Issue 12: February 2013
Your Country Needs You History in Features
In Defence of History
History Behind the Headlines
Issue 12: February 2014
What’s Inside HISTORY IN FEATURES 4...Slogans: Because They’re Worth it? 5...An Image Worth A Thousand Words 5... Advertising Empire 6... Advert Technology in Photos 7...So Good I Put My Name On It 7... All the World’s A Billboard 8...Thank You For Smoking 9... Your Country Needs You HISTORY YOU SHOULD KNOW 10...The South American Slave Trade UNDISCOVERED HEROES OF HISTORY 11...James Lees-Milne A YEAR IN PHOTOS 12...1954 HISTORY BEHIND THE HEADLINES 14...A Sorry State of Affairs 14...The Art of Peace 15...In Defence of History 16...Benefits: The Demonisation of the Working Class 17... Being Good Sports 17...The Path Not Taken HISTORY IN CULTURE 18... Awards Season: In Photos 19... Fatal Attraction 20... Film Review: 12 Years A Slave 21...Book Review: Band of Brothers 22...Interview with Al Murray HISTORY SOCIETY & DEPARTMENT 23... Amsterdam 23...Staff Interview: Dr. Christian Goeschel 24... Updates
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Issue 12: February 2014
A Note from the Editors Welcome back to a new (actual) year of The Manchester Historian. With the exam period came ample opportunities for witnessing terrible daytime TV, which might explain where our theme for this month’s historian came from – we love to hate them but adverts are the bread and butter of our media today and we can’t escape them. With that in mind, we’ve looked at advertising in all its many forms, across history and throughout the world. Many of the advertising norms that we are irritated by today we think of as products of the mad men culture of the 1960s. However, many of these go much further back. Did you know that celebrities have been putting their names to products they likely don’t use for over a century? Or that ad agencies themselves were as prolific, if not as inventive, for the Victorians as they have been over the last fifty years? We have reached further back in time to discover the sales techniques that predated Madison Avenue. If you’re a Carpenter it’s likely that this is what your ancestors actually did in the Middle Ages. While Shakespeare may have claimed that all the world is a stage, for him it was equally a billboard. We explore the extraordinary inventiveness of the salesman pre-literacy and media in this issue. Of course, as the twentieth century developed advertising did so too. If you’re particularly fond of puns, we suggest you relish in our trip through those favoured by the ad men over the last century and if you’re equally fond of a political slogan or two, we’ve got an article dedicated to their proclamations. With a new year also comes new news. In History Behind the Headlines, we deliver a fresh take on the events dominating the bulletins today. From the history of peace talks, written in the hope of a solution for Syria, to a review of working class demonization that reveals just how inevitable shows like Benefits Street really are in our culture, we have provided the historical context for the events that may be concerning you. As ever, we haven’t neglected our regular features. For a top up on your must have historical knowledge, do take a look at our overview of the oft neglected South American slave trade. Our Undiscovered Hero had a dramatic impact on the landscape of this country – and on many of our summer holidays. Do read about James Lees-Milne toward the back of the issue. We’ve reviewed films, TV shows, and provided an indulgent look back at the awards season over time. We’ve even interviewed a historian-cum-comedian – check out our interview with Al Murray. Given that the original conversation was at least half an hour long, we think it’s fair to say it is enjoyable! For updates on your history department, please look at the back of the issue. For those of you considering your modules for next year, we’ve interviewed Dr Goeschel so you can get to know him a bit better. We hope you enjoy this issue and have just about recovered from exams. Thanks, as always, must go to all those who have written, edited and designed this issue. If you’d like to get involved with the Historian, please get in touch. Enjoy, Alice and Charlotte
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The Manchester Historian is a growing magazine seeking writers studying a single or joint honours History degree to write articles, interviews and reviews with an historical slant to chronicle our vibrant and fast-changing world. No experience is necessary; we are simply looking for an interested and enthusiastic team of writers and contributors. We welcome article suggestions too, so whether you’d like to write it or not, please contact us at any time during the year with your ideas. @TheMcrHistorian
History in Features
Slogans: Because They’re Worth It? Alice Rigby
Like consumerist nursery rhymes, we can quote them in their hundreds and do so every day. Not since Shakespeare has one form of media so transformed our language, with the extraordinary rapidly becoming so ordinary. Slogans were the communication channel of choice in the twentieth century and in the Internet era we cannot avoid them. We admonish and admire them in equal measure and from the weird to the wonderful, the century of slogans has been nothing if not diverse. The Victorians were the pioneers of advertising and, by extension, slogans. However, the catchy, clever puns of today theirs were not. The early advertisers favoured a more unembellished approach to captioning their product. “Invaluable to ladies” accompanied the very literal Pill of the Period. For the man in your life there was always the ever original “cream of Irish whiskies” – Kinahan’s L.L. if you’re asking. Or how about a Flor De Dindicul cigar? “A phenomenal success”, according to its manufacturer. Of course, there were still pioneers in this field at the time. Bird’s Custard Powder claimed the affirmative “No eggs! No risk! No trouble!” In a similar vein, Lockyer’s Sulphur Hair Restorer noted that they were “The best. The safest. The cheapest.” The liberal use of punctuation has been the ad man’s tool since the ad man came into being.
Calgon” without singing the song simultaneously. “Wassup” would almost certainly have never passed into colloquial dialogue had Budweiser not picked up an indie director noted for his parodies of teenage life to create their slick commercials a decade and a half ago. In spite of these raging successes, we can all think of examples when the ad men have got it painfully wrong. Over the last two years the county of Suffolk actively tried to become “the curious county”. Whether that is meant to appeal or not is a beguiling question. In the 1980s, at a moment of peak customer dissatisfaction, British rail adopted the slogan “we’re getting there”. It’s not hard to spot where the opportunities for ridicule existed with that particular nugget.
Many slogans have stood the test of time. John Lewis has been “never knowingly undersold” since 1925. Yet one of the perils of slogans has always been the speed with which they can age. It’s hard to see L&M Cigarettes being “just what the doctor ordered” in 2014. While Mars brought back “work, rest and play” a few years ago, they notably dropped the “a mars a day” precursor, subject to dietary requirements. Microsoft’s halfhearted attempt to “be what’s next” in 2010 was quietly shelved last year, undoubtedly not in small part due to the observational One of the more striking legacies of the slogan has been their irony recorded in the aftermath of its launch. gradual absorption into our everyday language. Did you know that Wheaties have been the “breakfast of champions” since Brands, adverts and slogans have become the currency of our 1935? Or that De Beers’ diamonds have been “forever” since society. Some our farcical, some irritating and some simply 1946, long before Shirley Bassey echoed their sentiment? boggle the mind. While you may never hear more painful puns This isn’t just a habit restricted to the distant past either. The (though father of the bride speeches give stiff competition) terrifyingly ubiquitous use of “simples” in many of our daily the ad men certainly know how to get our attention. What can lives, prompted only by a persistent meerkat, should serve as a be said with confidence is that they keep us all amused…and warning for us all about the powers of the ad agencies. buying. As the twentieth century progressed, and broadcast media increasingly dominated our lives, slogans became interwoven with their equally catchy counterparts, the jingle. While many people think the music itself is what makes these so memorable, it’s often the words, both seen and heard in the course of a campaign, that do so. “Beanz Meanz Heinz” would not have had quite the effect it has had for over four decades without those dreaded Zs. Of course, the music does bring some of these slogans to life. While they may not be the sexiest of words on a page, few of us who grew up in the 90s will be able to read “washing machines live longer with Wikimedia Commons
Issue 12: February 2014
An Image Worth A Thousand Words James Brannan
During the Middle Ages, the ability to read and write was enjoyed by only a small minority consisting of the wealthy and ecclesiastics. This caused issues in society, mainly through abuses in tax collecting, as of course the peasants couldn’t read the sheriff’s documents, enabling corruption within this practice. However, where text failed to allow the majority to communicate, pictures thrived, in the form of imagery and other forms of personal endorsement which allowed for the promotion of oneself during this period. Due to the high rate of illiteracy, traders faced a great problem in finding another way, aside from the written word, of promoting themselves and their goods to potential customers walking past their shops, or of catching the eye of those wandering through the market stalls. The solution came in the form of hanging large visible images of the goods or services that they sold outside of their shops or atop of their market stalls, with the addition of ‘street barkers’ who stood near their businesses, heckling passers-by to advertise the goods and coax them into perusing what the trader had to offer.
