of the current problems. However, there are some positives for all of us, such as having a lot more free time from our hectic schedules and being able to learn new skills, even if it is cooking and housework! We are all lucky too, as we have big houses with outdoor space to run around in. It would be a lot more difficult without that.
Sachin Shah, Middle School
“I Can’t Breathe’: The Awakening of Black Lives Matter’
The killing of George Floyd has protesters across the globe demanding change, reawakening Black Lives Matter (BLM). The group has fought hard for several years to bring to the worlds consciousness that black lives do matter. Originating in the US, their key message calls upon the urgent need to tackle police brutality. In 2019, 1098 people were killed by the US police of which 99% didn’t result in criminal charges, whilst black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police. However, the beginnings of BLM was created after the death of teenager Trayvon Martin. In February 2013, George Zimmerman called the Florida police, saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something”. To which the dispatcher asked what the colour of his skin was. Despite being told not to follow the man in question, Zimmerman ignored advice and opened gunfire; claiming self-defence. Only after months of public outrage was Zimmerman arrested, however he was later released without charge. This sparked the creation of BLM. Patrice Cullors, a renowned activist, created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on the 7th March 2013 creating more conversation and support for the movement. The movement gained further popularity when in the summer of 2014, Eric Garners, tragic last words “I can’t breathe” went viral across national media platforms, after being placed in a choke hold by a Police Officer. Just 2 months later another fatal shooting of an Afro-American. 18-year-old, Michael Brown Jr. was shot by an Officer after allegedly stealing a pack of cigarettes from a corner shop. In outrage, thousands of citizens took to the streets for months, demanding justice. However, once again, no action was taken against the officer. Reverend Al Sharpton, at Brown’s funeral said “Michael Brown Junior will be a defining moment on how this country deals with police.” After the death of Brown, the BLM movement gained momentum as black people continued to die at the hands of white officers. It was a cycle of killings, protests and no criminal charges, all whilst the first black president and attorney general were in power. President Obama allowed courts to override police departments accused of civil rights abuses; they put a limit on military grade weapons available for police and introduced ‘Pattern and Practice’ investigations into police departments to understand if they are following all necessary protocols.
After the 2016 US presidential election, the BLM movement had taken a hit. Feeling they weren’t being heard, they planned for a protest in Charlottesville, however, quickly a peaceful protest turned into a fight with ultras from both ends of the sections fighting leaving one person dead and 5 critically injured. In the following year violent hate crimes were at a 16 year high, with 4,571 committed. Black deaths at the hands of white police continued unabated, however Donald Trump essentially sucked all the life and oxygen out of the movement as these killings barely made the news. Meanwhile in August 2019 African American had a record high 5.4% unemployment. In 2020, current year, there were many killings which fell under the radar due to the COVID 19 pandemic. However, this was soon to change and BLM grew to global awareness in May. George Floyd was killed after a White officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for eight minutes on a south Minneapolis street. Chauvin ignored the plea of Floyd as he repeatedly croaked in desperation “I Can’t Breathe”. History is made by our actions and events in the future. What happens next will set out if the world has finally woken up to Black Lives Matter. Will you let them breathe?
Sai Mehta, Middle School
‘To what extent was the Spring Offensive the main reason why the Germans lost the First World War?’
The Spring Offensive was the main reason why the Germans lost the First World War was because Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points were rejected by the Germans. When America joined the war in April 1917, Woodrow Wilson was neutral, as no Americans had been killed by the Allies or the Germans. This meant that he was not bothered about who won at this stage, so would not have minded a draw. The 14 points were created to have a draw: all borders would be returned to how they were in 1914, so all the German-invaded countries such as Poland, the Baltics, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Russia, who went out of the war in 1917. One of the statements mentioned here were that every country deserves independence. This would have helped countries such as Poland, who had been part of the Soviet Empire previously, and had now been invaded by Germany, so the 14 points allowed Poland to gain liberty from other countries which did not have the right to own it. The Germans knew that if they agreed to the 14 points then they would have not had the countries which they gained for there empire in the war. This meant that they had to decline the offer.
This decline to the 14 points aggravated the Americans, so they entered the war on the Alliesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; side. The Germans knew that if the Americans joined the war, then they would lose, as the Americans had more money and power, but could also replace men with ease, with a population of 103 million in in 1917. However, it would have been known that the Americans had to prepare for the war and would have to wait until Summer 1918 to properly fight, so if the Germans invaded Paris before then they would have won. However, they had to use everything they had, as they needed a lot of power to break the Front. This meant that it turned into an all or nothing situation, which resulted in the Germans losing the war. The main reason why the Germans lost the First World War was because they rejected the 14 points which lead to the Spring Offensive. It could be said that the Spring Offensive was the main reason why the Germans lost the First World war was because they used up all their resources. The Germans used all their troops for the Spring Offensive, with every 17- to 40-year olds from the Western and Eastern Fronts (this was normal, as the age for the army is usually from 18 to 36 years old, because that is when men are at their fittest. However, some 14- and 15-year olds managed to fool the admissions system and fight in the war, but some died immediately) and with the navy. This was because they had nobody left. This was not the only problem though. The trade for food and artillery was not possible, with the British navy blocking all imports from overseas countries. This meant that the Germans has 1200 calorie diets (mainly on root vegetables, as they provided the most energy for the soldiers) and started to starve. With artillery being made from metal, and Germany not having many mineral resources, they could only use Sweden for iron, which limited their usage of it. It was clear that the Germans did not have enough to win the war. Evidence of this is that when they reached the Western Front, they saw a great deal of sophisticated food such as chocolate. With their diet consisting mainly of root vegetables, simple food, and with the Allies having sophistication, they knew they had lost. The main reason the Germans lost the First World War was because they could not use any resources as they were used up or blocked, so they did not have enough for the Spring Offensive, losing them the war. The Spring Offensive was not the main reason why the Germans lost World War I since the Allies would have won anyway. With the Schlieffen Plan failing to succeed, the war became about attrition, and the side which won would be the side which had more resources than the other. Unfortunately for the Germans, the Allies had more resources than them. For example, the British Empire had countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and India as reserve countries, giving them an empire size of 390 million, 25% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population at the time. Unlike Britain the Germans did not have an empire of such a size (the reason why the Germans started the First World War was to increase the German Empire and rule the world like Britain did). With the advantage of the sizes of the British and French empires, the Allies could constantly replace soldiers, which the Germans could not. The advantage of replacing soldiers is that the soldiers could have shorter shifts and the size of the army could remain constant. Another example of a difference in resources is the Battle of the Somme. It could be argued that the Battle of the Somme was a victory for the Germans, but it is was a victory for the British. Although they lost 650,000 to 400,000, the British could easily replace the 650,000 casualties, but the Germans lost a lot of their army which they could not replace. This was what occurred in other battles as well, showing how many resources the Allies had compared to how few
resources the Germans had. Trench warfare was about attrition and who had more resources, but the Allies had more access to resources, therefore winning the war. A more important reason why the Germans lost the First World War than the Spring Offensive was because the Allies had bite and hold tactics. In the Battle of the Somme, Haig got a lot of things wrong, such as not concentrating his artillery on a certain area but using his artillery across the 18 miles of trench, only 8 of which were broken through. By 1918, Haig had better tactics, which would work in a war of movement. This included surprise lightning bombardment attacks and, at the same time as using explosives, gassing the Germans to make them wear a gas mask, reducing their quality of vision. The tanks were used to cut the barbed wire, to allow troops go over the top. Aircraft attacked from above with machine guns and dropped bombs. These tactics were used repetitively, across different parts of the Western Front, so that they won. Now, the attacking side had an advantage (before 1918, the defending side had the advantage), and did not get as many casualties as the defending side. The Alliesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; overwhelming power over the Germans were used to win the war. Overall, the Spring Offensive was a big reason why the Germans lost the First World War, but the vast differences in resources between the two sides was more conclusive than the Spring Offensive. This meant that it was not the main reason why the Germans lost the First World War.
Suren Ramanakumar, Middle School
‘How did life in the trenches affect the performance of soldiers in WWI?’
In this essay, I will be comparing the trenches for the British soldiers and the trenches for the German soldiers. Being a soldier is a difficult job, it is one not for the light-hearted. However, during WW1, fighting on the front line was very hard. One reason why fighting in WW1 was harder was the terrible conditions in which the soldiers had to fight in. Both sides were uncomfortable with where they were fighting but the British suffered a lot due to the way they built their trenches. In this essay, I will explore how life in the trenches was really like and whether this could have had an impact on how they fought. The main reason why the British didn’t take the time to build their trenches well was because they thought that these trenches would only be temporary. The British didn’t think that it would be a stalemate and that they would have to be in the trenches for a few years. The Germans on the other hand thought that they would have to be in the trenches for a long time and accepted stalemate. The German trenches went very far down. The bunkers where the soldiers rested were almost down to 40 feet. The trenches weren’t just meant to be for fighting, it was also the place where the soldiers rested, slept and ate. The quality of the trenches negatively affected each three of these factors which could have in turn affected their fighting there were also a huge range of diseases that were spread through the trenches that affected the soldiers. Let us look into each one of them and find out how they may or may not have affected their ability to fight. One of the problems that the soldiers encountered was high water levels. Since the trenches were dugout, water would go into it and would stay for some time. Due to this, soldiers walked around in water that was higher than their knees which after some time resulted in them having trench-foot. Soldiers who were affected by this disease would be unable to fight because they couldn’t walk. This disease would definitely affect how they fought. In the British trenches, there was no safe place to put food to make it out of reach for rats. When animals saw some of the soldiers’ rations, they would eat a lot of it meaning that their would be little/none for the soldiers to eat. This would make soldiers weaker than they already were and made fighting more difficult. This would make British soldiers surrender quicker than their German counterparts. Problems with animals didn’t just end there. Lice were also in abundance in the trenches. The lice caused lots of irritation in the already unpleasant trenches making the whole PAGE 32
experience worse. Soldiers didn’t have the facility to shower often so they would be stuck with the lice they had for some time. The trenches were an ideal place for lice. Lice would often spread from person to person because they were all so close together in the trenches so if one soldier got it, it wouldn’t be long before other soldiers would get it too. Soldiers minds would be diverted from thinking about fighting and instead, ways to get of lice. Some of the methods that they tried caused harm for their body instead of good. Since, the British didn’t build their trenches with a lot of care, they didn’t dig too far down. This meant that the place where the soldiers rested and slept, (the bunkers) were quite high up and close to the battlefield. Due to this, soldiers would always be able to hear the constant sounds of shells being fired from the opposition. A long-time exposure to this noise would result in the soldiers suffering from shell shock, a mental problem. This made the soldiers very traumatised and unable to fight. Some of these soldiers would be sent off to army medical centres to be looked after. This weakened the British army because many soldiers were sent to medical centres to be cared for. Those who were not sent but were still suffering from shell shock died not long after. The Germans accepted that the trenches would be needed for some time and stalemate wouldn’t be just for a few weeks. Due to this, they built their trenches with care and consideration and something that would last for some time as well as something that would be hygienic. They built their trenches far deeper into the ground so they wouldn’t be affected by shell shock which meant they were more mentally stable to cope with the battle. Shell shock was a mental problem that occurred to soldiers that were constantly near the front line. The Germans also made their trenches better with metal doors and several different compartments which prevented the ability of rats spreading everywhere. They also had high shelves which prevented rats and other small animals eating it which was a huge problem that the British faced. This meant that the German soldiers could eat all of the rations that they received and not share it with rats. The German trenches were not as muddy and as the British and hygiene in the German trenches were better. It was built as something that could last for some time without damage which made them much better. They didn’t attract rats and cats as much as the British trenches and they were general quite clean. The Germans also had rooms to sleep in which were very low down into the ground which was a huge luxury compared to what the British had. The British had holes in the ground which they had to sleep in which meant that the Germans were able to get better quality rest than the British so they would be stronger the next day. This also reduced the risk of water getting to the soldiers which was a problem that the British faces. The Germans didn’t suffer from trench foot either because water didn’t stay and flood the trenches which reduced the risk of disease for the soldiers. This also meant that their bodies didn’t rot which was another British Problem. Soldiers that had trench foot wouldn’t be able to walk let alone fight. This made it easier for the Germans as fewer British people would be against them.
