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RETROSPECT JOURNAL

SCHOOL OF HISTORY CLASSICS ARCHAEOLOGY

2017

ISSUE N° 20

Retrospect Journal.


INDEX

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CONTENTS

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History Classics Archaeology

ACADEMIC Partitioning India: Can creative literature challenge history’s orthodox approach? Exile of an Era: October 1917

25-27

04/06

Editor’s note Head of School’s Welcome

REVIEWS The Great Forgetting: Women writers before Austen Jackie 11.22.63 Records and Rebels, the V&A Museum

The Age of Andrew Jackson ‘Making America Great Again’? : using history in Presidential rhetoric

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The Fight for Ghanian Independence GREAT WAR COLUMN Toward the End: 1917

Hume and Smith: The era of Scottish Enlightenment

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Russia, Revolution and Revelation: 100 Years since 1917 5 MINUTES WITH... Dr. Adam Budd

British History in the Long Twentieth Century

FEATURES The Man in the High Castle: History as reality or fiction? Commemorating the Holocaust in the Era of Smartphones and Social Media Resistance to ‘the Peculiar Institution’ Che: Guerrillero Heroico George Orwell & the Spanish Civil War Here Comes the Sun James Craig and the Edinburgh New Town ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged’: The extraordinary legacy of Jane Austen

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HISTORICAL FICTION Anniversary in the Gulag Bannockburn

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KEY & CONTRIBUTORS

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2017

THE TEAM

SOCIETIES

Charlotte Lauder | Editor in Chief and President Charles Nurick | Deputy Editor and Secretary Lauren-Leigh Porter | Senior Radio Editor and Treasurer Sarah Thomson Kara Ross Felix Carpenter Alice Williamson Martin Greenacre Rebecca Rosser Ciara McKay Laura Skinner

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| Editors

Ashleigh Jackson | Great War Columnist Sophia Fothergill Emma Marriot Rocco Astore | Columnists Kelly Beasley

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Emma Simpson | Social Secretary Megan Strain | Fundraising Officer Ellie Parker Jacob Hull Tess Johnston Susie Curtis Polina Andreeva Josh Stein Osanna Lau

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Adam Bircher | Video Editor Silvia Razakova | Design Editor

THANKS TO

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| Digital Editors

| Radio Editors

H

HISTORY

C

CLASSICS

A

ARCHAEOLOGY

R

RETROSPECT

CONTRIBUTORS Sophia Fothergill Deana Davis Josh Stein Kevin Kempton Sarah Thomson Eleanor Hemming Rocco Astore Felix Carpenter Lucy Hughes Medea Santonocito Emma Marriott Matthew Mitchell Polina Andreeva Fay Marsden Lucy Gray Candice Maharaj Kara Ross Ciara McKay Iona Glen Ashleigh Jackson Rebecca Rosser Lewis Twiby Gordon Thomson


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FROM THE EDITOR

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EDITOR’S NOTE

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CHARLOTTE LAUDER

It is a pleasure to welcome you to Retrospect Journal’s 20th issue in our 10th year. To celebrate this milestone, we prompted our writers to focus on topics including com memorat ion, memor ia l isat ion, remembrance and anniversaries. After a very successful Writer’s Workshop, the Editing Team have encouraged some fantastic articles from our writers that stretch from discussions of the Sixties and its legacy, from the anniversary of the Russian Revolution to the anniversary of James Craig’s New Town in Edinburgh, to remembering Bannockburn, the Scottish Enlightenment, and rethinking ideas of democracy through the exploration of the Indian Partition and the age of Jacksonian Democracy. Such subjects have found an unusual commonality with other articles that focus on the themes of liberalism and freedom: the similarities between President Ronald Reagan and the current US President, the ‘long twentieth century’ in British history, and the idea of ‘alternative versions of history’, as well as the legacies of Che Guevara, the American slave trade and the literature of Jane Austen. Throughout ‘Eras & Epochs’, our SP/SU 2017 issue, a standout topic is considered: the difficulty with defining and remembering the past. Should we (as historians, classicists and archaeologists) place so much emphasis on the ‘big moments’ in history, or should we look further to the undercurrents of the events and their context? Pondering that, what kind of legacy does Retrospect carry, now in its 10th year? Of course, it is with the benefit of retrospect (pun intended) that we can begin to grapple with these questions. I do hope you find such ideas investigated, explored and disseminated whilst reading. On a personal note, this will be my fifth and final issue with Retrospect. Throughout my four years, it has been a pleasure to write for the Journal, serve on its Committee and oversee the publication of two issues as Editor

in Chief. Once again, my team have been brilliant; they have balanced their individual commitments and demanding studies alongside writing, editing, radio presenting, creating websites and videos, raising money, designing, and organising social events. All our events this year have helped promote Retrospect Journal as a creative outlet and a worthwhile commitment, and I am thrilled to include so many original and thoughtprovoking pieces here. Thanks must go to our sponsors Baillie Gifford & Co, and to the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, and an extended thanks to the University’s Innovative Initiative Grant, EUSA’s School’s Fund and the School of Literature, Languages and Culture’s Alumni Grant for their generous support in helping fund our printing costs. Finally, it was a pleasure to be reunited with recently graduated former Retrospect Editors - Kerry, Francesca, Hilary and Helena - in the weeks before we went to print, at our joint Careers Event with the History Society. Being able to reminisce with them on Retrospect’s past, whilst preparing for its future, was something very special. After ten years, some awards, and a lot of learning, Retrospect Journal will continue to be a publication for creativity and innovation, and, of course, the past.


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WELCOME

2017

HEAD OF SCHOOL’S WELCOME

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology in Edinburgh is very fortunate to have an active and enterprising student body. Of all the activities in which it has been involved, Retrospect Journal is one of the most tangible and enduring. Student publications are often transient, so Retrospect, of which this is the twentieth issue, stands out for its longevity as well as its continued quality. The magazine began life in 2007 as the History Society’s newsletter and then became a society in its own right in 2012. It won the Herald’s Student Award for Best Student Magazine in 2010, and this year was nominated for Best Student Group at the EUSA Activities Awards. Previous issues’ have had themes such as ‘Breakthrough’, ‘Failure’, ‘Milestones’, ‘Legend & Folklore’ and ‘Union’. Over the years Retrospect has expanded to include submissions of historical fiction, as well as new categories for 2016-17, such as ‘5 Minutes with...’, ‘Edinburgh Voices’ and ‘The Great War Column’. Student journalism through publications such as Retrospect has been a traditional route into the newspaper and broadcast journalism as a career. The School has a range of alumni who are prominent in these fields: Laura Kuenssberg, Political editor at the BBC or Ewan Murray, a sports journalist at the Guardian and the Observer, for example. This issue of Retrospect has the customary wide range of interesting articles on general themes and items relating to work undertaken by members of the School. This year, the articles on a range of subjects from the Russian Revolution, Jacksonian democracy, the Scottish Enlightenment, the Partition of India, Holocaust memorials, Slave narratives, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, the idea of alternative histories, the anniversary of James Craig’s New Town, an interview with Dr Adam Budd, a report on Dr Esther Mijers’ FCL Project on the NLS Chimney Map, and reviews of historical films such as ‘Jackie’ and

‘Hidden Figures’. The general theme of this issue is ‘Eras and Epochs’. This is a crucial topic for the way in which scholars of the human past – Archaeologists, Historians, Classicists – think and categorise their material. Some of these divisions are established and widely understood, although no doubt subject to critical discussion. As one comes closer to the modern and contemporary period the boundaries between periods become more permeable and the categories less stable. Historians perhaps pay too much attention to ‘centuries’ – although they are not fixed, as we have the ‘long eighteenth century’ (1688 to 1832) in British history, or Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘short twentieth century’ (1914 to 1989) in his Age of Extremes. It is often the role of the historian to invite contemporary commentators to pause before declaring the dawn of a new era, to draw attention to the continuities that underlie apparent moments of dramatic change. The features in this issue of Retrospect touch on these issues and others. This twentieth number of a series going back to 2007 is a testament to the success of the current team involved in its production and a tribute to their predecessors. EWEN A. CAMERON Head of School of History, Classics and Archaeology

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SOCIETIES

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HISTORY

CLASSICS

ARCHAEOLOGY

The History Society have had an absolutely jam packed second semester! Thanks to our incredibly hard working committee and active student body the society has reached over 800 members! We finished last semester in glamorous style with our annual Winter Ball at the Balmoral Hotel which was attended by 350 students. We certainly kicked off this semester in a similar fashion.