‘Taylor’, who were, of course, tailors, with many of these names still surviving today. Other means of non-textual endorsement from this period which still survive today are the use of imagery on the signs outside of public houses to allow for the illiterate to understand that the building was a pub, and what it was called. This dates back to the Roman era, where bushes were hung outside of wine bars, and from the 14th century, inns and taverns began to use the recognisable pictorial signs that would bare imagery associated with their names, suchas an image of two sparring roosters, for an inn called ‘The Fighting Cock’.
Here, then, we see that although the majority of the population in the Middle Ages was illiterate, this didn’t prevent individuals from being able to understand the In the wider field, occupational surnames were also used as a way world around them, as personal to advertise and promote goods and services, as the local town endorsement allowed traders to would pick up and begin to associate a trader with their trade, with communicate with their customers. Lincolnian on Flickr examples like ‘Miller’, for those who worked in a grain mill, and
Advertising Empire Katherine Almond
With the rise of globalization and multinational companies, plus with more mediums such as television, radio, print and the internet, the volume of advertising is increasing. It is easy to assume that advertising began with the inception of new media and the birth of the global economy post-WWII. Its roots, however, can be traced much further back. Advertising gained momentum in the Victorian era and had a formative role in creating and shaping consumer society. The industrial revolution and Britain’s imperial century resulted in a geographical expansion of markets. An influx of goods from around the world, and opportunity topromote British products farther afield meant new impetus and possibilities for advertisements: so how did the British Empire’s rise andfall affect advertising?
The Victorian obsession with racial theory, Social Darwinism and the justification of European dominance was reflected in their adverts, with the use of white, middle-class families often set in exotic travel themed settings. An advert for Pears’ soap unabashedly displayed a black boy becoming white with its use. The ‘perfect’ family image proliferated until the 1950s and 60s; despite the change in media the influence of Britain’s imperial century continued. The establishment of a post-war global economy led to a rise in imported products. Nevertheless the stalwarts of the imperial century still lingered, advertising products made possible by contact from earlier imperial possessions. Silk stockings, branded tea, tobacco and chocolate products still proliferated, as well as the idealized image of the perfect family.
In an age of travel, expansion and increased opportunity, the effect of Empire on advertisements was profound. Adverts ranged from chocolate products, available due to travel and trade with far off destinations, to new inventions such as the ballpoint pen, demonstrating the effect of the industrial revolutionand the expansionist age. As travel possibilities became more commonplace, adverts for tabloid medicine started to emerge.
The birth of the television advert in 1955 borrowed forms from the more familiar print ads of previous decades. As adverts shifted to a more realistic style in the 1970’s, the products also changed from predominantly soap powders and food to cars and alcohol. The shift from an Empire influenced style in both products Drugs which are now Class A substances were commonplace in and family portrayal was complete as the medicines designed as panaceas for the imperial family. Containing advert adopted its modern form. the spoils that a country with imperial possessions could provide, these cure-alls were advertised without regulation. Wikimedia Commons @TheMcrHistorian
History in Features
Advert Technology in Photos Alice Rigby
1. Slave advert from the 18th century. At this time, adverts were very literal descriptions and pictures, as seen here, were very rare. 2. Car advert, late 19th century. Adverts began to regularly carry accompanying images and slogans. 3. Whiskey advert, 1936. This Dewarâ€™s advert which appeared in The Glasgow Daily Record marks the advent of coloured advertising. 4. Chanel No.5 advert, 1937. This was one of the first ads to carry a photograph and a celebrity endorsement to boot, from the iconic designer herself. 5. Heinz beans advert, 1967. This was one of the first campaigns that was used across media, appearing on television and in print alike. 6. C o c a - c o l a advert, 2012. In the 21st Century ads have become â€˜interactiveâ€™ with a scannable QR code hidden in a sleek design here. All photo credits to the respective companies except Image 1 from Wikimedia Commons
Issue 12: February 2014
So Good I Put My Name On It Alexandra Hulmes
Upon reading that Nicole Kidman was paid $12 million to star in a Baz Luhrmann-directed movie, one would naturally assume that the end product was a full-length blockbuster. However, these were the extraordinary lengths taken to complete ‘No. 5: The Film’, an advertisement for Chanel lasting all of 180 seconds. While this commercial ran in 2004, high-profile celebrity endorsement is far from a recent phenomenon. The practice can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when Lillie Langtry’s turn as the face of Pears soap saw her become the first woman to commercially endorse a beauty product. This trend continued, and blossomed in the early-twentieth century, as seen in advertisements for Coca Cola featuring opera singer, Lillian Nordica. Incidentally, Coca Cola would go on to become synonymous with celebrity endorsements throughout thetwentieth century, and the desire to attract high-profile names would define their rivalry with Pepsi. The mid-twentieth century saw a boom in both advertising and American cinema. As a result, the film stars of the 1940s and ’50s were recruited to advertise all manners of products. Humphrey Bogart, for example, endorsed Whitman’s Chocolates in 1954 and Ronald Reagan’s fame and status in Hollywood saw him become the face and spokesman of Chesterfield cigarettes.
Dior featuring celebrity ambassadors past and present, ranging from Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, to Charlize Theron. A similar tactic has since been adopted by sportswear companies such as Nike, who specifically credit Tiger Woods for helping to launch their Nike Golf range which, according to Time Magazine, remains one of the fastest growing Liggett & Myers Tobacco. Flickr brands in sport.
Of course, such endorsements rely on the reputation of a celebrity, and without consumer trust in the face of a brand these particular marketing pitches become useless. Evidently, in the eyes of both companies and consumers, celebrities come to embody the products they endorse. Certainly, in regards to sport and beauty marketing the message is clear: buy a product endorsed by an The rise of Vogue in the 1990s saw fashion houses become famous athlete or a model, and become an athlete or a model. Whether or for a tradition ofunveiling a fresh face in order to usher in a new era not someone can become Snoop Dogg by using a specific price for their brand. This practice is highlighted in a recent campaign by comparison website, however, remains to be seen.
All the World’s A Billboard Xan Atkins Today, it’s hard not to know what’s going on in the world of movies, theatre and entertainment. Every day we are surrounded and bombarded with adverts for new films and plays: on buses, newspapers, clothes and buildings.But in a past age of great entertainment, how did they draw the crowds? The Elizabethan heyday saw play writing reach its height in early-modern England. The likes of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe dominated the entertainment scene, but with no billboards or other forms of modern advertising, they attracted their viewers through different means. During this era of writing, the main difficulty associated with publicising your play wasn’t only lack of advertising means but several other reasons as well. Competition between playhouses meant that rivals would note down the content of the play before it had been put down and try to put something similar on. Censorship laws necessitated that a play with a plot containing controversial material could be cancelled. Outbreaks of the plague also caused cancellations and this could happen with very short notice. Therefore a system was introduced whereby flags would be used to publicize the next performance on the day. However, this was not simply a flag with the name of the play on it. Flags could be used in various ways: if a white flag was flying that day the next play being performed would be a comedy, if it was a black flag it would be a tragedy, while a red flag indicated a historical play or a play associated with blood.
To a still largely illiterate population the flag system was the ideal solution for letting the public know what plays were on. It might not have provided the amount of information desired by us today but in a BBC Images world of limited entertainment and limited literacy, it was all that was needed. Moreover, because there was such a high turnover of plays, with the Globe sometimes performing more than twenty in a month, it meant that it wasn’t possible to massively publicize a play. So if you were living in the time of Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men and you felt like a bit of entertainment, then you could simply wander over to the Globe to see what flag was flying that day and if the genre took your fancy then perhaps you might have the pleasure of witnessing one of Shakespeare’s great works.
