The Examiner The KES History Department VI Form History Magazine October 2013
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List of Contents
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The Relationship of History and Literature. Liberty Roberts Why did Wall Street Crash? Archie Sherlock Were the Spartans the feminists of the Ancient World? Alex Halcoussis How did American public opinion regarding the Vietnam War change from 1959-1975? Conor Bevens To what extent was the eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire a consequence of the Fourth Crusade? William Lee The Underground Railroad: Risk and Reward. Katie Hurst Was the Montgomery Bus Boycott a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement? Reem Katifi The Nuremburg War Crime Trials: An absence of legitimacy and moral integrity? Mark Smith Romania: The Rule of Ceausescu Anjelica Cleaver Bhopal: The Worst Industrial Accident in History? Kiah Ashford-Stow To what extent was Lord Mountbatten responsible for the Crisis of Indian Independence? Nikhil Ohri Was the death of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos in 1061 a more significant blow to the Byzantine Empire than the defeat to the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert in 1071? Chris Logie An Alternative History: What might have been the consequence of failure at the 1938 Munich Conference? William Lee The Nuremburg War Crime Trials: Fair Trials or “victors’ justice”? Marta Brodzka Tinkers, Tailors, Soldiers and Spies: Intelligence during the Cold War Daniel Zhang British Politics from 1910-1914: A successful Liberal Government or the beginning of the end for British Liberalism? Owen Lock Unexpected Consequences? The impact of the Third Crusade on England. Richard Tissiman
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“The best of the historian is subject to the poet; for whatsoever action or faction, whatsoever counsel, policy or war-stratagem the historian is bound to recite, that may the poet, if he list, with his imitation make his own; beautifying it both for further teaching and more delighting” The Defence of Poesy, Sir Philip Sidney 1583 Is there any truth to this account of literature’s relationship to history – particularly poetry’s relationship to war and conflict? Liberty Roberts
Many poets, particularly the Romantics such as Shelley, Byron and Tennyson, glorified violence in the nineteenth century, most famously at the time of the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic War. Sentiment and patrioritism defined their work, such as in Byron’s The Eve of Waterloo, as they spoke of death euphemistically, and life heroically. For example Byron describes violence rousing “the vengeance blood alone could quell” and once on the field depicting death subtly in the line: “foremost fighting, fell”. One could argue, however, that this ‘beautification’ is the outcome of blind ignorance on the true horrors; only witnesses such as the French people and poets like Andre Chenier, who was a victim of the Revolution, have the resources to express the truth. Andre Chenier, consequently, composed despairing poems about the Revolution, such as an Ode to Marie-Anne-Charlotte Corday, which can be directly compared to the English Romantics’ work. As well as Chenier, the World War One poets experienced the horror and barbarity. Thus, and a theory worth arguing is, a poet’s position in relation to the conflict significantly influences the style and depiction of the violence.
Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade and Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy, written in 1855 and 1819 respectively, arose from second-hand accounts of the events. Tennyson wrote his poem immediately after reading an article in the newspaper and Shelley was in Italy, 890 miles from England, when he learnt of the 3|P a g e
massacre in Peterloo, the subject of his poem. These are examples of non-witnessed conflicts; as a result, the creators are elaborative of the truth, combining their imagination with written reports – in Tennyson’s case this manifests as an over-glorification of his native forces despite casualties, and Shelley idealising pacifism and advocating radical social action. For example in the Masque of Anarchy, the famous line, “ye are many – they are few” offers as a burning motif in the poem, when realistically, the radicals were an ineffective minority compared to the yeomanry and the rest of the population. Undoubtedly the poets were manipulated by unintentional propaganda in the headlines - the only dependable source for information in the nineteenth century - and their unequivocal trust in the strength of the army and cause. However everyone, including the articles, were entirely ignorant of the real atrocities associated with war which evidently affected the style of the poet’s writing. The social position of the poet is another factor that affects the stylistic approach: Tennyson was given the title of Poet Laureate in 1850 and attached to this position was a certain pressure to conform and act in the public’s service. Whilst laureate, his compulsion to express his political views first manifested in The Charge of the Light Brigade, and later in Ode on the Death of Duke of Wellington and Riflemen, Form which were to become part of his political canon. However, Tennyson’s new social position as the literary mouthpiece for the country - the multifaceted media acting as its equivalent in modern day perhaps undermines, or supresses, his ability to project the truth: The Charge of the Light Brigade recalls a calamitous military engagement at the beginning of the Crimean war. On October 25th in 1854 the Russians were stealing guns from the British and orders were given to hinder them. Similarly to the rest of the war, this phase was plagued by misunderstandings and blunders: most of the British charged in the wrong direction and one hundred men needlessly died within minutes. Despite the retrospective view of inefficiency and tragedy, the poem, written in the
period, glorifies war and heroism whilst concealing the awful failure – an example of Tennyson substituting the negativity of truth, perhaps intentionally or not, for a rallying and celebratory poetic cry appropriate to his position as Laureate. Chenier, already an enemy to the state, had little to lose in terms of social position. Similarly to the World War One poets, he was free of expectation and laws and therefore could write without fear of reprimand during the French Revolution in 1789. Despite both Tennyson’s and Chenier’s involvement in the Romantic Movement – Chenier a precursor and Tennyson concluding the latter years – the poems Ode to Marie-Anne-Charlotte Corday and The Charge of the Light Brigade are counterpoint in terms of their portrayal of war: Chenier offers a brutal and explicit image, such as the translation “From the tiger's guts, from his homicidal teeth/You came and drew what he'd devoured from beneath” compared to Tennyson’s emphasis on form, repetition and rhythm, over substance: “Right thro' the line they broke;/Cossack and Russian/ Reel'd from the sabre-stroke”, perhaps due to his weak understanding of the subject, which pre-empts the contrast that inevitably arises between the poets: Chenier has suffered, been held captive and witnessed the miserable state of France which allows for the poet’s ultimate source - his own experience - to brand up the page, creating a more profound and realistic poem than a poet who has only imagined, and in Tennyson’s case, idealised. The First World War brought a new definition to war poetry: a medium for protest, dissent and outrage. After the death of 20 million people it’s not surprising that poetry morphed into this form to express the anger and grief which characterised the years after the War. Rather than beautifying, poets such as Siegfried Sassoon, T.S Eliot and Wilfred Owen used their poetry to reflect the fragmentation of society, as well as the new scepticism on the value of ‘civilisation’ and ‘national identity’. The poetry was composed of unflinching imagery and biting irony such as “his hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin” in Dulce et Decorum est, published posthumously, as many poems were, in 1920. The incomprehensible loss of life in the first global war, the new breed of war poets who fought and died as soldiers and the advanced social media revolutionised, at home and amongst the soldiers, the whole perception of war, which had remarkable effects on the literary output of that era – notably causing the new movement, Modernism. Most of the poets were unknown, thus were able to work outside the strictures of societal expectations, unlike Tennyson and Byron, which catalysed their savage descriptions and unashamedly vicious verse. For instance in Siegfried Sassoon’s poem ‘Attack’ he poignantly describes trench warfare with the “Lines of grey, 4|P a g e
muttering faces, masked with fear,” – singling out no one, but nothing is lost, for the grief of the image can only be painted by a man who has seen it. Contrarily to the Romantic poets, the Word War One poets were inspired from their own personal experiences: this is evident from the graphic descriptions of suffering and death which cannot be conjured up so vividly by the imagination, even in the heat of creativity. For example the bleak language found in Sassoon’s poem, “the rank stench of those bodies still haunts me” lingers as an unspeakable truth. More than anything, the poetry of the First World War, knowingly or not, brought unwanted attention to the leaders whose young blood was on their hands. T.S Eliot is an example of poet who didn’t experience the war first-hand, but rather gained his knowledge through the media and, unforgettably, the bombing campaign that destroyed cities in Britain and thus increased the number of people affected compared to the time of the Romantics. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, published in 1920, is a showcase of how effective the transmission of the brutality of war, to those who weren’t fighting, has advanced. His poem rightly reflects the fracturing society and the crisis that a whole lost generation to a futile and needless war provoked. The epigraph taken from Satyricon, in which a woman exclaims she “wants to die”, summarises Eliot’s own pessimism when acknowledging the remnants of a once glorious Empire – full of culture, identity and patriotism - reduced to rubble by the War. In this case Eliot is not beautifying history, but rather challenging it: his poem mirrors the distress of the war poets in that period, all struggling to define the new civilisation and grasp reality after witnessing so much anguish. Sidney, in his quote, was accurate when summarising the purpose of the poet for the sixteenth century – to ‘beautify’, ‘delight’ and to ‘teach’. However in that period, for Sidney, Shakespeare and indeed for the Romantic poets, war is intangible and a figment for the poet as he collects his knowledge from other sources, never his own, which has, as a result, led to beautification of war. As social media became more established in the early twentieth century, and unknown poets enlisted to fight and their experiences; World War I was not an imagined war, but rather a war lived and felt by everyone, thus the disparate and tragic poems, a result of their experience, weren’t incongruous with general public sentiment of loss and anger. Additionally, the poets and the public from the Romantic era held similar views due to the corresponding source of information - the newspaper, but unlike in WWI, the truth was somewhat distorted by artistic licence; a force more keenly used when own experience lacked. A similarity across all of the poems discussed is that all of them ‘teach’ the reader,
perhaps not always information, but the ability to empathise, comprehend and recreate situations in one’s
conscious through the language – quite possibly the ultimate purpose of poetry.
_____________________________________________ Why did Wall Street Crash? Archie Sherlock The “Roaring 20s”, the decade that led up to the Crash, was a time of wealth and excess. Despite the dangers of speculation, many believed that the stock market would continue to rise indefinitely. On March 25th, 1929, however, a mini crash occurred after investors started to sell stocks at a rapid pace, exposing the market's shaky foundation. This turned out to be a precedent for the Wall Street Crash, which began in late October of 1929. It turned out to be the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, leading to a worldwide Depression and contributing significantly to the rise to power in Germany of Adolf Hitler.
The crash signalled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries and did not end in the United States until the onset of American mobilization for World War II at the end of 1941. The degree of the severity of the Wall Street Crash can be quantified with some statistics. Perhaps the most obvious reflection of its severity would be that 12 million people were put out of work. This was at a rate of 12,000 people a day. One of the reasons for this was the declaration of bankruptcy by 20,000 companies. A statistic that shows the moral and mental effect of the crash and subsequent depression was that 23,000 people committed suicide the year following the crash- the highest ever rate recorded. So, what was the main reason for the Crash and subsequent 10 years of Great Depression that ensued? The Crash occurred because of the rapid selling of shares. This caused the price of shares to tumble which in turn caused the market to drop by roughly 30 points shown in the table below:
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October 28, 1929
October 29, 1929
However, what caused people to sell these shares, and why did it all happen in such a short space of time? One reason for the rapid offloading of peoples’ shares was their anxiety in the economic climate of the States. One possible reason for this was the mini crash that occurred March 25 th, 1929. Although this crash was small, it made investors more anxious. This meant that when a handful of people started to sell their shares, people took overly evasive actions by starting to sell their shares. This can be shown on a demand and supply diagram with a shift right of supply. This is because when people start to sell their stocks, more are available for people to buy. This drives the price of shares down which causes even more people to sell as the price falls further and they do not want to lose out any more than they already have done so. Another possible reason for peoples’ increased anxiety in the stock market was the Ponzi scheme of the 1920s. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. A lot of people lost money when the “pyramid” of investment got too big and finally collapsed and was shut down. This caused a lot of people to be more prudent with their money. When a Ponzi scheme is not stopped by authorities, it sooner or later falls apart for one of the following reasons. It could be because the promoter vanishes, taking all the remaining investment money. Another reason could be that the scheme requires a continual stream of investment to fund high returns, once investment slows down, the scheme collapses as the promoter starts having problems paying the promised returns. Such liquidity crises often trigger panics, as more people start asking for their money, similar to a bank run. Finally, external market forces, such as a sharp decline. Leading up to the crash, there was a large credit boom. There was a rapid growth in bank loans and the extension of credit. Encouraged by the strength of the economy, people felt the stock market was a one way bet. Some consumers borrowed to buy shares and firms took out more loans for expansion. As people became highly indebted, it meant they became more susceptible to a change in confidence. When that change of confidence came in 1929, those who had borrowed were particularly exposed and joined the rush to sell shares and try and redeem their debts. This change in confidence can be seen as the inevitable bursting of the bubble or simply a fluctuation in the economy as part of the economic cycle.
The graph above suggests that it was the latter of these two possibilities that was the key. In a free-market economy, GDP fluctuates above and below the country’s trend rate of growth. Leading up to the crash in 1929, the US economy had a large
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positive output gap. These current good times had to be paid for by bad times in the future. This can be seen on the graph with changing peaks and troughs as time progresses. If GDP started to fall in the economy, people may see this as a prelude to what might come in the subsequent months, with a bust in the economy following the large boom. This may have caused people to rapidly sell their shares in order to try and cut their losses before the economy slumped and share prices fell with possible deflation. Once people start to sell, the inevitable follows- a stock market crash, where share price plummet. Another possibility, the first one suggested is the inevitable bursting of the credit bubble which neither anyone nor anything can control. Credit â€˜bubblesâ€™ burst when there is a credit boom and banks finally stop granting loans. This is because either they cannot fund new investment projects, or they realise that they have lent too much, getting caught up in the economic boom times. Once banks stop granting loans, the economy can and did collapse. This is because banks suddenly tighten loan restrictions. This means both that firms cannot continually fund their expansion through loans as well as people not being able to pay off existing loans with new loans. This means a number of people simply default on loans as they cannot pay them back. Once this starts happening, prices start to fall as demand drops off due to an inability to afford things. This means that inflation starts to fall which means that share prices also start to fall, as the general price level begins to rise at a slower rate (or even fall with deflation). This means that people, with their increased anxiety in the stock market spoken about earlier, take any small fluctuation in price as a warning. Everyone starts to sell and the crash follows. A lot of the Stock Market crash can be blamed on over exuberance and false expectations. In the years leading up to 1929, the stock market offered the potential for making huge gains in wealth. It was the new gold rush. People bought shares with the expectations of making more money. As share prices rose, people started to borrow money to invest in the stock market. The market got caught up in a speculative bubble- shares kept rising and people felt they would continue to do so. The problem was that stock prices became divorced from the real potential earnings of the share prices. Prices were not being driven by economic fundamentals but the optimism and exuberance of investors. The average earning per share rose by 400% between 1923 and 1929. Yet, those who questioned the value of shares were often labelled doom-mongers. This over-zealousness in peoplesâ€™ approach to buying shares was always going to be bad news. This was not backed up with experienced investors as more and more people entered the lucrative market. This meant that people did not have the guts to ride out a small drop in share price which meant that when this drop did come, people panicked and sold their shares as quickly as they could. This again stemmed from the anxiety about falling prices from things such as the decline of the farming industry and the malignant corruption of the US economies shown through things such as the Ponzi scheme. The weakness of the Banking System can be seen as one of the main reasons why Wall Street Crashed. Before the Great Depression, the American banking system was characterised by having many small to medium sized firms. America had over 30,000 banks. The effect of this was that they were prone to going bankrupt if there was a run on deposits. In particular, many banks in rural areas went bankrupt due to the agricultural recession. This had a negative impact on the rest of the financial industry. Between 1923 and 1930 5,000 banks collapsed. This meant that people were more inclined to put their savings on the stock market. This was because if they saved in the bank, there was quite a high risk that the bank would go bankrupt and the savers would lose all their money. This led to people being more susceptible to fluctuations in the market, as they were their personal savings, which can help to explain why so many decided to sell their shares.
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Were the Spartans the feminists of the Ancient World? Alex Halcoussis
"Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?" "Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men." Gorgo, Queen of Sparta and wife of Leonidas, as quoted by Plutarch. At first glance, this seems like a ridiculous question. Most of us remember the Spartans almost exclusively for their warmongering tendencies, and the ancient city state has been immortalised by great battles such as Thermopylae. Perhaps then we would not think to associate the Spartans with feminism, or even women, as war is traditionally a male dominated activity, but there is certainly evidence to suggest the women held a far higher position in Spartan society than many would have expected. For the purpose of this article, feminism is going to be defined as an ideology aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. When evaluating whether or not the Spartans were feminists the question must be looked at against the contextual background of Ancient Greece.
Certain aspects of the lives, roles and treatment of women in ancient Sparta can trigger the debate of whether or not the Spartans were feminists. One such aspect, and the first of major importance to Spartan woman, was the formal education given to girls. The mere fact that there was a formal schooling for young girls put them on a more equal footing with the men of their city as in many Hellenic states, such as Athens, there was none. The education 8|P a g e
received by the girls seems to have been a modified version of that provided to boys, focusing primarily on physical fitness with other subjects such as poetry and war education thrown in. Due to the short tunics the girls wore for their exercise, they were branded as â€œThigh-showersâ€? and as little more than whores by other ancient Greeks. The radical nature of having a formal education for women in ancient Greece gives evidence for the idea that, at least for their time, the Spartans were feminists. After their schooling, at around the age of twelve, male students would be taken under the wing of a young soldier to prepare themselves for life in the barracks. There is evidence of a system that mimics this for Spartan girls, whereby they would be trained for a domestic life and the management of the household before they were married. This begins to reveal the paradoxical nature of Spartan feminism, if indeed there was any, because although the state was sponsoring traditional gender roles the fact that this system was in place for girls as well as boys seems very progressive. Another significant factor supporting the view that Spartan women were on a far more equal footing with Spartan men than the rest of the Hellenic female population was that they were able to own, manage and inherit property. In some other city states, such as Athens, it was inconceivable for a woman to own property and women were seen as little more than vessels for transferring the inheritance to the next male heir. By contrast, in Sparta women were estimated to own between thirty and forty percent of the land making up the nation. Not only would this have given the land owning women tangible economic power it meant that they were highly sought after by eligible bachelors. It is possible then to look at this giving at least some of the women power over men in Sparta. The differences in the day to day life of women in ancient Sparta and Athens are both striking and important when considering the question of whether or not the Spartans were feminists. In Athens, a city state generally considered to have been the more cultured and advanced society, the role expected of the average woman was to become a
housewife. Women married much younger in Athens, as there was no system of education in place like the aforementioned Spartan one, and often they were married to much older men. Aside from marrying, women in Athens were not expected to mingle with men. This was strict to the extent that a woman could not answer her front door and the women of a household were kept in secluded rooms, away from the windows. Religion was one of the few areas where woman in Athens could participate freely with men, but even here there were some separate male and female festivals. In Sparta all domestic duties were done by Helots, an enslaved people who seem to have been held in the utmost contempt and suspicion by the Spartans, and this would have given the women of the city more time to manage their estates and investments. The freedom just to mingle with men and even to go outside their house alone, put the women of Sparta in a far better relative social position than the women of Athens. Whilst the free Helot labour certainly helped this, there was clearly a different attitude from the Spartan men towards their women than the Athenian men towards theirs. As has been stated before, the Spartans can only be considered feminists in the context of the Ancient world, specifically Greece. One central aspect of Athenian society that very much puts the Spartans in the feminist frame was the female class system. The top class, the majority of Greek women living in Athens, were housewives. This is hardly inspiring stuff and the expected role of Athenian women amounted to domestic drudgery and seclusion, Cantarella writing in 1987 that â€œThe empty life of the Greek woman of the upper or middle class, deprived of interest or gratifications, was not even repaid by the knowledge that her relationship with her husband was exclusive.â€? This does not paint a good picture of life in classical Athens for even the upper and middle class women. The fact that the lower two classes were prostitutes (there was even a school of prostitution) and slaves makes the lives of most women in Athens seem ghastly. It is against this background that we must weigh up whether or not the Spartans were some form of feminists, and this evidence of life in classical Athens adds compelling evidence to the view that they were. The great Athenian philosopher Aristotle believed that women had significant power in Sparta. In his second volume of Politics Aristotle attributed the political decline of Sparta, which by 330 BC had ceased to be a major Hellenic power, to the rule of women. The mere fact that Aristotle did this confirms that women must have had some form of power and influence in Sparta. Whilst this was most likely just powerful Spartan men taking advice from their women (Queen Gorgo of Sparta, wife of King Leonidas, was famously once asked why Spartan women were the only ones to rule over their men) it supports the 9|P a g e
idea that women were more equal in Sparta than in most of the Greek states. Aristotle believed that the women of Sparta were out of control, and they were certainly freer than their Athenian counterparts, and their lack of discipline enabled them to exert power in Sparta. The assertion of Aristotle that the women of Sparta held great power, whether he believed it to be for better or worse, makes the Spartans seem distinctly feminist.