Following our fun-filled first semester, the Classics Society has hit the ground running in 2017! We started our year with an evening playing skittles at the Sheep’s Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Edinburgh. Honours students were pitted against sub-honours with the oldies proving that slow and steady wins the skittles. The competitive air continued when we celebrated the coming of spring by holding an Anthesteria festival themed flat-crawl. Members were split into teams and participated against each other in prestigious challenges such as the Meadows relay race sponsored by WKD and ‘pass the orange’. The team representing the city of Alexandria were victorious and defeated powerhouses of Rome and Athens.

This semester has been a fantastic one for Archaeology Society. As always, our lecture series has been running weekly, welcoming speakers from across Scotland. We had the pleasure of being joined by the likes of Professor Jim Crow and Professor Ian Ralston from the University, and by Derek Alexander from the National Trust Scotland. The rest of the semester will bring us speakers like Frazer Hunter of the National Museum of Scotland and Dr. Jo Rowland, the University’s new Egyptologist. See our Facebook page for more information! We’ve been exceptionally active with projects and volunteering opportunities. The new year saw us collaborate with Archaeology Scotland to take part in their Adopt-a-Monument community scheme, travelling to West Calder and Newbyres. For the Festival of Creative Learning and in collaboration with the Caithness Broch Project, we organised a student-run project for our members and other interested parties, investigating the historical landscape of Crichton and Borthwick. We surveyed the area using photogrammetry, aerial photography and feature recording combining the data we recorded with historical and desk based analysis. This was an amazing opportunity for the committee and members alike to put our skills into use. We’ll have Phase 2 of this project announced soon, watch this space. Another of our fantastic projects this year was the Fieldwork Fair! We invited organisations from across Scotland to join us in Teviot Debating Hall and showcase the volunteering/fieldwork/internship opportunities. This was incredibly successful thanks to the many students that came along and made it happen (more than a hundred!). We’ve still got more coming up this semester, so don’t be discouraged. On the 10th of March, we have been invited to witness an Experimental Bioarchaeology Demostration, held within the university by some of the schools PhD students (contact us for more details). On the 15th of March, we have the Granton Institute Visit and tour by Dr. Alison Sheridan (Curator of Early Prehistory in the National Museum of Scotland). Both of these events offer the chance to see behind the scenes of archaeology and see what really goes into the job. The society wouldn’t happen without the input and endless enthusiasm of our members. It’s really the members that make the society a joy to run and as always, I thank everyone that has taken part in our events this year, you are amazing and you are the reason why we do this.

Our four sports teams have done us proud in their respective intramural leagues. Whilst the History Rugby Boys are so far undefeated this semester, the Match Squad of the Women’s Netball Team has progressed to a higher league! If you are interested in joining a sports team, don’t forget we also have men’s and women’s football squads. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the semester has been our annual international trip, this year to Lisbon, during Reading Week in February! Thanks to our crazily talented Trip Officers, forty students enjoyed a sunny and activity-packed six day get-a-way touring around the historical sites of Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais (we even managed to make it to the beach!) Looking ahead we cannot be more excited to announce our annual End of Year Ceilidh which will take place on the April 4 (a.k.a. dissertation hand-in day), so we can all celebrate together with a proper boogie. Finally, we are excited to welcome back a whole host of recent HCA graduates for our joint ‘Life After Graduation?!’ event with Retrospect Journal. This event will be a great chance to highlight and reassure students of the abundant and diverse options available to them straight after graduation. Finally I would like to say a big thanks to my Committee this year for being so hardworking and dedicated. The History Society stands in good stead for the years to come! RUBY TRUDGEN Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ edunihistorysoc/ Twitter: @edunihistsoc

In February, nineteen of our members embarked on an odyssey to Berlin to see what its renowned museums had to offer and they did not disappoint, even if the weather did. A week of rain was not enough to dampen our spirits and excitement is already building for next year’s trip! We have continued to hold regular gettogethers at the pub so that our members are able to come together for a chat (or moan) about life at university. We are currently looking forward to rounding off the year with a cosy Classics film night and a huge feast to celebrate the end of the teaching year. Our academic lecture series has continued to impress, and we have often been treated to more than one lecture a week! The committee and I would like to thank our members for enjoying all the Classics Society has had to offer this year as much as we have. We look forward to the short amount of time we have left with the Society! The Classics Society has had a fantastic year and I wish the future committee the best of luck next year. ALEX NIELD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ edclassicssoc/ Twitter: @Edclassicssoc

HEATHER ROSS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ EdinburghArchSoc/?fref=ts Twitter: @EdinArchSoc Instagram: @edinarch


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PARTITIONING INDIA: CAN CREATIVE LITERATURE CHALLENGE HISTORY’S ORTHODOX APPROACH? R

SOPHIA FOTHERGILL

August this year will mark seventy years of South Asian independence from British Rule, and, as in every subsequent year, India and Pakistan will celebrate their freedom with national holidays of flag-flying, presidential speeches, gun-salutes, and veneration of their respective ‘leaders’ of the independence movement, Gandhi and Jinnah. However, these events deliberately erase a major part of history from collective memory; the suffering and deaths which occurred in the months, years and decades which followed Partition, and which continue to occur today in areas of conflict between the two nations, such as Kashmir. At the time of this seventy-year anniversary, it seems prudent to compare orthodox historians’ approaches with alternative accounts we have from the time; short stories, written by Indian and Pakistani authors, which look at the other side of history, the human side. This article will set out a case for the use of creative literature in order to better understand the human dimensions of Partition. Using the examples of Manto’s ‘Colder Than Ice’, Ajneya’s ‘The Avenger’, and Hosain’s ‘After the Storm’ – which have been selected in order to give perspectives from a range of nationalities, languages, religions

and gender – I will demonstrate that creative literature is able to add to the historian’s understanding of these human dimensions because it can give voice to those we would not usually hear from, and expose perspectives otherwise unconsidered. The historian’s understanding of the human dimensions of Partition is very limited, and usually fails to recognise the magnitude of the suffering and pain which people endured as a result of the division of British India. Instead, the focus of much of the material from the period was the actions of the elite – be them British, Indian or Pakistani – and the various factors which led to Partition being deemed necessary. We can call this phenomenon the ‘high politics’ approach, or ‘history from above’. Penderel Moon perfectly expresses it in his introduction to Divide and Quit where he explains that the first section of his book, which addresses the causes of Partition and the political events which led to it, and the second section, devoted to the violence which occurred in the Bahawalpur region, is less important as it is only examining ‘minor local episodes’. Similarly, H. V. Hodson titles his chapter of The Great Divide which looks at the actual Partition ‘the end of the British Raj’, and the chapter mostly consists of accounts of the dinners which Lord and Lady Mountbatten attended between 13 and 15 of August 1947. Clearly both eminent historians deem the human dimensions of Partition as being of secondary importance to the intricacies of elite rule and decision making. When historians do address these human dimensions then, one major way in which their understanding is limited is in their reduction of the violence to statistics. For instance, Moon includes a ‘Note on Casualties’ at the end of Divide and Quit, where he provides the reader with his personal estimates of how many people died in West Punjab and Bahawalpur compared with East Punjab. His lack of concern for accuracy aside (he writes that his figure of 200,000 for East Punjab is ‘somewhat inflated’ but gives no alternative), this separation of statistics from the prose of