History in Features
Thank You For Smoking Megan Dina Garlick It is difficult to imagine a world without advertising. It is so ingrained in our society that we might not even notice that it is there. It is on our televisions, on our buses, on our social media sites, on our streets, on our radios, in music videos, in films, and all over the internet. Unless you live like Ray Mears all year round, it is a given that the vast majority of your purchases will have been influenced by careful advertising. It stands to reason, then, that advertising is a vital organ of any business. Where, then, do advertising’s origins lie? In Latin, ad vetere means ‘to turn toward’ and, despite the numerous ways in which advertising has evolved, this aim of advertising remains consistent. We can trace advertising back as far as the Ancient Egyptians who created sales messages and wall posters using papyrus. Similarly, in the ruins of ancient Arabia and Pompeii, political campaign displays and commercial messages have been found. Prior to widespread literacy, adverts used images to demonstrate products and services, for example, a cobbler might be advertised using an image of a shoe. Town criers were also used to announce the presence of businesses and special services they offered. Moving forward to the Victorian era and the dawn of the printing press; literacy, the press and advertising all experienced rapid growth. Urbanisation, industrialisation, population growth and the consequent economic expansion created more businesses with the need to advertise. Newspapers provided a regular platform for these advertisements. Before advertising agencies, businesses would advertise for themselves. A famous example of in- company
advertising is Thomas J. Barrett, ‘the father of modern advertising’. He worked for Pears’ Soap company, which is still in operation today, still selling Pears’ Soap (which is both gentle on skin, and on the pocket- did you know?). He coined the, then famous, slogan ‘Good morning. Have you used Pears’ soap?’, and used careful techniques to associate the Pears brand with quality, culture and domestic comfort. By 1900, advertising was firmly established as a reputable and lucrative profession. This was mainly due to the work of Volney B. Palmer, who Flickr Commons Public Domain planted the seed of the advertising agency, as we know it today, in 1842 Philadelphia. He ingeniously bought bulk amounts of advertising space in newspapers at a reduced price before selling the space on to businesses looking to advertise. In essence, Palmer was a space broker. His idea was expanded on by N.W. Ayer & Son, an advertising agency founded in the late nineteenth century. This new advertising agency was offering to design, create and execute entire advertising campaigns. This is perhaps the birth of the mammoth advertising agency industry at large today. The invention and manufacture of the Bonsack machine (which made possible the mass production of rolled cigarettes), saw a rapid surge in the availability of cigarettes. In order to create a similar level of demand, the tobacco industry turned to mass advertising. It is strange today to see twentieth century tobacco advertising, particularly those which involve newborn babies, children, animals and claims that smoking benefits general health. During the nineteenth century, and early twentieth century, health issues regarding smoking were unknown and, even if they were suspected, there was far too much money to be made guaranteeing the addiction of children who would prove loyal customers for the rest of their (stunted) lives. Claims such as ‘More doctors smoke Camels’ and ‘Play safe with Philip Morris’ tackled the sneaking increase in public awareness about smoking’s negative health effects.
Boston Public Library
Edward Louis Bernays, ‘the father of public relations’, was the pioneer of much of this tobacco advertising. A nephew of Sigmund Freud, he combined his uncle’s ideas with the thoughts of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology. Life Magazine named Bernays one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century, alongside; Ray Kroc (the founder of McDonalds), Eleanor Roosevelt and Jonas Salk (Polio vaccine microbiologist). It might seem bizarre that an advertising executive should be held in such high esteem, especially considering that none of the seventeen U.S. presidents of the twentieth century made the cut. His inclusion speaks volumes, therefore, of how significant advertising had become by the twentieth century. After the Madison Avenue ‘mad men’ types of the sixties and the racing advance of technology and the internet, although tobacco advertising may be all but extinct, it looks like advertising will continue to sky rocket into your subconscious for many years to come. www.manchesterhistorian.com
Your Country Needs You
Issue 12: February 2014
Tom Iddon Advertising is one element of marketing communications (others include, but are not limited to, public relations, branding, and strategy) that performs a fundamental role in the political campaign. Though defined collectively as ‘propaganda’ by historians or as ‘political marketing’ by modern practitioners, it is important to recognize that ‘communications’ activities existed long before the modern definition came about. For instance, one could point to Imperial Roman architecture, statues and Creative Commons coins as key symbols of the imperial brand, used to exhibit the power and influence of the emperor before the invention of the printing press; French pamphlets composed in coffee shops and disseminated to circulate ideas and stir up revolutionary fervor in the run up to 1789; or Lord Kitchener’s famous ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster campaign commissioned to recruit British men during The Great War.
channels within a paradigm defined by the fascist party. By 1926 the Italian authorities could confiscate newspapers on grounds of inciting class hatred or defamation of the government. Fascist journals meanwhile received substantial subsidies. The administration also employed contemporary artists like Baldelli, Cagli and Scarpelli to produce paintings, posters and postcards for public exhibitions, while radio provided an effective source for pro-fascist light entertainment and for disseminating Mussolini’s evocative speeches. Finally, popular pastimes, youth clubs and sports teams were appropriated and rebranded in alignment with fascist ideals. Unlike Franco’s pursuit of ‘old’ Spain, Mussolini imagined a culture of innovation and modernism reinforced by the revival of Ancient Rome’s glories. This juxtaposition of ‘the best of the old and new’ is most visible in the capital city’s contrasting architectural styles: the presence of stark, modernist buildings interspersed with the intricate ancient detailing of the ruins. Given that the Nazi regime has become virtually synonymous with propaganda activity and few, if any, readers will have escaped the subject matter through school, this article will not cover it in any detail. However, for those interested, Nicholas O’Shaughnessy’s newly released Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand provides an insightful application of marketing communications concepts to the regime.
Though the messages communicated and the communication platforms used may have changed with time, it would be naïve to think of political advertising as a relic of history. In recent years, for many western democratic parties, Election Day victory is increasingly dependent upon the pursuit of flexible voter-orientated But the finest examples of groups integrating advertising strategies in place of traditional ideological principles. strategies into their efforts to achieve wider political objectives can be observed in the activities of twentieth-century European In pursuit of what Anthony Giddens calls ‘The Third Way’, Clinton’s fascist institutions. For instance, after the ruthless annihilation of ‘New Democrats’ in the 1992 US election and Blair’s ‘New Labour’ republican partisans during the march on Madrid in 1936, General in the 1997 UK election perfectly embody this ‘race to the center’ Franco capitalized upon international press attention wrought from mentality, sacrificing the fewer ardent loyalists for a greater the relief of Toledo to smear the reputation of his opposition and slice of electorate preserve his own. pie. Consequently, as different parties’ He effectively used advertising in two ways: first, to portray the policies become more Republic’s forces as deserters of authentic Spanish culture; and difficult to differentiate second, to make the fortress town of Toledo synonymous with the to the undiscerning traditional right - a literal as well as figurative bastion of old Spain voter, greater sums are - through reenacting the siege on camera for cinema audiences spent to communicate around the world. the different positioning of both sides. All this But Franco’s republican adversaries were equally adept proponents manifests in greater of propaganda. Through using modern photomontage techniques, advertising spending. which the traditionalist Franco would have appeared hypocritical To provide a sense of in using, the Republic’s strategists claimed sole ownership of this the scale of the sums advertising channel, painting themselves as brave defenders of involved: Obama the preservation of social, political and technological progress. and Romney spent a combined $2.1 Billion in By the time Franco began to mount his backlash against the advertising alone during Republic, Mussolini (who sponsored Franco throughout the the 2012 election. And Spanish Civil War) had consolidated his dictatorship in Italy. this was almost twice Mussolini’s brand of advertising was, then, more convincing that spent by Bush and and pervasive than Franco’s, for it propagated the principles of Gore only twelve years the Partito Nazionalie Fascista across numerous communication earlier. Public Domain @TheMcrHistorian
History You Should Know
The South American Slave Trade Jack Crutcher Histories of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade typically focus on those enslaved in the North American colonies and often overlook its Southern counterpart. However, those enslaved in North America during the colonial period were a minority; only 6% of Africans were taken to the East Coast of North America between 1500 and 1870. Slave imports from Africa were overwhelmingly taken to South America and the Caribbean. Although the Southern United States is renowned for its past brutality towards the slave population, those enslaved in areas such as Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia experienced a much harsher reality. Yet, not unlike North America, slavery existed in South America even before African Wikimedia Commons slave importation transformed the region’s landscape. After Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas in 1492, much of South America was divided between the Spanish and the Portuguese with the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. When the Europeans arrived in South America, they enslaved the native inhabitants and used them as a free labour force to work on their mines and the cotton, sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations that were being developed. Moreover, shortly after the European colonisation, natives of these regions rapidly decreased in number.