In conclusion, I believe that the condition of the British trenches severely affected their ability to fight in this war. The trenches lowered the quality of their fighting and the number available to fight. The Germans on the other hand, had much better trenches which would have increased their ability to fight.
William Mace, Middle School
‘How far did gunpowder technology change naval warfare? Discuss with relevance to at least two major sea battles or naval campaigns.’
Gunpowder, an explosive chemical compound, can be used to discharge projectiles offensively, as well as being used to create explosions. The substance of gunpowder was first reported in 9th Century China; however, it was not until around 1380 that its use was first recorded in naval battle, and it was not until the late medieval period that it came into common use on warships. Gunpowder’s use in naval warfare is most easily recognisable in the cannon, but handheld guns and barrels of explosives were also used during sea battles. In this essay I will explain why I believe gunpowder drastically changed naval warfare, with reference to major naval campaigns and battles as evidence. The changes which gunpowder brought about are: first, a transition from close-range to longer range battles; second, changes in ship design and third, the composition of naval fleets and tactics adopted. I will also show evidence of how naval attacks were more efficient and effective after gunpowder was introduced. Before the invention of gunpowder and its adoption in naval warfare, there were three commonly used methods of attack, the most frequent of which was boarding the enemy’s ship. Boarding involved the use of soldiers to capture enemy ships primarily by hand to hand combat, which in some respects made it an extension of traditional land-based warfare. Boarders were often equipped with swords, daggers, and spears, whilst archers or crossbowmen would provide covering fire for the troops. Some ships were specifically configured to make boarding another ship easier. An example of this is the Roman corvus, where a platform on the prow of the ship could be swung around and could hold up to 120 soldiers. It was used to great effect in the Battle of Mylae in 260 BC. Roman corvuses were used to facilitate boarding of the Carthaginian ships, enabling the highly trained Roman soldiers to overwhelm the enemy. An additional advantage of boarding was that it did not destroy the enemy ship, or its contents or equipment, which left them available for the victor to use. Later battles introduced the pouring of stones onto enemy ships to try to sink them, as was seen in the Battle of Salamis, a GrecoPersian battle that took place in 480 BC. However, boarding was a risky tactic because boarding necessarily had to be done from close proximity. It could often take time for the attacking ship PAGE 35
to pull away if the initial attack failed and a counterattack could be launched with disastrous consequences. Many naval battles were decided by the success or failure of the boarding parties. A second frequently used method of attack before the use of gunpowder was ramming. Ramming involved the attacking ship colliding with the enemy ship in the hope of causing damage. Collisions would cause shockwaves to be sent throughout the enemy ship, damaging weaker sections, and often causing the ship to sink or capsize. The Battle of Salamis, which is credited as preventing the eradication of Ancient Greek civilisation, is also an example of the effectiveness of ramming. Even though the Greek navy was inferior numerically, its sturdier ships were able to withstand ramming, and rams on the bows of the Greek ships sunk many Persian vessels, ending the attempted Persian invasion. However, there is a fundamental flaw in the strategy of ramming. Shocks are sent through both ships, and normally both ships sustain damage. There have been many instances of ships sinking themselves by trying to ram a stronger ship. Ramming is only a viable option if the attacking ship is sturdier than the target; otherwise, there is a significant risk of the attacking ship itself being sunk. Additionally, the use of fire was common in pre-gunpowder naval battles. As all ships were built of wood and had sails made of cloth at the time, both of which are flammable, fire could effectively be used to destroy opposing ships. A famous example of this is “Greek fire”, which was used by the Byzantine Empire from the 7th Century onwards. Although its exact composition is unknown today, it was likely that a petroleum-based mixture was lit, and propelled by mechanics, allowing a flaming liquid to be sprayed over enemy ships. There was, however, danger to the attacker’s ships if the flames misfired and its use was not without risk. As a last resort, an attacker could set one of its own ships on fire and set it on a collision course with an enemy fleet. This was, however, typically only used as a last resort, because it came at the cost of the fire ship. Perhaps the most prominent weapon in naval warfare following the invention of gunpowder is the cannon. A cannon uses gunpowder to propel a heavy, metal ball into an enemy ship. In doing so, punctures may be created in the ship’s hull, which can lead to flooding and sinking. In addition, damage could be caused to the ship’s masts and sails, effectively neutralising it. Cannonballs also had the potential to kill and maim crew members. The cannon was used particularly efficiently at the Battle of Gravelines on 8th August 1588. Gravelines was the culmination of the failed Spanish Armada campaign against England. The Spanish continued to adhere to the traditional tactic of boarding enemy ships and so would only fire their cannons once and then get ready to mount boarding attacks. However, rather than also adopting boarding based tactics, Sir Francis Drake engaged with the enemy at a distance using repeated salvos of cannon fire, destroying many enemy ships, resulting in a decisive victory. The invention of gunpowder also paved the way for the invention of the gun, a weapon much more effective than the longbow or crossbow. Snipers could be concealed in masts to kill people on the upper decks on enemy ships, and riflemen often created defensive posts to prevent boarding, whilst pistols were given to boarding parties. Perhaps the most notable example of the use of the sniper in naval warfare is at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. Admiral Horatio Nelson, the commander of the British fleet, and probably the best known British naval commander in history, was killed by a French sniper from a vantage point in the masts of the French ship Redoutable. Notwithstanding the loss of their commander, the British fleet prevailed in the Battle.
It can therefore be seen from the naval battles I have referred to that there was a transition from extremely close-range naval warfare in the pre-gunpowder age to longer-range naval warfare after the adoption of gunpowder. Earlier tactics such as ramming and boarding required close proximity, whereas cannons and guns can be used effectively from a great distance, although these distances were perhaps, at most, hundreds of metres, rather than the kilometres over which modern naval guns can fire. It can also be seen from the naval battles mentioned that post-gunpowder tactics were more effective than pre-gunpowder tactics as they greatly reduced the risk of unintended damage to the attacker’s ship. Whilst boarding had a high chance of failure and counterattack, flamethrowers had a dangerous risk of misfire, and ramming often caused collateral damage to the attacking ship, cannons and guns could both be used from a distance, with little risk of damage to the attacking ship from their use. Another change that can be seen following the invention of gunpowder is in the design of warships. Once cannons became commonplace, ships were constructed with much thicker hulls to withstand cannonballs. This, combined with the extra weight of the cannons and the large numbers of men required to operate these extremely heavy weapons, meant that warships had to become much larger. In many respects it became a competition to have the largest ship, with the most cannons, to be able to outgun your opponent. In addition, the upper decks of warships became more protected to shield sailors and soldiers on the top decks from riflemen and snipers. Finally, changes may be observed in the composition of fleets and the tactics adopted in battle. Before gunpowder’s use, most naval fleets were composed of a large number of smaller, manoeuvrable ships. Following the invention of gunpowder, naval fleets were typically composed of larger ships, for the reasons explained above, but there were usually fewer of them in a fleet. Paintings of the Battle of Salamis show large numbers of ships and it is recorded that approximately 370 Greek ships and 800 Persian ships took part in the Battle. The depiction of HMS Victory in the painting The Death of Nelson by Benjamin West shows an exceptionally large ship, with many hundreds of crew members on board. At Trafalgar, there were only 27 British ships and 33 Franco-Spanish ships present. As ships’ cannons were mounted facing out from the sides of the ship, this dictated that tactics would involve being side on to the enemy in order to deliver the full effect of the ship’s fire power through “broadsides” (the co-ordinated firing of all the cannons on one side of a ship). This led to more organised naval battles with forces engaging in single parallel lines rather than in more random close-quarter skirmishes. Admiral Villeneuve, the commander of the French fleet at Trafalgar, had his ships in a single line, expecting a battle consistent with the tactics of that time and was surprised when Nelson split his fleet into three and approached perpendicular to the French line. This was a risky strategy, as it exposed the English fleet to French broadsides, but it proved successful. I therefore believe that gunpowder changed naval warfare drastically. Earlier methods of attack relied on close proximity with the enemy. Boarding and ramming both required ships to be physically in contact, and ancient flamethrowers had only a short range. All these methods involved a high amount of risk, and possibly also luck, for the attacker. Ramming was not completely abandoned as a tactic, but it was usually confined to situations where the ramming ship had an overwhelming advantage – for example, there were situations in the two World Wars where large ships rammed submarines. Following the invention of gunpowder and its regular use in naval battles, most naval attacks were initiated from a longer range, using cannonballs and rifles. The invention of gunpowder also changed the design of warships, with larger and heavier ships required to accommodate the weight of heavy cannons and the men required to operate them. A change in the composition of naval fleets following the invention of gunpowder can also be observed. Ancient battles such as Salamis and Mylae saw larger PAGE 37
numbers of smaller vessels designed for ramming and boarding, whereas battles such as Trafalgar saw much smaller fleets but with large ships. These ships carried a hundred or more cannons which made naval warfare much more destructive. Anyone who has visited HMS Victory at Portsmouth, as I have done, will be amazed by the size of ship and its four decks of cannons. Tactics also had to adapt to ensure that that this firepower could be effectively deployed against the enemy, with straight attacking lines being adopted, in some ways reflecting land-based warfare. Not only did the invention of gunpowder change naval warfare and fleets drastically, but it also paved the way for the modern naval warfare which makes use of heavy guns, torpedoes, and missiles. Whilst modern weapons use mechanical technologies, it was gunpowder that first helped the technologies of guns to emerge. The trend towards larger and more heavily armed ships has continued and modern weapons such as guided missiles mean that ships can attack from great distances. If it were not for gunpowder, the way in which naval warfare is conducted in the modern day may possibly still be like the tactics used in the ancient and medieval times.