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the book is certainly problematic, as it physically separates the human dimensions of Partition from its historical treatment. The problems with a statistical approach are threefold: firstly, it only tells an estimated death toll of Partition and thus ignores any suffering which did not end in death; secondly, it categorises people arbitrarily by religion or region when before 1947 these identifiers were inconsequential; and thirdly, simply listing statistics does not offer any analysis of their impact on the people affected. In fact, we see this total reluctance to consider the human impact in Hodson’s discussion of the anarchy in the North-west, where he simply writes that over three days in September, “2,700 Muslims and 600 non-Muslims were killed or wounded on trains. As a result all train movement stopped for a while”. An example of creative literature which uses figurative language to convey universal human suffering during Partition is Sadaat Hasan Manto’s short story ‘Colder than Ice’. Manto disrupts convention by offering an insight into the feelings of Ishwar Singh, who has raped the body of a dead girl and is no longer able to become aroused; and his lover, Kalwant Kaur. The final sentences of the story, which read ‘Kalwant Kaur placed her hand on his. It was colder than ice’, reflects the suffering endured by all parties during Partition. This is because of the ambiguity of the titular simile; the reader does not know whether it is Kalwant’s hand, or Ishwar’s hand, which is ‘colder than ice’. Furthermore, this phrase echoes the description of the girl’s dead body: ‘a heap of cold flesh’. By leaving the subject of this sentence undetermined, Manto highlights that there were three parties who suffered from one act of violence; whilst this rape and death would only be considered as a singular statistic by the historian, the creative writer can reveal the otherwise unimagined pain of the rapist and his lover. Another limited aspect of the historian’s understanding is its tendency to present a biased perspective. Whilst one might assume that historians are more capable of presenting


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a balanced argument than the creative writer, literature surrounding the human dimensions of Partition indicates otherwise. For instance, Hodson states that ‘every historian, however impartial and careful of the truth […] must have a personal point of view’, and uses this to justify the fact that, in The Great Divide, ‘Muslims are the villains and Hindus and Sikhs the victims’. Nandi Bhatia has argued that this is the case in the majority of historian’s work, because they are always aligned with the national interests of a particular state; and when we apply this statement to Hodson it rings true – as a close friend of Mountbatten, Hodson would be far more likely to be aligned with the British, and thus with the Hindus who suffered in India. Instead, creative literature is valuable because of its ability to show the reader how different characters are influenced by bias through the use of narrative voice, and thus encourage the reader to criticise biased approaches to history. Ajneya uses narrative voice to discourage biased approaches to Partition in his short story ‘The Avenger’. The story is written from the perspective of a Muslim woman called Suraiya who is travelling to Etawah by train and encounters two men, whom she immediately identifies as a Sikh and a Hindu. Due to her preconceptions about the violence of men belonging to other religions towards Muslim women, Suraiya beings to interpret the Sikh’s silence as him ‘calculating how much time he would have to kill her’, and the reader is encouraged to make the same conclusions as they are drawn into her thought process. However, it is then revealed that the men are actually willing to protect her during

her journey, and Ajneya writes that Suraiya’s ‘vision’ of the men as threatening was ‘sharpened by imagination’; meaning her preconceptions made her imagine a threat which was not there. Essentially, Ajneya ridicules the judgements Suraiya – and the reader - made due to religious bias. ‘The Avenger’ certainly provides an unbiased perspective, which is missing from the historian’s understanding of Partition. A final aspect of the human dimensions of Partition which is often inadequately treated by historians, and which receives far better attention in creative literature, is the suffering endured by women. As already explored, statistical approaches to Partition usually distinguish populations by religion or region – not gender. When orthodox historians have addressed the suffering of women, they have ‘not paid adequate attention’ to it, and we can take Hodson’s work as a clear example of this neglect. Though Hodson does briefly mention that there were some reports of a Sikh mob abducting Muslim women in the aftermath of Partition, he immediately casts doubt on the legitimacy of this in his footnotes when he labels it an ‘atrocity [story]’ whereby ‘no contemporary eye-witness account […] can be traced’. It is therefore essential for the historian to use the wealth of creative literature which emerged in the years of Partition as a source for understanding this suffering. Though it might be suggested that creative literature is invalid due to its impassioned nature when it comes to issues such as abduction or rape, Bhatia rightly asserts that the very emotional nature of such stories is what makes them accurate representations, because the events themselves were ‘steeped […] in emotion and

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sentimentality’. Attia Hosain’s ‘After the Storm’ is an example of a short story written by a woman, which takes an ungendered narrative voice to explore the mental state of a young girl called Bibi who has been displaced during Partition, and has found herself working as a servant. When the speaker questions Bibi about how she came to be in this situation, she replies with ‘a curious blending of fact and fiction’, including Chand Bibi – a Muslim woman from Medieval India – in her tale of fighting and refugee camps. By showing that Bibi cannot openly speak about the suffering she has endured (fictionalising the parts which are too painful to recall), Hosain shows exactly why the historian will never be able to glean an accurate understanding of Partition if they rely solely on traditional sources. ‘After the Storm’, therefore, forces the reader to consider the human dimensions (as we read that Bibi is ‘undernourished’ and understand that she has been forced into work as a servant), whilst simultaneously accepting the limitations of an orthodox historical approach for interpreting pain. In conclusion, the understanding of Partition which is reached without consultation of creative literature is a severely limited one. It only acknowledges quantitative suffering, it is often biased in favour of one religion or nation, it neglects to identify the inordinate suffering of women, and most importantly, it pays disproportionate attention to the actions of the elite. It is imperative that we reject this orthodox approach to Partition, both in history and in anniversary celebrations, if we wish to fully honour the silent sufferers of this pivotal event.


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THE EXILE OF AN ERA: OCTOBER 1917 H

DEANA DAVIS

‘Naturally, I was completely confident, that the situation would change and that my absence was only temporary. Was it then possible to suppose that I was parting forever from cherished, wonderful Petersburg and leaving forever all that was nearest and dearest to me?’ Count Boris Berg wrote thus in his memoirs of his flight from Russia in 1919. The ‘first wave’ of Russian emigration, as it is called, lasting from 1918-1922, is not often recalled when discussing the transformation the former Russian Empire underwent following the February and October revolutions of 1917 and the ensuing civil war. Such a political refugee crisis was, however, unprecedented; the total number of emigrants ranges from 1.5 million to at most 3 million. The type of refugees was also unheard of; émigrés were from the middle and upper classes, educated, and ranging from the petit bourgeois to the aristocracy. In search of a new home, Russians emigrated all over the world, from Australia to South America. It is hard not to overemphasize the psychological impact this mass emigration had on the emigrating Russian population. We need first to understand the cause of this mass emigration. Certainly any revolution causes turmoil, but a socialist revolution was equally unprecedented. For starters, with three-quarters of the population tied to agriculture, the working class base was not large enough to support a socialist overturn as outlined by Marx; even Bolshevik supporters could not understand what Lenin meant when he announced a socialist revolution upon arrival in Petrograd in April 1917. The Bolsheviks gained enough popularity with their simple platform of championing the rights of workers and returning the land to the people to easily take power in October 1917, and then they needed to act as absolutely as the monarchy to cement their victory. To maintain power they went to war against the monarchists – ‘the Whites’ – until 1922. The civil war worsened the country’s situation; people became impoverished, resources depleted, and the famine of 1921 weakened the country further. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks began their policy of nationalization

through expropriation of wealth and land, and workers and peasants were given precedence over the middle class and elite. Emigration thus became the only option for many. Émigrés fell into various ideological categories. There were those who left in 1918 rejecting any revolution, let alone a socialist one. These emigrants included writers Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida Gippius, who were able to cross the border on their own. The writer Ivan Bunin also rejected revolution, but did not leave until 1920. Many emigrants disagreed with the Bolshevik’s politics, and others simply sought a better life. There were also various points of departure. The initial tide followed the retreating Germans after the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Other parties, such as Bunin, left with the French from Odessa beginning in 1919. There was also forced emigration; the most famous case being that of the ‘Philosopher Steamer,’ when in 1922 over 160 academics, writers, and public figures, handpicked by Lenin, were forced out of their homeland. While Russian émigrés eventually settled around the world, several cities became centres of Russian settlement. Prague was a destination for much of the academic community; a Russian university there educated generations of émigrés and a Russian publishing industry was developed. Paris became another publishing centre, with about 1,500 periodicals and many more books printed and distributed worldwide. Paris was also a political centre for the émigrés. From 1920 onwards the uprooted intelligentsia also populated Berlin. A popular contemporary anecdote comments on the Russian settlement and describes how once a miserable German walking around Kurfürstendamm and hearing only Russian speech became so homesick that he hung himself. It was in the European cities of Paris, Berlin, and Prague that an entire generation of the former Russian Empire’s elite reconnected and formed close knit communities. However, life in Europe was drastically different for most émigrés. As historian Andrei Korlyakov puts it: ‘Countries in which Russians arrived did not expect them at all