(Bronze figurine of a girl running, probably from Sparta) There were two further aspects of life and tradition involving women of Sparta that were distinctly different from that of other Hellenic cities. The first is that of the Spartan marriage. The question of whether or not the Spartans were feminists of their day is not, of course, as one sided as it has up to this point been made out, and the Spartan marriage raises serious questions about how feminist minded the Spartans really were. Courtship began in the traditional ancient Greek way, potential husbands would approach the father of their potential bride, and from them one would be selected. Whilst this was typical of all the Hellenic states at the time, the seeming lack of choice by the daughter does not seem to provide much evidence of feminist thinking. The marriage ceremony itself, however, was not typical by any standards. Put simply, it began with rape. Whilst this was no doubt ritualised and purely symbolic, it was still rape. For example, at one wedding Demaratus, the former king of Sparta, carried off a girl betrothed to his cousin as the ceremony began. This symbolic act starkly projects the potential for violence within a relationship, and it is here seemingly being justified by the state. The bride was then captured, surely another part of the ceremony symbolic of Spartan men taking what they want, and transported to the home of her husband to wait for his arrival. Since Spartan
men were expected to serve in the army until the age of thirty, and be married by eighteen, their wives would see them only when they had the opportunity to sneak out of barracks. A Spartan man could have fathered several children before his service was finished, meaning the majority of women were practically left to care for their children on their own. Once again Helot labour would have lightened the load, the emphasis the state put on motherhood again does not seem very feminist. The next major obstacle to being able to view the Spartans as feminists is the practice of wife-sharing. Though marriage was taken seriously in Sparta, there were no adultery laws governing women like there were in Athens at the time. This did not mean, however, that women could have affairs with whoever they wanted. The custom of wife sharing was very much controlled by the men of Sparta and was deemed acceptable by the state only for the purpose of procreation. If a man had difficulty getting his wife pregnant he could lend her to a younger, fitter man, in order to conceive. A man could also request to have a child with another man’s wife if he had no children and then keep the baby. Whilst Xenophon (Greek soldier, historian, Spartan mercenary, writer and philosopher) wrote that Spartan women welcomed the practice of wife sharing as a chance to manage another household, it is hard to get away from the feeling that in this instance the women were being treated rather like farm animals. The practice of wife sharing could then surely not be considered feminist, even in a time where female adultery was considered a more heinous crime by Athenians than rape. Another aspect of Spartan married life that was favourable to women was the end of it. Unlike their Athenian
counterparts, who seem to have been completely dependent on men, Spartan women could divorce their husbands without fear of losing their wealth. This added to the independence Spartan women had from their men, and goes part way to redressing some of the problems with Spartan marriage. The question of whether or not the Spartans were ancient world feminists is not a simple one. Against the backdrop of ancient Greece the city state of Sparta can seem to have treated its women very well and held them in high regard. Unlike Athens, Sparta did not have a thriving prostitution industry (there was a school of it in ancient Athens), which surely is a positive but it did allow husbands to just lend out their wives to other men. Spartan women were more free and independent than other Hellenic women but first and foremost they were expected to be a mother. Although they were allowed to mingle freely with men and were seemingly trusted and listened to by these men, which suggests some level of respect, they were raped at weddings whilst the bride was seized and conveyed to her marital home. Although they could inherit, own and run property and divorce without fear of losing their wealth, they had a man chosen for them who they would probably not see in the light of day until he had finished serving in the army. In many respects the women of Sparta were so much better off in their society than those of Athens or other Hellenic city states, but overall it simply seems too much of a stretch to call this race of warriors feminists. Sparta was often looked to by citizens of other ancient Greek states to provide an alternative sociological model, and their treatment of women was certainly different than most, but they could probably not be labelled as feminists.
How did American public opinion regarding the Vietnam War change from 1959 -1975? Conor Bevens
Over the time period from 1959-1975 public opinion in the United States of the Vietnam War dramatically shifted from strong patriotic support to an extremely negative outlook. The Vietnam War was a cold war era conflict that occurred in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. It occurred from the first of November 1955 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. In the beginning, the United States joined the war in Vietnam to stop the spread of Communism. The government believed that if Vietnam was able to become Communist, then the whole of Asia would fall to Communism, especially with the help of China and Russia. This was based on a common theory at the time commonly known as the domino effect. Kennedy’s successor, Johnson, pledged to honour Kennedy’s commitments but hoped to keep U.S. involvement in Vietnam to a minimum. After North Vietnamese forces allegedly attacked U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, however, Johnson was given carte blanche in the form of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which authorised military action in Southeast Asia. Johnson had no choice but to retaliate and he began to send U.S. troops to Vietnam. Bombing campaigns such as 1965’s Operation Rolling Thunder ensued, and the conflict escalated. Johnson’s efforts in the war led to a presence of nearly 400,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by the end of 1966. 10 | P a g e
‘’One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the great society, shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam’’ (Martin Luther King, Jr). This negative outlook on the war was widely felt throughout America and led to hatred towards the American government as many Americans felt that the Vietnam War was in fact not a war and more of a police action. A popular public opinion at the time was the view that the American government had caused the unnecessary death of many people both Vietnamese and American. This was because it was viewed later on in the war by a majority of people in the USA that they should not be there. Each major political party in America became divided into pro and anti-war wings, though this process more deeply affected the Democratic Party. Public support for the war overall faltered and, in the media's version of this development, whole generations appeared to question one another's loyalty over the issue. A common view of the public opinion of the war was that the younger generation or ‘young adults’ were more opposed to the war than anyone else. However, when looking at evidence collected and reviewed at the time it is clear that the younger generation was more supportive than the 30 to 49 age group, and much more supportive than the over 50 age group. This is clearly shown in the table below. This also highlights the broad decrease in support for the Vietnam War over all age groupsMore detailed polling suggested that there was a sharp fall in support for the war from 1968 onwards due to the Tet offensive. Although the Tet offensive can be classed as a victory for American forces it was portrayed as a defeat by the media. In addition the media shone a light on the morale of the US troops which was at an all-time low.
Another reason public opinion shifted dramatically towards a negative outlook and opposition to the war itself was because journalists and reporters started to shine light on some of the atrocities that were being carried out in Vietnam. An example of such an atrocity is the My Lai massacre. Many of the young soldiers that came back home from the war came back with not only damaged bodies, but broken minds and were met with ridicule; people spitting at them for being 'baby killers'; not being able to find work, and many never got the medical or psychological care they deserved In addition the Vietnam War can be constituted as a grave and embarrassing mistake for the U.S. Government, and so they just wanted to cover it up so that the atrocities of the war and the mistake of being there in the first place were not fully revealed. Unlike WWI and WWII or even the Civil War it was the first time in American History that young American Soldiers were not respected or honoured in the ways they should have been when they returned home from the war. The main reason for this was that many people at the time held the opinion that the Vietnam War was not a war at all and so the US soldiers that were fighting were not actually fighting for their country. It can be noted that the Key turning point of the war was the Tet offensive which began on January 31, 1968. The reason it is called the Tet offensive was because it occurred on the Vietnamese New Year called, Tet. The Vietnamese communist forces unleashed massive attacks on U.S. positions throughout Vietnam. The Tet Offensive, televised nightly in the U.S., shocked many Americans who previously had the idea the U.S. was easily taking care of the enemy. U.S. forces eventually pushed the North Vietnamese forces back and inflicted huge casualties on them, but the impact the fighting had on U.S. public opinion was equally huge. Before the Tet offensive, the US military had persuaded Americans that the US was winning the war, and many Americans after the Tet offensive started the question the truth behind what the military said. While the US lost just 11 | P a g e
under 3000 troops during the offensive, compared to the tens of thousands of troops lost be the Vietnamese communist forces, it was portrayed as a loss for the Americans. This portrayal of events regarding the Tet offensive made it a huge propaganda victory for the Viet Cong. Opposition to the war grew more heated and was a key factor in Johnson's decision not to run for re-election in 1968. As the United States became increasingly embedded in Vietnam both from a military and political perspective, it pursued a strategy of attrition in the hope of burying Vietnamese communist forces under a great magnitude of casualties. One of the reasons for this action was because of the guerrilla tactics employed by the Viet Cong which the US soldiers were not used to or trained to combat. The Viet Congâ€™s guerrilla warfare tactics demoralised the US troops as they were sustaining large casualties and wanted to fight their enemy in open combat, but instead they were forced to play cat and mouse with the Viet Cong in an area where they had an advantage. To try and combat these tactics the United States used Napalm and herbicides such as â€˜Agent Orangeâ€™ to try and remove the Viet Cong advantage of being hidden in the trees and underground in tunnels. However, these US tactics had a strong adverse effect. The spraying of Agent Orange and Napalm was intended to kill foliage to deny cover to the guerrillas and to destroy crops that could be used to supply the Vietnamese communist forces. The spraying was also intended to make whole areas unliveable so that villagers would be driven into other areas so that they were not living in areas suspected to be used by the Viet Cong to minimise civilian casualties. This backfired on the US as the main victims of these tactics were innocent civilians. This was because they drank and bathed in water that had been contaminated and ate crops that had been sprayed. In addition, Napalm strikes killed many civilians as they were not given a warning, and as the Viet Cong forces did not wear a specified uniform, innocent civilians could be mistaken for being Vietnamese communist forces. The media covered these tactics and reported on the horror that was being inflicted on the environment and civilians. This contributed to the fall in support for the war and led to many environmentalists demonstrating and other demonstrations on behalf of the civilians being caught in the war. This furthermore increased awareness from a negative perspective about the war and further decreased public opinion.
Another reason for a fall in support and a fall in public opinion of the Vietnam War was due to the guerrilla tactics utilised by the Viet Cong. Many weapons, including booby traps and mines, were homemade in villages. The materials ranged from scavenged tin can to discarded wire, but the most important ingredients were provided for them by other communist branches of the National Liberation Front. After air-raids, volunteers retrieved the duds and the dangerous business of creating new weapons began. Local forces also designed primitive weapons, some designed to frighten intruders, but others were extremely 12 | P a g e
dangerous. "Punji traps" -- sharp spikes hidden in pits -- could easily disable an enemy soldier. They were often deliberately contaminated to increase the risk of infection. These booby traps were continuously changing throughout the war so that they left the American forces constantly on edge as they were unsure what to try and avoid. These booby traps caused a large number of casualties to the US forces. They were also not always intended to kill but badly mutilated the soldiers. This in addition with the suspense and fear of going on patrols greatly demoralised the troops. The horror of these booby traps was covered by the media and also contributed to a fall in support for the war. This was because the war was not viewed as previously shown as a War but more in fact as a â€˜police actionâ€™ because it is an undeclared warm similar to that of the Korean War. Therefore, many felt that the casualties sustained by these booby traps were unnecessary as the US troops did not need to be in Vietnam. This feeling was supported as images and clips of the badly mutilated men were shown by the media. There was also a distinct psychological effect of the Vietnam War on the veterans that returned home which caused anger among some factions and sympathy and protest from others. The anti-war protests led to many shunning the soldiers. The soldiers were not welcomed home as they had expected they would be because many viewed the conflict in Vietnam as not being a patriotic war. Many veterans felt like they were being blamed for the war instead of the government which led to increased psychological harm as they were not given the help the needed. Furthermore, one infamous event from the Vietnam War was the My Lai massacre, which took place on March 16 th 1968. This massacre was the result of the Guerrilla tactics used by the Viet Cong and the low morale of US troops. My Lai was a village of just over 700 inhabitants. Charlie Company 1st platoon of the US military was sent on a search and destroy mission to find Viet Cong soldiers rumoured to be hiding in My Lai. When the troops from 1 Platoon moved through the village they started to fire at the villagers. These were women, children and the elderly as the young men had gone to the fields to work. Though a number of US soldiers were charged, all with the exception of Lieutenant William Calley were acquitted. He was sentenced to life in prison with hard labour but was released within 3 years.
The table below shows the evidence of data collected in America from 1965 to 1971. This table clearly shows that the public opinion of troops fighting in Vietnam fell dramatically throughout the war. However, this table also shows that there was still strong support for the war in 1965 of over 61%. When looking at these results it can stated that the most significant event for falling support for the Vietnam War was the Tet offensive in 1968 as it was the first main point in time when they US military could not convince the American public that they were winning the war. However, it is clear from 1965 the support for the war fell steadily from 61% to 28% in May 1971. This shows a fall of 33% throughout the time period.
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"In view of developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?
PERCENT WHO SAID NO %
February 1967 52
October 1968 37
February 1969 39
October 1967 44
October 1969 32
January 1970 33
February 1968 42
January 1971 31 May 1971
Another reason for the falling support for the Vietnam War from 1959 to 1975 was due to the strong impact of the domestic protest movements. The movement opposed to the United States involvement in the Vietnam War started with demonstrations in 1964. The support for this movement grew in strength in the later years. The US became divided between those who supported the involvement of the US in the war and those who opposed it. Expressions of the movement opposition to the war ranged from peaceful nonviolent demonstrations to radical displays of violence. It can be noted that there was a large amount of support initially for the Vietnam War. Many of the older generation in America at the time were on the World war two generation. It was because of this that many felt that they should support the war, no matter what they felt about it. However, as the war carried on they started to doubt the tactics being used in the war and the purpose of the United States involvement. To conclude, over the time period from 1959 to 1975 support for the war fell dramatically. This changing public opinion was due to many key factors of the war such as the purpose for being there and the tactics being used to fight the Viet Cong. In addition it is clear that one of the most significant factors for the fall in support was due to the media coverage highlighting the damage to the innocent civilians and the harm to the US soldiers fighting a war that was not necessary in the view of many.
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To what extent was the eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire a consequence of the Fourth Crusade? William Lee
As a bit of a “Byzantophile” – the dying days of the Roman Empire – even if it was to a great part Hellenised – have an air of romanticism, with the last Byzantine Emperor becoming a “King under the mountain” a la King Arthur. However, the Fourth Crusade, an event which even the Papacy has agreed was reprehensible, is one that is rarely (if ever) studied in the syllabus, and is one of the more intriguing Crusades. Incorporating the staples of High Medieval life – indiscriminate slaughter, theft, backstabbing, plotting, religion and power politics, as well as being outright crazy from the start, the Fourth Crusade was unlike any before it, in that it utterly missed the target and hit an empire, which, in a great twist of irony (one of many) was meant to be supported by the Crusades.