Aarav Ghosh, Junior School
â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;History of Hinduismâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
Most scholars believe Hinduism started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. in the Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan. Around 1500 B.C., the Indo-Aryan people migrated to the Indus Valley, and their language and culture blended with that of the indigenous people living in the region. This period was called the Vedic period and is when Hinduism first started. Hindus only believe in one God, Brahman but in many forms, the eternal origin who is the cause and foundation of all existence. However other gods & goddesses such as Shiva, Krishna or Lakshmi are also recognized by Hindus to whom they pray regularly. Unlike all other major PAGE 39
religions, Hinduism does not have a founder. According to Hindus, the religion has no origin. Hinduism has no concept of conversions. All the people following the faith have either willingly embraced it or acquired. Hinduism has spread across many countries over the years, especially in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and other South East Asian countries. Hindu temples are not just architectural marvels, they are energy centers and hold great scientific significance which was proven. The usage of metals and construction patterns are proven to transmit positive energy. During the Gupta empire—from about 320 to 550 CE—emperors used Hinduism as a unifying religion and helped popularize it by promoting educational systems that included Hindu teachings; they also gave land to brahmins. The Gupta emperors helped make Hinduism the most popular religion on the Indian subcontinent. Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in soul. One fundamental principle of the religion is the idea that people’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives. Some interesting facts about Hinduism one may not have known; · Hinduism believes in a circular rather than a linear concept of time- Time is divided into four ages - the Satya yuga (golden age of innocence), Tretha yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali yuga. · The Rig Veda was written more than 3800 years ago making Hinduism one, if not the, oldest religion in the world. · 108 is a scared number in Hinduism and is considered auspicious, the reason why most of our prayer beads have 108 beads. · The institution of marriage was founded and put forth by Hinduism. · Hinduism has reformed itself multiple times to get rid of any practices like Sati Sahagamana to suit humanity. · Yoga, the world’s most practiced form of spiritual and physical fitness procedure, originated from Hinduism in the Indus- Saraswati civilization 5000 years ago. · In Hindu cosmology, it is believed that the universe is created and destroyed in a cycle every 4.32 billion years. Quite interestingly, this period is quite close to the current scientific age of the earth. · J. Robert Oppenheimer , the American theoretical physicist (considered ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’) learned Sanskrit in 1933 and used to frequently quote from the sacred Hindu book – the ‘Bhagwad Gita’. He used his Sanskrit knowledge to decode the Vedas and ancient scripts to form the basis of the Manhattan Project and probably many more.The first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico. Oppenheimer later remarked that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." In August 1945, the weapons were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
· “Om” is actually believed to be the manifestation of consciousness in sound form. · Both male and female deities are worshipped with equal reverence in Hinduism
Adam Smith, Middle School
This essay was inspired by the book ‘Divided: why we are living in an age of walls’ by Tim Marshall. It is a remarkably interesting book about divisions and walls in the modern world, from the wall through Jerusalem to The Great Wall of China. Its chapters reference different locations on Earth, and the divisions that people have made within them. It is not a historical book, but I saw it as an inspiration to look at the history of walls and barriers. It is a fascinating read, and well worth the price to buy it! How have walls developed? From a dirt pile to a high-tech metal barrier with guns and soldiers patrolling, walls have evolved significantly. In the stone age, walls were usually tree trunks or dirt stacked up, to protect a tribe from the elements, wild-life, or from marauders wanting to steal or enslave. We then move into the bronze age. Technology, and with it walls, had evolved. No longer are people simple tribes, but massive city states, like Athens, Rome, and Sparta. Now walls are usually colossal stone structures, with watchtowers and garrisons along their length. And with the advances in defence, offence advances considerably too. This is with the inventions of weapons like pikes, metal shields and swords. Straight through the iron age, and into the days of the Roman empire, walls become thicker and more advanced. Walls such as Hadrian’s Wall, separating entire countries, are built, to permanently protect the might of Rome from the Pictish assaults. On a smaller scale, the Roman army built overnight camps during campaigns that they walled off to protect them from barbarians. For many centuries after that, wall technology does not seem to improve, and almost becomes worthless, with the inventions of weapons like Trebuchets, Cannons and Guns. However, Leonardo Da Vinci, the amazing Italian Inventor, had the idea of putting straw up in front of walls, to help stop cannon balls from cracking the walls as the impact is absorbed by the straw, making the walls much harder to get through. We still see Roman walls, not as dividers but as historical artifacts, windows into the past. But then, during the 20th century, walls spring up again. This time massive lumps of Concrete or Metal, patrolled by soldiers armed with advanced guns, with search lights and later cameras, to help stop common people from escaping their homeland, into freedom. Now walls are everywhere, not to defend cities against other cities, not even to defend Roman Britain from the Picts, but simply to stop common people, like you and me, from escaping or entering.
Throughout history, there have been many examples of walls separating people from each other. It is an age-old practice, usually driven by the belief of ‘us and them’ or ‘the other’. The concentration camps of WWII were, we thought, the apotheosis of “Them” and “Us”. Sadly, nowadays, many walls are springing up or being proposed. Take the proposed wall on the American/Mexican border. The reason for it is to supposedly keep ‘illegal Mexican immigrants out’ who the proponents, namely Donald Trump and his supporters, see as the root of all evil. This seems to be akin to the Great Wall of China, which was used to keep the Mongols out of China, as they raided northern Chinese towns for centuries, by exploiting their mastery of the horse and bow. It was an effectively impenetrable barrier until the Mongols under Genghis Khan used their superior tactics to overrun China and take their weapons and scientific prowess. This may be what Trump fears, Mexicans overrunning the US and taking everything, which is an irrational fear but, in his eyes, possible. Another example of a modern wall as opposed to a historical example is the wall separating Israel from Palestine. The reason for the wall lies in some overly complex geopolitics, which can be simplified to the idea that both sides claim Israel/Palestine as their homeland and are in a state of conflict: us and them. Going 30 years back, the Berlin Wall was the last major wall in Europe erected in 1961. It separated Capitalism from Communism, West from East, a physical manifestation of Churchill’s iron curtain. This wall was different to other walls, as it separated the same German citizens and their families. Many people tried to escape from East to West, often getting shot and killed in the process. Yet in 1989 the wall was destroyed by the people after the East German official Gunter Schabowski announced that East Germanies borders will be open and like that the East-West division in Europe fell. This wall is akin to Hadrian’s Wall, which separated the Celts from each other, just because the Romans were afraid of the Northern Picts, which oddly enough, is similar to how the Soviets were afraid of the Americans in the Cold War and vice versa. Yet, having fallen, the separation has not been resolved and Putin is slowly biting away at rapprochement, to rebuild that East-West separation using Belarus and east Ukraine. Another Example of a Wall, or at least extremely hard border, would be the demarcation zone between North and South Korea. After the Korean War [1950-1953], which was a war between the Communist North and Democratic/Capitalist South, the two sides agreed on a border, which is now the demarcation zone. Soldiers patrol this area, it is full of mines and wire, and is effectively impenetrable other than at two very closely guarded huts, which act as the only opening between the two Koreas. The fact that a hard border and such a deadly area is needed between two countries that share the same history, culture, and people. It is a symbol of a failure of diplomacy, and of hatred and spite. In contrast, the Schengen zone in the EU allows free movement between countries and represents a hard-fought diplomatic success. Lines in the sand crisscross the Middle East. These walls are fake walls, separating the same people from each other. They were drawn up by western powers (by Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot) in 1916 at the beginning of the end of colonialism, with complete disregard for the people living there. This explains why the middle east is such a warzone today, as different nationalities are forced together, ones that were never historically unified. In history, walls and boundaries like this have never seemed to exist, outside of the 20th and 21st centuries when these borders were drawn up by colonial powers.
However, walls do not necessarily need to be physical. Take the Great Firewall of China. It separates the Chinese people from the outside world mentally, so that they do not question the Communist regime that rules their country. This means that 1.4 billion people effectively have their own internet. This is akin to the medieval idea of an absolute monarchy where the citizens are not permitted to think badly about the monarch or criticise the monarch. This kind of medieval ideology still exists in Thailand, were Western tourists got into serious trouble for making fun of the previous kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name, Bhumibol. These are just six examples of the many walls, virtual or real, around the world. In a historical sense, walls and divisions are inherent to human nature, given that they have been around effectively since the stone age [3000000 BCE- 2000 BCE ]. People have built walls mainly to protect themselves, from what they consider the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or a faction that they are generally at war with. Yet the walling off entire areas, often goes down to pride. And sadly, that is something that has been a human trait for centuries. People often fight wars, especially in history, not for territory or justice, but often for pride. Look at WW1 for example, it was a 20th century war fought by 19th century empires, for the domination of Europe, but not for justice but for regal pride. In Conclusion, I think that walls and divisions are integral to human nature, as humans have a fear of difference and change, and humans feel safe behind a pile of bricks and stones that separate them from a perceived threat. As demonstrated by the past, and the present, humans are still inherently tribalistic, and sadly, whether it be a dictator or the people, walls will always be erected, in some form or another, to separate peoples.