or barely tolerated the Russian émigrés with their customs, traditions…many refugees led an almost beggarly existence, but they bore this with dignity and honour.’ Most émigrés left their homeland destitute. Though many destinations tried to block entry, a situation painfully familiar nowadays, there were organizations that helped such as the International Red Cross and the League of Nations, which, in 1921, appointed Dr. Fridtjof Nansen as its High Commissioner for Refugees. Initially intending to repatriate the so-called ‘Nansen refugees’, Nansen understood the impossibility of this when in 1921 a Soviet decree stripped almost all émigrés of nationality. Of the many ways Nansen helped the émigrés, the most beneficial was the creation of a substitute identify card, the ‘Nansen certificate.’ The hardest task for the Russians was finding employment, especially as economic crises arose in France and Germany. Gippius sardonically quipped about the indigent life of her fellow countrymen: ‘We intelligentsia are some sort of eternal Israel, and at that a stupid one… We are a quantité negligeable.’ It was very difficult for the émigrés to sustain their culture without a homeland. Literary pursuits among the émigrés as a rule floundered or declined. A notable exception was Bunin, whose work, ironically, never featured his new émigré life. Though only a child when he emigrated with his family in 1919, Vladimir Nabokov also developed his literary career abroad, initially drawing on his emigration experiences. As the introductory quote shows, many émigrés expected to return home, but most did not. The Soviet Union allowed Russian exiles in France to return after World War II, but many chose not to, perhaps out of belief, as Bunin put it, that it would be a ‘graveyard trip.’ Perhaps the most heartwringing sentiments were penned by émigré Vyachaslav Lededev in a 1928 poem: ‘Left to live, left to wait…And I will return from foreign roads,/thus resigned and miserable./ Oh, how will I recognize among the wrinkles/ your features, how I remember them?/You will cry a piteous: ‘Son!’/And I a confused: ‘Is it you?’’


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THE FIGHT FOR GHANIAN INDEPENDENCE ‘I now have the honour of informing you that Her Majesty’s government will at the first available opportunity introduce into the United Kingdom Parliament a Bill to accord Independence to the Gold Coast […] All at once the almost sacred silence was broken by an ear-splitting cheer […] some were too deeply moved to control their tears [...] On the one hundred and thirteenth anniversary of the British arrival of 1844 […] our country would be free’ - Kwame Nkrumah

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JOSH STEIN Ghana’s Independence in 1957 spelt the beginning of the end of the British Empire in Africa. The end itself came in 1980 with Zimbabwean independence, which was a fitting end to the Empire: the country changed its name from Rhodesia (named after Cecil John Rhodes, a brutal and notorious colonialist), to Zimbabwe, which derives from the local Shona language. Events of the 1940s intensified the push for independence, not just in the British colonies, but also in the French, Portuguese and Belgian territories dotted across the globe. The involvement of 40,000 troops from the Gold Coast (which would later become Ghana) in the Second World War, and the openly hypocritical Atlantic Charter of 1941, added fuel to the already raging clamour for independence throughout the colonised territories. The Charter, propagated and signed by American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, promised, as one of its eight declarations, the right for countries to ‘choose the form of government under which they will live’ and the restoration of ‘sovereign rights and self government […] to those who have been forcibly deprived of them’. Rather than this encompassing all countries, including those colonies in Africa and Asia, this was meant solely to influence proceedings in Europe, and specifically formerly occupied countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia. This brought a raging contradiction to the diplomatic table: had Africans and Asians not been fighting a war against the tyrannical

power of Nazi Germany in the defence of freedom and equality? Their liberty, it seemed, was being callously ignored and rejected, even as the freedom of all European countries was being celebrated. British colonial policy had altered its emphasis at the end of the war, promising to improve the economic and social situations in their now more unstable colonies, as a new attempt to maintain them under their rule. In 1956, Arthur Creech Jones, the former Secretary of State for the Colonies, declared ‘a bright chapter in British colonial history’, dominated by the founding of universities and provision of economic support for professional training in places like the Gold Coast. Yet these bold declarations were but an oversight in British achievement, with cocoa farmers receiving just 37 per cent of the world prices for their produce in the years 1947 to 1954. The exploitative and metropolitan centred nature of the colonial system had not changed as Creech Jones had declared: rather the fragile economic situation in post-war Britain dictated policy in the colonies. Enter, Kwame Nkrumah. Educated in the USA and the leader of the African Student’s Organisation of Canada and the United States, he was invited to be secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a moderately conservative party in his homeland, led by Joseph Danquah. His arrival in 1947 came at a time of heightened tension, after years of strikes over the low cocoa prices and concurrent rising costs. This all came to a head in 1948, when a peaceful march by exservicemen, demanding recognition and pensions for their involvement in the Second World War, was met with colonial brutality. On their way to the Governor’s castleresidence, the marchers were fired on, which resulted in the deaths of three people. Rioting and looting of colonial property ensued in response to the unprovoked killings. In a determined response, the colonial regime looked for scapegoats for the violence and imprisoned six members of the UGCC, including Nkrumah. Protests at their treatment by huge swathes of the Ghanaian people resulted in their release, and the ‘Big Six’ were championed as heroes. Nkrumah’s step into the limelight, therefore, owed much to a series of typically rushed and violent colonial blunders.

In the context of the Cold War, Nkrumah’s politics were not initially acceptable in Britain’s mind, who were anxious to maintain a foothold in the country. Nkrumah’s championing of ‘African Socialism’ led to Britain declaring support for Danquah, hoping that his more conservative stance would keep out the Soviet Union and develop instead alongside Britain. Nkrumah’s popularity, however, led to him winning the conceded elections in 1951 with a huge majority, taking 35 of the 38 seats. He since took up the position as ‘Leader of the Government Business’, with the British establishment reluctantly agreeing to work with him. His position was still compromised: by his division of power with a British government official. Elections in 1954 and 1956 continued to affirm Nkrumah’s political success in the Gold Coast. His ability to negotiate policy and take concrete decisions was central to his assumption of political popularity. As in many late colonial nations, the Gold Coast was not dominated by a single language. Rather, up to eight languages were spoken to a large degree in the colony; thus defining the lingua franca was a problem Nkrumah was forced to tackle. His declaration of English as the main language was a stroke of genius, for it bypassed any allegations of ethnic favouritism. His political reach was moreover multiplied many times over: the colonial effort to spread English throughout the colony for economic reasons, now enabled Nkrumah to disseminate his political message more easily across the colony. The Suez Crisis of 1956 prompted outrage amongst members of the CCP, as the British and French invasion of Egypt resembled just another example of the elitist colonial structures rearing their head once more. Having proudly announced their ‘bright colonial chapter’ following the war, this was a fall-back to the traditional, pre-war barbarities of colonial rule. Hypocrisy eschewed a dent to British colonial ‘morality’ and victory in the 1956 election could only be followed by a declaration of independence for the Gold Coast. Refining and revamping colonial rule, after the hypocrisy of the Suez War, was no longer an option. On 6 March 1957, independence was declared.