Whilst some would say that all empires are destined to fall, I feel it that the Fourth Crusade did play an vital part in bringing down the Byzantine Empire, which had recovered, under the watch of the Komnenos emperors, from their early defeats at the hands of the Seljuks. Yet there were other factors; “Byzantine Politics”, corruption, loss of manpower and the apathy of the Catholic West all played their part in the empire’s demise as well. The launch of the Fourth Crusade combined all these separate factors into some three years of bloodshed and confusion
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that ultimately broke the empire far more than anything else alone. Whilst the fall of the Byzantine Empire – the remnants of the Roman Empire which persisted in the east – may have seemed inevitable, one event did far more than any other to accelerate its fall. The Fourth Crusade, an attempt supposedly to reclaim the lost lands of the Levant, attacked the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire. The chaos brought about by the fall of the Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, in 1204, and devastation wrought upon
its provinces dealt the Empire a fatal blow. As Herrin (2007) writes, “there was no chance of a full imperial recovery after 1204.” The Byzantine Empire, even before the Fourth Crusade, was a notably unstable place. Quite unlike the states of England and France, the ruling dynasty changed often in a series of often bloody coups or civil wars, which further served to fuel animosities between the great houses. These dynasties – such as the Doukas, Komnenos, Angelos, Laskaris and Palaiologos families – were constantly manoeuvring against the incumbent to get (back) into power, often conspiring with the enemies and rivals of the Empire. Whilst the coups arguably helped rejuvenate the Empire to a point, replacing inept or complacent Emperors replacements – the capable Emperors Basil the Macedonian and Alexios I Komnenos led successful coups – they also did much to divert the Empire from outside threats, weaken internal stability, stymie reform and reduce Imperial authority. However, corruption, complacency and ineptitude remained present, and the Government was prone to great instability, not least for the way in which deposed Emperors were treated. Occasionally, rather than being killed outright, deposed Emperors and their families were usually allowed to live out their lives, with the former-Emperor either sent to a monastery, or, in more serious cases, blinded and castrated. The possibility of retaliation, revenge and generations-long blood feuds were thus very much possible. The timing of these upheavals were often detrimental to the empire; they could occur before an important battle, or when an enemy was highly exposed; the tendency to fall into outright civil war could leave the empire very exposed to foreign threats. Of course, the Muslim powers to the east were especially to contribute to the empire’s downfall. It had been the tribes moving out of the Arabian Desert that had taken Egypt and the Levant from it; later, Byzantine holdings in Italy and Sicily also fell. In 1074 the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at Manzikert, the traditional turning-point of the empire’s fortunes. At that battle, the core of the Byzantine professional soldiery from the Western provinces was routed, and the Emperor was captured, leading to a period of turmoil and instability. Most importantly, the Seljuks gained control of much of Anatolia. With the loss of the Levantine and African provinces, where a considerable part of the Byzantines’ manpower base was located, the empire was dealt a serious blow; until they were reclaimed, it would have to rely on its Greek and Balkan provinces and upon notoriously-unreliable mercenaries. To add further injury, a considerable sum of 1.5 million gold pieces as well as an annual tribute was demanded in the resultant peace treaty. This the Byzantines would find difficult to repay; the Anatolian provinces, in addition to their value 16 | P a g e
in manpower, also made up a considerable part of the empire’s annual income. The landmass not only paid substantial tactics, but was home to a number of major trading cities which had provided another source of income; the mountainous western regions, on the other hand, had suffered from benign neglect. Far more damaging, however, was the resultant civil war. The Byzantine Army was not wiped out; rather, it had fled the battle. In the disastrous aftermath of the campaign of against the Seljuks, ambitious nobles called upon them to install a new Emperor. The instability and destruction wrought by this civil war, like so many before and after it, greatly reduced the empire’s ability to respond. The main beneficiary of it was, of course, foreign powers, namely the Seljuk Turks, who exploited this opportunity to gain even more of Anatolia. To the Catholic powers, it was clear that the Byzantines were no longer as powerful as they were, and they too began to take advantage of the empire’s increasing failings. By 1095, it was weakened to the point where the Emperor asked for help from his Christian neighbours – one which would have unforeseen consequences, and which would result in the Crusades. Assaulted by aggressive states on all sides, the fall of the Byzantine Empire was accelerated by the quality of its armed forces and its ability to respond to the threats. Whilst the Empire was famous for its Greek fire, or the feared Varangian Guard, in reality there was much to be desired in both quality and quantity. By the Twelfth Century there was already much evidence of rot within the system; the loss of Anatolia further weakened it. The Byzantines, unlike their feudal Western neighbours, fielded a professional standing army, though it was neglected, especially during periods of peace. Whilst there were famous soldier-emperors and capable reformers, who greatly improved the quality and size of the armed forces – the various reforms of the Komnenoi Emperors come to mind – it was, as it had been during the height of the Roman Empire, highly dependent upon the leadership. Under skilled commanders, the army was capable of fighting back against its enemies, yet under the inept or weakened by politicking, fail to do so. The army was sustained through pronoia grants, which was a system where pronoiars (men granted a pronoia) were obliged to provide both military and administrative services in return for temporary land grants; through this system, the soldiery (especially officers) were rewarded for their service. They would collect taxes for the Emperor from the people living on the land grant, as well as from any other sources of revenue; the pronoiar gained from this agreement by gaining special rights on this land. The Emperor could call up pronoiars and their “tenants” to easily form regiments in time of war; by being ex- or serving soldiers, there was also presumably a strong military tradition too. However, the system was very open
to abuse. Firstly, by acting as tax collectors, the pronoiars would have been certainly able to cheat the Imperial government out of taxes. Secondly, there was no formal obligation for them to provide military service; this had to be done via coercion (threat of revocation, confiscation, extortion). Thirdly, large numbers of disaffected pronoiars could, and did, rise in revolt; this was no doubt aided by the autonomy the pronoiars had from the bureaucratic system. Depending on the size and wealth of a pronoia, the threat could be very serious indeed. The loss of Anatolia, therefore, not only meant that there was a smaller manpower base, but that there was less land available to be given out in grants, meaning that there was a decreased motivation to join and remain in the army. As the centuries passed, the system became increasingly ineffective, with pronoia becoming hereditary in the reign of Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259-82). With there being no true legal basis for pronoiars’ military obligation, the pronoia in the dying days of the Empire leeched revenue for little in return. The gradual decay of the Byzantine military would result in an unnecessary evil: calling for help from other states. With the Orthodox states of Georgia and the Rus’ (the latter variously split a number of warring principalities, which over the timeframe in which the Byzantine Empire was around encompassed such states as Muscowy, Kiev, Novgorod and Vladimir) generally preoccupied with eastern invaders (the Mongols, typically), the most “stable” countries the Byzantines had to communicate with were the Catholic states of the west. The relationships between the Empire and the Catholic powers ended up playing a significant part in the former’s downfall, in more ways than one. Ever since the Great Schism, the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches were opposed; on occasion they entered open hostilities. However, this vital split in religious belief also split diplomatic relations between them; Byzantium was seen, at best, as an aloof and prosperous neighbour; at worst, a treacherous, and possibly heretical, rival power. Furthermore, there was a strong jealously towards the Byzantines; the latter’s lands were typically richer and better maintained than the feudal states of the west. The Catholic powers’ contribution to helping the Byzantines therefore primarily depended upon whatever suited them; for most, a decline in Byzantine power was to be desired and exploited. For instance, when Alexios I asked Pope Urban II for aid, the latter responded with calling the men of Europe to arms – starting the First Crusade – quite contrary to a request for a small, well-trained force. While it was successful in its reclamation of the Holy Land, with Jerusalem once again under Christian rule, it was not under Byzantine rule. The Crusaders, as they had filed into Constantinople, had sworn to hand over any captured lands to the Emperor; instead, they had carved out states of their own. These
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Crusader States posed a problem for the Byzantines as not only a barrier to further expansion, but perhaps as drawing a massive target upon Christian powers in the east; the Islamic states no doubt felt as angered as the Christians were at the loss of the Levant and the Byzantines would have felt the effect of this even if they were not directly involved. Byzantine pride and stubbornness did not help in their handling of the delicate situation between them and the Catholics. The country was utterly devoted to its Orthodox faith, even if the authorities tried to play it down to the Catholics. Any attempt to bow down to the Pope was met with massive resistance from the populace; with a decreasing power base, the Emperors therefore had to find a delicate balance between the religious priorities of their own people as well as their neighbours. Both sides’ support was necessary for the Empire’s survival, and with increasingly radical sentiments on either side, it became increasingly difficult to appease everyone, from the Pope, to the Italian Republics, other Catholic powers, other Orthodox powers, the clergy and the masses. Though the Byzantine Empire did, in its last years, finally agree to acknowledge the Pope as head of the Christian Church and to reunite Catholicism and Orthodoxy, it was a purely pragmatic affair; the Byzantine Grand Admiral present at the fall of Constantinople, Loukas Notaras, would declare that he would prefer “the Turkish Turban than the Papal Tiara”. Despite the “submission” of the Byzantine Emperor and the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Pope, Catholic support was minimal even in the years leading up to its eventual fall. Those that did contribute – Hungary and Poland, even Venice and Genoa in the Empire’s last days – were to a great extent motivated by profit, pragmatism and a desire to stop the westward march of the Ottomans, than to “rescue” the Byzantine Empire. The Fourth Crusade, lasting only two years, may seem to have little lasting effect at face value. Yet in fact, the affair was the sum of the issues plaguing the Empire, and in turn dealt an equally large and important blow upon it. Though the Crusades were partly a response to Byzantine requests for help a century earlier, this particular one was stimulated by (more so than the earlier ones), other objectives besides reclaiming the Holy Land. Its leaders also aimed to fulfil Catholic ambitions to absorb more of the East into Catholicism, Venetian interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and a plot to install Alexios Angelos, a claimant to the Imperial Throne, as the Byzantine Emperor, in order to pay off debts the Crusaders had racked up to the Venetians. From the start therefore, the Crusaders were especially not inclined to avoid the Byzantine Capital, especially as a number of the clergy (some present) were inclined towards integrating the Orthodox Church into the Catholic Church. Following a minor detour to attack Venetian rivals in the Balkans,
resulting in the Pope excommunicating the venture, the Crusaders reached Constantinople. After a brief assault, the claimant Alexios was installed as Emperor in July 1203. He in turn was quickly overthrown in a coup by the Doukai after the New Year, prompting a furious assault by the Crusaders upon the Capital of their erstwhile ally, sacking the place and ejecting the splintered Byzantines to their holdings; the Crusaders proclaimed a “Latin Empire”, installing the Count of Flanders, Baldwin, as Emperor. Within the space of a year, the Byzantine Empire had not only lost its capital, but also a coherent political system and central authority. To comprehend the importance of the Fourth Crusade’s impact on the Byzantine Empire, it is therefore very important to consider the role of Constantinople. As the Imperial Capital, it was the administrative, cultural and religious heart of the Empire, and its fall, a most terrible blow to the Empire, led to instability and chaos. The feudal system of Western Europe did not exist in the Byzantine Empire; following the legacy of Rome, a central administration over provincial governors existed. Religiously, the Orthodox Patriarch also ruled from Constantinople. Whilst the Despots and governors of the Empire were able to respond to threats after Constantinople fell, unlike feudal lords they were unable to call upon vassal knights or peasant levies; the Byzantine Army was a thoroughly centralised and professional force that acted independently (in theory) of the aristocracy. The successor states were therefore very much at a great disadvantage; whilst the infrastructure and administration existed, it was not to the extent in the provinces (“themes”) as it was in the City itself. In addition, when the Crusaders had sacked Constantinople a large part of the bureaucracy would have been inevitably killed, and records burnt. The Nicaean Empire may have attempted to rebuild the bureaucracy with its collection of exiles and refugees, but the disruption and loss would have been keenly felt.
The failure of the Byzantine remnants to rally under Emperor greatly weakened the authority of the office itself. Even more distrustful of their rivals, the great families which had survived intact after the fall of Constantinople fled the city to establish the aforementioned successor states. As the only regions left in the former Empire that remained under Greek or Byzantine control, as opposed to Crusader, Seljuk or otherwise, these entities more often than not fought against each other. The successor states vied for the Imperial Throne, leading to conflict and distrust. Despite the fact that the states were very much 18 | P a g e
similar, with the Nicaeans - just across the Hellespont from Constantinople - bearing the greatest resemblance to the former Empire, a strong desire for autonomy persisted; inept Emperors, inefficiency and ignominy had turned the border states against the de jure Emperor and against the Nicaean claimant. Furthermore, until Constantinople was reclaimed, these states were very much localised in focus and influence. When a Nicaean Emperor eventually recaptured Constantinople in 1261, Imperial authority had eroded to an unprecedented point; the other successor states refused to swear fealty to him. The Empire, though once again in possession of its Capital, had been greatly weakened through this loss of income, especially through trade and taxation, and also manpower. The loss of those two provinces was especially hard felt; Trebizond and Epirus were home to major and prosperous ports and the loss in revenue was keenly felt. This also had a further effect; as the split-off successor states refused to pay fealty to the Emperor in Constantinople, so too was the Emperor not obliged to defend them, especially not from the Ottomans. It was a result of this that many of the smaller and distant successor states (with the notable exception of the Empire of Trebizond) soon fell without support from Constantinople. The fall of the capital had yet another effect, though this was the result of the way in which it fell. When the Crusaders had fought their way into the City, they had embarked upon a wide-scale campaign of looting and pillaging, in the standard medieval tradition. The Crusaders devastated the city for three days; massive fires raged throughout the city. . The Crusaders took anything that could be removed whilst destroying anything else, killing anyone who got in the way. Even though the terror and savagery of the Crusaders’ actions towards the people of the city was horrifying to both European and Byzantine eyewitnesses, to the devout Byzantines, the most serious crime committed was the attacking and desecration of holy sites. Relics were stolen and icons burnt, and with it any real chance of understanding and compromise between West and East. The relations between them were, as previously mentioned, never really close, but it was the events of the Fourth Crusade that finally drove relations to unprecedented depths. The Turks were a major problem, but anger, hatred and a desire for revenge against the Catholics would boil on in the hearts of Byzantines and stymy attempts at cooperation. Previous incidents and their fallout were relatively minor in comparison. The Orthodox population opposed any subordination to the Catholics, who were setting up Catholic churches in conquered territory. The most pragmatic of the successor states submitted to the Catholic Church while facing major opposition from within. The most devoutly-Orthodox states stood little chance as they would not get any support from anyone. The successor states in the middle – Nicaea, most of all – stood on the edge of civil war or holy war as they tried to survive the political and theological quagmire they were now embroiled in. To an increasing number in the years after 1204, the Turkish Turban was indeed felt to be preferable over the Papal Tiara. After all, both wished wanted you dead, your capital city fallen and their religion imposed upon you. The former did not betray the Byzantines nor made “pretence” of cooperation. Whilst many a rich city could be found within the Empire - even in its reduced state in the early 13th Century, the wealth and size of Constantinople eclipsed all other cities by the 13th Century. Strategically located on the Bosphorus, the city controlled not only the Black Sea trade, but also that between the West and East, as trade from the Empire, Europe, the Russian Principalities, and the Crusader States flowed through the City. Furthermore, it was also one of the major European termini of the Silk Road. The consequent sacking after the city's fall to the Crusaders, therefore, robbed the Empire of not only great amounts of prestige, but also great amounts of specie, valuables and goods. To the Empire, already reduced in size and manpower, this was a serious blow. The Byzantines relied, to an increasing length, upon mercenaries and cash payment. The army had to be paid increasingly with money, as there was very little land available for land grants due to recent defeats; the loss of Constantinople and the area around it further decreased the capability of the state to maintain a significant standing army. To illustrate the point, when Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the paucity of the defenders’ numbers (though the Byzantine Empire then was feebler compared to any of the successor states of 1204, the 8,000 defenders were vastly outnumbered by the besieging forces, which numbered upwards of 60,000) despite meant that they were unable to hold all 20km of defences, leaving their position very exposed from the start. One of those mercenaries in 1453 who had been rejected by the Byzantines was an engineer named Orban. Later offering his services to the Ottoman besiegers, he would cast massive cannon (such as one that hurled balls of around 12,000lbs in weight) that would bring down the City’s walls. When Constantinople had been besieged and sacked the Crusaders had not only done considerable damage to the defences. One of the most important sections attacked were those defending the Blachernae district. Heavily attacked and among one of the first places captured by the Crusaders, the Byzantines, after they had recaptured Constantinople years later, lacked the funds to fully repair the defences. In 1453, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II obligatorily attacked the damaged Blachernae walls with cannon and infantry, making a breach and allowing his troops to pour in. Though the defences were very formidable, Mehmed had a considerable advantage in knowing where to attack and where to avoid. The Crusaders attacked the City two centuries earlier and had captured it through exploiting their own intimate knowledge of the defences. There had been a Catholic trading quarter in the capital for quite some time, and the Venetians, on attacking, knew where the weak-points 19 | P a g e
were, and exploited them. Mehmed would follow suit in 1453; not only did he attack the weakened Blachernae, but he also followed the Crusaders’ strategy of securing the Golden Horn, with the effect that Constantinople, like it was in 1204, was cut off from reinforcements. The Fourth Crusade did much to accelerate the fall of the Byzantine Empire, but was not the only cause; it would be more correct to see it as a culmination of a number of factors that over time contributed more to its eventual fall. However, the Fourth Crusade did deal heavy damage to the Byzantine Empire. It was an incredibly terrible defeat with considerable short term and long term consequences which further complicated the already tenuous Byzantine position, but did not secure nor make inevitable the destruction of the Empire by itself. In fact, the Empire would continue to adapt and struggle on for over two hundred years after the fall of Constantinople to the Crusading forces. In conjunction with the hallmarks of Byzantine life and politics of the day, however, the Fourth Crusade did cause much more damage than it did at face value, and it was the civil turmoil that followed the sack of Constantinople in 1204 that made the fall of the city inevitable. Even had not the Ottomans risen to power in the east, the Byzantines would have found it hard to struggle on for longer.
________________________________________________________________ The Underground Railroad: Risk and Reward Katie Hurst Looking back now, it is hard (and embarrassing) to believe that not 200 years ago, slavery still existed within the United States of America; a developing Western country that was growing as a nation so that all men were and could be created equal. Today, the USA lives up to that famous quote but in the 1800s there were still many more people to be convinced. However, there were people who risked life and limb to get fugitive slaves away from the horrors of slavery on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was not a real railroad. It was a network of people working secretly to help slaves escape to freedom from the southern slave states to the Northern States and Canada. This network of escape routes, or "Freedom Trail," operated for many years before and during the American Civil War. Fugitives usually travelled secretly at night, and were hidden in safe houses, barns, and haylofts in the day. Thousands of antislavery campaigners, both black and white, risked their lives to operate the railway. but just as they were endangering their own lives so were the runaway ‘passengers’. How much were people truly risking on the Underground Railroad for the reward of freedom?
The Underground Railroad was a secret organisation which helped runaway slaves escape from the South to the North or even better to British-owned Canada where slavery had been abolished since 1833. It used code words such as ‘station’ for a safe house or resting point, ‘passenger’ for a fugitive and ‘conductor’ for those aiding the fugitives from station to station. One had to be fit and strong in order to survive on the harsh terrain so it is not surprising that the successful fugitives, making it in to the North, were young adult males from Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri (being closest to the North latitude line 36ᵒ 30’ as stated in the Missouri Compromise, any state below this line was to join the Union as a slave state, any state above it was free.)
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There were numerous conductors of different income levels and race at different points throughout the South and the North helping fugitives to freedom. Some were former slaves who returned to the South and others were sympathisers who would offer their business or home as a safe house to protect passengers. These conductors had massive rewards on their heads (for harbouring fugitives) but still continued to help runaways to freedom and would go to extreme lengths in order to preserve their passengers. One such conductor was probably the best known and the most wanted; Harriet Tubman. Tubman started out as a slave in Maryland but heard she was going to be sold and so escaped to the North leaving her family behind. She came back for them to help them escape and then returned twice a year during the winter (the nights being longer) to help others get to the North and Canada aiding over 300 slaves get to freedom without â€˜losing a single passengerâ€™. Harriet would go to extreme and ingenious means to get slaves across the border e.g. using disguises such as carrying chickens, silencing babies with opium, carrying a revolver (mostly for protection against pursuers) but also to threaten those who wanted to turn back; there was no turning back. Tubman was never caught and neither were her passengers but the risk was tremendous with a speculation of a reward at approx. $40,000 (the price of a small farm) and, if caught in the South, she would have most likely been executed for treason even though she was in fact a free woman in the North. Harriet Tubman worked on the Underground Railroad for eight years. The risks for the fugitives on the Underground Railroad were immense. The harsh terrains were usually crossed by foot and included swamps, forests and mountain trails as conductors tended to steer passengers away from towns and hamlets where they may be recognised. Fugitives had the difficulties of nature to contend with e.g. temperature, starvation due to lack of food (they could carry almost nothing when on the Underground Railroad and food was not included) and wild animals 21 | P a g e
which could kill and eat them. Moreover, they were pursued not only by their masters but law enforcement, professional slave catchers and other citizens who were always on the lookout for fugitives due to rewards constantly posted by masters. The prospect of not making it to freedom was a very real situation and for a lot of people they wouldn’t reach it.
(Harriet Tubman c. 1870. A worker on the Underground Railroad, Tubman made 13 trips to the South, helping to free over 70 people.)