Daniel Levy, Senior School
“Institutionalised Racism’ and what that means. A history of racism in the USA until 1865.’
1: Foreword “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves, are, and henceforth shall be free.’ On the 1st of January, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln would come into effect, and all African-American people in the USA would be free. Of course, things were not that simple. Recent events concerning BLM and racism in the USA have made the phrase ‘systematic’ or ‘institutionalised racism’ increasingly common, and with reason. But what I’ve personally noticed is that a lot of people don’t really get what that means. In fact, whilst almost everyone I’ve spoken to appreciates that the USA has a problem with racism, the extent of this racism, its prevalence and bitterness throughout history, and its cruelty and repulsiveness are far less appreciated. Talking to people about this, I ran into surprise again and again and again. I think that to really grasp how important the issue of BLM and racism in the USA is, the context of these things is so important. There is a real lack of understanding of just how dark U.S. history is with regards to racism. Racism is such a prominent issue today because, as the phrase ‘institutionalised racism’ suggests, it is intertwined with U.S. history, laws, and institutions. It is something that exists, and it is something that will not just be willed out of existence. But to tackle an issue, you have to understand it, and I feel that with regards to that, the history of U.S. racism needs to be tackled. Perhaps I only attribute such importance to history because I myself take and have always been passionate for the subject. But based on what I’ve seen, the meaning of the phrase ‘institutionalised racism’ needs to be clarified and to understand it, the history of racism needs to be explored. This is my attempt at doing that.
2: The Origins of Slavery in the USA, 1601-1820 An idea as complex as institutionalised racism needs to be examined in proper depth, and because racism is so prevalent in U.S. history, the origin of the United States of America itself
needs to be examined. The sectional (i.e. North vs South) difference in racial views originates from 17th century economics. The first English colony was Virginia, established in 1601, and it was a commercial adventure. The climate there allowed for plantation agriculture, so cash crops could be grown and harvested for high profit. The plantation system was most prevalent in the Lower South- in the Upper South, the climate and soil were more suited to subsistence agriculture, so slavery was less prevalent. The point is that Southern society became based on plantation agriculture, which required cheap labour. This is where tri-point trade came in: trading goods (e.g. guns) could be taken from Britain to Africa and traded for slaves- which were voluntarily given to the Europeans by African warlords. The slaves were taken across the Atlantic to the Americas, wherein cash crops were grown and taken to Britain to be sold. The prime cash crop was initially tobacco- this would later become cotton. The North developed in a very different way. It was settled not by wealthy, connected Englishmen seeking profits- but exiles seeking to establish a new England. The Pilgrim Fathers arrived in 1620 as Puritans who wanted to create an idealised, democratic English society which followed Puritan values. As the North became settled, society emerged in the form of communities of independent farmers and in mercantile trading settlements. The Northern climate was incompatible with plantation agriculture, so Northern wealth was generated through mercantile/industrial work, and slavery was simply not as profitable in this context. Slavery was still present, of course- Massachusetts’ rum industry was partially based on slavery, for example. But factory work, trading, manufacture, fur trading, subsistence agriculture, and fishing was actually less profitable with slavery. It was easier in the North to just pay a worker a (meagre) wage because paying for a man’s food, water, clothes, goods, and shelter is only profitable when that man generates considerable profit- in the South, cheap slave labour was economical because cash crops were so profitable. Yet if you asked a Southerner what they thought of slavery in the 1700s, they would not say a ‘positive good’- all countries in the world at this time saw it as a ‘necessary evil’. But because all countries partook in it, none were condemned for it. As the North slowly emancipated their slaves by gradual emancipation (emancipating slaves’ children but not freeing the slaves themselves), with all states enacting such legislation by 1804, abolitionist sentiment was mild enough that the South did not feel threatened. This was because there were comparatively few abolitionists at the time and those who did support emancipation wanted to do so gradually, and they were willing to discuss the matter of abolition calmly with others. Besides, the North and South had economic parity and roughly the same population, so the same representation in the House of Representatives and the same GDP. So the North- even if it suddenly moved towards a more radical form of abolitionism- couldn’t force the South to do anything. Slavery and abolition was at the back of U.S. politics, and would only be brought to the forefront later. Either way, many thought in the 1700s that slavery would soon die out- this was one of the reasons why the Constitution doesn’t address it. It was only the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 by Eli Whitney that massively increased the profitability of slavery and thus ensured its survival. This was undoubtedly a tragedy, but nonetheless racial views were not as harsh as they would later be. There was an omnipresent belief in white superiority- but this superiority was sociological and not biological. Few believed African-Americans were inherently inferior to whites by biology- but they believed that their culture and civilisation was. 3: Developments in Racial Ideology, 1820s and 1830s The North, with a mercantile/trading society, began industrialising in the 1820s, and slowly the economic sectional parity began to vanish. Yet this was accompanied a decade later by PAGE 46
considerable developments in abolitionism. The 1830s saw a transformation in abolitionist sentiment. Previously, it had been a lukewarm, genteel desire for gradual emancipation of slaves. It began becoming a passionate, radical desire for immediate and total emancipation. This occurred for two reasons- the first was an influx of British abolitionist sentiment. Britain had abolished slavery in 1833, and abolitionist propaganda and general sentiment from there had an impact on Northern feeling. The second was a more home-grown change: a rise in evangelical feeling and activity called the Second Great Awakening. The combination of these forces led to a more strident abolitionist movement. William Lloyd Garrison launched a new abolitionist journal, The Liberator, advocating immediate abolition. In 1833, the National AntiSlavery Society was founded. By 1838, it has 250,000 members, churning out anti-slavery propaganda using steam-driven printing presses. Abolitionist noise began rising to such a volume that Congress introduced the ‘gag rule’ in 1836 to preserve the Union, preventing the discussion of abolitionist petitions in Congress and discussion of slavery in general. The significance of this was that it caused a major ideological backlash in the South. Southerners were now forced to justify their ‘peculiar institution’, and that is precisely what they did. Faced with real pressure concerning slavery for the first time, they no longer accepted it as a ‘necessary evil’. They began seeing slavery as a ‘positive good’. Southern churches split from Northern ones and preached that the Bible never explicitly condemned slavery. Southern ideology began to assert that African-Americans were incapable of independence and would die if not protected by paternalistic slaveholders who looked after them. It declared that African-Americans were better off in plantations than in Northern factories or in Haiti, a country having recently gained independence via a slave revolt (this was the only successful slave revolt in human history). New pseudoscience emerged which showed that AfricanAmericans were biologically inferior to whites, replacing the belief that racial differences were only sociological. Abolitionists in the South began to be tarred and feathered, buried alive for 7 hours, and then dug back up. People who protested against slavery could find their houses and buildings burnt down. It was no longer socially acceptable in the South to see slavery as a negative thing. Southern literature began to become synonymous with pro-slavery propaganda. Paranoia began to mount. The South began to fear that the North, with their rising wealth and population, would eventually force the South to abandon slavery. The tragedy is that this was far from true because the North was also heavily racist. Indeed, observers like Alexis de Tocqueville (a French aristocrat and political scientist who toured the USA) noted in the early 1800s that the North was more racist than the South. In several states, African-Americans weren’t even allowed to enter. Many Northerners feared an exodus of liberated slaves from the South and so hated abolitionists, breaking up their meetings. AfricanAmericans always got the worst jobs and were treated like second class citizens. Even as late as 1860, African-Americans could only vote in three states in the Union. Yet despite this, Southern paranoia would eventually lead to Civil War. The Civil War was not fought over the existence of slavery. The Civil War was fought over the extension of slavery. From the 1840s, the normative belief in American society was that the future of America lay in the West. If the Western states were slave states, slavery would be irreversibly preserved in the Union. If the Western states were free states, slavery would eventually die out. Ironically, this wasn’t true at all. The real future of the USA lay in industrialisation and the North had already won on that front. But that is not the point. What matters is that everyone believed that the future of the USA lay in the West. The point is that because the South became paranoid that the North would eventually forcibly end slavery, they sought to expand slavery to the West in order to eternally preserve it. This, in turn, made the PAGE 47
North paranoid that there was a ‘slave state power conspiracy’ afoot. They knew that the South, lacking the North’s industrialisation or immigration, had fewer inhabitants and thus had a minority in the House of Representatives. This meant that they lacked the power in the federal government to bring slavery into the West by legal means. Thus, they feared that the South would try and advance slavery by illicit, subversive means- i.e., in a conspiracy. Northerners did not want slavery to enter the West- but this was not because they necessarily wanted slavery to die. Slavery drove down wages for white workers, and so Northern whites didn’t want to see it expand as it would impact them economically. There was also an ideological motivation: Northerners were heavily racist and did not want to see African-American people in what they saw as America’s Manifest Destiny, their rightful land. But many Northerners didn’t really have a problem with slavery in the South. Of those that did, a small minority were actually abolitionists who wanted to forcibly end it there. Most saw slavery as bad- but the South’s problem. They believed that the federal government shouldn’t interfere, either because they didn’t see slavery as particularly morally wrong or they thought the federal government shouldn’t be strong enough to do so. And yet conflict over slavery in the West was enough to amplify tensions and paranoia to the point of Civil War. The Wilmot Proviso and the resulting Compromise of 1850 massively increased sectional tension- arguably irrevocably so- but a study of all the events of American history is not the point of this document. The Wilmot Proviso and the Compromise of 1850 are relevant to U.S. because they relate to U.S. party politics, and an understanding of U.S. party politics is an integral part of understanding attitudes towards racism and slavery in the USA.