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THE AGE OF ANDREW JACKSON: THE ERA OF JACKSONIAN DEMOCRACY

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KEVIN KEMPTON March 2017 marks the 180th anniversary of the end of Andrew Jackson’s presidency of the United States (1829-1837). Jackson’s political philosophy, which espoused democracy for the ‘common man’, became the dominant worldview of the United States during the nineteenth century. Historians and political scientists argue that the era of Jackson’s presidency saw the expansion of democracy for the ‘common man’ and the development of the Second Party System. This article will focus on how the era of Jackson’s presidency was characterised by a democratic spirit, which formed part of Jackson’s political policy of reducing the monopolisation of authority by elites. The philosophy emerged when the Federalists and the First Party System declined after the War of 1812 and, with a lack of an effective opposition, the Democratic-Republicans became dominant. After the DemocraticRepublicans factionalised in the 1820s, states had political factions that did not cross state lines. Political coalitions were formed and dissolved as politicians began to migrate inside and outside of alliances. During the presidential election of 1828, a new party was formed by Jackson and his supporters, including Martin Van Buren, as they crusaded against the corruption of incumbent president John Quincey Adams. Although former Democratic-Republicans supported Jackson, others, like Henry Clay, opposed him. Although former Federalists such as James Buchanan supported Jackson, others, including Daniel Webster, opposed him. Jackson’s supporters (who would later become Democrats) swept to a landslide against Adams and his network of factions known as the National Republicans (who would become Whigs). From 1828 to 1854, the Democrats and the Whigs fought each other in nationwide states until slavery became a dominant issue after 1854 and during the American Civil War (1861-1865), which reshaped American politics. The era of Jackson’s presidency was therefore characterised by a democratic spirit

as part of Jackson’s equal political policy of reducing the monopolisation of authority by elites. Before Jackson’s presidency began, suffrage had been extended to a majority of white male adult citizens. From 1800 to 1830, prior to Jackson becoming a dominant figure, an important movement for the expansion of the right to vote for a majority of white male adult citizens developed. Although Eastern states with property qualifications abolished them, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia retained them by the mid-1820s. Despite Western states not retaining property qualifications, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio adopted significant and long-lasting taxation-paying qualifications. The process of enfranchisement was gradual and was supported outside Rhode Island. Although the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island (1841-2) demonstrated that the demand for equal suffrage was popular, subsequent reforms included significant property qualifications for the majority of white male adult citizens who were born outside of the United States. Taxation-paying qualifications remained in Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island by 1860. Attitudes and state laws shifted in favour of universal white male suffrage by the end of the 1820s, which was a result that Jackson and his supporters celebrated and continued. Property and taxation-paying qualifications were abolished by 1856. Therefore, Jackson’s presidency was important in continuing the principle that suffrage should be extended to the majority of white male adult citizens, whom he called the ‘common man’. The fact that the ‘common men’ were legally allowed to vote did not mean that they voted. They had to be attracted to polling stations, which became an important role for local parties. They systematically sought to attract potential voters and convince them to vote at polling stations. Voting turnout increased with the development of the Second Party System, with around eighty per cent of white male adult citizens voting by 1840. The development of platforms, speeches and editorials aided the process in which the majority of white male adult citizens voted for the Democrats and the Whigs. Jackson’s Democratic movement became a coalition of farmers, city-dwelling labourers, and Irish

Catholics. Other opponents of Jackson known as Anti-Masons introduced national nominating conventions to select their presidential and vice presidential candidates, increasing voting input, but it was Jackson’s presidency that allowed the majority of white male adult citizens to vote. However, this expansion of democracy was limited to Americans of European descent. Like other major politicians during his presidency, Jackson supported white supremacy, thus explaining the limited expansion of voting rights for AfricanAmericans and Native Americans. Free A f r ic a n-A me r ic a n m a le s b e c a me disenfranchised in the majority of states during this period. Jackson analysed the question of Indian Removal in terms of legal and military policy, not as an issue due to the racial characteristics of Native Americans. In 1813, he adopted and treated as his own son a three-year-old Native American orphan and saw him ‘so much like myself I feel an unusual sympathy for him.’ In legal terms, Jackson supported states when Indian Removal became an issue of state and tribal sovereignty, and relocated Native Americans from the South-East to lands with a lack of white settlers (these areas became known as Oklahoma). Nevertheless, a democratic spirit therefore animated the Second Party System during Jackson’s presidency as the Democrats and the Whigs sought to attract the ‘common man’. Jackson’s presidency was also characterised by patronage. In the form of the ‘spoils system’, patronage was the policy of placing political supporters into appointed offices in the federal government. Jackson and his supporters held the view that rotating political appointees inside and outside of these offices was a duty, rather than a right, of those successful in political contests. Patronage was theorised to be beneficial because it would encourage political participation by the ‘common man’ and politicians would be accountable for ineffective government service by their appointees. Jackson and his supporters also held the view that long-term tenure in the civil service was a corrupt influence, so civil servants would be rotated outside of these offices. Although he was controversial in his methods, Jackson increased the influence of the citizenry in the federal government. His creation of the ‘spoils system’ in the federal


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government replaced elected Whig officials with Democrat supporters as a reward for their electioneering. However, it led to the appointment of ineffective and corrupt officials in the federal government due to the emphasis on party loyalty above other qualifications. The creation of the ‘spoils system’ undoubtedly increased the ability of the ‘common man’ to participate in the activities of the federal government, despite some of the controversy that surrounded it. The expansion of suffrage to the majority of white male adult citizens, as well as the development of patronage, was mobilised further with Jackson’s promotion of his presidential authority. Like Thomas Jefferson, who supported the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, Jackson argued that he would oppose ‘all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of state sovereignty.’ As they consolidated authority, Jackson and his supporters advocated the expansion of presidential responsibilities in the federal government. Using the Constitution in their arguments, Jackson and his supporters favoured a federal government with limited authority over the economy, as opposed to the Whig program sponsoring urban modernisation, railroad construction, banking monopolisation, and federal responsibility for economic growth. An important spokesman among laissez-faire advocates was William Leggett of the Locofocos in New York City. However, Jackson was not a state rights advocate as illustrated in his opposition to state encroachments on the sphere of federal influence during the Nullification Crisis (18321833). Nevertheless, Jackson’s support for a federal government with limited authority was a basis for his opposition to governmentgranted monopolies to national banks. Jackson and his supporters opposed national banks because they believed that they were devices to exploit the ‘common man’, as well as believing that gold and silver, rather than the integrity of national banks, should be used for banking currency. In relation to a central bank known as the Second Bank of the United States under Bank chairman Nicholas Biddle, Jackson argued that ‘The bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!’ The Whigs under Henry Clay and Daniel Webster supported the Second Bank under Biddle. Therefore, Jackson’s presidency was important in promoting the authority of the presidency, the executive branch and the rights of the ‘common man’. It can be seen that Jackson’s political philosophy that espoused democracy for the ‘common man’ remained important after Jackson left the presidency in 1837. It influenced nineteenth and twentieth century American developments, including Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the New Frontier, and the Great Society. When March 4, 2017 comes, it may appear that contemporary economic, social and political issues similar to Jacksonian times will dominate national worldviews for years to come.

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‘MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’? USING HISTORY IN PRESIDENTIAL RHETORIC

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SARAH THOMSON

When President Trump adopted Ronald Reagan’s promise to ‘make America great again’, he joined a long line of American presidents who have evoked the memory of their predecessors in the hope of gaining public support. This rhetorical tactic is also one way in which a president can try to legitimise an otherwise controversial or unpopular decision. This article hopes to explore one such controversial decision taken during the Reagan administration: the United States’ 1983 invasion of Grenada. Known formally as ‘Operation Urgent Fury’, the Grenada invasion was the first deployment of American troops in an armed conflict since the Vietnam War. 7,500 troops occupied an island with a population of no more than 110,000 people, raising questions regarding why Grenada was important enough to warrant such substantial use of American military force. Taking the invasion of Grenada as a case study, this article hopes to demonstrate the Reagan administration’s desire to situate the invasion within America’s broader military history. By tracing the ways in which former military action is evoked during Reagan’s key speeches of this period, we can see more clearly the contrasting ways in which this military occupation was justified to the public. Historical precedent is used as a method of legitimising Reagan’s decision, by reminding the public of their nation’s previous military successes. Reagan justified the invasion on several grounds. The first was that around 1,000 American civilians lived in Grenada, which was currently experiencing political turmoil after the assassination of the Grenadian Prime Minister in a coup d’état. Additionally, Reagan received a formal appeal for aid from the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS), who were keen to see democracy restored to Grenada. Finally, the strategic significance of the Caribbean for American trade, combined with concerns over the spread of communism in the region, meant that the invasion was justified on the grounds of

‘national security’. Each of these justifications is reflected in Reagan’s deployment of historical anecdotes to both legitimise his actions and garner popular support.