as aforementioned, in places such as Brazil they experienced a level of brutality even worse than in the Southern states of North America. This was due to the view that slaves were expendable and replaceable. For instance, in Bolivia, the life expectancy of an African slave working the mines as a mule was a mere two months. Yet, contrastingly, Africans in Latin America were very diverse in their economic, social and demographic conditions. Not all Africans arriving in South America were enslaved, and some experienced greater freedoms than those in the North American Colonies. For example, some areas allowed slaves to marry, and The Europeans that came to America brought with them diseases in others they were even taught to read and write. Paradoxically, that the natives were unaccustomed to, which has been described Brazil, whilst holding a reputation for brutality, also had the highest by some as the ‘Columbian Exchange’. Diseases such as measles, number of slave marriages in the Colonial period. influenza, mumps, typhus and small pox were detrimental to the Indian inhabitants of South America. Such diseases had a Today, the descendants of the Africans enslaved during this profound effect on native mortality during this period, yet historians period still have a profound effect on the landscape of Latin are not quite sure of the exact figures of devastation it caused. America. Indeed, the largest African population outside of Africa However, it has been estimated that in the Americas as a whole, exists in Brazil. They have had considerable influence in shaping the native Indians were numbered at 50 million in 1500. By 1600, the societies of Latin America. As in the United States, the Africans after 100 years of forced labour, colonisation and disease, they shipped to South America in the colonial period brought with them numbered a mere 8 million. By 1650, some estimate that 90% of many customs, religions, and traditions which contribute to the the native population had died. The colonisation of South America culture that exists in these countries today. This can be seen most was therefore devastating to Indian inhabitants, and this loss has clearly when looking at religion. Religious faiths that emerged from been described as one of the largest demographic disasters in Africa and that still exist today – for example, Shango in Venezuela human history. It was then when the Europeans of South America and Brazil – are no longer just confined to people of African origin. turned to Africa for a new labour force to be the new backbone of Literature and the arts have also experienced great influence from Africa. Many poems and novels of Latin America show elements their agricultural economy. of African styles or concepts, which further demonstrates a far With the majority of Africans being placed in the South American reaching cultural exchange. Whether these descendants of both Spanish and Portuguese colonies, they largely transformed the free and enslaved Africans exist as a majority or minority in Latin societies they were enslaved in. Treatment and conditions of the America today, their influence in these societies is still very much newly imported African slaves varied from place to place but, present.
Issue 12: February 2014
Undiscovered Heroes of History: James Lees-Milne Jennifer Nuttall James Lees-Milne is not a name that the majority of people will be familiar with. Born in 1908 to a prosperous manufacturing family in Worcestershire, England, Milne gained a top rate education at Eton College and Oxford University. Described as shy, withdrawn and suffering from an inferiority complex, he did not appear to shine at either of these institutions. By 1931, through making connections with the likes of Tom Mitford, Basil Ava, Randolph Churchill and his relative Oswald Moseley, James Lees-Milne began to despair about his future and dreamed of a career in literature. M i l n e ’ s private life was wrought with troubling events, as his cousin became p r e g n a n t with his child and later m i s c a r r i ed, The National Trust something which affected for years to come. This is believed to have influenced his later public enthusiasm towards birth control. He also began engaging in casual affairs with both sexes until he got engaged to Lord Cranbrook’s sister, Lady Anne Gathorne-Hardy, in 1935. In 1936 however, Milne broke off this engagement due to a mixture of factors; publicly, this was considered to be due to his on-going worries about his career and financial difficulties. This socially disgraced Milne and he became less motivated about his future for several months. In early spring, things were looking up for Milne as a highly respected job was offered to him in the form of Secretary to the newly formed National Trust Country House Committee. Although the salary was minimal, James Lees-Milne was responsible for locating and compiling lists of houses deemed to be worthy of preservation, through which he acquired invaluable skills he would refer back to later on in his career. Alongside the job, he became less withdrawn and established friendships which gave him an astonishingly varied social life. He also began to produce poetry, novels, short stories and diaries which remained unpublished, for the most part, at this point. When war hit in 1939, Milne was once again entering into a low point in his life, he gradually discontinued his employment with the National Trust, instead focusing his energy on aiding the war effort. He contributed to the early years of the war but was later taken ill with Jacksonian epilepsy, a form of brain damage which causes seizures, visual disturbances and hallucinations. After being discharged from the army and once his health began to return, Milne started to write diaries about the war and influenced wartime politics within the National Trust. In 1949, Milne proposed to a married woman, Alvilde Chaplin, @TheMcrHistorian
and enquired whether an annulment of her previous marriage would be accepted within the Catholic faith. This request was rejected and so Milne and Alvilde were wed at a registry office in 1951. Things began to improve for Milne and, although his health never fully recovered, he began to travel the world with his new wife as well as increasingly writing and working around the architectural buildings of Britain under the National Trust. He wrote two critically acclaimed books in this time, Age of Inigo Jones (1953) and Roman Mornings (1956). However, by 1958, Milne’s depression began to rear its head once again as he became jaded. The lack of a physical relationship with Alvilde furthered Milne’s struggle to repress his homosexual urges. Alvilde engaged in a lesbian affair with Vita-Sackville West, a fact known to both James Lees-Milne and their social circle, extending his unhappiness. His trust and loyalty to the Catholic Church had waned due to their reluctance to accept his marriage, and he became disillusioned with the National Trust, ending in his resignation. An affair he engaged in with a younger man worsened his relationship with wife Alvilde and they resided in separate dwellings for several years. James Lees-Milne continued to write popular novels, autobiographical works and diaries during these years and started to gain recognition for his works outside of the field of architecture. In 1974, Alvilde and Milne moved to Bath together, where they remained for the rest of their lives. Although both discreetly engaged in homosexual affairs, they became closer as Milne developed a seriously illness and Alvilde attempted to nurse him back to health. Alvilde’s health took a drastic turn for the worst in 1992 and, following her death a mere two years later Milne was disconsolate for a short period. He enjoyed the latter years of his life as a widower, experiencing a new found freedom and revelling in his status as his works were recognised as poignant and elegiac. However, as documented in Milne’s diaries, he spent various stages of his life feeling intensely depressed due to a number of factors, namely his inability to be openly homosexual for the most part of his life.
West Germany was granted full sovereignty and admitted to join NATO in the Paris Agreements. Wikimedia Commons
1954 A Year in Photos
The Viet Minh’s siege of Dien Bien Phu, killing and capturing 16,000 French troops took place in May, signalling the start of the Vietnam conflict.Vietnam People’s Army Museum
British subculture, the ‘Teddy Boys’ first appear. Associated Newspapers/ Rex Features
Senator Joseph McCarthy declared that the US army had been infiltrated by Communism during the televised Army-McCarthy hearings, held between April and June. Picture of Senator Joseph McCarthy talking to Roy Cohn at the Hearings. Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that segregated schools are unconstitutional in the Brown vs. Board of Education court case, in May. Nettie Hunt and her daughter, Nikie on steps of U.S Supreme Court. Library of Congress
Gamal Abdel Nasser comes to power in Egypt after the signing of the British withdrawal order. Wikimedia Commons
Roger Bannister is the first to break the four minute mile on 6 May in Oxford, England. Norman Potter Central Press, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
‘Castle Bravo’, the most powerful hydrogen bomb ever tested by the USA is detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean in March. Wikimedia Commons
‘Derationing Day’ on 4 July marked the end of rationing in Britain; nearly a decade after the Second World War had ended. Creative Commons
In April, Bill Haley and His Comets record “Rock Around the Clock”, signalling the start of the Rock ‘n’ Roll craze. Wikimedia Commons
History Behind the Headlines
A Sorry State of Affairs Tom Oliver If you have been following the news recently, then the story of French president Francois Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet will be a familiar story. France’s first lady,Valerie Trierweiler, was consequently hospitalised reportedly due to the shock. It is, of course, not the first time that something like this has happened in modern politics. Comedians are still making references to Monica Lewinsky and her affair with Bill Clinton, which almost ended his presidency in impeachment. Closer to home, in 2002 Edwina Currie released a book detailing her four year affair with John Major whilst Margaret Thatcher had been Prime Minister. The contemporary examples could go on and on, yet sex scandals have been entwined with politics for most of our history.