4: Party Politics and the Third Party System, 1830s-1865 The second party system in the USA had emerged in the 1830s, more specifically in the 1832 ‘Bank War’ election. The two parties that emerged for this election were the Whigs and the Democrats. The Whig voter-base was mostly Northerners, specifically conservative, businessclass Northerners. Yet, they also had support from Upper South yeomen who didn’t own plantations and who resented the wealth and political power of the aristocratic plantationowners in the South. The Whigs did appeal to a few plantation-owners, however. The Whigs supported centralisation, Hamiltonian economics, industrialisation, protectionism, and high federal spending. The Democrats, in contrast, supported decentralisation, Jeffersonian economics, free trade, and lower federal spending. Their voter-base consisted of the establishment of the South and the excluded of the North. Wealthy planters who served as the South’s socioeconomic and political elites were the former category. The latter were resentful, poor working-class Northerners- for example Irish immigrants- who were particularly prone to racism as they had to compete with cheap African-American labour. Naturally, the Democrats were the more racist of the two parties. Southern Democrats obviously supported slavery, but the Democrats were at this point still a national party which appealed to both sections. There were many Northern Democrats as well, and these were voters and politicians who were either indifferent to slavery or supported it. The Whigs were better, but not by much. ‘Conscience Whigs’ were those who disapproved of slavery and ‘cotton Whigs’ were those who didn’t care about slavery as it was profitable. Even within the ranks of the former wing, radicals who actually supported abolition in the South were rare. Conscience Whigs typically just disliked slavery, but were willing to tolerate it in order to preserve the Union.
This second-party system endured until 1850. The Compromise of 1850 had delivered the USA from a national crisis concerning the status of slavery in newly acquired land in the West from Mexico, the dispute being whether the new territories would be brought into the Union as slave or free states. The Whig party had been the one brokering the compromise- yet because the compromise pleased neither section, this greatly worked against them. For the sake of concision, I won’t go into detail about the Compromise’s terms here- what is important is that despite widespread Southern dissatisfaction, they were still willing to enforce it. The 1850 Georgia Platform was a statement issued by a Georgia Convention, and it articulated the views of cooperationist Southerners, specifying that the South would stick to the Compromise as long as the North did the same. Yet Northerners, recognising their superiority to the South in terms of population and wealth, were less willing to compromise, and thus sought to ignore the terms of the Compromise of 1850. One of the most hated terms in the Compromise was the new Fugitive Slave Law, and it became a genuine, ongoing problem in the North. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793, established in the Constitution, meant that slaveholders had to find and capture fugitive slaves, bring them in front of a magistrate, and prove ownership. Some individual states passed laws giving accused fugitive slaves the rights to habeas corpus and trial and jury and imposed penalties for kidnappings. This had been an ongoing source of anger for the South, as the North had no involvement in helping Southern slaveholders recapture their fugitives and some states had passed laws hindering it. The Compromise of 1850 brought in a new Fugitive Slave Law. U.S. marshals in the North would now be responsible for raising posses to recapture fugitives, and refusing to join a posse would result in a heavy fine. Fugitives now had to prove their own innocence and lost the rights to testify on their own behalf, habeas corpus, and trial by jury. The greatest injustice was that judges were paid $10 every time an accused person was found guilty and $5 if the accused was found innocent. The system was rigged against the accused, and out of 332 people convicted as fugitives, only 11 were declared free. It also became a criminal offence to harbour a fugitivewhich it was not under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793. The significance of this was that whilst the North was content to let slavery be present in the South as a far-away phenomenon, it was now their own responsibility to enforce slavery. It was a reality which they now had to confront, as it was within their own section. The result was a substantial upsurge in abolitionist feeling. Anti-slavery lawyers challenged the new Fugitive Slave Law several times in the 1850s but the federal government refused to relax it. The Law was held in Ableman vs Booth, and this caused so much panic among the African-American population that 3,000 of them fled to Canada. Abolitionism rose considerably, however. They preached that the new Law was amoral and irreligious, and therefore should be disregarded. When William and Ellen Croft escaped from Georgia in 1848, they were hidden by Theodore Parker, an abolitionist in Boston. The Crofts’ owners hired and sent professional slavecatchers to recapture the Crofts in October 1850- the hiring of professional slavecatchers being a common practice. Parker gave Ellen Croft a loaded pistol and told William to stay in the basement with a match and two kegs of dynamite. The Boston Anti-Slavery Society publicly shamed the slavecatchers, calling them ‘man-hunters’. The Crofts were eventually smuggled on a ship to England, amidst the condemnation of the federal government and President Fillmore, who had been the President to pass the Compromise of 1850. Abolitionist feeling flared again in February 1851. Shadrach Minkins had escaped from Virginia and was working in a Boston coffee-house when he was seized by slave-catchers and taken to federal jail. Other members of the African-American community raided the facility, PAGE 49
freed him, overwhelmed his guards, and smuggled him to Montreal in an act of heroism and bravery. Theodore Parker himself said that ‘It was the most noble deed done in Boston since the Boston Tea Party.’ Yet, many Northern newspapers condemned the act as ‘mob rule’, saying that whilst they may have disliked slavery they respected the country’s laws and feared rioting and armed conflict. The federal government angrily ordered a federal investigation and indicted four African-Americans and four whites. However, when put in front of a grand jury, the jury refused to see any crime. Attitudes to slavery in the North were evidently beginning to meaningfully shift. Southern newspapers, on the other hand, were furious, and the South had always regarded the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 as a test of Northern goodwill and trustworthiness. They had been left wanting. For the forces of abolitionism, there were significant defeats as well as victories. Thomas Sims was an escaped slave from Georgia who found in Boston and arrested in April. This time, 300 federal troops were deployed to prevent his rescue. The abolitionists had failed to stop his case from progressing, demonstrating the continued influence of slavery in U.S. justice and politics. However, the fact that the government had been forced to use military force was also significant. A second escape saw Sims’ return to Boston in 1863, and he would later hold a position in the U.S. Department of Justice in 1877. For now, abolitionists were outraged, and for the first time abolitionist sentiment began to resonate with general Northern feeling. Northerners had been forced to enforce slavery and whilst many Northerners still were not abolitionists, abolitionism had undoubtedly grown. Hatred of the new Fugitive Slave Law- and therefore the Compromise of 1850- began to increase. This would have significant political consequences. The Whig candidate for the 1852 election, Winfield Scott, recognised that general Northern feeling was anti-Compromise and general Southern feeling was cooperationist: they begrudgingly supported it as long as the North did the same. However, the North had a higher population, and thus more voters. Scott decided to appeal to the larger voter-base, and was deliberately ambiguous on his support of the Compromise. In the 1852 election, the Whigs only got 35% of the Southern vote, proving Democrat eminence in the South. The Democrats had Northern supporters as well. In the North, the Democrats were able to capitalise on the wave of white immigration to the USA (3,000,000 immigrants from 1845-1854, mainly Irish and German) to bolster their voter-base considerably, using Tammany Hall as a base for securing Democrat voters in New York City. The lack of a Whig condemnation of this immigrantion alienated its core Protestant voter-base, further securing Democrat dominance in this section. The collapse of the Whigs left the Democrats dominant, winning 27 states in the 1852 election, and there were Democrats in both sections. Northern Democrats were highly racist (due to typically being immigrants competing with African-Americans in labour) and thus totally willing to sanction slavery as an institution in the South. Moreover, the Whigs’ decline was self-perpetuating: once politicians realised the Whigs couldn’t win, they withdrew their support for them, as they would not be able to be rewarded for their support with lucrative federal posts. Without this support, the Whigs could never win. Their downfall accelerated from 1850-1854. It seemed as if the new party to replace the Whigs would be the Populist Party, an antiimmigrant, anti-Catholic party, but events conspired to change things. In January 1854, Senator Steven Douglas of Illinois changed history by proposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It proposed that in the Northern territories of Kansas and Nebraska, inhabitants there would vote on whether they wanted to be a slave state. The idea of popular sovereignty (individual states voting on whether they wanted to allow slavery) was not new. This was so shocking because PAGE 50
it was in the North. In 1821, the Missouri Compromise had explicitly stated that the territory of Nebraska (at this time, the territory of Kansas was included in this) had to be brought into the Union as free states. Douglas and his supporters repealed this legislation. Douglas didn’t actually want to expand slavery- he believed that as the North had a higher population than the South, more Northerners than Southerners would enter these territories and vote to bring them in as free states. What Douglas didn’t foresee was the immense Northern backlash and the colossal political consequences. A new coalition of politicians emerged, united in their belief that slavery must not spread to the West. These included ex-Whigs, Populists, Free-Soilers (a previously existing small party that held the balance between Whigs and Democrats in highly contested states- they supported the idea of a free-state West) and Northern Democrats. This grand coalition was called the Republican Party. The Republican Party had three wings. Radical Republicans, a stark minority, advocated for the immediate abolition of slavery in the West and the South. Salmon Chase, the author of the first manifesto of Republican ideology, was one of these. Moderate Republicans disapproved of slavery in the South, but were not willing to abolish it. Abraham Lincoln was one of these people- he disliked slavery, but was far more concerned with preserving the Union. ‘If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it’ is a famous quote of his which encapsulates his (and to an extent the Moderate Republican) ideology. Conservative Republicans were those who had no problem with slavery in the South, they simply didn’t want it in the West. The Northern Democrats who had left the party aligned with this group, but some others did as well. Initially, it was unclear whether the Republican or Populist Party would emerge as the main challenger to the Democrats. The Republican Party overtook the Populist Party in significance in the 1850s due to events like Bleeding Kansas and the Caning of Charles Sumner. Whilst these were highly significant events in U.S. history, for the purposes of this document I will simply say that they galvanised the North into abolitionism and fear of a ‘slave state power conspiracy.’ The Dred Scott case did much the same. These events resulted in the Republican Party becoming the 2nd biggest party in the 1856 election- the Republicans would later win the 1860 election. They did so with no Southern support, simply carrying 17/18 free states. As the North had 66% of the Union’s population, this was enough to bring about a Northern victory. The victory of the Republicans was the direct cause of the Civil War. The victory of a party founded on opposition to slavery expansion was anathema to the South, and the Southern states therefore seceded. The key lesson to take away was that the War was not fought over the existence of slavery. Most Republicans didn’t want to abolish slavery in the South, and Lincoln certainly didn’t. Even if he had wanted to, he couldn’t have. It would require immense Congressional support, and the Democrats still controlled both houses of Congress in 1860. The Supreme Court was also dominated by Southerners. Fundamentally, the North was still racist and even the small minority of abolitionists almost always didn’t believe in full racial equality, merely an end to slavery.
Jack Cobb, Senior School
‘Discussing the philosophy of history.’