However, even the North became unsafe for fugitives when the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850. This meant that all citizens whether in the North or South were required to help recapture slaves and return them to their masters even if they had reached the North as they were seen as ‘stolen property’. However, this was not a new prospect. Slaves, even in the North, were still their master’s property as long as they were still within the USA which was covered by the US Constitution, not yet having banned slavery even in the North. Slaves may feel as if they were free but nowhere was safe within the USA; their best bet was to reach Canada which had abolished slavery (again following the Underground Railroad.) Slaves were constantly tracked down in the North, torn from their new life as e.g. businessmen and returned to their masters. An example of this is Harriet Ann Jacobs who wrote the book ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself’ using the alias Linda Brent within the story she gives a chronological account of her life in slavery (published in 1861.) Jacobs used the Underground Railroad in order to escape from slavery but it took her two attempts at escape with a sacrifice of seven years in a tiny crawl space in her grandmother’s attic in the shed. Her master never ceased looking for her and during her time in the crawl space, believing she had escaped, he made numerous ventures to the North looking for her. When Jacobs finally did go to the North she was still sought after by her master thus had to constantly move giving up her chances at a settled life until Dr. Flint, her master, died. This was also during the time of the Fugitive Slave Law and so not only was Dr. Flint after her but other Northerners were watching out for Jacobs as well. Her employer in the North, Mrs. Bruce, was her friend but was technically harbouring a fugitive thus putting her life in danger as well as Jacobs. In order to use the Underground Railroad, many sacrifices were made beforehand. In this article, I have already commented on how Tubman escaped to freedom leaving her family behind but coming back for them, however there were many slaves who escaped and left their families behind for good. As mentioned previously, one had to be fit and strong in order to survive on the Underground Railroad as most passages were by foot so a lot of men would seriously consider leaving the women and children behind as slaves on the plantations. Some would do it out of selfish purposes, making it easier to escape, but others would try and depart from the South to the North becoming a free slave and work for the money in order
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to obtain enough to buy their relatives. This meant that families could go years or perhaps the rest of their lives without seeing their loved ones. Using the example of Harriet Ann Jacobs, she made a sacrifice by not letting her children know that she had not in fact escaped to freedom but let them think she had. For the seven years she was in the attic, both of her children were unaware that Jacobs was there. Eventually, once she had escaped to the North she was reunited with her daughter but not fully at first as her daughter was kept by a family in Brooklyn but eventually reunited with her and Jacobs’s son one she had moved to California. However, previously Dr. Flint had claimed that the sale of her children had been illegitimate and that he would buy them back. These loopholes that masters found were yet another risk that fugitives had to face; even at the time of the abolitionist movement and slaves being free in the North, most people were more likely to listen to whites. Some methods of transport have already been mentioned but this was not the limit. Escape meant using all the cunning and initiative that the conductors possessed in order to get slaves to the North and Canada. Walking was not the only way to travel, although it was the most regularly used. Methods of transport such as horse drawn carts were used with false bottoms to hide the passengers. Other methods include boats, however this was one of the most dangerous methods as the fugitive would be in plain sight of all the other passengers and, as mentioned previously, a lot of these slaves were worth an awful lot of money. Boats, therefore, were mostly used if the slave was a white male who could be dressed in a suit to pass as a white man, an accompanying slave of a conductor or sympathiser, or a free slave (if he could forge the right documents.) One very unique example of the inventive methods used by the conductors was Henry ‘Box’ Brown who in 1848 was shipped in a crate from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia. This was an extremely risky and dangerous move because one of the crew could have checked inside of the box and he would most likely have been returned to his master. Furthermore, recapture was no matter to be looked at lightly. It was in fact one of the most terrifying experiences of all. Of course one had lost a chance at freedom and had less of a chance at another escape attempt as one’s master would be on constant watch but also because return to a ‘slap on the wrist’ was not the most common method of dealing with recaptured slaves. Fugitives that had been recovered would be flogged, branded, sold back into slavery or killed/beaten to death. Not all slaves were lucky to be part of the 3000 that did escape to freedom and for most the former was their fate. To think that if looked at properly, there were risks for all of these people before, during and after their escape. Before being if one was caught plotting to run away or even a rumour was heard about them running away, only imagine the consequences from a cruel master; flogging, branding, harder labour or perhaps a beating that could kill them. Some masters were too naïve to realise the sheer motivation and determination of their slaves to escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad even with all of the risks that it would entail. During the Underground Railroad there was nature, pursuers, harsh terrain and one’s own stamina to contest with and of course after, the risk of losing one’s hard earned freedom only to go back to the cruel life of punishment and toil for nothing. Three thousand slaves escaped to freedom either in the North or Canada, hundreds didn’t make it to freedom or were recaptured, four hundred and fifty thousand slaves were held in the USA throughout the course of the slave trade. The risks were high on the Underground Railroad for everyone involved but the path and the destination of freedom was sweet enough. In conclusion, the risks on the Underground Railroad were enormous not only for the fugitives themselves but the brave abolitionists that helped them time and time again as conductors and harbourers. However, the reward of freedom for those involved, was worth any risk. As Harriet Tubman was credited with saying: "Home. Home is where freedom is. The house can be ever so nice, with a soft bed, fine food, and fire in the fireplace, but it ain’t home if it ain’t where freedom is. I live where the fire is out, where the bed is hard and the bread is scarce, and maybe you work and maybe you eat and maybe you don’t….but freedom is there. Do you want to go? I know you do. Freedom is where I’m going. Come with me! Through swamps, through mire, past paddy roses with blood hounds and dogs, past danger, past even death. Freedom is there. Come with me!" _________________________________________________________________________________________
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Was the Montgomery Bus Boycott a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement? Reem Katifi On 1st October 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger – Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks’ act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and she became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. The bus boycott of 1955 led by African Americans in Montgomery was triggered by an arguably unexpected incident whereby Rosa Parks, a highly regarded black woman of the local community was thrown off a bus for refusing to give up her seat to a white man who was left standing. Consequently, she was arrested and charged with a violation of the complicated Montgomery city bus laws despite explaining how she "didn’t get on the bus with the intention of being arrested [but] with the intention of going home”. Southern blacks of the 1950s were accustomed to demeaning behaviour on buses and were forced to suffer by having the worst seats, being thrown off for little or no reason and were spoken down to by white drivers and passengers. The blacks resented this segregation on public transport and also in society and such poor treatment meant that the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott was the first real breakthrough for black civil rights. The cooperating organisation of the blacks through the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) and strong leaders such as Martin Luther King saw integration between African Americans and whites which had been minimal prior to the boycott, serving as a real landmark to the development of black civil rights.
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The Montgomery Bus Boycott was the first protest to have provoked a reaction from society and obtain a favourable result towards black civil rights. Despite previous boycotts including Baton Rouge in Louisiana, 1953, they had not made a significant impression on the Supreme Court to persuade it to change its laws. The Montgomery boycott was different. The lengthy 13-month protest that saw 17,000 black people avoid taking buses disrupted the white community, particularly businesses and thus could not be ignored and was a useful mass weapon. Black economic power became clear as businesses lost $1 million because African Americans were unable to get downtown without the bus, which meant that many businesses faced bankruptcy. The blacks successfully managed to pressurize whites into allowing them to have civil rights as it became evident that without their input, financial difficulties would become abundant. The ruling on the 13th November 1956 by the Supreme Court in Washington that Montgomery’s bus segregation was unconstitutional was enormously celebrated by black activists especially as it occurred in a strictly discriminated southern American town. The success of Montgomery encouraged similar actions to be taken in 20 other cities in the south and also saw the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The outcome in Montgomery, which allowed leaders of the NAACP to board a bus with a white driver on 21st December 1956, demonstrated how the blacks had reached a turning point and were inching closer to gaining civil rights. One of the leading figures of the civil rights movement was Martin Luther King, and it was his involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott that brought him to the attention of the media as he emerged to the forefront of the movement, ultimately providing direction and structure. King who was also elected as the leader of the MIA predominantly led the boycott and his passionate speeches to large crowds notably at Dexter Avenue Church would inspire and influence the black community and create unanimity amongst them. King strongly advocated non-violence throughout the boycott but insisted they were not a passive cause and this belief was to prevail throughout the civil rights movement. King supported Parks’ incident and agreed with some of the city’s black leaders who felt that this opportunity had to
be seized unlike Colvin’s ignored case. The involvement of King in the boycott was a turning point for black civil rights because he transformed their campaign and demonstrated the potential of mass non-violent revolt in order to challenge racial discrimination.
The black community’s stamina, organisation, unity and confidence throughout the boycott meant they were becoming a stronger group that would be difficult to control as the whites had been doing under the Jim Crow laws. The blacks managed to cooperate together by organising car pools which significantly helped their boycott withstand as black taxi firms agreed to take as many people as they could for the same 10 cent fare as the bus, which was virtually a free taxi service. This allowed buses to be avoided and meant there was no quick end to their campaign, which could be persevered. The willingness of African Americans to participate in the boycott highlighted how they were fed up with the treatment they received on a daily basis from society and that it was not the reaction of a minority. The boycott was a turning point of the civil rights movement as it managed to change the attitudes of some of the white community to their favour. The national media coverage meant that the white public began to promote racial equality and
sympathize with the blacks. The blacks presented a defiant force, which certain whites respected and King reported that the motivation of the boycott was due to it being “more honourable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation”. Controversially, it could be said that the victory of the boycott was limited, as apart from integration on buses, Montgomery still remained a discriminated community. During the boycott the opposition organised by the Montgomery White Citizens Council saw its membership double from 6000 in February 1956 to 12,000 by March. Furthermore, King’s house among other leaders was bombed and violent actions of persecution were targeted at the blacks involved in the boycott, emphasizing how whites were not prepared to change their views and were concerned that their segregated world was under threat. The mayor of the White Citizens Council refused to, “be part of any program that will get Negroes to ride the buses again at the price of the destruction of our heritage”. However, although some whites remained militant, these extremist attitudes only encouraged African Americans and made them more determined to not withdraw from their campaign. Despite some violence following the Montgomery Bus Boycott, on balance it was exceedingly effective as for the first time blacks could enter buses knowing they had equal rights and were no longer inferior to white passengers. This change in ruling displays how the blacks’ non-violent attitude throughout the boycott set the foundation for the success of the next ten years of the civil rights protest.
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The Nuremberg War Crime Trials: An absence of legitimacy and moral integrity? Mark Smith The August 8, 1945 London Charter of the International Military Tribunal stated that the European Axis Powers could be tried for war crimes, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes. The Allied powers created and also dominated the international military tribunal (IMT). Using only judges from the Allied powers, twenty-five of the most senior surviving Nazi officials were tried for at least one of the four offences. Although the evil of the fascist regime is undeniable it is the manner and consequent sentencing of leading Nazi figures which sparks debate over the Nuremberg Trial’s legitimacy and legacy. The benefits of using a quasi-judicial trial, like the IMT, are that the defendants have an opportunity to, without torture and with the aid of counsel, make statements on their own behalf. It gives current and future generations a chance to see the justness of the Allied cause and the wickedness of the Nazis’. Furthermore, it sets a precedent whereby orchestrators of atrocities are held accountable for their actions by the international community. However, the accused Nazis were not awarded the same rights as found in English speaking courts; the indicted were unable to summon possible witnesses to corroborate their statements, nor were they given time as long as the prosecution to present their defensive evidence. Crucially, the assumption that the charged were innocent until proven guilty and that public comment about the defendant’s guilt before a verdict was reached was prejudicial to their receiving a fair trial was ignored. The Allied powers had no intention of letting these men go free, unless the case against them was obviously not enough to give a guilty verdict. Out of the twenty-five Nazis facing the IMT only three were fully acquitted, though there is little difference between the acquitted and men like Julius Streicher. Julius Streicher, a prominent Nazi before WWII and founder of the ‘Der Sturmer’ newspaper, which became a key part of Nazi propaganda, was brought before the primary trial at Nuremberg charged with Crimes against Humanity. His publications used the metaphor of an enticing but deadly mushroom to warn about the subtle danger posed by the Jews. Streicher was found guilty of Crimes against Humanity by the IMT and was executed. This seems particularly extreme considering that in America after 1913 a white man was not sentenced to death for crimes against an African American until 1983, despite the extreme racist propaganda and violence of groups like the Ku Klux Clan throughout the period. Whilst Streicher may have been guilty for inciting anti-Semitism, it seems that capital punishment, the ultimate punishment, should be reserved for those who act upon their opinions; otherwise publishers of extremist literature are the equals of orchestrators of genocide in the eyes of the law. The distinct lack of a genuine, widespread international involvement in the trials suggest that a desire for blood and retribution fuelled the trials, rather than a just application of what was perceived to be international law. In essence the Nuremberg Trials were much closer to multi-national victor’s justice than international justice. The charges against the defendants were only defined as crimes after they were committed. These ex post facto laws are not illegal, and their creation is still perfectly legal in most countries today, even the UK. Nevertheless, these retroactive laws are morally questionable as they actions of the accused were not crimes when they were committed. The laws were created so that the enemies of the allied powers could be tried. Consequently, the trial was inherently biased as even the judges were themselves victims of the charged crimes.
J ULIUS STREICHER , GERMAN PUBLICIST , AND RENOWNED ANTI -SEMITE , 1885-1946
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The establishment and consistent enforcement of international law seems a simple concept, but in actuality it is a relatively new one. In the past, concepts like the right of conquest were established practices; wars of aggression were common and perfectly legal. Only after The Hague Convention in 1907 was there the sense of beginning ‘to revise the general laws and customs of war’. The IMT believed that by 1936 the principles of the Hague Convention were recognised by all civilised nations; Germany was seen to have had broken the laws and customs of war, despite it not being a signatory to the 1907 Convention. Whilst it is arguable that an awareness of the Convention should have given the Germans a perspective of the possibilities of their actions, it still seems strange to hold NAZI DEFENDANTS AT THE NUREMBERG TRIALS . GOERING IS AT THE a country accountable for breaching the principles of a FAR LEFT OF THE MIDDLE ROW treaty it did not sign. By believing the rules of war had been broken the Allied powers implied, through the London Charter and the IMT, that if enough countries sign up to a treaty and it has been in effect for a reasonable period of time then it can be interpreted as binding upon all nations, not just signatories. Bringing the Nazis to justice was necessary, but the process through which the charges against the Nazis were created resulted in a compromising of the true independence of countries. Before leaving office Clinton recommended his successor unsign the Rome Statute, thereby removing the US from the ICC’s jurisdiction. In 2002 Bush did; effectively isolating the US from the theoretical power of the ICC. That same year the Bush administration created the American Service-Members Protection Act, which included provisions to prevent any US citizens being prosecuted by the ICC, generally prohibited military aid to the Court and should any American armed forces be detained by the ICC, the US president is authorized to use ‘’all means necessary and appropriate’’ to ensure their release. Similarly, the US coercively negotiated Bilateral Immunity Agreements with some 100 other states, whereby states agreed to ensure that no American citizen would be prosecuted by the ICC while on their territory. The US policy toward the ICC represented an attempt to undermine to credibility, efficiency and capacity of the ICC to function as intended. However, in 2005 America abstained from the UN Security Council vote so that the situation in Darfur could be referred to the ICC and also voted for a referral of the Libyan situation to the ICC in 2011. Despite this apparent change in doctrine America’s actions are hypocritical. Libya, like the United States, does not accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, and so opting to refer the situation was to agree impose the ICC’s jurisdiction on the country. The precedent of the Nuremberg Trials was that a long standing and widely accepted international treaty was binding to all nations, yet America, one of the biggest players in international politics, exempts itself from the ICC. Nuremberg’s legacy is one of US exceptionalism. Atrocities committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan will be tried by an American court martial, and so the need for multi-national or international justice as well as impartiality is ignored. As Robert Cryer explains: “the legitimacy of the [Libya] referral is impaired by the a-priori exclusion of non-party state nationals from the jurisdiction of the ICC…the point is not that the jurisdiction of the ICC will be significantly limited in a practical fashion, but that the exclusion of some states’ nationals fails to respect the Prosecutor’s independence and makes it difficult to reconcile the resolution with the principle of equality before the law. Some states’ nationals, it would appear, are more equal than others.” Despite the moral questions raised by America’s immunity to the ICC Nuremberg’s legacy is also one of legal precedent. One of the defining features of the trial was the IMT’s refutation of the Nazis’ ‘superior orders’ defence. Indicted Nazis were changed from accessories to co-perpetrators, and guilt for a co-perpetrator carried a far greater punishment than merely being an accessory. This meant that 12 of the accused in the primary Nuremberg Trial were sent to the gallows. The decided fallibility of the ‘’Nuremberg Defence’’ set a precedent creating a concept now known as Joint Criminal Enterprise(JCE), which featured heavily in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia when political and military figures were accused of war crimes and genocide. More recently it has featured in the trial of Charles Taylor, found guilty for abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone. The simplified principle of guilty by association has been heavily criticised in the media; however, the reality is that JCE is based on having the requisite of mens rea: knowing or contemplating the possibility of another criminal offence occurring during or as a result of the agreed criminal enterprise attempted. In essence, an active and informed role in a criminal enterprise, understanding what may happen during the criminal enterprise or because of it, places criminal liability on those involved in the enterprise for what happens during or as a result of the enterprise they were part of. This concept 27 | P a g e
meant that in Nuremberg those who advised on created plans for or anything related to the accused crimes were guilty, although they may have never personally committed that action. You do not have to spill blood to be a murderer. Nuremberg showed a generalised form of justice being served, but the process was not truly just, and when trying the men alleged with such evil deeds justice and fairness is key. Nuremberg created a precedence of inequitable international law, where a signature to the UN or other treaties is secondary to the will of America. Military might, money and influence expunges America’s obligation to follow the same conventions as the rest of the international community. JCE was a positive long term result of the Nuremberg trials, but the exceptionalism of America, while still playing the role of world protector, damages international cohesion more than the JCE helps heal the wounds of war torn countries. Having a free hand, immunity from justice, enables America to act as it will. Unauthorised American drone strikes on Pakistani soil against the Taliban are fine when they are far away, but the West may not always be a body of allies for America. Refusing accountability means that only force could bring America to justice, if needs be. Nuremberg was the first major implementation of America’s doctrine of might besting moral; only those deemed to be villains by America can be brought to justice.
ROMANIA: THE RULE OF CEAUSESCU Anjelica Cleaver
Following the fall of dictatorial regimes in the Arab Spring, and the release of Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’ this summer, the role of the dictator is once again under the spotlight. Romania was one of the last communist regimes to fall over Eastern Europe, and has been largely regarded as one of the chief abusers of human rights. The rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu in particular saw a crushing loss of liberties and a severe austerity program, so that even in the late 80s you would still queue for hours in the capital of Bucharest for just a loaf of bread. The people lived in terror under the constant scrutiny of the secret police, who monitored every aspect of people’s lives: those who learned a foreign language or had connections with non-Romanian citizens would automatically come under investigation. The overthrow of Ceauşescu in 1989 was the bloodiest of all other European communist countries, and the only one leading to the execution of their leader.
The Communist Party in Romania quickly gained popularity in the aftermath of the Second World War, with membership rising from under 1000 in 1945 to 710,000 in 1947. This was primarily due to support form the Soviet Union, who organised the return of Transylvania (the home of Count Dracula) after the war. The communists won the elections of November 1946 (although probably rigged), and the following year forced the monarch King Michael to abdicate, allegedly by holding the Queen Mother at gunpoint. The birth of the Republic of Romania was one of terror, where tens of thousands of intellectuals and opposing students were sent to concentration camps, and ethnic minorities were forcibly deported. Having been taken under the wing of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the communist leader 1952-1965, while in jail together, Ceauşescu occupied important positions in the Communist Government and succeeded Gheorghe following his death from lung-cancer in 1965. He tightened his iron grip on Romania by filled the newly created post of President of Romania in 1974. To further strengthen his power, in a process labelled ‘dynastic socialism’, he appointed family members to important party positions, with his wife Elena becoming his deputy. Ceauşescu initially enjoyed immense popularity as he seemed to move away from Soviet control. His speech in front of 100,000 in 1968 condemning the Warsaw Pact and invasion of Czechoslovakia was immortalised by Romanian propaganda, and he further broke from Russia when Romania participated in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games despite the Soviet boycott. This heroic gesture earned him economic support from the USA and decoration by our very own Queen Elizabeth.