THE RESCUE MISSION The presence of around 600 medical students in Grenada quickly became a focal point of the discussions regarding the invasion. Images of the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days in the Iran hostage crisis were fresh in the minds of Reagan’s audiences in 1983. Using this to his advantage, Reagan told military personnel during his remarks about Grenada: ‘we weren’t about to wait for the Iran crisis to repeat itself, only this time, in our own neighbourhood’. Reminding the nation of the previous administration’s shortcomings allowed the president to garner support for his ‘decisive’ action in the face of critics who branded his decision ‘reckless’. It also highlighted the relatively close geographical proximity of Grenada to the United States, creating a heightened sense of immediacy and danger. When addressing troops at Cherry Point two weeks after the Grenada invasion, his remarks continued in this historical vein: ‘Since 1775, marines, just like many of you, have shaped the strength and resolve of the United States. […] John Stuart Mill, said, ‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The ugliest is that man who thinks nothing is worth fighting or dying for and lets men better and braver than himself protect him.’ You are doing that for all of us’. Referencing the bravery of American troops during the American Revolution and the Civil War situated Grenada within the longstanding expectation that US troops would fight to protect their civilians from posed threats. It made sense that Reagan would tie Grenada to America’s long tradition of valour and bravery in this context, considering he was addressing military personnel at the Marine Corps regarding the casualties that were sustained during this


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mission. He attempted to justify the war because he, as Commander in Chief, had a duty to protect US citizens. Similarly, when addressing a joint meeting of the students rescued from Grenada and the marines who were deployed there, he observed that ‘A few years ago […] America forgot what an admirable and essential need there is for a nation to have men and women who would give their lives to protect their fellow citizens’. Tying the patriotism and bravery of the troops who selflessly intervened in Grenada to the loss of support for the military also fits into the ‘rescue mission’ narrative, by reminding the nation of the courage and importance of the military. Situating Grenada within a history of ‘rescue missions’ ultimately helped to legitimise the invasion as an act of bravery on behalf of vulnerable US civilians in need of assistance.

RESTORING DEMOCRACY However, given that the intervention in Grenada was an occupation rather than an evacuation of US civilians, Reagan had to justify staging a military operation on the island. The appeal he received from the OECS offered some legal legitimacy for the invasion, and the administration was therefore keen to demonstrate its long-standing interest in ‘liberating’ nations from oppressive governments. In his remarks on the fifth anniversary of the invasion he declared: ‘The people of Grenada treated our forces the way the people of France treated American liberators of another generation, and we’re proud of that […] From the Argonne Forest to Normandy, from Chosin Reservoir to Danang, America has always stood with those who stand for freedom’. Managing to reference both World Wars, the Korean War and Vietnam in the same breath, Reagan’s remarks set the Grenada intervention alongside some of the United States’ most famous battles fought in the name of ‘freedom’. Doing so helped to underscore that by intervening in the

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Caribbean Reagan was only furthering a proud tradition of defending democracy in the face of threats, rather than engaging the nation in a ‘new’ type of conflict. The notion of ‘liberation’ emerged more prominently in Reagan’s later discussions of Grenada, after the success of the invasion was confirmed. In his memoirs Reagan reiterated his comments from the anniversary of the conflict: ‘The people of Grenada greeted our soldiers much as the people of France and Italy welcomed our GIs after they liberated them from Nazism […] The Grenadians had been captives of a totalitarian state just as much as the people of Europe’. During these remarks, Reagan would have been increasingly concerned about his ‘legacy’ and therefore keen to paint his decision in the most favourable light he could.

NATIONAL SECURITY An assessment of the justifications of US intervention in Grenada would be incomplete without considering the role that prior strategic interests played in legitimising the need for military intervention. In April of 1983, six months prior to the invasion in Grenada, Reagan addressed a joint session of Congress on the subject of ‘Defending Our Vital Interests’. While the speech focussed on his concerns in Central America, it also featured references to Grenada and the East Caribbean. Reagan quotes the Truman Doctrine at length in his speech, asserting that Truman’s words were ‘as apt today as they were in 1947 […] the political and strategic stakes are the same. Will our response […] be as appropriate and successful as Mr. Truman’s?’. The Truman Doctrine realigned US foreign policy at the beginning of the Cold War by suggesting that the United States should aid overseas nations who were under threat from internal or external forces. Using the memory of the Truman administration serves the twofold purpose of highlighting the benefits of a bold and successful foreign policy decision, whilst

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reminding the audience of the lingering issue of the Cold War. As well as evoking the nation’s foreign policy successes, Reagan used the past to remind the nation of the persistent threat of danger: ‘If the Nazis during World War II and the Soviets today could recognize the Caribbean and Central America as vital to our interests, shouldn’t we, also?’ Linking the threats of communism and fascism helped to situate Grenada within the broader historic tradition of fighting ‘ideological battles’ overseas. Once the invasion was underway, Reagan spoke more frequently of his concerns regarding civilian safety and restoring democracy. But, recently declassified private correspondence demonstrates that these national security concerns remained at the forefront of the president’s thinking. Ultimately, this brief study demonstrates the desire of Reagan, and his speechwriters, to situate the Grenada intervention within America’s broader military history. The various and shifting justifications that Reagan offered for his actions are reflected in the equally varied invocations of history to legitimise his decision. Images of troops storming the beaches at Normandy and liberating nations from the grips of Nazism helped to paint the Grenada mission as an attempt to ‘restore’ democracy in the aftermath of a violent coup d’état. Borrowing the words of Truman’s most famous speech situated Grenada within a Cold War narrative, and helped to rouse fears of communism damaging the American ‘way of life’. Finally, and perhaps to greatest rhetorical effect, reminding the nation of the failures of his predecessors helped to make Reagan’s action appear more of a ‘success’ than a foregone conclusion. More broadly, the presidents that any given Commander in Chief ties themselves to can speak volumes about the way they wish to be remembered. With the transition to the Trump administration now fully underway, perhaps it is worth considering how Trump uses the ‘past’ in order to illuminate his plans for the future.


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RUSSIA, REVOLUTION, AND REVELATION. 100 YEARS SINCE 1917

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ELEANOR HEMMING

This week I read an article entitled «Снова красные и белые?» or “Again ‘white’ and ‘red’?” The Russians are reflecting on the 100 years that have elapsed since the 1917 Revolution. In 1917, Russia was faced with an economy in tatters, an autocratic Tsar, and a war it could not win. In 2017, the Russian economy is struggling after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and recently imposed sanctions, Putin’s long term in office is threatening democracy, and Russia has engaged in military action in Ukraine and Syria, sparking worldwide criticism. The Russian Revolution often evokes images of capitalism being overthrown, the Tsar being killed and the Communists rising to power. However, in reality this was not where ‘The People’s Revolution’ began. Some would claim that this was in fact its end. Whilst the starting point of the Russian Revolution is a separate debate, the revolutionary action of 1917 began on International Women’s Day, when the women of St Petersburg marched through the streets demanding bread. As dissidence spread, intellectuals seized the opportunity to propagate the desire for greater democracy and equality. This was a revolt by all classes, fighting for greater democracy, economic equality and peace. Today, these values seem equally worth fighting for. Democracy was hugely important to Russians in 1917. However, the October Coup ended Russia’s democratic dreams. Russia became a beacon of totalitarianism, spreading the ‘people’s dictatorship’ over the Eastern Bloc. The Red Terror, followed by Stalin’s terror and purges, affected millions of innocent Soviet citizens. This was not the democracy that Russians had marched for. Most of the revolutionaries of 1917 would not live to see Russia’s first democratic election in 1989, which symbolised democracy and freedom to many. However, was the price of freedom the violence of the 1990s? Or the ‘stronger Russia’ brought by Putin? Just recently, 3,000 St. Petersburg residents held a silent march in memory of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015. This, coupled with the

mass protests in 2012 following President Putin’s re-election, indicate that Russians today are just as politically aware as they were in 1917 and still feel the need to fight for democracy. With recent elections in the UK, we are ourselves realising the importance of defending our ideas democratically and we must not take this right for granted. Due to sanctions, the economic crisis of 2008 and the crash that accompanied the collapse of the USSR, the Russian economy is struggling. Likewise, in 1917, the economy was struggling under a feudal economy, weak industry and unsuccessful foreign policy. Under Lenin, property was redistributed, while education and women’s rights were expanded. Following this, Russia’s industrial development was accelerated under Stalin. However, economic improvement was not as idealistic as those protesting in 1917 had envisaged. Emma Goldman, an American anarchist, was excited to see the changes the Bolsheviks had brought. However, she quickly became disillusioned, and noted that ‘it used to be that both hovels and palaces were wrong. Now there are just hovels’. Terror and violence soon became key components of the Bolshevik equality-drive. Members of the property-owning classes fled Russia in their droves to avoid persecution, despite actively supporting the revolution. Throughout the Communist era, a better quality of life for all was fought for through ‘the continuous revolution’. In 1991, many felt that that the life they had been waiting for would finally be achieved. Instead, 1991 brought a repeat of the violence of the early Bolshevik years, as redistribution reoccured, under a different guise. Oligarchs and gang warfare caused chaos throughout the former Soviet Union, homes and possessions were lost to corruption, and if you couldn’t get used to this new, fast and violently competitive lifestyle, then you would find yourself at the bottom of the pile. Former university academics became street sweepers or trekked across Europe buying and selling goods. They had fought all their lives for a better life, had supported the changes in 1991, believing this was the revolution they had been waiting for – yet ‘socialism with a human face’ did not seem to be a reality. Today, President Putin has a lot of support.