When the Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” he revealed an important truth; that today, the value of history as a subject, and the legitimacy of the knowledge gained by historians is often taken for granted. This essay focuses on understanding what the discipline of history is, as well as exploring some of the epistemological problems with studying the past. I will argue that both the positivistic view of history as a science with complete separation between subject and object, and the idealist theory of all history as the history of thought are unconvincing. Instead, it is necessary to emphasis the methods of the historian, in terms of a reliable cognitive process that understands the intentions, context and provenance of evidence. Only by defining history in this way can the problems of historical scepticism be overcome. What is history? Firstly, it is important to recognise that the word “history” has morphed into multiple meanings. It is used both in reference to what is supposed to have happened in the course of human existence and experience, and also to the written accounts of these events. Even among this second meaning, there is room for distinctions to be made. Some differentiate between annals, a mere chronological recording by someone living at the time of what is supposed to have happened during some period, and history taken to be a narrative or explanatory discipline. Defining history is debating the relationship between the two meanings and building it into a whole subject of evidence and interpretation, of fact and theory. The common-sense view of history sees it as a subject concerned with a corpus of ascertained facts. Facts about the past are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions and so on, and it is the role of the historian to draw conclusions from them. As E.H. Carr noted in “What is History?” this view of history fitted in perfectly with the empiricist tradition which was the dominant strain of British philosophy from Locke to Bertrand Russell. An empirical theory of knowledge presupposes a complete separation between subject and object. Facts, like senseimpressions, impinge on the observer from the outside, and are independent of his consciousness. Thus a fact is defined by this tradition as “a datum of experience as distinct from conclusions.” By emphasising the separation of the fact and its passive reception, the empiricist view of history conflates historical and scientific knowledge. Just as science aims at being wholly impersonal, and tries to state what has been discovered by the collective intellect of mankind, so too historians search for the objective truth about the past.
However, to speak of a historical fact presupposes selection and judgement, and so defining historical facts as objective mind-independent reality becomes problematic. Consider the statement: “The Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588.” On the surface this appears to be objective and wholly impersonal since there is no real dispute amongst historians as to the accuracy of this fact. However, the only reason we are interested to know that the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588 is that historians regard it as a major historical event. The fact that you had breakfast this morning, or went to work by train, car, bicycle etc… is a fact about the past, but it is hardly a historical fact. A historian is necessarily subjective and must choose to include certain facts that enhance their perception of particular issues. This is what R.G. Collingwood meant when he remarked “in actual experience we never get a pure datum: whatever we call a datum is in point of fact already interpreted by thought.” In the same way, Karl Popper argued that our picture about the past has been preselected and predetermined for us, not so much by accident as by people who were consciously or unconsciously imbued with a particular view and thought the facts which supported that view worth preserving. He observed that “the so-called ‘sources’ of history only record such facts as appeared sufficiently interesting to record.” For example, consider the illustration given by E.H. Carr of Gustav Stresemann, the Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic. When he died in 1929, he left behind an enormous mass of papers relating to his tenure as Foreign Minister. These documents were later published by his faithful secretary Bernhard as “Stresemanns Vermächtnis.” However, what is interesting is that when Stresemann died, his western policy seemed to be the most important and rewarding part of his foreign policy - with his negotiation of the Locarno Treaties, the admission of Germany to the League of Nations, the Dawes and Young plans, and the withdrawal of the allied occupation armies from the de-militarised Rhineland. His eastern policy, on the other hand, seemed to lead nowhere, with masses of documents which were not particularly interesting and added nothing to his reputation. As a result, his eastern policy was significantly under-represented in the publication, and Stresemann is largely judged by his relations with the west, despite the fact that he devoted a far more constant and anxious attention to relations with the Soviet Union, and they played a far larger part in his foreign policy as a whole. This example demonstrates Popper’s argument that in history, it is incredibly difficult to separate subject from object and so to speak about history as the study of a wealth of objective mind-independent ‘real’ events is problematic. Both the process of recording and interpreting events is an active selection and evaluation rather than a passive activity. However, the descriptions of historical procedures proposed by Popper and others that make similar criticisms, do not correspond with what most historians think they are doing, or find themselves to be doing in practice. E.P. Thompson noted in “The Poverty of the Theory” that “by far the greater part of historical evidence has survived for reasons quite unrelated to any intention of the actors to project an image of themselves to posterity.” For example, the records of administration, taxation, legislation, religious belief and practice, the accounts of temples or of monasteries, and the archaeological evidence of their sites. The intention of none of the actors involved in these sources was to record interesting facts to some general posterity. It was simply to unite and to secure property in particular ways, to negotiate a human relationship, to show appreciation for a deity, and so on. Moreover, Popper ignores what historians are actually interested in when he criticises the difficulty to separate subject from object. An important concern historical study is, precisely, the intentions of the recorders and through this their interests. The intentions themselves are an object of enquiry from which can be derived explanations and important evidence about the past. For example, when we reconsider the example given by Carr of the foreign policy of Gustav Stresemann, we can see that it is of PAGE 53
interest to a historian that his western policy is more heavily reflected by Bernhard in his publication because it indicates something about the relative success of his eastern policy. Bernhard’s intentions, as a loyal and faithful secretary, play a critical role in understanding this source and from this there is important evidence that we can discover. Through this mistake, Popper neglects to focus on what historians are actually concerned with. Any serious historian knows that ‘facts’ are liars, and that they carry with them their own ideological loads. Historical evidence is there, in its primary form, not to disclose its own meaning and be blindly accepted, but to be interrogated by minds trained in a discipline of attentive disbelief and scepticism. The discrete facts must be interrogated with care and thoughtful application developed to detect any attempt at manipulation. As E.P Thompson further developed, “facts will disclose nothing of their own accord. The historian must work hard to enable them to find their own voices.” The mistake of the criticism proposed by Popper and his school of thought is that it is not the historian or perceiver’s voice, but the own, independent voices of the facts that the historian is tirelessly endeavouring to discover, even if what they say and some part of their vocabulary is determined by the questions which the historian proposes. Ultimately however, there is an important lesson to be taken from Popper’s criticism, as it rejects the common-sense view of history. Even the positivists who hold that there are highlysophisticated supposedly-neutral empirical research techniques – techniques which are as of yet undiscovered and which would deliver history to us packaged and untouched by the human mind through the automatic ingestion of the computer – are mistaken. The facts of the historian cannot be purely objective, and the empiricist model of knowledge with a clear divide between subject and object, between man and the external world is unpersuasive and needs careful rethinking.
Jonathan Gibson, Senior School
‘Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?’
A moral action is defined as an action following the accepted standards of behaviour. I would suggest that we should not judge historical figures by the morals of today for two reasons. Firstly, possibly aside from religion (which is debatable), there is no absolute morality independent of time and place. And secondly by adding our judgement to history, we are not viewing evidence in a distinctly historical way. In 2017, a huge controversy emerged surrounding Nelson’s statue in Trafalgar Square. Lord Horatio Nelson was a British naval commander, most famous for his naval victories against the French in the Napoleonic Wars, turning him into a national hero. He was born in 1758 and died in 1805 killed by a French sniper when leading an attack. The controversy emerged when a journalist published an article saying how since Lord Nelson was a white supremacist and strong supporter of slavery, his statue and his status should be torn down. I want you to imagine that the person driving you to school last year was driving at 40mph in a 50mph zone. Now, however, a year later, the speed limit on that road has changed to 30mph, possibly due to safety concerns. Would you judge the quality of the person’s driving by his adherence to the driving standards he was driving at a year ago, or by the safer but slower limits of today? Just as it makes no sense to admonish this driver for breaking a law that hadn’t yet come into force, it makes no sense to judge historical figures by today’s moral standards. The slave trade in England was abolished in 1807, two years after Nelson died, with slavery only being fully abolished in 1833. Therefore, in his time, against the set of moral values prevalent then, Nelson was acting in a reasonably moral way. And Nelson doesn’t stand alone; we could levy similar moral judgement on Cecil Rhodes, William Gladstone or Mahatma Gandhi. We have moved the moral goalpost so many times that it would be impossible to find historical characters fulfilling every single moral position across time. In case any of you believe our morals today are absolute and the best morals possible so we should hold historical figures to them, people in 50 years’ time may look back and think we are barbaric for slaughtering animals! Spending money on holidays which could have been spent saving lives in Africa may repulse them! They may question how we can possibly drive around in carbon spewing cars, destroying our planet. Having explained how judging historical
figures is wrong since morals are constantly changing, I will now move onto my next point. The historical philosopher, E.H Carr wrote ‘Study the historian before you begin to study the facts’. He says ‘facts are like fish on a fishmonger’s slab. The historian collects them, takes them home and cooks and serves them.’ Different historians will cook the ‘facts’ in different ways, based on their morals, whether consciously or subconsciously, and judge historical figures based on this. A contemporary historian might have described Nelson as a mighty and powerful figure, focusing on his victories and courage, fighting for what he believed in. Another historian, living at a different time may see him as a racist and villain, whose active support of slavery is disgusting and abhorrent. Hence, it is important to understand a historian’s environment, to learn in what way he is cooking the evidence. However, it is also crucial to note that by the historian doing so, it leads to distortion, adding the historian’s own judgement and feelings to their tale of history. My argument centres on the idea that there is no absolute morality and by interpreting history through the lens of their own morality a historian imposes their own subjective opinions on the historical facts. Our morals are constantly changing and the product of a particular point in history and geography that we inhabit. It would be foolish to say that our morals are ‘superior’, rather they are just different. For those who are cynical, maybe it is because you are subjectively looking at this question from a modern Western perspective ‐ do you not think someone living 100 years ago would also be subjective saying their morals are superior? You would say they are biased, as are you. Morality today is simply different to morality in history, and judging historical figures by today’s morality makes about as much sense as prosecuting your driver because the speed limit has subsequently changed on the road he was driving on.