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However, his single-minded determination to pay back foreign debt led to a devastating austerity program which saw the standard of living drop. By ordering the mass exportation of industrial and agricultural production, Romania experienced drastic food, fuel and medicine shortages, and the majority lived in poverty. Perhaps most well-known among Ceausescu’s policies were his anti-abortion and contraception laws, leading to hundreds of thousands of children being disregarded and abused in under-funded government orphanages. In a plan to increase Romania’s population from 23 million to 30 million in fewer than 35 years, pregnancy became a state policy, with every woman being legally obliged to produce five children. Contraceptives, abortion and sex education were made illegal. What’s more, women over 25 who weren’t married and couples who’d been married for over a year without conceiving were forced to pay a crippling ‘celibacy’ tax of up to 10% of their incomes. Dubbed the ‘menstrual police’ by Romanians, government officials regularly rounded up women from their workplace to check for pregnancy. These policies were initially successful with the birth rate doubling, but the state was hugely unprepared for this and the country’s infant-mortality rate soared to 8.3%, compared to 1% in Western European. Many desperate women sought dangerous and expensive illegal abortions, but were denied treatment at hospital if the abortion was botched. The number of women who died as a result of these back-alley abortions is unknown, but over half of all pregnancies ended in illegal abortion or miscarriage. The continuation of the regime was only made possible because of the tight control of the secret police. One in thirty citizens was actually an informer of the Securitate, although the belief was one in ten. Children as young as ten years old were used to inform on their teachers and families. While the members of the Securitate enjoyed privileges such as a passport or medicine for their families, their victims were often tortured or sent to jail. The regime was toppled in December 1989 in what proved to be the bloodiest takeover in communist Europe, and also the most cloaked in controversy. It began in Timisoara when the Hungarian priest Father Lászlo Tökés was sacked for giving an interview to a foreign television crew which had been smuggled into Romania, leading to demonstrations by his parishioners. The protests quickly escalated, spreading across the city. Trainloads of troops were sent to crush the rebellion, firing on civilians under pain of death, but on 19th December the army switched sides. Sensing rebellion, Ceauşescu tried to re-create his speech of 1968 with a mass rally of 100,000 people, but this backfired when cries of ‘Timisoara’ and ‘Murder’ drowned out his speech. Barricades were set up in the capital, leading to over 1000 deaths in one night. The following day Ceauşescu made one final attempt to regain control, speaking on the balcony of the Central Committee building, but was forced to flee by helicopter from the roof with his wife. However, he and his wife were captured while trying to flee the country and were taken to a military base. On Christmas day they were condemned to death by firing squad for crimes against the state. Following his death, many of the regime’s controlling policies were revoked, but Romania continues to suffer the consequences. A recent official report estimated the number of people who were killed or persecuted under communism to be two million. This number doesn’t include the people for whom every day was controlled or limited by the regime. Romania today is a very different place, but it still struggles to overcome the legacy of Ceauşescu…………. __________________________________________________________________________________________
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Bhopal: The Worst Industrial Accident in History? Kiah Ashford-Stow Five minutes to midnight on the 2nd December 1984 was just like any other normal night in the sprawling capital city of the Madhya Pradesh region in central India. Nicknamed the “City of Lakes” and sporting a world-class hockey team, this bustling hub was well used to attracting visitors, drawn by the city’s interesting heritage and beautiful historic buildings. Five minutes past midnight on the 3rd December and Bhopal shot to a new level of global fame, for all the wrong reasons. With the 1 million inhabitants of the city mostly asleep, the pesticide factory on the northern side of the city - owned by US company Union Carbide - experienced its most catastrophic leakage of the toxic gas, methyl isocyanate (MIC). Water had got into one of the many tanks holding this deadly gas and the following explosive reaction had ripped open the tank, releasing around 30 tonnes of MIC and turning the city into “one vast gas chamber”, according to a Guardian Newspaper report on the disaster. Thousands were poisoned that night as the gas seeped into their homes and as they took to the streets, desperately fleeing. Thousands more since then have continued to suffer as a result of this tragedy and these facts have earned it the title of ‘the worst industrial accident in history’. Whether or not the Bhopal gas leak fully deserves this status remains open to discussion, given the impact of comparable disasters, and this is what I shall attempt to discuss.
The actual figure on the immediate death toll after the leak is also hotly debated, with official government figures citing fatalities within 72 hours at around 3000, but independent sources, such as an article from 2009, claiming it was actually closer to 8,000. Either way, this short-term fatality count ranging into the thousands seems exceptional amongst comparable industrial accidents. In a very similar situation, an explosion at a dioxin factory in Seveso Italy in 1976, there were no human deaths reported and it was only the animal population that was severely affected and depleted. Even in large-scale nuclear 30 | P a g e
disasters such as at Chernobyl, Ukraine, the immediate number killed was well below 100, and going back further into history, a 1921 explosion at a German chemical plant in Oppau led to just under a third of the official casualty figure at Bhopal. However, it is not only the death toll from the days directly following the gas leak that makes this incident stand out above others; spontaneous abortions, burning of the throat and eyes, vomiting and receipt of a full range of permanent disabilities are all events that occurred with frightening frequency that night, as residents over 6 miles
away woke up coughing and thousands attempted to flee. The scale of the instantaneous impact of the Bhopal gas leak upon the surrounding population, measured primarily by the sheer number of deaths and illnesses, does seem to be an important factor that marks it out as an exceptionally ruinous incident. However, a second incredibly critical factor that has ensured Bhopal remains burned into both the minds of its victims and the international community is the on-going nature of the damage. The community of Bhopal continues to be blighted by disability, disease and death, directly traceable to the 1984 gas leak. Since the incident, it is estimated that over half a million people have been affected by the disaster and Greenpeace suggest their figure of 20,000 deaths to date to be conservative. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, around 150,000 people continue to live with chronic conditions due to exposure. Even families that have moved to the area years after the leak occurred are seriously affected, with many becoming ill as a result of having to depend upon water supplies that remain contaminated with toxic chemicals, over 25 years on. Statistics unique to the area, such as one in twenty-five babies still being born with defects, high rates of some cancers, TB and anaemia and the number of brain damaged babies being over ten times the national average, speak for themselves. Finally, perhaps one the of the most controversial points surrounding the Bhopal gas leak is also one that makes it impossible to forget; the fact that Dow Chemical, who bought Union Carbide in 2001, refuses to accept responsibility for the irrevocable damage done to the people of Bhopal, nor to increase the compensation from the scant sum paid by Union Carbide in 1989. It seems fairly clear that the $470 million settlement is grossly insufficient as recompense for the vast number of lives and families devastated by Bhopal, since it was based on an
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initial estimate of around 4,000 people requiring compensation. It also does not take into account the environmental impact of the disaster, nor the large number of malformed children still being born as a result of their parentsâ€™ exposure. It remains unclear whether or not one believes that Dow Chemical should hold full responsibility for the long-overdue clean-up of the area and assistance in rebuilding peopleâ€™s lives after Bhopal, since they only bought Union Carbide subsequently and were not involved in the crucial mistakes and lax approach to safety that led to leak. This is a different discussion; the fact remains that the people of Bhopal are still needlessly suffering, with many of those affected living in slums and relying on a charitable hospital for basic medical care. When this is contrasted against the 7 million people who still receive around 7% of Ukrainian and Belarusian government spending in compensation packages for the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the failure of either the Indian government or Dow Chemical to ensure the impoverished people of Bhopal are adequately provided for seems shameful. Indeed, because of the unresolved and on-going nature of the Bhopal gas leak, it again seems fair to say that it supersedes many other similar incidents, where the environmental damage was cleaned up and the victims were provided for. Overall it does seem reasonable to conclude that the gas leak at Bhopal was one of the worst industrial accidents in history, because of the sheer numbers of those continuing to be affected almost 30 years on and their unending plight for some international recognition and support. Now perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is how an area that was once famous for its rich culture and impressive hockey team is now primarily remembered for the disaster of 3rd December, 1984.
To what extent was Lord Mountbatten responsible for the Crisis of Indian Independence? Nikhil Ohri
On August 15th 1947, Indian politicians were rewarded for years of arduous work: India had finally achieved independence from British rule, testament to the perseverance of its people. However, the circumstances and aftermath of India’s birth of a sovereign nation are indeed analogous to a pyrrhic victory: what had seemed a blessing to so many in fact was a curse, ushering regrettably the darkest days of India’s history. In attaining home rule, the unity of India had been sacrificed: the consequent partition into India and Pakistan tore families apart, uprooting 14 million and leading to the massacre of 300,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Whilst the animosity of the Indian people is largely to blame for so many deaths, famously Lord Louis Mountbatten’s decision to exit India (the last Viceroy) at such a pace has also been criticised and his input into decision-making at this time remains a source of controversy and debate.
Many prominent British politicians had foreseen the genocide of the Indian people: Winston Churchill for example commented that without the impartial British Raj the ‘old hatred between the Moslems and Hindus would… acquire new life and malignancy’. Though, to an extent Churchill’s views here were rather anachronistic. Political consensus in Whitehall supported the independence of India by at least June 1948; the domestic strains of World war two combined with imperial overstretch had greatly weakened British resolve to rule. Therefore, the task of a swift, efficient and honourable exit from India was entrusted to the aristocratic Lord Mountbatten, whom had gained sufficient experience in the region. Following British recommendations closely, Mountbatten, after his arrival in February 1947, quickly concluded that the situation in India was too unsettled to wait any longer than 1947. After failing to convince the leader of the Muslim league, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, of the benefits of a united India, Mountbatten acquiesced to the demands of Indian partition into the states of India and Pakistan, leading to the Indian Independence Act of 1947.
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Whilst Mountbatten’s diplomacy was credible, successfully persuading the Hindu leader of Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru, to compromise with the obstinate Jinnah, the process of Indian independence can immediately be seen as rushed: independence of the two nations had been granted even before the borders of the nations had been decided.
However, the catastrophic partition of India cannot solely be explained through Mountbatten’s mistakes. By contrast, notable experts on the British Empire such as Lawrence James imply that since Mountbatten was dealing with such a contentious issue, he performed admirably in the circumstances. To an extent, this position can be justified; in terms of politics in India, partition appears an inevitable outcome of such polarised views. Whilst idealists such as Mohandas Gandhi fought courageously for a united India, deep-rooted prejudices made his plan almost impossible.
(British India before 1947) This decision proved detrimental. The barrister Cyril Radcliffe, responsible for the partition of the states of Bengal and Punjab, was instructed to do so in relation to the Hindu/Muslim majority in each district. With this knowledge, Indians began ‘religious cleansing’, ensuring a religious majority was established in their villages. Mass homicide ensued: in the city of Lahore, the ancient capital of India, Muslim gangs massacred Hindus and Sikhs. Conversely, in Punjab, revenge killing of Muslims occurred on a mass scale. Mountbatten’s attempts to diffuse the situation by announcing an official date for independence (the 15th August 1947) only increased tension. Firstly, the time scale was too short resulting in the premature demobilisation of troops: once the ‘Radcliffe line’ (border between India and Pakistan) had been announced millions of Indians migrated, though there were only 100 British troops for every 40,000 to 50,000 square miles. Refugee trains to Pakistan therefore became easy targets for extremist Sikh jathas (bands of 20 to 600 men), who justified the killing of innocent civilians as revenge for similar Muslim attacks. Moreover, the lack of British troops led to thousands of needless deaths due to starvation; refugees, forced to leave their villages suffered without British support on the treacherous journey across India. Therefore, evidence suggests Mountbatten’s impulsive exit from India neglected a country in the grip of monumental change. 33 | P a g e
The leader of Indian Congress, Nehru, and the leader of the Muslim league, Jinnah, had incompatible views. Nehru’s socialist beliefs precipitated into a desire for a strong central government to tackle poverty; this however scared Jinnah, convinced a strong state led by congress (which was dominated by Hindus) would repress the Muslim minority in parts of India. Jinnah’s unyielding desire for a ‘Muslim homeland’ of Pakistan, was therefore reinforced, leading to political paralysis in India. Furthermore, on a communal level, animosity between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had escalated due to inequalities. As the population in India grew by 100 million from 1921-1941, food, employment, healthcare and education became more scarce, and unevenly distributed (with prominent Hindus in many cities restricting the facilities Muslims could use). Tensions rose
and resentment surfaced against the hierarchical
depriving them the opportunity for social betterment was common before British rule, religion was more significantly introduced into politics after British legislation; the Indian Councils Act of 1909 allowed separate electorates to protect Muslim minorities. A trend towards the redefinition of identity through religion therefore emerged during the British Raj, reinforcing the claim for a Muslim homeland and separate Indian state for Hindus and Sikhs. The partition of India may well have been inevitable; for centuries Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs had struggled to live beside one another. However, the British apathy towards the independence of India, exacerbating the failure of partition, is unjustifiable. Whilst it could be argued that WW2 had depleted British forces and the resolve of armies in India, the impetuosity of Mountbatten’s decision to remove troops just 73 days after independence is controversial. Nevertheless, blame on Mountbatten’s part can be mitigated by the myopic nature of the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs whose violence led to the deaths of over 300,000.
(Mountbatten, his wife and Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister) structure of society, intensified through the caste system, with Muslims claiming that they were treated ‘more untouchable than the Untouchables’ in Hindu dominated villages. Whilst demeaning those of a different religion and
66 years on, the legacy of India’s partition endures. Whilst the weapons have changed, India and Pakistan have not learned from the insanity of their ancestors: in a ‘cold war’, the tension between the two neighbouring countries still remains.
Was the death of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos in 1061 a more significant blow to the Byzantine Empire than the defeat to the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert in 1071? Chris Logie The prevailing view among popular thinking is that the Roman Empire began with Augustus in 14 AD and ended with the deposition of the Emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD. This of course is ignoring the existence of an Eastern Roman Empire (the eastern half) which survived past this point all the way until 1453, when the Roman Capital of Constantinople (named in Turkey officially as Istanbul) fell to the Turks. Therefore this question is obviously only applicable to the Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire after an older name for Constantinople; Byzantium. To begin to ask the central question of this essay it is first necessary to frame it in a greater context than it has been placed by purely answering “What is the Byzantine Empire?”. Ever since the death of Muhammad in 632, Islam had spread both culturally and politically out from the Arabian peninsula, taking advantage of a weakened Persian Empire (destroyed in 651) and Byzantine Empire to spread out all the way to Spain in the West and India in the East. From this point on it can be argued all of Byzantine history from this point on was of an incredibly slow but nevertheless present decline until its ultimate destruction in 1453; this should not be considered depressing or an indication that 34 | P a g e
Byzantine history from this period onwards is boring, as history proves very much otherwise with many great successes and periods in between where the Empire thrived and succeeded but that since it was the Islamic Turks that destroyed the Empire eventually in 1453, the beginning of this threat should be considered as the beginning of the decline. The Battle of Manzikert, 1071 It is also necessary to describe what Manzikert itself was before it can be considered. In 1071 the Byzantines under Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes were defeated by the
Seljuk Turks at Manzikert in modern day Armenia. It was followed by the Turkish conquest of most of Asia Minor “and marked the beginning of the end for the Byzantine Empire as a militarily viable state.” Encouraged by Seljuk raids into Byzantine territory, Romanus assembled a large army to re-establish Byzantine rule on its frontier. In 1071 he led his army into Turkish held Armenia and to the town of Manzikert, whereupon he divided his army, which included Turkish mercenaries, sending some to take the nearby fort of Akhlât at Lake Van and taking the rest to Manzikert. Learning of the Byzantine incursion the Seljuk Sultan Alp-Arslan made his way to Manzikert where he confronted the Byzantines. Abandoning Manzikert so that he could make his way to the rest of his forces at Akhlât, he was ambushed on his way there by the Turks. Romanus fought valiantly and might have won had not his Turkish troops defected and one of his generals, perceiving that the cause was lost, fled. The Byzantine army was destroyed (including most of the Empire’s professional troops), and Romanus was taken prisoner, being overthrown while in captivity but eventually freed, offered amnesty by his victorious opponents at court he retired to a monastery. Shortly afterwards his enemies reneged on their promises and had him cruelly blinded, not given medical assistance, his wounds became infected and he died a painfully long death. His only reprieve was that his wife was permitted to give him a magnificent funeral.
(Byzantine Empire before Manzikert) The medium term impact of the battle was the dramatic incursion of the Seljuks into Anatolia, depriving Byzantium of huge swathes of its population and with their loss a dramatically reduced taxation and recruiting base. Although the Empire was to survive in some form or other until 1453 it was never again to regain its former power and prestige. Manzikert was a long-term strategic catastrophe for Byzantium. As Paul K. Davis writes: "defeat severely limited the power of the Byzantines by denying them control over Anatolia, the major recruiting ground for soldiers. Henceforth, the Muslims controlled the region. The Byzantine Empire was limited to the area immediately around
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Constantinople, and the Byzantines were never again a serious military force.”