Perhaps the most famous and interesting affair in history is that of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. Following the death of Julius Caesar in 44BC, his best friend and ally Mark Anthony had to share power with Marcus Lepidus and Octavian. Anthony fell in love with Cleopatra on a state visit to Egypt in 41BC but to keep the peace had to marry Octavian’s sister in the same year. He returned to Egypt and Cleopatra in 36BC, which ultimately led to a major civil war in Rome and Octavian becoming Caesar Augustus, first Emperor of Rome. So, in fact, affairs in politics are nothing new, and we could be thankful that Hollande’s dalliance has not led to a major European war.
Another famous example from France is the love affair between Napoleon Bonaparte and his Empress, Joséphine. She married him reluctantly in 1796 just before his tour of Italy, then whilst he was in Italy had a string of affairs. When he found out, he matched her with his own string of affairs before they eventually became faithful to each other. However, Napoleon divorced Joséphine in 1810 because she was no longer fertile and he craved a son. Napoleon had a locket filled with violets from Joséphine’s garden when he died in 1821, suggesting his love for Joséphine had never died. This is the opposite of the slightly heart-rending scandal surrounding Elizabeth Tudor,who wanted to marry her childhood friend Robert Dudley, who unfortunately was already married. When he was finally available in 1560, she was advised not to marry him by her Madame Talian and the Empress Josephine dancing naked before the advisors. Thus despite many foreign suitors, she was never married. Barrass 1797, National Portrait Gallery
The Art of Peace Gina Castellheim What is peace? Peace is an ideal we humans have been striving towards since the beginnings of mankind. On the micro level, peace is essential to a stable upbringing, whilst on the macro it is fundamental to a functioning world. Whilst Syria prepares for peace talks in Switzerland, by bringing the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition together to discuss the move towards a transitional government, we see conflict is still very much the bane of contemporary society. However, the heart of harmony has been shrouded by the mass of warsthat have emerged in the 20th century. So we must question why Geneva? And when did it become the goto destination for Peace?
these soldiers so made propositions in his book, which were to see his country rise as the moral dictator of the world.
Dunant suggested permanent support for humanitarian aid in times of war, and a government treaty allowing it to provide aid and to recognize its neutrality. As a result, the 1864 Geneva Convention was born, followed by the establishment of the Red Cross in Geneva. For these influential achievements Dunant received the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. Thus, Switzerland remains the go-to peace destination, as The Geneva Conventions was the first international treaty to set out rules for the wartime rights of prisoners It is well known that the Swiss are admired for their political stability and the wounded. and neutral stance on global affairs. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Switzerland’s second largest city is the European headquarters But is it fair to say The Geneva Conventions of 1864 have become of the United Nations, formerly known as the League of Nations. outdated? With drastic changes in armed conflict, the terms of the However, Geneva’s grand title of ‘Peace Capital of the World’ has document were updated 4 times. Yet, perhaps we shouldn’t see the humble beginnings. It was the work of a Swiss businessman named Henry Dunant who paved the way to the possibility of Peace. He original as antiquated, but as the sturdy foundation of humanitarian published the Memoir of the Solferino in 1862, exposing the war law. By negotiating in the place where it all began, the world time horrors he experienced after visiting wounded soldiers at the desperately hopes Syria will be able transform Middle-Eastern Battle of Solferino, in Italy. He was outraged by the poor aid given to peace from an impossible fantasy into attainable reality.
Issue 12: February 2014
In Defence of History Vivienne Delliou- Daly Since the coalition government came to power in 2010, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has routinely been surrounded by fierce, and often acrimonious, controversy. In the time since the comprehensivisation of education in the 1960s, few Education Secretaries have courted the kind of controversy that has been created by Gove’s proposals, from the introduction of Swedishstyle free schools run forprofit, to the replacement of GCSEs with the English Baccalaureate, which the government was forced to abandon in February 2013. Perhaps unsurprisingly History World the most polemical debates have centred on Gove’s reforms to the history curriculum. Constructing an ‘impartial’ history curriculum is always going to be problematic, wherever one goes in the world. Many argue that the history curriculum currently taught in China is constructed specifically for the purpose of legitimising and justifying the rule of the Communist Party, and that it deliberately frames history in order to present China’s system of government as the only possible way of protecting the people from Western and Japanese oppression. Closer to home, the Scottish National Party has met with accusations that its government’s reforms to the history curriculum in Scotland (which now includes more exclusively Scottish history chock-full of memorable instances of English-Scottish antagonism) have been an attempt to tilt September’s Independence Referendum in favour of a ‘Yes’ vote by mobilising newly enfranchised 16-17 year olds. Much of the debate on the history curriculum has been conducted along ostensibly Left / Right lines. The Right-wing press has showered praise on Gove, whereas the N.U.T likened his proposals to pub-quiz history, and Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry was amongst those to declare that the new curriculum was myopically Anglo-centric. Gove was perhaps keeping this in mind when, speaking in the run up to the centenary of the First World War, he chose to blast what he called ‘Left-wing academics all too happy to feed [myths about the war] by attacking Britain’s role in the conflict.’ It is undisputable that, in the U.K., the First World War is one of few historical events that takes genuine pride of place in our collective consciousness, having a unique influence on art and culture. As novelist Pat Barker explains: ‘The whole British psyche is suffering from the contradiction you see in Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, where the war is both terrible and never to be repeated and at the sametime experiences derived from it are given enormous value.’
Gove draws attention to dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War and Blackadder, which he claims paint the war as ‘a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite’. One can hardly argue with Gove on this point. Indeed, Blackadder’s Colonel Melchett reveals that the generals’ plan is ‘to continue with total slaughter until everyone’s dead except Field Marshal Haig, Lady Haig and their tortoise, Alan’. But many historians have claimed that it’s a misconception that the upper classes got off lightly. The BBC recently pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, some 12% of the British army’s ordinary soldiers were killed during the war, compared with 17% of its officers. The social and political elite was actually hit disproportionately hard by the war. Eton alone lost more than 1,000 former pupils - 20% of those who served. Wartime Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son, while future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law lost two. It is also a myth that tactics on the Western front remained unchanged despite repeated failure, as the period 1914-18 marked a time of extraordinary technical innovation on both sides. In 1914, generals had believed the war could be won by the cavalry regiment and the use of tanks and aerial reconnaissance seemed almost inconceivable,yet the latter were effectively employed by the middle of the war. As to whether the war was a just one, historian Dan Snow has argued that it was perhaps more so than the Second World War, which saw Germany invading Poland, a much more distant threat than the one faced in 1914, which saw German troops in Belgium; a closer threat to Britain’s borders.
Was Michael Gove right to blame left-wing academics for spreading myths about the war? He seems to have got that wrong, particularly given that the phrase ‘lions led by donkeys’, was coined by the historian Alan Clark, a Conservative MP. However, Gove seems to have reinvigorated discussion and debate on an event crucial to our Yet there is a certain farcical narrative about the events of this history as a nation, both culturally and politically, and that really isn’t period that sits alongside the memory of war (and the pity of war). such a bad thing. @TheMcrHistorian
History Behind the Headlines
Benefits: The Demonisation of the Working Class Ben Beach ‘The place was beginning to depress me. It was not only the dirt, the smells and the vile food, but the feelings of stagnant meaningless decay.’ Those were the words of George Orwell in his hugely influential social survey, The Road to Wigan Pier, when recounting the bleak realities of life amongst the industrial working class in 1930s Britain. Over the past month, in light of Channel 4’s Benefits Street, similar language has dominated the nation’s press and social media. However, whilst Orwell’s objective was to enumerate the unjust squalor and deprivation suffered by the impoverished, the James Turner Street documentary has largely perpetuated modern day ridicule of the poor – a derision which is evident throughout history. Mass repression of the lower classes can be traced back so far as the High Middle Ages. The expansion of population in Europe – from around 35 million to 80 million – between the years 1000 and 1347, witnessed the growth of a rural peasantry which accounted for 90 per cent of the continent’s inhabitants. Due to the developments in agricultural techniques, most peasants were no longer located in isolated farms, but had assembled in small Wikimedia Commons communities. However, as subjects to the nobility, commoners were obliged to pay rents and labour services – this quickly evolved into a system of exploitation. Despite not owning the land outright, the feudal system ensured that the nobility were granted rights of income – hence preserving their own position and continuing to confine those below. As a result, economic and political tensions gripped England, culminating in the 1381 Peasant’s Revolt – often referred to as Wat Tyler’s Rebellion. Attempts by royal officials to collect unpaid poll taxes led to widespread violent confrontation across rural society. The rebels pursued a reduction in taxation, the cessation of serfdom, and elimination of the King’s senior officials and law courts. In June of that year, the dissenters, upon entering London, attacked the gaols, destroyed the Savoy Palace and the Temple Inns of Court, set law books alight, and killed any person allied with the royal government. Manifestations of cynicism toward brutally exclusive institutions in Medieval England were promptly stifled by way of military overpowering. By the end of June 1381, over 4,000 troops were deployed to restore order and quash resistance from below. Historian Michael Postan describes the uprising as a ‘passing episode’ – the restoration of the normal processes of government, soon after, illustrated the preservation of control over a peasantry which was rendered feral and unknowing. Throughout the ages, the lower classes have found human progress, and social betterment, to be two very distinct processes. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution, whilst transforming Britain in the late-18th Century, encompassed dramatic social and economic changes for enormous sections of the populace. Mass-production methods demanded the migration of thousands from the countryside to new industrial cities – colossal changes in lifestyle ensued.