Lucas Valladares, Senior School
‘The History of Antiziganist Stereotypes: Europe’s most oppressed minority’
“A big cult (where) the children are... forced to steal” with “a parasitic lifestyle” and “a total inability to integrate into modern society”. These comments were all collected from a thread on the social media platform ‘Reddit’ and originated from users from Poland to Belgium, demonstrating the harsh perspective against the most populous trans-national ethnic minority in Europe, the Roma. The Roma are overwhelmingly the victims of hate speech, crimes and a terrible reputation and were declared by the Global Minorities Alliance to be ‘The Most Persecuted Minority in Europe.’ In fact, even the official legal term ‘Gypsy’ in the UK is considered a slur according the World Romani Congress. So why, in an era where we push against racism, are Roma so stigmatized and their discrimination so normalized? The stereotype of the Roma being unhygienic can be linked to their exclusion from urban communities with Roma culture actually focusing on purity and the avoidance of being ‘marime’. The MORI survey discovered 32% and 42% of interviewed people cited newspapers and television as the primary source through which they gained/justified prejudice. Although Roma have higher rates of heart disease, this is largely due to nomadic or rural lifestyles, lack of accessible affordable healthcare and higher rates of poverty and their levels of infectious diseases are broadly average. The antiziganist stereotype is a consequence of the life Roma are forced to live in oppressive states. Resultantly, Roma are considered unhygienic due to their impoverished, rural lifestyles which originate from exclusion from urban culture and accessible healthcare. Ironically, another Roma stereotype regarding their aversion to education and high crime rates can be linked to modern discrimination and exclusion from mainstream education. Historically, they formed the working classes and resultantly lacked significant education and in the modern world many Roma are sent to special-education schools due to their ethnicity. Even those who attend experience disproportionate levels of exclusion due to teacher bias, bullying due to racism and low motivation due to the common attitude of disinterest towards education among Roma communities. Furthermore, many Roma parents are sufficiently poor that they take their children out of school early to assist with family trades which typically don’t require formal qualifications. Thus, another Roma stereotype originates from the segregation and racism within many European education systems and the resultant distrust of the education system among Roma communities alongside the high levels of poverty often forcing Roma to leave school early.
Some more of the most ironic and prominent antiziganist stereotypes are the simultaneous beliefs that Roma are dirty thieves and that many are rich barons with fast cars. Although Roma do typically have a higher rate of crime, this is linked to historical oppression - 400 years of slavery in Romanian principalities, alongside expulsions from other European countries ensured widespread poverty among Roma by the 20th Century. The Porajmos or ‘The Devouring’ between 1933-1945 killed over one quarter of the Roma/Sinti population within Europe and primarily killed the documented since they were easier to find – This led to a higher proportion of the surviving Roma to be stateless and caused many Roma to flee their native country and become stateless. Under socialism, they were concentrated into dangerous labour and resultantly modern Roma are predominantly impoverished and uneducated with few transgenerational skills and racism in employment. Consequently many Roma are forced into crime as an impoverished class as they face systematic barriers in applying for jobs and renting property. Although non-Roma earn 27% more than Roma adults in Romania, there’s still a stereotype of the Roma being greedy and rich which is partially due to some influential Roma collecting money from poorer members of the local community and hence the stereotype could be resolved by an emancipation of Roma women. Thus, the stereotypes of Roma as dirty thieves and rich comes from the extremes reported in the media and the both historical and modern institutional oppression of Roma working through legal means. To conclude, the historical oppression of the Roma from their first arrival to Crete in 1322 can be directly linked to their impoverished conditions today. Persecution and deportation caused a growth in nomadic employment with musical entertainers like Lautari and low-skilled crafts like metal-workers. Wealthier Roma were easier to identify and hence targeted in the Porajmos, Austria-Hungary's abolition of Roma lifestyles and Poland’s anti-nomad legislation in 1964 which led to Roma being primarily working-class all-over Europe. The ideas of Roma as dirty, uneducated and poor partially originate from their sustained exclusion from urban environments with the Italian police evicting over 300 Roma from a camp in Rome in July 2018 despite the Europe Court of Human Rights specifically ordering to suspend the action. The best method to re-integrate Roma into society and prevent their marginalization is to reeducate the Roma population and resultantly accumulate a Roma middle class once again to combat the outdated antiziganist archetypes. The combined efforts of Roma-led education desegregation in Eastern Europe and the European Union set an optimistic tone for the future of the Roma, however it is imperative the Roma are protected at every step.
Milo Sinclair, Junior School
‘Weather and climate and how it shaped the past’
Today we see extreme weather all over the news and we hear stories about how the world’s heating up and the climate is changing. We see on our TV how the climate impacts us now, and even how it will get worse in the future and now. But extreme weather and extreme climate has been important throughout history. In this essay I will review some example of how the weather and climate affected the past. One occasion where the weather has changed outcome of history – and one all Habs boys will know well as we seemed to learn about it every couple of years in the Prep - is when in 1588 Britain was saved by the wind. On a windy day 130 ships with 30,000 soldiers and sailors fitted with 2,500 guns sailed to England with the plan to invade it and punish the people who had stolen from loot from Spanish ships. If they had succeeded in reaching England and invading it many of us would not be alive now and our country as we know it would be very different. Following the battle of Gravelines the Spanish ships where forced into the North Sea by a strong southwesterly wind. The ships were unable to sail back due to the wind. The Spanish Armada was ended as boats were lost at sea or smashed into rocks. This is a very well known example because it was a decisive defeat. But also because the effect of weather was easy for everyone to see. There was a storm and as a direct result the Spanish Armada failed to invade England. However, weather can also have long term impacts, which are much harder to see. Those of us who have been learning our American history through rap musicals, we will recall that Alexander Hamilton brought Alexander Hamilton to New York. In the words of Lin Manuel Miranda: “Then a hurricane came, and devastation reigned Our man saw his future drip, drippin down the drain Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain And he wrote his first refrain, a testament to his pain Well the word got around, they said this kid is insane, man
Took up a collection just to send him to the mainlandâ&#x20AC;? The story behind this passage is that a hurricane hit the Island of Nevis in 1772. The young Hamilton, who was born there, wrote an essay explaining the devastation, and he was so eloquent that word spread around the island and impressed all the islanders, they then put together enough money to send him to New York. Now the effect of weather here is not the instant devastation of Nevis. Nor the personal impact on Hamilton as at the time no one knew if Hamilton would do something great or not. However, in the long run Hamilton went on to play a crucial role in the War of Independence, the debates on the constitution, and the establishment of a federal government. Hamilton created the banking system in New York and the coast guards. These massive impacts and it all started because one hurricane hit his exact island in that exact year. In contrast to one-off events like hurricanes, climate which is the average weather for an area over a period, is also important. Winters in Russia are very cold. This is well known. But twice in the last 200 years generals who have conquered much of Europe have been defeated by the Russian winter, not thinking to prepare for it. In June 1812 in Napoleon started the greatest of his campaigns into Russia. But Russia is very large, and his men were still fighting across the country as winter came. In the cold and bloody war 500,000 French died, as well as 400,000 Russians defending Russia. Just over 100 year later Hitler made the same mistake. Hitler also started his invasion in June, but again this was not early enough and he did not give himself enough time. He nearly made it to Moscow. In December mid-winter operation Barbarossa came to an end. But men learned it is extremely hard to invade Russia due to its climate. They serve to remind us that extreme weather and challenging climate is not just making headlines today. It is something that has made history throughout history.
Aria Hashemi, Senior School
‘Book Review: ‘The Creation of the American Republic 1776-87’: Gordon S. Wood’
Firstly, this particular book was chosen for review because I found fascinating the degree to which there was a great fervour surrounding the surrounding the Revolution as a whole and the independent processes of drafting new constitutions, yet how Wood could so succinctly contrast this with the issues the colonists encountered by way of disillusionment of ideals and personal squabbles uncharacteristic of the Republic they sought to create. These conflicts
between the ideals of the colonists and what was evolving around them in reality raised interesting notions of ideas blinding people from the true real reality of what could be achievable, with Americans not possessing the civic virtues to create such a state, and it is for this reason that I wish to review this book. As a university professor and historian, Wood is writing with the purpose of informing with his analysis of the processes of constitution-making in the Revolutionary era. Ultimately his thesis, in the final copy of the text produced, was that Americans had effectively blinded themselves with their own agendas. They had effectively convinced themselves that all men are in nature and that the legislative supremacy of the people was the most important method by which to prevent executive tyranny, and it was ultimately this that created the revolution. This was not his thesis to begin with however, and only began to develop as he began to gain a glimpse of what Americans in the 18th century truly meant when they spoke of living in an enlightened age. Initially, he sought to write ‘a monographic analysis of constitution-making in the Revolutionary era.’ Yet he adapted his approach to what he was writing as his ‘reading opened up an intellectual world I had scarcely known existed.’ This very instance reminds us that we must avoid dogmatism in our approach to history, we must be receptive to new ideas, and willing to absorb information that could perhaps change the arguments around which works of history revolve. This particular book of Wood’s, in its earlier days, did not seem destined for any direction where it would challenge existing arguments or notions that have been asserted by various historians on the American Revolution. Yet the pattern of beliefs amongst the Americans that Wood explored over the course of his writing of ‘The Creation of the American Republic’, seemed to ‘solve’ ‘many of the historiographical problems involved in interpreting the revolution’ which initially stemmed ‘from a failure to appreciate the distinctiveness of the culture in which the Revolutionary generation operated’, with Wood citing the approach of many historians studying this period as ‘ahistorical’. It was the failure of these historians to perceive the Revolutionary period as driven by Americans’ ‘habit of thinking’, as Wood argued, that had caused inaccuracies in the analysis of constitution-making hitherto. In his use of primary sources, Wood found himself having to frequently resort to newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, and private correspondence in the meagreness in the availability of official records prior to the ratification of the national constitution. He would use the newspapers to gain as close as an approximation as was possible of personal debate. He was cautious in his use of private correspondence so as to not have his interpretation of the period shrouded in inaccuracies by taking the thoughts of elitist individuals as factual evidence. As far as secondary sources were concerned, Wood admitted to being spoilt for choice, with many possible interpretations, with him especially frequenting books on 18th Century English thought so as to help him understand ‘the Enlightenment’s concern with health and sickness.’ He admits that he was rather starved for sources on the politics of the Southern-most states, with a greater focus on ‘colonial jurisprudence’ being crucial. Wood has both caused me to question ideas that I had previously thought rather irrevocable in my understanding of them, namely democracy, and has also introduced me to new questions and debates. His argument that democracy only existed in the early years of the Pennsylvanian constitution-making process, as legislative powers were vested in each individual and not merely representatives, was a bewildering concept to grasp at first. From this, it would then have to be argued that no state containing a representative body can truly be democratic, for even in governments were representatives can be held accountable, the degree to which they PAGE 62
can be held accountable can never supersede the possibility of their manipulation of their position for their own personal benefit perhaps. Wood has also introduced me to the corruptive effect of ideas, such that the Americans had acquired this notion of Republicanism as the ideology that could best protect their rights and liberties, yet they became subsumed by this. Ultimately, the prospect of such a Republican state distracted them from the unfeasibility of establishing such a system, which is a consideration that I think could be raised towards idealists in modern society, who seek to establish grand social change, yet fail to recognise the numerous obstacles that prevent such an occurrence. Wood has influenced my approach to ‘doing history’ in such a way that I have come to understand that it would be anachronistic to use particular words like ‘democracy’, ‘liberty’ and ‘virtue’ in the context of their 21st century meaning. The meaning of these words is constantly evolving, and it is not appropriate to use a person in the 21st century’s notion of democracy when talking about society in the 18th century. One must seek to discover what these terms meant to individuals in the relevant period that they are studying and from there, expand from there to see, in the case of the American Revolution, the type of ‘democracy’ that the colonists strove for. I would undoubtedly recommend this book to another in the room as it is certain to provide challenges to what we think we know about our ideas, and the gap between ideas, and reality. Living in a world that is evolving so rapidly in a social sense, one could certainly draw parallels between the world we live in now, and the world that Wood sought to analyse, with similar themes appearing in both timelines, which may contravene both what we think we know, and what we wish to hear.