(The Byzantine Empire in 1092, 21 years after Manzikert.) Events before Manzikert In 1045 the Emperor of the time was Constantine IX Monomachos, at a time when the Empire needed both energy and direction this man was certainly not up to the task. In 1045 he gained the Kingdom of Armenia, essentially for nothing as a result of a treaty, the problem was that this exposed the Empire for the first time to the Seljuk Turks, who preceded to raid in Byzantine territory, weakening the Empire’s military strength. A rebellion by his nephew in 1047 weakened Byzantine defences in the Balkans to the point that when the Pechenegs arrived in 1048, they continued to stay and plunder the area for the next 5 years. Constantine myopically sought to secure his power by favouring the landed aristocracy, granting great tax immunities to them at the expense of the small landowners in “Pronoia” land arrangements which the Empire relied upon for tax income and soldiers. When he died in 1055 he was replaced for a short while by his sisterin-law Theodora, who became Empress. She died in 1056 at the age of 76 and was succeeded by the Patrician Michael Bringas who became Emperor Michael VI “Stratiotikos” (meaning “the Military One” due to his former role as military finance minister). The historian John Julius Norwich describes this period thus: “Wise government in mid-eleventh-century Byzantium consisted above all in striking a balance between the administration and the military aristocracy: Michael indulged the one and victimised the other.” In the spring of 1057 the Emperor traditionally gave out a largesse, which Michael followed: the Senate, along with all senior civil servants and magistrates were amazed to receive incredibly large bonuses and automatic promotions. The military on the other hand were attacked groundlessly; Commander-in-chief Isaac Comnenus was subject to a torrent of abuse and was accused of losing territory, corrupting the army, showing no signs of leadership and of embezzling public money. This attack seems to stem
purely from Michael’s personal resentment of the military, having been patronised by them for 40 years from his time as a minister, he now felt that he could really tell them what he thought of them. From here on in Michael VI had sealed his downfall, having sown the seeds of dissent amongst his generals: “The outraged generals had had enough of government by bureaucrats, who feathered their nests while the army atrophied and the enemies of the Empire advanced; the time had come, they believed, to get rid of this long succession of good-for-nothing Emperors, superannuated Empresses and the epicene eunuchs who manipulated them, and to return to the old Roman tradition of the Imperator, the Emperorgeneral who would personally lead his armies to victory.” Isaac himself refused to take part in any conspiracy, preferring instead to retire to his estate on the Black Sea coast but his colleagues continued to work against the Emperor, finding an ally in the Patriarch Michael Cerularius. Meeting secretly in Constantinople, the conspirators agreed that Isaac was the only possible choice. On June 8th 1057, at his estate, Isaac allowed himself to be declared Emperor of the Romans. Soon Isaac had support of the entire Asian military, along with vast swathes of Byzantine society. If the true measure of legitimacy was to be raised upon the soldiers of your troops and have them declare you Emperor in the old Imperial tradition then Isaac had a far more legitimate claim to the throne than Michael ever had. Michael suspected nothing up to the point of Isaac’s proclamation and summoned the army of the Europe along with the few Asian groups which remained loyal. Michael entrusted his forces to Theodore, Domestic of the Schools (a high ranking military position) and oddly to the Magister Aaron, who happened to be Isaac’s brother-in-law. They soon gathered their force and crossed into Asia, making their headquarters of the large town of Nicomedia. This was a strategic error; they could have easily continued to the larger city of Nicaea (modern day İznik) which had much more substantial walls and a better overall position. Instead Nicaea surrendered to Isaac without a struggle. For a few weeks the opposing armies remained camped opposite each other, only five miles separated them. Then on the 20th of August, battle was joined. The result was almost inevitable, Isaac’s troops were of a better quality and had higher morale, what remained of Michael’s army retreated to Constantinople. The elderly Michael then resorted to what was left to him; diplomacy. Sending a delegation led by the historian and politician Michael Psellus, his proposal was simple; Isaac would come peacefully to Constantinople and be crowned Caesar, whereupon he would become Emperor on Michael’s death. Psellus describes Isaac’s reception first-hand: 36 | P a g e
“Isaac was seated on a couch, raised on a high platform and overlaid with gold. A magnificent robe gave him an air of high distinction; a far-away look in his eyes suggested that he was sunk in profoundest thought... Around him were circles upon circles of warriors. There were Italians, and Scyths from the Taurus, men of fearful aspect in outlandish garb, glaring fiercely about them. Some had plucked their eyebrows and had covered themselves in war-paint... Finally there were some warriors armed with long spears and carrying their single-edged battle-axes on their shoulders.” The delegation was a success; Isaac confirmed that he would be happy to simply take the title of Caesar. However on the same evening (25th of August), news came from Constantinople; a coup d’état led by the Patriarch had deposed Michael. Isaac entered Constantinople as Emperor. Unlike what was seen with Romanus a few decades later there was to be no bloodshed, Michael suffered no blinding or banishment to a monastery and died a private citizen. Isaac got to work quickly; Psellus said that he started working on the same day that he entered the Imperial palace in Constantinople. His goal: military reform. Isaac wanted to make sure that the army once again received proper financial support and that the military was once again in control of the Empire’s security. This of course required money and Isaac embarked on a programme of large territorial confiscation. Large areas of land conferred by Michael’s fateful largesse were reversed and lands and pensions given to opportunistic supporters of Michael were confiscated without compensation. Isaac also moved against Church property, with greater difficulty. He appropriated a proportion of the revenues of the wealthy monasteries. The Patriarch Michael Cerularius was obviously opposed to this, and was in a strong position to do so; he had been instrumental in overthrowing Michael and was more popular with the populace than Isaac. The Patriarch even went so far as to threaten the Emperor with deposition. For Isaac this was a step too far, on November the 8th Cerularius was arrested and exiled, but he refused to give up his position as Patriarch. Isaac held a synod of dethronement but before Cerularius could be officially sentenced, he died a broken man. Isaac continued his reform program, apparently barely resting or stopping; his only leisure was in hunting on the Imperial estates. Isaac's only military expedition was against King Andrew I of Hungary and the Pechenegs, who began to ravage the northern frontiers in 1059. Shortly after this successful campaign, he concluded peace with the Kingdom of Hungary and returned to Constantinople. Here he became very ill, and believed he was dying. He was already deeply shaken after narrowly avoiding being struck by lightning while leaning against a tree on campaign against the
Pechenegs, and he saw his illness as a sign of God's displeasure. This situation was exploited by the courtiers, led by Michael Psellos who convinced him to appoint the scholarly Constantine Ducas as his successor to the exclusion of his own brother John Komnenos; Isaac then abdicated to a monastery, against the wishes of his empress, Catherine of Bulgaria, Although he recovered, Isaac Komnenos did not resume the throne but retired to the monastery of Stoudion and spent the remaining two years of his life as a monk, alternating menial offices with literary studies. His Scholia to the Iliad and other works on the Homeric poems are still extant. He died late in 1060 or early in 1061. Isaac's great aim was to restore the former strict organization of the government, and his reforms, though unpopular with the aristocracy and the clergy, and not understood by the people, certainly contributed to the continued survival of the Byzantine Empire. As Norwich says: “Had Isaac Comnenus reigned for twenty years instead of two, he would have built up the strength of the army to the level it had known under Basil II and would have been able to bequeath his Empire, undefeated and undiminished, directly to his nephew Alexius.”
Alexius I Komnenos Sadly however this was not the case. The Empire continued to decline until Manzikert, whereupon its remaining strength was shattered. By the time Isaac’s nephew Alexius ascended to the throne in 1081 to pick up the pieces, the damage had already been done. Alexius did incredibly well as an Emperor in his own right, reversing the decline to some extent but he would have made a better successor to Isaac and that is the true catastrophe, not Manzikert.
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An Alternative History: What might have been the consequence of failure at the 1938 Munich Conference? William Lee
The Munich Conference of 29-30 September 1938 gave the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany, a major act of appeasement that failed to stop Hitler's demands and gave the Allies a year of preparation for World War II. The Conference was a strange success as it preserved peace for a year; many had thought that it would result in war. But had events gone differently, could Czechoslovakia have held off the German Army in 1938 in the aftermath of a failed Munich Conference? The Germans had prepared for such an eventuality in the form of Fall Gr端n. Fall Gr端n, or Case Green, was a plan very much similar to the Blitzkrieg carried out in 1939-40; the basic plan was to drive into Czechoslovakia with armoured units and prevent the Czechoslovakian army from withdrawing towards Slovakia, with the result that they would not be able to regroup and would eventually be crushed while disordered and exposed. The armour's progress would be aided with the use of assault troops of various kinds, who would form small groups which would knock out strong points and perform other missions. Among these groups were operatives and spies who would infiltrate the Sudetenland and incite the German populace to rise up and cause confusion; elsewhere, the Luftwaffe 38 | P a g e
(Air Force) would attempt to destroy the opposing air forces on the ground. After breaking through, the rest of the Heer (German Army) would clean up then push into Slovakia. In late September 1938 it seemed likely that an invasion of the Sudetenland using Fall Gr端n would have to go ahead, though whether the Germans had forces in place to enact this exactly is doubtable; the readiness of the army is also questionable. However, this plan had severe flaws in planning despite the general readiness and overall strength of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) at the time. There were also other flaws, which included everything from supply problems to diplomacy, which would become incredibly visible in the event of an invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. The plan called for an attack that involved throwing a bulk of the German Armed Forces at Czechoslovakia, charging through a mountain range, while leaving the west of Germany with only a token force, who would defend the half-finished Siegfried Line, a fortified line built to defend Germany's western border. East Prussia would have even less troops in it, which would be asking for an attack by the Soviet Union. It called for multiple assault columns, which had to operate in such a small theatre, and would be exposed to air attacks and would suffer supply and
transportation problems. These columns were to draw the Czech Army into an open piece battle, which would have been unlikely as they were holding defensive lines and would not leave them to fight the numerically-superior Germans unless they had to. This plan would almost certainly cause the initial attack upon Czechoslovakia to fail. Failure would be guaranteed due to a lack of suitable materiel and experience to attack the Czech border forts. While there may be considerable uprisings or protests by Sudeten German civilians or soldiers, which would tie up some Czech troops, a failed general attack would not be able to exploit possible advantages provided by this, or the destruction of the Czech Air Force on the ground. It would not only considerably slow down German forces and would be catastrophic for the plan, but it would also allow the Czechoslovakian High Command to move more Czechoslovakian forces into position, mobilise their reserves and deal with any problems concerning Sudeten Germans. A failure would occur (regardless of the plan) because the German Army in 1938 (in terms of materiel availability and quality) was in no shape prepared to attack fortified positions, especially in mountainous regions. This can be attributed to various deficiencies or problems in assault operations and vehicles: Firstly, German assault troops in 1938 would have some difficulty in infiltrating, capturing or destroying vitally important positions due to difficulty in attacking the target. Suitable troops would have been Gebirgsjaeger (mountain infantry) or fallschirmjaegers (paratroopers), neither of which existed in large numbers (of the latter only one battalion existed in 1938); furthermore, such operations would demand excellent intelligence, suitable equipment and experience, an element of surprise and heavier reinforcements. Such operations would therefore have a considerable chance of failing as German armour, who would move to reinforce the assault troops, would have difficulty reaching the target in time, due to the mountainous terrain (which could also cause problems for paratroopers) .The assault troops also did not have much experience in attacking fortified positions, and would not have practiced for such assaults or known what sort of equipment should be used; this would greatly reduce their chance of success. Secondly, the German Army would have problems with its vehicles. It was not fully motorised, which could further impede movement back and forth, especially in the Sudetenland's mountainous roads. This would affect movement of supplies and reinforcements, which would further stall attacks and increase the chance of failure at the front. Equally, there may be difficulty in the movement of tanks, the most widely used of which was the Panzer II, which was starting to be replaced by Panzer IIIs; both would probably suffer in mountainous terrain due to 39 | P a g e
mechanical difficulty or the gradients they faced. Panzer IIs themselves were inferior to Czech LT vz. 35s, which boasted superiority in almost every way. There were some 1,000 Panzer IIs produced by 1939 in real life, so the amount of Panzer IIs available in Fall Grün would have been considerably less, further tipping the odds against the Germans. Of early model Panzer IIIs, there would have been around 60 available tanks in the whole of Germany; the Czechs had 350 LT vz. 35s. A delayed or halted attack on Czechoslovakia would have dire consequences for Germany in that it would divert Luftwaffe resources into supporting forces in the ground and in preventing a Czech counter attack, though this could further damage the Luftwaffe in the long term if the Czechoslovakian Air Force was allowed to build up strength (it consisted of some 1,500 planes in September); also, it would mean that the Luftwaffe would have to hit less targets and have less chance of knocking those targets out. However, the greatest effect of such a delay would be on the diplomatic scene. The diplomatic situation in Europe at the time was highly tense and was a net of alliances and guarantees, similar to the situation before WWI, but considerably less secure. France and the Soviet Union both guaranteed the independence of Czechoslovakia and had previously stated that they would militarily intervene if it was attacked. Czechoslovakia had also recently dissolved a three-way alliance with Yugoslavia and Romania; in the event of an attack Yugoslavia may intervene, but Romania was less likely to do so on account of distance and how it was being taken over by fascist elements. Poland was highly concerned about a possible war, being a militarily weaker nation than Czechoslovakia with virtually no border defences, but its highly likely intervention could allow Soviet troops to move through or simply to distract German troops. The United Kingdom would have helped France if a war occurred; despite the Statute of Westminster in 1931 the Dominions would have followed the UK into a war eventually, or at least help it economically. With all these nations interested in or concerned about a war between Germany and Czechoslovakia, it is possible that Mussolini’s Italy would choose not to join the Germans in a war, as they were not required to. (The Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy in 1939 made this a requirement) This would further mean that the Germans would effectively be surrounded, depending on which nations were willing to engage in a war. Italy could have been involved had Yugoslavia taken an increasingly aggressive stance (such as demanding Italian territory or acting in a way in which Italy was threatened), but Mussolini’s opportunistic attitude would mean that Italy would not intervene unless necessary or a significant threat against Italy existed. Hungary too, despite having a good relationship with Germany and a radical right-wing
government, would also stay out of the war for the same reasons. Neither of these two states would have provided a significant advantage to the Germans on a global scale. On the Western Front the duty of keeping pressure on the Germans fell primarily upon the French, but also upon the British. France would enter a war with Germany over Czechoslovakia, though its chances may be better than those it had in 1939. While the Germans would hold a force in the west, it would be considerably weak with little armour and air support, so it is likely that if the French attacked they could break through the Siegfried Line. The French Army and its generally heavily-armoured tanks would do well in this role but would fail, as it did in real life, if pulled into a manoeuvring battle or attacked by an effective "Blitzkrieg-style" attack due to a lack of anti-tank weaponry, but it would not face such a battle if German troops and tanks were heavily engaged in the East. On the other hand, the French Air Force at the time was relatively weak and could not compare with the Luftwaffe, and would only serve to protect the troops on the ground when it was advantageous to do so. Despite these faults with the French Armed Forces, the French Navy, especially the surface fleet, was superior to the Germans' as they had modern battleships in the form of the Dunkerque-class as well as some old super-dreadnoughts left over from World War I. With less U-boats to deal with, the French could join up with the Royal Navy and enforce a much more effective blockade. A British contribution to this war would at first be limited to naval and aerial forces, though the involvement of a BEF in France, albeit a few corps strong at most, would be certain despite whatever unrest at home over the start of a war. The Royal Navy would almost certainly face better odds in this scenario than it did in real life; while it would lack the two Illustrious-class carriers it had in 1939, the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) surface fleet would also be weaker with the Scharnhorst-class battleships undergoing sea trial. The Royal Air Force would be needed to secure the skies over France and Western Europe, as the weaker French Air Force at the time even lacked the fighter it was using the most in 1939, the Morane-Saulnier M.S. 406; the British were at this time starting to produce the Supermarine Spitfire while the Hawker Hurricane well under production. British armour, as opposed to that of the French, consisted primarily of light tanks which would not serve a wholly useful role on the battlefield; there was a shortage of heavier tanks due to economic problems. Nevertheless, with the amount of troops and armour available in the West and the amount of troops garrisoning the Siegfried Line a breakthrough would not have been overly difficult; the only problem would be in planning and agreeing to such an offensive. In the East however, the Soviet Union, which would have joined the war if France did, would be considerably more 40 | P a g e
aggressive and also boasted considerably larger tank numbers. However, it have officer problems on account of the recent Great Purge, and suffered from a shortage in experienced and high-ranking officers; some however, such as the Polish officer and mechanised warfare proponent (and later Marshal of the Soviet Union) Rokossovsky were imprisoned as a result of the purge and could be released. However, it would have the chance to prepare and mobilise in the eventuality of a war, and so would be able to field considerable numbers of men, artillery and armour against the Germans, if they were capable of attacking the Germans, which would be the major problem facing the Soviets. The Red Army would be unable to engage with the Germans unless the Soviet Union negotiated with its neighbours to allow its troops to pass through them; some countries, such as Poland, may be unwilling to allow this due to fear of the Soviet Union. Another option available to the Soviets would be to attempt a landing in East Prussia with the aid of the Baltic Fleet, which would result in success as few troops would have been stationed there and resisted. The Red Air Force represented the major aerial threat to the Luftwaffe, with similar or greater plane numbers and production capability, despite the fact that the primary fighter, the Polikarpov I-16, used in the Spanish Civil War, was proven to be weak in combat against the Luftwaffe. Pressure upon the Luftwaffe and upon the Heer in East Prussia or Poland would allow pushes by the Western Allies or for Czechoslovakia to counter attack. Yugoslav intervention would also put pressure upon Germany, though this would be in newly-annexed Austria or political pressure upon Hungary, which would again allow for further options elsewhere. In the event of war breaking out it would be likely that the Czechoslovak Army would be eventually defeated, if the war lasted that long. In the event of a Czechoslovak surrender, it would have inflicted rather substantial casualties upon the Heer and Luftwaffe, resulting in German weaknesses elsewhere if they tried to rescue the situation, or else risk opening up a massive breech in German lines. Some nations may not actually commit totally to this war, due to the risk of public discontent (there was a great fear of wars after the First World War), but Germany would still lose. The involvement of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia would effectively destroy all chances of a German victory or indeed a peace settlement of any kind. Eventually, the German Army, overstretched and having to rely on a small manpower pool, would be defeated. German morale would have collapsed pretty quickly, compounded by blunders in the Sudetenland and sheer total war inflicted upon one nation by multiple others as well as rationing; finally by the loss of East Prussia so early in the war would have crushed it. The propaganda machine would be severely stressed to find
anything of use to raise morale and anti-Nazi groups would fate of Germany would frankly depend on who got to most likely gain a lot of support. The post-war world Berlin first. would be very different, with the Soviet Union as a very definite superpower that could end up in a massive war with Japan. The USA would remain isolationist and the __________________________________________________________________________________________
The Nuremberg War Crime Trials: Fair trials or “victors’ justice?” Marta Brodzka
The Nuremberg trials, possibly the most famous legal proceedings in military history, are to this day the subject of much controversy. The first trials at Nuremberg were for 24 senior Nazis. The International Military Tribunal formulated four indictments, all or some of which were made against all 24 men. The four indictments were: 1) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace. 2) Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crime against peace. 3) War Crimes 4) Crimes against humanity. The fact that such a tribunal was held is a huge achievement, yet still the subject of great controversy. Was it fair? Or were the Allies merely trying to prove their power? The good intentions of many of those involved cannot be denied, yet the discrepancies and issues which present themselves in the case surrounding the trials shed some doubts on the true nature of the trial. At a time when international relations were potentially at their most fragile, it seems almost unbelievable that so many Nazis were tried and convicted. This article will look at the issues surrounding the trial, and assess to what extent it was purely neutral, or whether the Allies’ actions were more motivated by revenge than justice.