He has successfully recreated the ‘strong Russia’ that was lost in 1991. His foreign policy has been his key to success, placing Russia back at the centre of world affairs. Putin is not the first Russian leader to use war as a unifying force; to expand nationalism and to distract from economic hardship. Ivan the Terrible, Stalin and Tsar Nicholas I all tested this method, with varying levels of success. Whilst World War One played a significant role in the downfall of Nicholas I, Stalin still to this day receives support from many Russians for bringing the country to victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Cold War played a similar role for successive Soviet leaders. Whilst in 1917 the Russian people wanted nothing more than their sons to return from a war they were losing, they were arguably also protesting against the further weakening of Russia on the world stage. The Bolsheviks, like Putin, succeeded in building a strong Russia, which Russians united behind, fighting for a common cause. Russia has not come full circle from 1917. Today we are in a position to see what has changed. In many ways, Russia in 2017 is unrecognisable from the Russia of 1917. Despite horrendous human cost and many goals unachieved, the Bolshevik government expanded education, increased gender equality, strengthened Russian industry, put the first man in space and increased social equality. However, there are still parallels to be drawn between then and now. History has shown, so far, that the Russian people respect a strong leader. President Putin is just that. Like many before him, Putin is using overseas conflict to unite his nation and show Russia is a force to be reckoned with. However, his long period in office and harsh crackdown on political opposition show the underlying weaknesses of Russian democracy, which in reality is still a fairly new institution. Foreign policy creates a distraction from economic failings, as sanctions and corruption erode Russia’s economic strength. Thus, in many ways, Russia finds itself in a perilous position, much as it did in 1917. Despite this, there are some major differences. In 2017, and for the foreseeable future, Russia has a strong and shrewd leader to hold it together. This is important. The Russian people are tired of change and violence, and President Putin brings a sense of strength and stability that has not been seen for a long time.


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HUME AND SMITH: THE ERA OF SCOTTISH ENLIGHTENMENT H

ROCCO ASTORE

The Enlightenment was a time in which thinking for one’s self and enjoying the liberty of being a free person was honoured. That ethos of independence, conveyed across Europe, was championed in the works of Scotland’s most famous thinkers; David Hume (1711-1776) and Adam Smith (1723-1790). In the case of Hume, one can argue that his empirical and skeptical approach to philosophy was laden with Enlightenment sentiments. Likewise, one may claim that Smith’s support for capitalism and free-market economies also reflected the spirit of that age. However, how close was the relationship between Hume and Smith and the global movement of Enlightenment thinking? Were the men Enlightenment thinkers precisely for their own individual thought? The Scottish Enlightenment featured many notable thinkers who, for the most part, embraced the view that experience was the root of all knowledge, and thus, that which is imperceptible or unperceivable is outside the limits of human understanding. During the 18th century, many of the Scottish literati believed that the foundation of thought was sense perception, and any knowledge beyond the range of human experience was questionable at best. Since the senses lead to knowledge, one would be correct to claim that the Scottish Enlightenment featured many thinkers with strong materialist views; the belief that all things are reducible to mechanical processes including that which people understand to be ethereal. Consequently, it would not be surprising to find an openness toward scientific investigation in Enlightenment Scotland, since observation, which was believed to be paramount in the formation of the mind, helped to solidify the view that all phenomena, including the ideas of the immaterial intellect, had concrete, or physical explanations. The Scottish Enlightenment stressed the importance of skepticism and commonsensical analysis, so that the progress made in intellectual disciplines was not only valid but more importantly testable and revisable for future generations. Accordingly, one would be right to claim that Enlightenment Scotland was a hotbed of ideas, which were posited and worked out ultimately for the common good of humanity. A prime example of Scottish thought, during

the Enlightenment age, is legible in the works of the celebrated philosopher David Hume. Hume, like many of his Enlightenment counterparts, stressed the need for a scientific analysis of philosophy that relied on the empirical method of Newton and the skeptical paradigm of Pyrrho. As an empiricist, Hume believed that all conceptual knowledge of the world was void since reason alone cannot reveal facts about what is purely concrete. In-line with Enlightenment thinking, Hume saw the bounds of human reason and posited that that which is strictly rational cannot interact with something solely physical. In this way, the elements of materialism were inherent in Hume’s works. This materialist leaning was most notable in his attempt to explain the interaction between the mind and body as no more than the physical brain exuding a perceptual apparatus, or mind, much like organs produce various sensations in the body. Hume’s skepticism was rooted in the ideas of the ancient Greek philosopher Pyrrho; that is, a skeptical approach to knowledge involving questioning, doubting, and only affirming ideas that are both theoretically and concretely correlative as being truths. Such skepticism became a hallmark of Enlightenment methods of investigating knowledge in 18th century Scotland. Hume’s skeptical analysis of intellectual disciplines including the sciences, all rested on his belief in inductive reasoning (understanding conclusions that do not have to follow from their premises indubitably, but only probably). In other words, Hume ascribed to the view that no knowledge is unalterable, and even the surety of science would disappear if the laws of nature were to change since there is no absolute guarantee of their fixity. This doubtful lens, embraced by Hume embraced, was as a mark of the Enlightenment quest to advance knowledge and produce real progress in regards to humanity’s desire to understand the intricacies of the world. The era of the Scottish Enlightenment overflowed with newly emerging political theories that fundamentally changed the way in which people viewed themselves, their liberties, their governments, and their livelihoods. Scotland, like other Enlightenment countries, helped to usher in a time of theoretical advances in the fields of political theory and economics. These advances helped to wash away the antiquated and oppressive system of feudalism, and assisted in replacing it with the ideals of egalitarianism, inalienable rights, separation of powers, and open markets for economic exchange. Enter political economist, Adam Smith. Like Hume, Smith was a product of his time and

was central in the shaping of modern capitalist ideas. Smith embraced the Enlightenment ideal that people were inherently free and that knowledge of their freedom came from their feelings of it, theorized in a way that reflected the age in which he lived. According to Smith, proof of liberty is empirical, or, it is the case that people’s actions display their innate understanding of themselves as uncompelled beings. Smith believed that it was only proper that democratic or republican modes of government were best suited to administer people, since, like them, those types of authority rest on the recognition and defense of freedom. Like other Enlightenment figures, Smith stressed the need for dutiful people to unrestrictedly conduct commerce and trade in ethical ways, so that their respective nations can generate wealth for the common good of their corresponding peoples. Smith’s ideas were also practical; he contributed to the development and analysis of open-market, or, capitalist economic practices. Smith held that because people were free, and since democracies and republics uphold those freedoms, it was only natural that all people should have access to trade with whoever they like, wherever they like. Smith ascribed to the Enlightenment emphasis on personal liberties, his support for free trade, the free movement of goods, and the freedom to conduct business all bear the mark of that epoch. Smith’s approval of free trade was intended to help people not only become richer but also to enjoy the higher intellectual pursuits life has to offer. Smith believed that though free enterprise produced riches, it was more important that one’s affluence translated to an enlightened mind through an upright education. This “enlightened selfinterest,” as Smith called it, is paramount in the development of a world that is more critical, refined, peaceful, free, and happy. By shedding light on the philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment and two of its most prominent theorists, David Hume and Adam Smith, we can see that, although different in their fields of inquiry, both were products of their national culture and the epoch of their continent. Much of the ideas manufactured by Smith and Hume became stalwarts of Scotland’s Enlightened Age, and influenced much of Enlightenment thinking outside of Scotland and its capital, Edinburgh. It is interesting to think of the city then as a “hotbed of ideas”; in the modern age, Hume and Smith’s innovations are still paramount in civilization today our current times grapple with ideas of democracy, personal freedom and capitalist economies.