Textile factories, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were characterised by the deplorable conditions, long working hours, and low pay, which were enforced upon the labourers. Children, some as young as 5 years old, were made to work shifts of up to 16 hours per day; earning as little as 4 shillings per week. Moreover, the squalid living conditions of the workforce, who were left in crude shanties and shacks, were in stark paradox to the splendour of the homes of the industry owners. The backstreets of Manchester, and other mill towns were documented by Friedrich Engels in his 1844 study, The Condition of the Working Class in England. Engels observed that the industrial workers had lower incomes than their pre-industrial peers; and were forced to live in graver conditions – noting that mortality rates in English industrial cities were 4 times higher than in the surrounding countryside. 90 years on from Engels’ writings on the slums of the Industrial Revolution, Orwell was in search of Wigan Pier. Of course, as Orwell knew, as he trudged the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the ‘pier’ had never existed. A coal jetty once mistaken in the blotted landscape for ‘Wigan Pier’ had become local folklore. For Orwell it was a metaphor: for the decay of British society in its abandonment of the poor. Over the past month, at 9pm on Monday evenings, the 21st century incarnation of poverty in Britain has been played out to millions. Yet, today prejudice towards the deprived is extensive – shows, like Benefits Street, follow a predictable formula. In a stampede for scapegoats, modern day Britain has left the impoverished isolated and marginalised. How they could do with an Orwell, or an Engels, now. www.manchesterhistorian.com
Issue 12: February 2014
Being Good Sports Kathryn White The Olympics, both summer and winter, aim to bring the whole world together to focus on the positivity of sport and excellence, under its philosophy of good sportsmanship and fair play. However, in practice this rarely turns out so easily. The attention of the world and the Olympic pulpit are utilised for political gains and protest, to make a statement and be heard. The terrorist threats and human rights discussions of Sochi 2014 are nothing new. Politics hasaffected sport as far back as the 1908 summer games when Finland demanded to compete separately from the Russian Empire, even though they were banned from using their own flag. It is no surprise that the most dominant controversies of the Olympics’ history have been Cold War protests. The two political superpowers, the USA and the USSR, were also two of the most notable sporting superpowers, making their absence even more glaring in the peak decades of Olympic boycotts between 1956 and 1984. Their nonattendance sent a powerful message and attracted a lot of media attention, but did they actually achieve anything? The seven countries that boycotted the 1956 Australian games prevented neither the Suez Canal Crisis nor the Hungarian Revolution. The same can be said for the 62 countries that boycotted the 1980 Soviet games, and the retaliation of the 16 boycotters of the American games four years later.
to apartheid South Africa to compete in 1968, after several African countries as well as Africa-American athletes threatened to boycott the Mexico games. South Africa was excluded from the games from 1964 to 1988 – a powerful international statement against apartheid policies. The Olympics are designed to showcase their host cities and countries, the protests to highlight their problems. This was certainly the case with the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics which demonstrated the best and worst of the Nazi organisers. It will also play a part in the Sochi Olympics this month, although gone are the days of mass boycotts and on-site protests.Marches are being held around the world to protest Russia’s homophobic laws, and in Sochi the U.S. delegation will include two gay former-athletes in the opening and closing ceremonies. Controversy may not become the legacy of the Sochi Olympics, as it did in 1936 and 1980, yet undoubtedly these games have shined a spotlight on Russia’s blemishes.
Yet, in a case that reflected far more clear-cut moral injustices than the animosities of the cold war, the IOC withdrew its provisional invitation Berlin Olympics, 1936 Wikimedia Commons
The Path Not Taken Alice Rigby We usually think of protest as a collective act. Conventional wisdom tells us that to be a change maker you have to have other people standing behind you. The Napoleons, Mandelas and Lincolns of this world are considered exceptional individuals. However, in the last year, the use of twitter as medium to express dissatisfaction has become prominent. While the conviction of trolls has shown this isn’t always a positive force, the ability to protest solo is a power weare becoming increasingly aware of.
Individual protest is far from a twentieth century phenomenon. In anage when citizenship was divine, Henry Thoureau demonstrated that the relationship between the individual and government should be that of equal partners when he refused to pay poll tax in protest at the continued use of slavery in the Americas. This emotive impact of an individual protesting can prompt historical events. Prominently, the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi is widely regarded as theinstigator of the Arab Spring.
There are some infamous examples of individual protest that have set precedents throughout history. Rosa Parks’ decision to remain seated is rightly regarded as one of the bravest and most definitive protests ever made. While out of context the act would have been unexceptional, her choice to make a stand without any immediate support indicates bravery to a degree that few of us can comprehend. The most visually impacting instance of stand alone protest in the twentieth century must be the tank man of Tianmen Square. While protest in China was widespread at the time, this single act of personal endangerment was extraordinary given the political context it occurred in and the image will be burned on our retinas for decades to come.
While acts of personal endangerment have clearly been favoured forms of protest over the centuries, art has been the one medium through which protest can be starkly recorded without fear for one’s life. The poets of the Great War are the definitive exemplification of individuals standing alone to protest events without sacrificing themselves. Similarly, the protest songs of the twentieth century, which reached their pinnacle in the 1960s, have gone on to inspire individuals globally to react against tyranny in peaceful protest.
Although it may require a degree of bravery that is inconceivable formany of us, individual protest has impacted history to an unprecedented level and is continuing to do so in the Internet era.
History in Culture
Awards Fashion Through Time Charlotte Johnson
1948: Lois Maxwell wins New Actress of the Year at the Golden Globes, wearing a felt cape embellished with 1931: Smoky-eyed Norma Shearer attends the fiery flora. Nigel Dobinson, Getty Images Oscars in a brocade shirt and skirt with fur 1969: Barbra Streisand sports a transparent sleeves. Is that a corsage I spot? Associated bellbottom jumpsuit with Puritan cuffs like no Press one else can. Associated Press
1962: Marylyn Monroe is svelte and sophisticated in a timeless sequined emerald jersey dress for the Golden Globes. Michael Ochs, Getty Images
1980: Meryl Streep is a vision in white at the Oscars, avoiding marriage puns with a casual white jacket. IMDB
1955: Grace Kelly in green Edith Head gown at the Oscars. It was the most expensive dress in Oscar history, the amteiral alone costing $4,000. Everett
1964: Elizabeth Taylor wears Dior to the Oscars, and despite the poofyness of the floral-embellished skirt, she still looks heart breaking. International Business Times.