When looking at the Nuremberg trials, it is easy to forget the impact they had on the world at the time, as the progress in legal and military history that they represent often eclipses any issues that may have arisen over the course of the proceedings. Whilst the determination to hold a proper legal trial is certainly admirable, it is possible that under the circumstances, and with the scale of the crimes committed, it would have been extremely difficult for those involved to conduct an entirely neutral trial. The announcement that a trial would take place sparked worldwide protest, with Roosevelt saying at Yalta in 1945 that the Nazi criminals should be taken out into the yard and “summarily executed”. With such a widespread mentality, it is hard to believe that any subsequent trials could be considered fair; yet in many ways, this was achieved. After the agreement that there would be a trial, the USA, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union set up an international military tribunal (IMT). With Robert Jackson, Justice of the Supreme Court overseeing proceedings, the Charter on which the trial would be based was drawn up. As there had been no previous need to try war criminals for such crimes, the punishments had to be written to fit the crime after they had been committed. Whilst it wouldn’t be fair to accuse those 41 | P a g e
lawyers of undermining the regulations surrounding such legal proceedings, it is possible that had the Charter been written without knowledge of the crimes of the Nazi criminals, the outcome may have been different. The Charter was based upon four counts: “Conspiracy to commit crimes alleged in the following counts”; “Crimes against peace”; “War Crimes” and “Crimes against humanity”. As this trial was the first of its kind, the IMT had much more freedom to structure the trial as they saw fit. Described as a “Victor’s justice” by Hermann Goering, the need to bring the criminals to justice may have resulted in more of a ‘revenge trial’, with the lawyers involved directing the trial in the way they wanted it to go. For instance, ‘The Nuremberg Legacy’ by Norbert Ehrenfreund says, “The Russians [who took part in the deliberations to reach a verdict] acted under instructions from Moscow, and voted every defendant guilty as charged”. Although actions such as these are strictly prohibited in any modern court of law, the novelty of such a trial gave the nations total authority in the way they conducted the legal proceedings, as no one would have objected to the conviction of the Nazi criminals. However, it was clear from the beginning that the purpose of the trials was not only to punish, but also to prove that the Allies were
morally better than the Nazis. Had Roosevelt’s idea of a “summary execution” been carried out, the Allies would have appeared to be just as bad as the Nazis themselves, but also, Goering’s view of “a victor’s justice” would have been entirely correct. The fact that the IMT saw the need for a proper trial, in spite of the ensuing controversy, gives some evidence to the just nature of it. In “Eyewitnesses at Nuremberg” by Hilary Gaskin, Peter Uiberall, an interpreter present at the trial, discredits the theory of “a victor’s justice”, saying that it was essential in order “to separate the sheep from the goats” and that without the trial “many people in the rest of the world would consider every German guilty of what went on in the concentration camps”. From this point of view, it is possible to see how the trials brought some degree of closure to the trials. In many ways, the emphasis that was placed on the delicacy of the situation- the court had to administer the proper punishments whilst avoiding the possibility of the creation of martyrs for the Nazi cause. Regardless of whether the trial was motivated by revenge or by a desire to make peace, it seems that the main goal, other than trying the Nazi criminals, was to encourage solidarity within the world- the Holocaust had destroyed society, ripping millions away from the comfort of their everyday lives, altering the way people thought of each other, the way they acted. Particularly in Poland, there was still a certain suspicion of Jews, as there was in many other areas whether the Jewish community had been prominent before the war. The survivors, their homes and possessions destroyed, now had to attempt to rebuild their lives after the trauma of their ordeals. It might have been expected that a trial on the scale of Nuremberg may have attempted to compensate the victims, but this was not the case. Again, in “The Nuremberg Legacy”, the author writes “At all the Nuremberg trials, the court’s attention was focused on the defendants and their punishments. No mention was made of help for the victims” This may be one of the most prominent issues surrounding the trial. In most modern trials, an attempt is usually made to ensure at least a base level of protection for the victims. However, at Nuremberg, the Allies were so focused on getting the verdict they wanted that the victims seemed almost irrelevant. Whilst some of their testimonies were used in the trial to convict the likes of Goering and Hess, it was obvious that the court required them purely for information, rather than to give them support. Another point concerning the fairness of the trial is the defendants themselves. Even though it is doubtless that those convicted were guilty, it is also not possible to place the entire blame solely on the shoulders of the first 21 Nazis tried. Despite there being further trials for Nazi doctors and further collaborators, it appears that the defendants were chosen for their representation of spheres 42 | P a g e
of influence within Hitler’s government, with the intention that their conviction would in effect stand for the conviction of the people they represented. Many of those who were tried later attempted to explain their actions as “pressure from above”. Nonetheless, without the workforce that they possessed, the Nazis would have most likely caused less destruction than they did. In spite of the higher-ranking officials orchestrating the operations, by ignoring the actions of the ordinary people who supported Hitler, the court looked over some of the most horrific crimes of WW2. It seems hard to believe that the Nuremberg trial, for all it did to restore peace after the War, could be seen as a revenge trial or as “victor’s justice”. However, the 21 first defendants tried were all German, and none of those who followed were from anywhere other than Germany. Although the Germans were the main perpetrators, people throughout Europe collaborated with them, yet their crimes were forgotten about. It appears that the Allies were merely using the Nuremberg trial as a medium to reassert their power over the Germans, so that it could never again be undermined. The point of the trial was supposedly to convict the defendants, yet the focus was very much on the reorganisation of society to the way it was before. It does not seem fair on the defendants, although their actions could not be justified, that as opposed to receiving a just verdict based on their respective crimes, they were blamed for everything and anything to do with the war. Whilst some may not see an issue with condemning the defendants in this way, it must be considered that every trial, no matter how serious or shocking, must remain neutral. The legal system keeps order and peace, and society cannot expect to function properly, particularly after the trauma of a World War, if the criminals are dealt with in a way that is insufficient or unreliable. At Nuremberg, it appears that the judges and lawyers involved also based their actions on their backgrounds and beliefs. For example, Iona Nikitchenko, one of the judges at Nuremberg, was present at Stalin’s trials during the Great Purge where Soviet enemies were convicted. In such a situation, it could not possibly be expected that people with a past like this would be able to deliver a verdict devoid of outside influence. Of all the reasons why the trial at Nuremberg was not necessarily fair (although mentioned previously) is that if the law and punishment for “War crimes” and “Crimes against humanity” were written after the crimes were committed, then the Nazis were technically not breaking the law, as there was nothing to dictate that they were breaking any legal statute. However controversial this may seem, it is easier to comprehend if put into a modern context. For example, murder is no longer punishable by death in many countries. However, if someone were to
commit a murder, and then a new law to be introduced specifically for that trial that capital punishment could now be applied in some cases, it does not seem just. Even though the person is clearly guilty, it seems unreasonable that they are to be executed for a crime that others were only imprisoned for. A similar situation presented itself at Nuremberg- the men put on trial for transgressions others had committed without any acknowledgement from the authorities. This is not in any way an attempt to justify the actions of those tried at Nuremberg, but to see if the required level of neutrality was reached and maintained. The fact that the trial was totally new in every way was bound to lead to some modifications to the regular code of legal conduct; nonetheless, it should have been treated in the same way as any minor trial would be- any motivation for revenge only interrupted the whole process. The dedication of those involved in the trial towards bringing the criminals to justice and to avenge the lives of the victims is nothing less than admirable; yet seeking revenge would have done nothing to preserve the peace that was so desperately needed. Throughout the trial, the Allies were careful to appear as being on a higher moral ground than the defendants. In spite of this, the constant need for revenge and to inflict mental and emotional suffering upon the defendants begs the question- did the Allies actually have moral superiority? The claims of a fair trial were all well and good, yet the obvious persistence to appear better than the defendants gives the impression that the trial was not motivated purely by the search for justice,
but by the worldwide desire to show the Nazis that their power had been destroyed, and that they had to accept without question whatever fate was chosen for them. The Allies seemed so intent on maintaining a stance of “victor’s justice” that in some cases, it appeared to become the main priority. In the documentary “The Nuremberg Trials”, it states, “Any tenderness to them is a victory and an encouragement to all the evils which are attached to their names” Nonetheless, I do not believe at any rate that the entirety of the trial should be condemned. The trying of these 24 Nazis represented a vital move towards international peace and solidarity- the fact that four of the world’s most powerful countries were able to collaborate to deliver a united verdict shows progress in international relations in a way that many previous negotiations were unable to achieve. Each defendant was given a lawyer and fully made aware of what was happening to them. This insistence of a requirement for equality cannot be faulted, especially considering the outrage the prospect of a trial sparked in the first place. In conclusion, I believe that the Nuremberg trial was “victor’s justice”, as the Allies needed to reestablish themselves after they had been severely destabilised, and wanted to make an example of the Nazis to deter anyone else from similar wrongdoings. Then again, the IMT succeeded where many had failed: the ability to judge each case individually; the decision to inform the world of the proceedings, thus giving closure and a greater sense of security; the capability, above all, to end one of the most appalling episodes in world history.
The Decisions of the Nuremburg Trials Name
Nazi Party Secretary after Hess fled Nazi Germany. Not at the trial and sentenced in his absence. Bormann was not charged with Indictment 2.
Commander of Germany's U-boats and initiated wolfpack tactics. 1943 on, led Germany's Navy and succeeded Hitler on the death of the Führer. Dönitz was not charged with Indictment 4
10 years in prison.
Ruled occupied Poland. Not charged with Indictment 2.
Hitler's Minister of the Interior.
Radio commentator under Hitler. Not charged with Indictment 4.
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Hitler's Minister of Economics. Became head of the Reichsbank after Hjalmar Schacht. Released from prison in May 1957 as a result of ill-health.
Life in prison
Commander of the Luftwaffe and various departments in the SS. Committed suicide just before his execution.
Hitler's deputy before his flight to Scotland.
Life in prison.
Senior army commander. Posthumously pardoned in 1953.
Highest ranking member of SS to survive the war. Involved with the Einzatsgruppen units in Russia and security in Germany itself. Not charged with Indictment 2.
Head of OKW
Senior Nazi industrialist; medically unfit for trial.
Senior Nazi industrialist; commanded the German Labour Front. Committed suicide before his verdict.
Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. Released due to ill-health in November 1954.
15 years in prison.
Von Papen, Franz
Had served as German chancellor prior to Hitler
Led the German Navy up to 1943. Released from prison in September 1955 due to ill-health. Not charged with Indictment 4.
Life in prison
Nazi Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs
Nazi racial ideologist and Protector of the eastern Occupied Territories.
Senior figure in the Nazi slave labour programme
Pre-war president of the Reichsback. Not charged with Indictments 3 and 4.
Schirach, Baldur von
Head of the Hitler Youth and later Gauleiter of Vienna. Not charged with Indictments 2 and 3.
20 years in prison
Gauleiter of Holland
Minister of Armaments. Not charged with Indictments 1 and 2.
20 years in prison
Not charged with Indictments 2 + 3. Found guilty of crimes against humanity. Editor of 'Der StĂźrmer'.
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Tinkers, Tailors, Soldiers and Spies: Intelligence during the Cold War Daniel Zhang After recently watching the film, I became interested in the workings of intelligence agencies, and so began to look up material for this essay. I was fascinated with the spies’ almost nonchalance in regards to there being traitors in their midst. In addition, my interest in codes and ciphers developed after reading Simon Singh’s excellent ‘The Code Book’, realising how critical they were and are in the world. I took to writing this essay also because I realised how well the topic followed the Cold War section of the GCSE course.
Much of the Cold War was fought as a battle of intelligence, with both sides utilising various methods to secure knowledge about what the enemy was doing, or to plant false information in the opposing side’s intelligence agencies. Perhaps the most prominent and most romanticised of these methods is the use of spies. They evolved to play a large part in the Cold War game. They were individuals involved in extremely clandestine information, with many operations being deniable. Some spies were double agents, ‘turned’ by the enemy institution to spy on their own government and agencies, others were planted in a country not native their own to obtain information. Intelligence gathering also involved the spreading of codes and ciphers, ways of transmitting information without the enemy knowing what it meant if it fell into their hands. In this essay I will describe the actions of the Cambridge Five and their spying, double agents and code breakers and makers, and evaluate their importance in fighting the Cold War and helping to maintain the balance that held us from global thermonuclear war. Spying was an incredibly dangerous job and had an extremely deep psychological impact on people. They knew that, should they be caught trying to gather highly confidential material they were not given access to, there would be very little chance of rescue and repatriation by their sponsors. They would simply be denied, with their agency or government simply refusing to acknowledge that they were spying for them and write them off. Spies would therefore have to live very secluded lives, maintaining only a small, or none at all family links. Spies were recruited from a variety of backgrounds, as they needed to be completely unidentifiable in the target country. Soviet Union spies were often British men, deep undercover in the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) or MI5 (Military Intelligence 5) .These organisations acted in the interests of Britain’s security on an international and nation level respectively. However, there were ‘moles,’ traitors to the cause, providing the Soviet Union with top secret documents. The men the Soviet Union employed were people who had become disappointed and disaffected by capitalism and the western way of life, and had beliefs adhering to those of communism, who had been turned during interventions by Soviet agents. Vast amounts of information were passed on to the KGB; that is the Committee for State Security in the Soviet Union by defectors spying for them. Perhaps the most famous of these defectors were the ‘Cambridge Five’ – who converted to communism during their time at Cambridge University. They were a ring of spies, who were recruited by Soviet Agent Arnold Deutsch. In the 1930s, the democratic, capitalist way of life seemed to be in dire trouble. The Great Depression had caused severe unemployment and countries such as Germany and Italy were rife with communist tendencies. To these students, this was unacceptable. Four: Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt agreed to serve the KGB in that they thought only the Soviet Union would be powerful enough to stop the spread of fascism. Combined, the five (the four mentioned including a fifth, with many people suggested as being him, including John Cairncross) had passed over the USSR thousands of top secret documents. Blunt also played a large role in the recruitment of the three other named members. Burgess (codename Hicks) joined MI6 after the outbreak of the Second World War. However, later he was more useful to the Soviets as he became secretary to the British Foreign Minister of State. He transmitted Foreign Office documents to the KGB frequently, by stealing them for the night to be photographed and returning them by morning. He was notorious due to his drinking habits. Maclean also worked in the Foreign office, as well as in Paris and Cairo, but suffered from conflicting intents and drinking. He is suggested to have reported to Moscow that the Marshall Plan (The economic extension of the Truman Doctrine, to prove American aid to European countries wishing to resist Communism) was ultimately put in place to ensure American control over Europe, and also a great deal of information about the World Bank.. They defected and fled to the Soviet Union in 1951 after Kim Philby tipped them off that they were under possible investigation. They spent the rest of their lives in Russia.
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Philby joined the SIS in 1940, where he worked with David Cornwell, who later under the name John le Carré wrote the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, who based the character, Bill Haydon the traitor, on Kim Philby. He ironically became head of SIS’s AntiSoviet operations department whilst in the service of the KGB. During his time as a Soviet Spy, his activities included investigating the possibility of assassinating Maclean Franco, the Spanish dictator. In later life, he became head British Intelligence officer in the United States, but later he too came under suspicion and was forced to resign. He served as a reported but later defected to the Soviet Union, travelling there on a cargo ship. However, when he arrived in Moscow, he found out he had been deceived by the KGB, and was not appointed a colonel as he thought he would be. He was paid only 500 roubles a month and spent the first few months without his family. The KGB feared his return to London and a double Philby defection, and so he was virtually placed under house arrest and was unable to any real work for the KGB. He spent the rest of his life in disappointment due to the fact that Moscow was nothing like he thought it would be; suffering was rampant. Blunt worked for MI5 during World War Two, passing on decrypted ‘Enigma’ (A Russian cipher machine, explained later) messages to the Soviets and other ‘Ultra’ information (the designation of high-level encrypted messages, adopted by British Intelligence) , and worked later by taking care of the Queen’s art collection, and was even knighted. However in 1963 he was uncovered as a spy by the government, who offered him immunity in return for certain information, but later the story was leaked and he was stripped of his knighthood. Margaret Thatcher acknowledged his betrayal fifteen years later. The fifth man is as of yet still unknown. A large degree of spying also took place in the acquisition of nuclear technology. As the Cold War was essentially a period of extreme tension between capitalist countries and the Soviet Union, it was vital that either side could not be seen by the other as falling behind in the development of more powerful nuclear weapons. ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) development went into full swing after the advent of the Cold War. These missiles had extremely long ranges and thus their production caused worry on the other side. The launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik 1 dealt a severe blow to American confidence, and it ignited the beginning of the Space Race, and subsequently the development of long range nuclear missiles. Since nuclear weapons were often considered to be one of the most important secrets a state could keep, information regarding them was often closely guarded, and as such spy work was extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, there were high degrees of nuclear espionage in the area of submarine launched nuclear missiles. Nuclear espionage helped to maintain the balance between the two sides, reduced the missile gap and helped to maintain a status of MAD (mutually assured destruction) and thus a stalemate. A great deal of enciphering took place during the Cold War to make sure information did not fall into enemy hands. Similarly, deciphering was also undertaken to discover the secrets behind intercepted enemy transmissions. The type of encrypting in the Cold War can be traced back to Alan Turing. Turing worked at Bletchley Park during World War Two, and created the ‘Turing Bombes’ that deciphered messages encoded by the Nazi code machine Enigma. This was ground breaking in the field of computer technology and artificial intelligence, and Turing is often hailed as the father of computer science. His machines cracked on average 3000 messages a day, and some experts think that he shortened the war by 2 years. Unfortunately he was prosecuted by the government due to the severely homophobic laws at the time, and later committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple. However, his implications in the field of concealing and revealing information (incredibly important in the Cold War) were gigantic. The Turing bombe was an electromechanical device, consisting of drums that simulated the rotors in the Enigma machine, helping to discover which of the Enigma rotors were in use, the key (the information that determines the output of algorithm or function) and hence allowing the people at Bletchley Park to decode all German transmissions in a day. Research into cryptology and development into machines carried on well into the Cold War. The advent of the electric computer, such as the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory ENIAC, the EDVAC and so on, allowed much more complicated ciphers to be implicated in much less time. The new enciphering schemes were too complex to be used or enciphered using mechanical components. However, that does not mean they could not be cracked, although the new enciphering techniques (such as asymmetric key algorithms, where two different keys encrypted and decrypted) helped to develop new technologies in the fields of communication. An example of a Cold War era cipher machine was the only recently disclosed Fialka (M-125). The Fialka was an electromechanical device, and required the use of a key (code book). The messages encrypted and decrypted by this machine are so highly classified they have not been disclosed by the Russian government and most likely will never be.
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In conclusion, codes and ciphers not only kept information secure, but helped usher in a new age of privacy technology, helping to protect computers and other electronic devices even today, despite the encryption being much stronger nowadays. Also, espionage carried out by spies during the Cold War helped hold in balance not only the weapon technologies of the two super powers; the USSR and the USA as well as other countries, but also intelligence of the enemy’s ambitions and intents. The governments heavily relied on both military and civilian agencies to gather this information for them. Although many of them will remain unknown well into the future, the power they held in their hands; to act or not to act decided the outcomes of many of the happenings of the war.