George Chadney, Senior School
‘Book Review: E.H. Carr, ‘What is History?’’
E.H. Carr’s ‘What is History?’, comprising of a series of lectures given by Carr, is undoubtedly a highly influential book with regards to the practice and philosophy of history, being described by Richard J. Evans as a “classic” which in some respects has “never been superseded”. Carr addresses the role of facts and ‘objectivity’ in history, ideas surrounding ‘accidents’ in history, inevitability in history and a wide range of other issues. To summarise all the arguments made by Carr briefly would be difficult, as each lecture addresses somewhat different topics, but perhaps the chief argument made by Carr, and the one I found the most engaging, concerns facts and ‘objectivity’. Carr strongly rejects the notion that the historian can look at the past from an entirely rational and objective standpoint, with all judgements being arrived at only from the “hard core of facts” and interpretation being kept to a minimum. The first argument presented is that even in the selection of “historical facts”, a historian is implicitly making judgments and interpretation; the “hard core of facts” is one which is chosen by each historian when determining which facts are relevant, and which are irrelevant and “unhistorical”. This was thoroughly persuasive to my mind. If a historian were writing about, for example, 18th and early 19th Century radicalism, and chose to exclude the experience of parishes which tended towards popular loyalism but extensively discussed the Pentrich Rising, while the account might still be ‘factual’, by excluding the loyalist parishes there is an implication that they are in some way less important, and therefore the historian has already engaged in interpretation. As Carr puts it, facts are hardly the “hard core” of history, they are the “shifting sands”. The second, perhaps more common, argument Carr presents against the notion that we ought to pursue a purely factual “ultimate history”, is that the historian will inevitably be affected by the influences of their time. What I found particularly enlightening in this regard was not just this argument, but Carr’s contention that this is not necessarily a bad thing. He argues that as our understanding of society improves over time, this results in more sophisticated ways of analysing history, and therefore that a historian being the product of their time means that their outlook on history will be an improvement upon previous outlooks. Indeed, a historian influenced by the attitudes of the 18th Century would likely have a far cruder and less nuanced view of society and history than a historian influenced by the attitudes of the 21st Century, and it is this argument which I found perhaps the most illuminating in ‘What is History?’; the idea that the influence of the present day upon a historian is not something which necessarily needs
to be fought or overcome, but something which results in our outlook on history becoming more and more sophisticated. Geoffrey Elton has criticised Carr for this view, describing the view that historians would inevitably be significantly influenced by their time as “pernicious nonsense”, charging Carr with taking a “purely relative” approach to history. This seems to be rather unfair, as Carr repeatedly attacks the “sceptics” who do take a “purely relative” approach, regarding all ways of looking at history as equally valid; as described above, Carr, though he does argue all historians are shaped by their time, does not regard all ways of looking as history as merely different, believing our outlook on history to be not just changing but improving over time. Elton also attacks Carr’s division of facts between those which are “historical” (those which are valuable enough that historians have “given them the floor”) and those which are mere facts about the past which have not been used by historians, on the grounds that a historian should not be able to “invent or construct the object of his study”. However, Carr is not asserting that facts which are “unhistorical” did not, as Elton puts it, “actually once happen… to real people” - he still regards them as “facts of the past” – he is only distinguishing those facts which historians have decided are not significant or relevant. Though this review has only been able to discuss one aspect of ‘What is History?’, on all the subjects it covers the book is compelling, succinct and illuminating, and to my mind particularly enlightening on this subject of facts and objectivity.
Oliver Mosheim, Senior School
‘Book Review: On the Use and Abuse of History for Life’
Nietzsche’s On the Use and Abuse of History for Life is a lampoon against modern society. It condemns the overly-historical approach of his 19th century contemporaries as they studied the past, as Ranke was urging them to do at the time, ‘to understand it for what it was’. Nietzsche’s central argument is that historical knowledge is not inherently valuable and should only be accumulated if it aids living. A rousing argument, it decries knowledge for its own sake as knowledge only has any value if there is life; thus, living takes precedence over knowledge. Nietzsche provides three methods of studying history that can enliven our existences. The first is monumental history which examines the life of great men (and for Nietzsche his list probably would have only included men) to instruct others to be able to imitate them. As contemporaries lacked greatness, one could look into the past to find proof and inspiration of humanity’s potential. The past is also valuable if studied by an antiquarian historian who will find contentment in exploring their ancestry and traditions. People who live monotonous lives can find encouragement from this approach to history as the study of their people and traditions provides meaning to their everyday existence. The final use of history is studying it critically: evaluating and critiquing the past in order to improve and better understand the present. Nietzsche identified some risks that these approaches to history contained. For instance, monumental history was dangerous for people who were not able to emulate the actions of the great. This was aptly demonstrated in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, greatly influenced by Nietzsche, in which Raskolnikov thinks himself one of humanity’ great men and thus believes he transcends the rules of society and is able to forge his own. Hence, he he can commit murder as it will serve the purposes of a great man; however, the only flaw in this thinking for Dostoevsky was the fact that Raskolnikov was not a great man so could not act imperviously. His remorse after committing the crime demonstrated his weakness and therefore made it wrong for him to murder. Similarly, practising monumental history is dangerous to those who are not themselves great and should not be emulating great men. Moreover, antiquarian history poses a risk if one reveres the past over the present and hence stops living and innovating as they are too in awe of tradition. Nietzsche, regarded by some as the founder of existentialism, would have agreed with Jefferson’s belief that ‘the earth belongs in usufruct to the living’. Consequently, when antiquarian history intrudes on forging one’s own identity it becomes a subversive discipline. Critical history also has its dangers: particularly because we are all PAGE 66
derived from the past, hence criticising it can prove self-defeating as our views are shaped by it. Nietzsche’s central thesis is an exhortation for action and living. In a secular and mainly existentialist society, it provides a compelling argument that living is what matters most and therefore the study of the past is only valuable if it enriches our present. Yet, history can be studied in many ways to make it valuable – not just the in the three approaches Nietzsche prescribes. For example, exploring the contrasting worldviews of different societies emphasises how our perception of reality can be readily challenged and reformed which in turn makes us more receptive to change. Furthermore, Nietzsche decries the historical trend towards micro-histories (and if he were living today he would presumably reproach cultural and minority histories) as they focus on the ‘mediocre man’. Thus, we learn little of about greatness from them and the only ‘laws’ we can derive are those which are animalistic such as what hunger, love and passion do to men. Yet, this view of the past is too limited and neglects the great value that can be gained from studying these people and different perspectives their stories provide. While to understand freedom one should study the work thinkers such as Locke, humanity can gain valuable insights on what it is to be free by exploring the existence of slaves and others denied their freedom. History is too narrow if constricted only to a few ‘great men’. However, Nietzsche does provide an interesting argument that the factual accuracy of our histories are not particularly important. Their purpose is to enrich living, hence understanding the cause of an event is far less important than the effect. Monumental history is intended to inspire greatness, going into extreme detail over how something occurred does not achieve this and in fact does the reverse by underlining how singular and inimitable an action was. Brutus murdering Caesar is not an event that can be replicated nowadays. Instead, history should be distorted so as to make it more generalisable and the specific details of the past discarded in favour of more inspiring (and general) impressions. This seems to blur the line between history and fiction and is a dangerous way of viewing the past as it makes historians extremely powerful in determining what actions should be encouraged and what narratives highlighted. Yet, in our post-modern society, with an increasing acceptance that an objective account of the past can never be written, is it so outlandish to view the past as inspiring tool rather than a dead narrative? On the Use and Abuse of History for Life can certainly enrich our study of history by providing different methods of approaching the past which can enliven our existence and also by dissuading historians from accumulating historical knowledge with no view of enriching the present.
Epilogue I hope that you have enjoyed reading through the excellent submissions submitted by other students. In this section of the magazine are some miscellaneous bits of news and insights on different things. The first thing to say is if you enjoyed reading this at all in any way you should absolutely go to History Society. It has some brilliant speakers talking about all kinds of fascinating topics. It is after school (on Mondays) but that doesn’t matter- it is still worth going. There were some things I wanted to add to the magazine- interviews with historians, regular updates on History Society, an editorial from some of the history teachers- that just didn’t work out due to lack of time and, mainly, Coronavirus. Next year, hopefully, the latter issue will go away and the next team of editors will be able to make Timeline as impressive as it can be. The editors can be anyone who shows enough enthusiasm- it could even be you. If you’re interested, please write to Dr StJohn. Don’t think of it as extra work to do- it’s honestly amazing to have the responsibility to judge people’s submissions and determine prizewinners, and to compile them into a magazine that looks however you think is best. It’s a privilege, not a chore. Whether you want to be an editor or not, however, any constructive feedback is welcome and encouraged. Thank you for reading this far. All the entrants will no doubt be pleased to hear you’ve read their work, and as the editor-in-chief it’s gratifying that someone has read the messages I’ve written. Thanks again for reading, and have a nice day. -Daniel