Issue 12: February 2014
Fatal Attraction Charlotte Johnson Predictably, BuzzFeed has covered ‘Signs You are Obsessed with Awards Season’ with 20 appropriate GIFs. And there is little doubt that by reading this article you will conform to the majority of those signs, and how could you not? Awards season offers welcome respite from the dark, wintry months between November and February, but how did it become a fascination of global proportion? The Academy Awards, known colloquially as the Oscars, was the first of spectacle of this kind. A black-tie banquet was held in the art deco Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for 250 attendees of the ceremony in May 1929. The winners had been announced three months prior to the evening, so there were none of the Shakespeare In Love style shockers of today. Nowadays, nominees have three months to prepare their ‘runner-up’ face as well as their winner’s speech, while organisers rustle up global publicity and anticipation for the evening. It is this anticipation, or more precisely our relish of reaction shots that allows the everyman to share the highs and lows of the beautiful and talented.
1999: Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty in pink at the Oscars. AP
In order for the awards to be psychologically unifying, however, they had to become more accessible. In the aftermath of the initial Academy Awards, organisers quickly recognised that a quiet, private ceremony would hardly do justice to Hollywood’s greats. The allure of the glamour, elegance and exclusivity of the event made everyday people want to witness every bit of it. The following year, not only was the event accompanied by an hourly update on Los Angeles radio, organisers decided to keep the winners a secret, revealing only to the press the victorious half dozen, who would then print the winners in the 11pm news. In 1940, the LA Times surreptitiously printed the winners in the early evening newspaper, and nominees read of their success or their defeat prior to the official announcement. In 1941, following this breach, the sealed envelope was added to the dramatics of the ceremony. The inception of other award ceremonies quickly followed: the Golden Globes began in 1943; the Tony awards celebrating theatre started in 1947; the Emmy awards for television came in 1949; and the Grammy’s presented music industry awards from the 1950s. In the same year that Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was televised to the world, the United States watched the first televised Academy Awards. By 1966, the event was televised in colour, and, three years later, the rest of the world got a look in. The other awards ceremonies promptly followed suit. Finally, a global audience could revel in the colour and sparkle of this untouchable elite gracing the red carpet.
2005: While Oscar gowns have been infamous for their modesty. HIlary Swark swept conventional rules aside in this entirely backless number. AMPAS
Visually, little has changed between then and now. The dresses are still bedazzling and suits still adorn swashbuckling film heroes. Now, though, audiences contribute like never before: BuzzFeed offers the lowdown in 20 GIFs, Twitter splutters both accolades and insults by the second, and Vogue.com praises and admonishes the best and worst dressed. From the comfort of our homes, we can all obsess over a once private, but unerringly fabulous, awards season.
History in Culture
Film Review: 12 Years a Slave Jack Crutcher Turner Prize winning artist-turned director Steve McQueen has built up quite the reputation amongst those in his native British film industry. With his two previous forays into the world of film offering us the artistic flair and shocking sexual deviance of ‘Shame’ and the oppressive realism of ‘Hunger’, it is no surprise McQueen’s reluctant journey into the limelight of Hollywood with ‘12 Years A Slave’ has proven to be nothing short of a resounding success - and one with truly mind-blowing results. It will come as no surprise after watching this film, that it is already a Golden Globe Winner and a multiple Oscar nominee.
Based upon the memoirs of New York musician and family-man Solomon Northup, ‘12 Years A Slave’ follows the tragic story of his kidnap and sale into slavery in 1841. Played by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Northup is tricked into touring as a musician before being drugged and kidnapped by slave traders, who ship Northup off to Louisiana to work on a cotton plantation. Ejiofor is a perfect fit for a McQueen film. Charismatic and composed, his nuanced acting style captures the physical and mental toll slavery must have taken on Northup - his stance changes as the film progresses, his temper becomes shorter and his voice more desperate - but throughout Ejiofor also manages to capture the moral strength and In recent years slavery has found a space in the artistic conscience of socialstanding Northup encapsulated - a man whom people evidently Hollywood. However this has not always been the case. Historically the respected. most successful films dealing with slavery have only offered an indistinct glimpse into the cruel obedience and sepia-toned landscape of the slave- McQueen is also a director whose style is instantly recognisable. In each era South. ‘Gone With The Wind’ and perhaps more poignantly Steven of his three films so far the long shot of a particularly important or emotive Spielberg’s ‘Amistad’ were both unafraid of asking difficult questions. But scene is allowed to play out in its entirety, with no cuts or editing room tricks a nation’s psyche can be a fragile thing, and as a result of this American implemented during production. In this case Northup is about to be hung filmmakers have often elected to concentrate onthe post-emancipatory by a master whom he manages to outwit one too many times. Hisfirst and era, when the American establishment largely fought for African American relatively benign slave-owner, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, cuts him rights, allowing for more positivist narratives centred around desegregation down from certain death, but only enough to prevent him passing out. As and the Civil Rights Act (think Mississippi Burning). The dystopian story he scrambles for air with only the tips of his feet able to touch the ground, of slavery has ultimately been over-looked by filmmakers, a fact that McQueen stretches out the scene for at least two whole minutes - both has since been draw upon by McQueen himself when asked about difficult to watch but also expertly placed, this scene forces the audience to Hollywood’s mistreatment of the topic. reflect and fully comprehend the vulnerability of this once free man without distracting them with further narrative. In the past year America celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed on January 1st 1863 - as if buoyed by The ever inspiring Michael Fassbender plays the tormented and nefarious the national pride this memory evoked, the film industry has been spurred slaver Edwin Epps,whose depravity stretches from sex with slave girl on to re-visit slave era America - If Hollywood has ever been able to claim Patsey (played expertly by big-screen newcomer Lupita Nyong’o), to to have a cultural duty to make films of meaning and substance, then it waking his slaves up in the middle of the night and forcing them to dance has certainly had some catching up to do. However ‘12 Years A Slave’ for his own amusement. The depravity culminates in another lengthy cut is the kind of film that does not need any moral counterparts to support whereNorthup is forced to whip fellow slave Patsey against his will. These its message - this is a film unapologetically aligned with the historical scenes are deserving of a mention, because it is precisely this kind of facts, and unabashed in its exploration of human psychology, power- story-telling that sets this film apart from its peers - and that will keep you relationships and ownership of ‘the other’. awake at night long after you leave the cinema.
Book Review: Band of Brothers Sarah King ‘From this day to the ending of the world we in it shall be remembered. We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.’ Band of Brothers depicts the history of Easy Company, an American Parachute infantry regiment who fought during the Second World War. The series portrays the true stories of the soldiers of the regiment, and each episode begins with the surviving men’s accounts of their experiences.
but the tragic nature of friendships and brotherhoods torn apart was far more shocking than the dismantled legs and severed arteries. Band of Brothers is not simply a display of blood, weapons and carnage which seeks to cater for the testosterone driven viewer, but instead depicts a war of heartbreak, brotherhood and a real authentic picture of the historical events and the lives of soldiers that can be enjoyed by all, although a strong stomach would certainly help.