British Politics from 1910-14: A successful Liberal Government or the beginning of the end for British Liberalism? Owen Lock
The fall from grace for the Liberal party, between 1906 and 1922 is one of the most dramatic stories in British political history. The 1906 election represented a huge step forward for the Liberals, with Henry CampbellBannerman winning a 125 seat majority, and major inroads being made into previously Conservative areas of support in London and the south. At the time it appeared that a new Liberal era of free trade (what the election had largely been fought over), and economic liberalism was likely to follow. What few would have envisaged is that just 16 years later, in the 1922 general election, the Liberals would win just 62 seats, and be replaced permanently by a newly resurgent Labour party as the main opposition to the Conservatives in the British political system. Many Historians have previously looked at the 1910-14 period as one of the catalysts for this swing in political feeling between1906-22, and have described the period as a “failure” for the Liberal party. George Dangerfield wrote in his book named the strange death of Liberal England, “By the end of 1913 Liberal England was reduced to ashes”, whilst George Bernstein titled the period, “the years of frustration”, in his book on Liberalism in Edwardian England. If one briefly looks at the period as a whole, it is easy to understand why these Historians have drawn on the conclusion they have; The Liberal party lost more than 100 seats in the 1910 general election, falling to 274 MP’s, and failed to return to their position of political superiority over the period that followed. The government also had to face growing unionism, a growing threat from Ireland and a Labour party that was growing in support at every General election. However, it is when you consider the extent of the challenges put in place of the Liberal government, and how they dealt with the issues, that it becomes apparent that the Liberal party was in fact highly successful in dealing with the problems they faced whilst in power. For my analysis of the period, my arguments will focus on four key issues surrounding the 1910-14 period. These topics will include the issue of reform to the role of the 47 | P a g e
House of Lords, the growth of trade unionism and the suffragette movement, the problem of Ireland and the Labour party. By dissecting each area individually, and focusing on the policies the Liberal government adopted in response to them, I hope to put across my arguments for why the period can be deemed a success.
The reform to the role of the House of Lords In 1909, the rejection of the “people’s budget” by the House of Lords led to a constitutional crisis. The budget involved raising taxes on the rich in order to pay for the new welfare system, and consequently was rejected by the majority of conservative peers, as they represented Britain’s aristocracy. Although the budget itself was not an problem, and was passed in 1910 by an under pressure Lords in any case, the Lords decision ultimately led to the end of the Lords power of absolute veto over legislation passed by commons. Following the January 1910 elections, in April, the Liberals proposed a law whereby any bill passed by the commons in three successive sessions should automatically become law despite opposition of the
Lords. (Herbert Asquith. Liberal Prime Minister from 1908-1916)
This formed the basis of the Parliament act of 1911. The following year, having received guarantees from King George V for an increase in the numbers of Liberal peers in the Lords, Prime Minister Asquith decided he had all the tools required to force the submission of the Lords if they chose to block the budget again. The bill, containing the same proposals regarding welfare reform put forward in April 1910 (above), was easily passed by the commons in June 1911, before it was taken to the House of Lords for debate in August that year. Within the Lords, there was a stand-off between the conservative peers, known as the “ditchers”, and the “Hedgers”, a group of moderate conservatives led by Curzon and Lansdowne who realised the futility of resisting the bill. The bill was passed by the narrow majority of 17 votes on the 18th August 1911, with the Lords right to veto any bill being replaced by a maximum delay of 2 years. This constitutional change reduced the importance of the chamber in determining future legislation.
short term. The most concerning consequence of the strike for the Liberals was the effect it would have on the economy, and so their aim was to engage in negotiation with the unions, with the goal of bringing out compromise and a fast settlement. Although Asquith showed some of the weaknesses that would ultimately prove crucial to the downfall of the Liberals during the First World War, Lloyd George, from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer expertly persuaded the railwaymen to call off their strike after only 2 days, through a combination of threats and generosity. This was not the first time Lloyd George had shown his skill in dealing with working men, having previously settled a railways dispute in 1907, and he would later be involved in the settlement with the Miners over his support of the miners minimum wage act.
The Lords crisis is one area where it is apparent to most historians that the Liberal party were victorious in achieving their aims. The constitution was changed, and Asquith increased his reputation as party leader, in particular through the way in which he ultimately gave the peers no feasible alternative but to accept constitutional change. Lloyd George’s budget was ultimately passed in 1910 by the Lords, allowing the liberals to carry out their targeted wealth redistribution policies. Trade Unionism and the Suffragette movement The 18th August 1911 represented the culmination of one problem for the Liberal government, and the birth of a new one, as the first national rail strikes occurred. The 1910 to 1914 period would become typified by trade union resurgence, far from the image of peacefulness sometimes conveyed today. The main union groups were the Railway workers, Miners and Dock workers, who started strikes over pay, working conditions and union recognition between 1910 and 1912. In Glamorgan in November 1910, the prelude to the national strike of 1912 had occurred at Tonypandy, as part of the South wales miners’ strike. Dock workers went on strike between 1911 and 1912, and the triple alliance of unions between the three groups was established in 1913 to coordinate industrial action. Many Edwardian middle class men feared that the increasing numbers of strikes would lead to revolutionary syndicalism. It has frequently been said by Historians that the Liberals dealt badly with the Labour unrest, with the solutions put in place being temporary, and the Liberal stance towards industrial disputes being inconsistent. Whilst there is certainly some validity in this argument, in particular the “ad hoc” nature of the Liberals solutions, ultimately the Liberals dealt with and stopped the Union unrest in the 48 | P a g e
(David Lloyd George. Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1908-1915) At the same time as the unionist strikes, the suffragette movement, campaigning for women’s rights to vote was gathering strength and support. Following the formation of the suffragette militancy in 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst had tried to raise awareness for the group, through events such as the one in 1905, when a group of protesters interrupted a Liberal political meeting. The rejection of the 1912 Franchise bill, which proposed extending the franchise to women, increased the levels of violence exhibited by the group, with cases of arson, outrage and attacks on property. The Liberal government of 1910-14 has been criticised for showing concession and timidity during the suffragette
movement, but ultimately, they managed to contain a potentially dangerous group with no apparent disastrous effects on electoral support. There were instances where the Liberal government showed great initiative, most notably the introduction of the “cat and mouse act”, as a solution to suffragettes who went on hunger strike in prisons. As part of this policy, women on hunger strike could be released from jail until they regained their health, where they could then be re-arrested. Ireland By far the most serious issue faced by the Liberals between 1910 and 1914 was that of Ireland, namely the issue of “home rule”. The home rule bill was introduced in 1912 for all of Ireland, along similar lines to those proposed in the 1893 Gladstone bill. However, since that bill, the divide between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland had widened, and Asquith found that the bill was met by resistance in the form of the Ulster Unionists, who wished to remain part of the United Kingdom. The Ulster rebels were supported by the conservative party, and in particular their leader Bonar Law, who stated, “I can imagine no length of resistance to which Ulster will go, which I shall not be ready to support”. Asquith’s response to this was to adopt a “wait and see” policy, so to avoid enforcing a more compromising policy on Britain’s Irish Nationalist allies. The 1912 to 1914 period saw private armies form on both sides of the border, to the point where in July 1914 the country was on the verge of civil war. There has been great criticism of the Liberals for the way in which they dealt with the issue of Ireland. Paul Adelman, in his book titled The decline of the Liberal party 1910-31, called the stance adopted by Asquith’s government towards the Ulster Unionists “the Liberals greatest failure by 1914”. Overall however, the actions of the Liberal government prevented a potential civil war within Ireland, and had it not been for the unfortunate timing of the First World War, there is no evidence to suggest a peaceful compromise would not have been negotiated. In March 1914, Asquith introduced an Amending bill, postponing the application of home rule to Ulster for 6 years. Although this was dismissed by Unionists such as protestant leader Sir Edward Carson as merely a “stay of execution”, the bill successfully prevented the outbreak of wide-scale anarchy across Ireland. The “wait and see policy” adopted by Asquith meant that conflict over the home rule issue in Ireland was restricted to small skirmishes, and there was no serious electoral consequences to the Liberals of the tension. Labour When one considers that just 8 years following 1914, the Labour party would win 142 seats to the Liberals 62, and permanently replace them as the main opposition to the 49 | P a g e
Conservatives, it could be expected that Labour would be making inroads into Liberal support in the period of interest in this article. Since their formation in 1906, under the leadership of Keir Hardie, Labour had taken a similar political stance to Edwardian Liberalism, attacking poverty and inequality, and advocating social welfare and housing, although their pro women’s rights stance was a point of difference. In their primitive stages, the Labour party developed a close association with a number of trade unions, who provided financial support to the party in general elections, until the 1909 Osborne Judgement made such practice illegal. Later Labour leaders such as Ramsay Macdonald reduced this union association, which proved crucial to Labour appealing to the wider population. By 1910, having grown in support in every preceding election, Labour occupied 40 seats in the House of Commons. Some Historians have argued that the 1910 to 1914 period was pivotal in the decline of the Liberal party by 1922, and the swing in political feeling towards Labour aforementioned. However, it only takes a glance at the bielection statistics for the period 1910 to 1914 to see that, instead of a growing threat from the left, the real danger to the Liberal government during this time came from a growing resurgence from the more right wing conservatives. Indeed, a case could be made to suggest that the Liberals failed to contain the spread of Conservatism throughout the period, with the party losing 15 seats in bielections to the Conservatives, predominantly in southern regions, where political feeling was returning to the Tories over tax fears. Far from looking like a party in a position to replace the Liberals as the major left wing party, in 1914 Labour could not compete with the Liberals for the working class vote. Of the 42 seats occupied by the Labour party in 1914, only 2 were won from the Liberals, while Liberal candidates won 2 seats from Labour in bi-elections between 1910 and 1914. Although Labour putting up 3rd party candidates lost the Liberals 5 seats to the Conservatives, representing a minor negative for the government, Labour finishing at the bottom of the polls in all 12 bi-elections they entered depicted a party that had run out of steam in 1914. Asquith managed to maintain relations with Labour as part of the Lib/Lab pact, which became an effective method for defeating the Conservatives. Indeed, there is nothing to suggest that had it not been for the war, this relationship may well have been successfully maintained. Conclusion Overall the 1910 to 1914 period in office for the Liberal government can only be considered a success. The Liberals managed to change the role of the House of Lords within the constitution (the primary goal at the time of the January 1910 elections), which allowed Asquith to pursue more traditional Liberal policies, such as those regarding
Social reform, which would have previously been blocked by a Tory-dominated Lords chamber . The growth of Unionism, the suffragette movement and the crisis in Ireland were all contained in the short term by the Liberals, with very little (if any) effect on electoral support, representing if not a complete success, then a more than satisfactory outcome for the party. The growth of Labour was stemmed and contained, with the Liberals using Labours electoral support within the Lib/Lab coalition to maintain its superiority over the Conservatives, who appeared negative to many at the time in 1914. There is very little evidence to suggest that had peace continued in 1914 onwards Liberal support would have declined, let alone the dramatic collapse that
occurred in practice. In 1914 the Liberals, led by a strong team of Lloyd George (chancellor) and Asquith, gave the impression of unity, strength and confidence. There was not one resignation in the Liberal government to 1914, with the unity between government members summarised by Grey, who wrote to Lloyd George, “There is one great abiding cause of satisfaction in having been in this cabinet… the personal relations of all of us have not only stood the long strain but have gained in attachment”. Overall, the togetherness of the party in 1914, and the way in which they successfully negotiated their major challenges in office, leads to the conclusion that the 1910 to 1914 period can only be deemed a success for the Liberal Party.
Unexpected Consequences? The Impact of the Third Crusade on England Richard Tissiman The Third Crusade was fought over 2000 miles away and thus might not seem to be the most likely of events to greatly impact England in any other way than the sight of many people going on the expedition to the East and the increase in tax that this demanded. However it had several other impacts. One of these, the signing of the Magna Carta, is seen by some to be one of the most important documents in English history. England has a lot to thank, and to blame on the Third Crusade. Whether the consequences were advantageous, such as increased trade and the importing of new technologies, or not, such as loss of land in France and the death of Richard I whilst fighting to recapture lands lost whilst on crusade, their effects were of equal importance, and in some cases are still very important to this day. The most obvious of the consequences is the financial burden which it placed on the English people. In 1166 Henry II introduced a general tax on income and moveables in order to be able to send financial assistance to the holy land. This crusading tax had to be paid by everyone, as well as the clergy. In 1185 a second income tax was introduced by Phillip II of France and Henry II in response to Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem’s reinforced appeal for aid. However there was an outspoken and hostile reaction to the third income tax levied for the crusades. The Saladin tithe, as it was known, said that clerks and laymen who had not taken the cross had to pay a tenth of their annual income in order to finance the Third Crusade. The heavy incidence of the tax and especially the method of assessment aroused bitter resentments in England. Certain religious orders openly expressed their criticisms and claimed an exemption from both the royal and papal levies as these taxes violated the order’s privileges. Taxes weren’t the only financial burden placed on England because of the Third Crusade, the enormous ransom paid for the release of Richard I would have had a very negative impact on royal funds, with it falling to the English people to fund the ransom. Richard was arrested and imprisoned in December 1192 by Duke Leopold, who suspected him of murdering his cousin Conrad of Montferrat, and had 50 | P a g e
been offended by Richard casting down his standard from the walls of Acre. He was later transferred to the custody of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, and it took a ransom of one hundred and fifty thousand marks to obtain his release. At the time this sum was about double the annual income for the English Crown under Richard. The historian David Boyle has estimated this sum as being equivalent to around £2 billion at 2011 prices. Eleanor of Aquitaine worked to raise the ransom. Both clergy and laymen were taxed for a quarter of the value of their property, the gold and silver treasures of the churches were confiscated, and money was raised from the scutage (where knights could “buy out” of military service) and the carucage (a tax based on the size of the estate owned by the taxpayer) taxes. Although the Crusade was not a direct cause of this, it was the event which set up the scenario for such a thing to happen. For England to lose such a large sum of money, on top of the already increased taxes to fund the Crusade and later wars with France to regain land lost under John I, would surely have had a hugely negative impact on England. A further consequence was the pause in the war between England and France. The peace was a precondition for the King’s involvement in the Third Crusade. Neither Richard nor Philip wanted to turn their backs on their home country and thus give the opponent the opportunity to
invade his territory during his absence. However, the peace didn’t last very long – a lasting consequence of the decision to go on the third crusade. Already during the Crusade itself new tensions arose between King Phillip of France and Richard I. Soon after Richard’s return to England he poured all his military expertise and resources into a new war against the French. So although the Crusade led to a period of peace between England and France it could not prevent later hostilities with the war soon starting again and leading to the death of Richard whilst besieging a castle in the north of France. The continuation of the war would also mean that neither nation would participate in the next crusade when called upon by the Pope. One huge impact of the Third Crusade was the signing of the Magna Carta by John I, Richard’s brother, and interim King of England whilst Richard was on crusade. The signing of the Magna Carta came about due to the hostile situation created in England because of Richard, a strong and stable monarch’s, absence and the huge costs set upon the people and Barons of England and Wales due to the Third Crusade. Over the course of John’s reign a combination of higher taxes, unsuccessful wars that resulted in the loss of English barons' titled possessions in Normandy following the Battle of Bouvines (1214), and the conflict with Pope Innocent III (ending with John's submission in 1213) had made King John unpopular with many of his barons. This led to rebellion by the Barons which resulted in the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede on 15th June 1215. The 1215 document contained a large section that is now called clause 61. This section established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and overrule the will of the King if he defied the provisions of the Charter, seizing his castles and possessions if it was considered necessary; what this essentially did was limit the power of the monarch, which was a huge set forward towards a modern day democracy. Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses currently remain part of the law of England and Wales, however, and it is generally considered part of the unmodified constitution. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". The signing of the Magna Carta was an impact of the Third Crusade, although it may not immediately seem as though it was. Its creation was as a result of unrest which arguably wouldn’t have occurred with the much loved Richard I at the helm of the country; rather than being on crusade. The fact that the Third Crusade drew away a strong English Monarch, who was the replaced by a weak, unpopular monarch, could thus be said to have resulted in the creation of one of the most important documents in
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English history; with Lord Woolf describing it as "first of a series of instruments that now are recognised as having a special constitutional status", the others being the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Act of Settlement (1701). Another obvious consequence of the Third Crusade on England was the absence of Richard I for nearly four years; which was a big challenge for the internal stability of the country. Despite arrangements Richard I had made before departing for the Holy Land in 1190 the situation during his absence became increasingly difficult as his brother John attempted to usurp the English throne. The regency’s strategy to prevent John from doing so was to attack two of his principal fortresses, Tickhill and Windsor. As the crusade itself had been incredibly expensive and the regents had to collect even more money in order to pay the ransom for Richard, they realised that they could not pay the ransom and simultaneously suppress John’s rebellion. As both of John’s fortresses were on the verge of collapse a truce could be negotiated with him. Nevertheless, it was a big challenge to secure the stability of England during the King’s absence and Richard I was often criticised for spending only ten months of his ten year reign in England. Some sources claim that Richard hated England, apparently declaring “if I could have found a buyer I would have sold London myself.” Mayer (1972) said Richard saw his kingdom as “just a bank from which he could draw the money needed to indulge his insatiable lust of war.” The absence of Richard, whilst he was on crusade created a hugely unstable situation in England and also in the English territories in what is now Northern France. Due to this many Barons became unsettled leading to a rebellion against King John and the limiting of the Monarch’s power through the Magna Carta; as well as other things such as the death of Richard as he died attempting to regain lands lost during this period as well as a lengthened war with France. The question whether the Third Crusade was a curse or a blessing for the English people is difficult to answer in general as it led to profound changes within society, such as the decline of the feudal system, which affected people in various ways. Consequently, it basically depended on the position of the individual within society whether the Third Crusade was advantageous or not. It is important to notice that the decision for the Third Crusade was not only taken out of religious and political reasons. Many of the crusaders were encouraged to participate due to the economic advantages of being in control of the Holy Land. Many of the willing men hoped to be able to enrich themselves in the course of the Crusade as rumours of gold resources in the East made their way to Europe and thus enormously contributed to the motivation to leave the home country and to bring the East under control. The third crusade was an enormous burden for most of the
people who had to pay taxes in order to finance the venture and to pay the ransom for Richard after he had been captured by Duke Leopold. In particular, the clergy seemed not to be the beneficiaries of the Third Crusade as they lost some of their privileges. They were not only obliged to pay taxes but also had to accept that some of their gold and silver treasures were confiscated in order to be able to raise the money for the ransom. It is important not to neglect the fact that the Third Crusade also brought advantages for those who remained in England. In contrast, many people In England benefited from the knowledge that was gained from the Arabs in various fields, e.g. medicine and architecture and the goods that were brought to Europe such as spices, ivory, diamonds and jade. Whether negative or positive the Third Crusade had a great impact on England; and not only at the time of the Crusade itself. The impacts can still be seen today, especially with the Magna Carta; in particular, what is now
known as Clause 61. At the time England was gaining a new source of trade and exotic goods such as ivory and precious gems, as well as new technologies and architectural advances, particularly in castle building. The Third Crusade led to the loss of lands close to home, in France, but yet gains across the Mediterranean and even in it, such as Cyprus (although also sold to the Knights Templar). The Crusade caused great financial difficulties for the people of England due to the vast taxes, which were needed to fund the crusade and to ransom King Richard who would then later die after spending only ten months in the country of which he was Monarch whilst recapturing a minor castle in Northern France. As a whole, the Third Crusade impacted all walks of life in England, from the monarchy, through to the Barons and the simple peasant folk. Its effects were in some aspects so great that they have been put on par with other great documents and bills which define what England, and Britain, is today.
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