From the first episode of the training in the US to the final, where Easy Company entered Belgium with 145 soldiers in June Hitler’s infamous Eagle’s Nest is revealed in the Alps, we follow the 1944, after the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 only 63 soldiers through battle in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany. remained. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg present an intense, highly realistic and very graphic portrayal of the war, which is arguably more gripping and certainly more accurate than Saving Private Ryan. The quality of the Band of Brothers series is surprisingly good, and can undoubtedly be added to the list of essential on-screen depictions of the war. It certainly tops my list. The series represents many key aspects of the conflict: the landing in Normandy; the liberation of Eindhoven; the fighting at Bastogne; and the joy at discovering the Eagle’s Nest. Arguably, the greatest episode of the series is not one of extreme violence or adrenaline pumping battle, but instead the discovery of Kaufering concentration camp in Bavaria, Germany, which is presented in episode 9. This episode, away from the ruthlessness and violence of fighting, highlights the significance of the war, and soldiers who have become dehumanized by war are broken by the experience. For someone who can’t even stand the sight of her own blood, it was a challenge at times to watch the blood and gore of the production, HBO Images
History in Culture, Society & Department
Interview with Al Murray Cai Reaich
Al Murray is a writer and comedian famous for his alter ego, The Pub Landlord. He has a keen interest in history having graduated Can you reconcile your historical interest with your work as a from Oxford with a degree in Modern History. His new book, comedian? I’ve used bits of history in the act and I’ve use the act to muse Watching War Films With My Dad, is out now. on people’s relationship with history, which is generally that they remember four or five things and then use them to prove points, Where did your interest in history originally come from? Well, I grew up in a house and in a family that was fascinated with which is obviously incredibly dangerous! At the beginning of my history. We would talk about it endlessly over Sunday lunch. My book I say that I half-know a lot of stuff and I’m prepared to admit dad and his brother would discuss the bomber offensive while we that, although I think that makes you a more interesting person would watch The World at War and we would talk about not just the than someone who knows nothing at all. If you get out there some Second World War but about pretty much a bit of everything. I’m people think that Henry VIII had eight wives or that Churchill is just an avid consumer of history and will pick up any book which looks a car insurance dog, so people and their relationship with history is fascinating and it is shifting enormously. The way it has been interesting. taught differently in schools in the past twenty years has changed audiences; what they knowis different. How do you see history’s role in society? I had dinner with a Tudor Historian last night and we were talking The rest of the interview will be available at: about the function of history, and she said that the thing about www.manchesterhistorian.com history is that it is the ‘only guide that we have got’, which is an excellent way to see it. Your book is titled Watching War Films With My Dad and you detail a certain pedantry about war films, however, do the films have to be completely historically accurate in order to portray the war or convey a pertinent message? This pedantry has made a complete fool of me but there is a point in the film A Bridge Too Far, which misrepresents what actually happened and has coloured people’s interpretation of that event and culturally how we look at it, and I think that is very interesting in itself. You also describe your book as a means of ‘getting over history’ – could you elaborate what you mean by ‘getting over’? I have often thought that World War Two is such an interesting event, not only because it is incredibly complex but also because it has assumed such an important and powerful moral role in how we view ourselves, what we think we stand for and what we think our values are; it is used by politicians to back-project ideas and fears onto you. The amount of dictators since WWII who have been compared to Hitler, who was undeniably a bad person, in order to influence policy! Tony Blair, George Bush in the Gulf and Eden in Suez are prime examples. The thing about WWII is that it is kind of in black and white – good guys/bad guys – it has even got a mythic element to it as well because we had to do a deal with the devil to win and there is a bit of me that wants to leave that behind, get over looking at the past and engage with the present more. How does that perception fit with you own interest in history? Writing the book was partially to get the WWII fascination out of my system, but in order to write it properly I had to read a load more stuff and it completely reawakenedmy interest all over again. But people should also try to have their heads in the present; they should read newspapers as well as reading about the Corn Laws.
Issue 12: February 2014
History Abroad: Amsterdam MIchael Cass January 30 saw the History Society’s annual trip abroad kickoff. This year was the turn of Amsterdam, the historical hotbed of student frivolity.The trip inevitably began with a rather long coach journey from the Armitage Centre to Dover. The long slog was made slightly better with in-flight entertainment courtesy of Shaun of the Dead and Airplane!. After a surprisingly calm journey across the channel and traversing the lowlands in the dark, we arrived bleary-eyed at our Amsterdam hostel, tired but eager to see what the city had to offer. After a traditional Dutch breakfast consisting of really large pancakes, we headed off into the labyrinthine streets of central Amsterdam to try to find out what all the excitement was about. First things first, Amsterdam really is a beautiful city, with amazing architecture. But you aren’t here to hear that! The committee’s first ‘cultural’ expedition was to Amsterdam’s (probably) infamous Sex Museum. An excellent time was had by all, with particular excitement centering on ‘Long Dong Silver’ – what a man!
ordered it from the bar on a whim. After all, what’s a nightout in Holland without sampling one of its odd party drinks? Post-Hans we went on a bit of a pub crawl, ending up in the Dutch equivalent of Yates’, watching Sky Sports News – Photo courtesy of Michael Cass LADS ON TOUR!
After a rather hazy breakfast we decided to do something historical, so visited the Anne Frank Museum, a sobering experience. We then hired bikes – as you do – and had a jaunty ride around the maze like city that is Amsterdam. Come evening time we visited Amsterdam’sworld famous Red Light District: as seedy as you’d Following the excitement of the Sex Museum, we figured a expect, with copious numbers of ashen faced looking British men... depressant would be expedient. What better way to calm the spirits (None of us, we promise!). than a visit to one of Amsterdam’s famed coffee shops? Much consumption of coffee later, and emerging from the oppressive And after this whirlwind excitement, it was time to return to atmosphere of the shop, we returned to the hostel for some much- Manchester. The coach journey round two wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences, but passed without the emptying of too many needed R&R before the first night out. stomachs (as far as we know), and despite some decidedly green We congregated in the hostels bar and sunk a few jugs of Dutch beer. complexions on the ferry back over the channel, the journey was Sounds like a normal night out, right? It was, until we discovered relatively incident free. Although one unnamed Society member Flügel in Hans Brinker’s underground, graffiti-adorned dive. This wascharged 15 Euros for a plate of fish and chips, which was mercurial cranberry-vodka-and-energy-drink, vaguely reminiscent greeted with much hilarity. Overall, the Amsterdam trip was a of an alcoholic Calpol, has become symbolic to the few of us who resounding success, and much fun was had by all.
Dr. Christian Goeschel Megan Garlick When did you first become interested in History, and why? I suppose when I started reading. Good history has always struck me as telling good and true stories about the past. What brought you to Photo courtesy of Francesco Filangeri Manchester? Well, certainly not the weather! It was the excellent department with great colleagues and fantastic students. Also, as a historian of modern Europe, I wanted to be back in Europe after a great time teaching at the Australian National University.
being challenged. However, I think similar things can be said about Manchester as well. What are you planning for your next area of research? Having worked quite a bit on Nazi Germany, I am broadening out my research to explore the relationship between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany; Europe’s first fascist dictatorships. I am also teaching a new Level 3 course this semester on this subject. Have there been any highlights in your academic experience which you would like to share with the readers? Meeting some of the most interesting and generous people whom I would not have met otherwise. Also, being able to share and discuss my views in conversation with colleagues and students.
You have achieved so much academically already, do you have any advice for current History undergraduates? Read as widely as you can - also outside your subject area. How was your experience of studying at Cambridge? Always try to challenge what you are reading. Try to learn a foreign Cambridge is a good place to study because one is constantly language. Now is the time. And finally: come to our office hours! @TheMcrHistorian
History Department Updates 2014/15 Peer Mentoring Scheme is open for applicants Peer Mentors make up an important part of the History department at Manchester, and they are central to helping first years find their feet. The experience and skills learnt look great on your CV, and can provide other opportunities such as paid work or volunteering at the university. If you are interested in being part of the Mentor team email: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
John Rylands Seminar on Print and Materiality in the Early Modern World Convenors: Dr Jenny Spinks, Lecturer in Early Modern History, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures; Dr Sasha Handley, Lecturer in History, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Siobhan Talbott, research fellow at the History department has recently had her book published. Conflict, Commerce and FrancoScottish Relations, 1560-1713 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014) w w w. p i c k e r i n g c h a t t o . c o m / conflict
Interdisciplinary seminar series, Semester 1, 2013-2014. Sessions will be held in the Christie Room, The John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester.
Wednesday 19 March 2014, 3.30–5.00 pm •
Dr Laura Sangha (University of Exeter), ‘The Recording of Illustrious Providences: Intellectual developments and the supernatural in later seventeenth-century England’
Wednesday 21 May 2014, 3.30–5.00 pm •
Rachel Winchcombe (University of Manchester), ‘Savagery and Civilisation: Representations of Americans in English print culture, 1492–1607’
Roy Hickey (University of Manchester), ‘Radical Religion and the Quaker Movement around Pendle, the Ribble Valley, Craven and the Yorkshire Dales before 1660’
Wednesday 18 June 2014, 2.00–5.00 pm (note longer session with afternoon tea break) •
Panel presentation, ‘Exhibiting Early Modern Prints in the John Rylands Library: A postgraduate perspective’
Julianne Simpson (John Rylands Library / University of Manchester), ‘A Dead End Invention? Blockbooks at the John Rylands Library’
Dr Edward Wouk (University of Manchester), ‘From Icon to Print’
Dr Naya Tsentourou (University of Manchester), ‘”The ghost of a linnen decency”: Fears of the material and the immaterial in Milton's prose’
Gary James & Dave Day, lecturers at Manchester Metropolitan University, have recently had their article published by Taylor and Francis. ‘The Emergence of an Association Football Culture in Manchester 1840–1884’