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BRITISH HISTORY IN THE LONG TWENTIETH CENTURY, 1884-2016 R

FELIX CARPENTER

The task of the historian is to delineate time. It is an important but difficult job, and one which allows a more natural and digestible understanding of the past. The study of modern British history has been no stranger to this treatment. Various historians have divided up the past 400 years in terms of long and short, often overlapping, centuries and cast between landmark events. These centuries are also often portrayed and projected as being beholden to, or representative of, a particular set of ideological tenets. Frank O’Gorman has identified the ‘long eighteenth century’ as one that lasted some 144 years. He has found this century to begin with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the overthrow of King James II + VII by William and Mary of Orange, and ending with the Great Reform Act of 1832, in which the idea of limited popular sovereignty was first introduced. In this case, the theme of the century would be the rise of individual liberty and democracy. The Whig historian George Macaulay Trevelyan also considered his subject, the nineteenth century, in similar terms. Beginning in 1782 in the age of William Pitt the Younger and the loss of the American colonies, and ending in 1919 with the victory in World War One, the century lasted 137 years. These years can be seen to encapsulate the height of Western imperial culture and its consequences. This Whiggish analysis has persisted through to consideration of more recent times. Eric Hobsbawm described the ‘short twentieth century’ of only 77 years, tied between the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. This time is described by Hobsbawm as the ‘Age of Extremes’ in which the world was riven by polarised ideological superpowers. However, Hobsbawm passed away in 2012 and, since then, at risk of jumping a large flintlock rifle, the structure of global geopolitics can be observed to have dramatically and substantially altered.

For no other country has this been more relevant than in Britain. Voting to leave the European Union in 2016 has put into reverse half a century of diplomatic and economic positioning and planning. With political tumults in the world’s largest superpower, the United States, also in full flow, this reconfiguration of Britain’s position in the world may become even more startling. President Donald Trump’s regular invocation of his Scottish parentage and heritage is reminiscent of the now oddly anachronistic language used 100 years ago by Foreign Office Minister Lord Robert Cecil, who perceived a familial Anglo-American alliance due to both countries’ ‘Anglo-Saxon’ governing classes. Looking further afield, President Xi Jinping of China has vowed for his country to lead the ‘new world order’. Indeed, with its economy set to eclipse that of the US, this could well be China’s century. Even so, given China until the 1980s maintained an actively isolationist stance to the world; this further indicates that there has been a stark break from the past. Returning to Britain, if the long nineteenth century was characterised by imperialism, then a‘long twentieth century’ may be that of the rise and fall of globalism. With several very notable exceptions, in the past century a clearly identifiable trend in favour of globalisation and cosmopolitan beliefs has been the prevailing worldview advanced by Western élites. A global phenomenon, this system of thought reached its climax on both sides of the Atlantic with the New Labour and New Democrats movements which dominated politics for a decade each. It is both a symbolic and a practical example of the changing nature of popular political consciousness that both the Labour Party and the US Democratic Party have experienced shock defeats within the last two years, and now look further away from power than ever. In the UK, the fate of the ‘left’ is potentially more perilous than in the US. While the Democrats still returned a popular lead through support in large cities, confidence

in Labour is draining among its traditional working class urban base. In this context, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s quip at a strategy meeting that if polling had existed in 1906 the party would never have been established, seems particularly hollow. It is surely worth remembering that in the past century there was a Conservative Prime Minister for 57 years, the rest split between Labour and the Liberals. But even if the progressive political forces of the previous era are in chronic or terminal decline, it is too early to be pessimistic. Brexit and the Trump administration may transpire to be tremendous successes. It is too fast to say we are heading directly into an age of heady nativism even if we are leaving a status quo which put a prize on multiculturalism. Certainly, if you look at the superstars of the twentieth century, only Vladimir Lenin had made a true name for himself by 1917. It is likely now that Trump will occupy a similar status in world history. However, a century ago, Winston Churchill was just one player in David Lloyd-George’s wartime coalitioncabinet, and Adolf Hitler was a humble infantryman on the Western Front. Mohandas Gandhi was only at the very beginning of his struggle for Indian independence, Rosa Parks had not started primary school, while Nelson Mandela would not be born until the following year. Finally, considering the delineation of time, what then could be the bookend dates of the long twentieth century? To understand the century of globalism, one logical candidate for a starting point would be at the apex of its cousin, imperialism; at the 1884 Congo Conference in Berlin, where Western powers formally divided up the continent of Africa for conquest and colonisation. The obvious date for the end of the century would be 2016, an epochal year of global retrenchment. At 132 years, the twentieth century shoulders its predecessors. Now, in possibly the first year of the twenty-first century, there is a lot for historians to be excited about.


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THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE: HISTORY AS REALITY OR FICTION? H

LUCY HUGHES

‘What if?’ It is the question that lingers at the edge of our minds when we learn about the turning points in history and the decisive events which defined eras and epochs whilst shaping the development of today’s world. ‘What if’ the ‘allies’ had lost the Second World War? ‘What if ’ the United States hadn’t dropped the atomic bombs? ‘What if’ the world we live in is a version of many potential realities? The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick has recently received Hollywood-style treatment in a screen adaptation of the novel’s surreal world of the dystopian science fiction, thanks to Amazon Prime. Set in an alternative version in the mid-twentieth century, in which Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have dual ownership of the United States. The story sets up a thrilling tale of subterfuge and betrayal; it portrays conflicted characters who question the truthfulness of their world under occupation and their moral imperative to change it. For this commemorative edition of Retrospect, I want to explore some of the philosophical questions which surround the practice of defining eras and how the line between fiction and reality blurs when we study the past. Inspired by watching ‘The Man in the High Castle’, I feel the story’s concept of an alternative version of reality can be a starting point in thinking about how and why we study ‘history’. We are often traditionally taught in historical research to focus on revealing a supposedly knowable past reality, continuing to add to a narrative that re-affirms the significance of certain events above others as deciding the course

of human progress. The popular perception of history as memorising explicit dates is still significant – to be a historian is to know the facts. Yet since the linguistic turn of social science research in the 1970s, historians have more readily questioned the existence of one version of ‘reality’ and instead often explore the multiplicity of narratives which exist when interpreting the past and how it relates to the present. Foucauldian scholars amongst others revolutionised the study of the history by examining the ways in which networks of power lead to certain interpretations becoming definitive ‘truths’. Critical methodologies from feminist to poststructural scholarship, continually question the assumed naturalness of reality and the stability of historical facts and concepts. In Dick’s original book written in 1962, the ‘Man’ in the High Castle is a character who authors a revolutionary book that imagined a reality where Hitler lost, representing an alternative version to Nazi-occupied existence. When depicted in the Amazon Prime series, the radical author is instead a film-maker, collecting newsreels which show the allies as victorious but also many versions of the same historical events – at one point even dramatically illustrating the aftermath of an atomic bomb being dropped on San Francisco. Although very different to the storyline of the book, the TV series also utilises the idea that being exposed to alternative histories causes the characters to question the assumed naturalness of the world they find themselves living in. The series and the book take on the idea of alternative narratives as forces of subversion and as able to de-stabilise assumed truths or version realities. This made me think of the scholars of the 1970s, who often worked to reveal the untold stories of women or oppressed minorities within dominant historical narratives which silenced their experiences. Questioning concepts of gender, race, colonialism, and many other categories which we take for granted, is just one aspect of such scholarship which has sought to de-stabilise ‘History’ and how we examine it. ‘The Man in the High Castle’ may use alternative histories to cause viewers to criticise the assuredness and safety of our current world, however it does not quite delve deep enough into philosophical questions about the existence of any ‘true’ world at all. What can contrasting between ‘real’ and

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‘alternative’ versions of history teach us about our trust in any one narrative at all? Written and set in 1962, this story may have instead been inspired by the seemingly fragile postwar peace. The Cold War era was at its height, marked by the election of Kennedy in 1960 who promised to take on the Soviet Union of which culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs disaster that was to come. Dick was writing in a context of dramatic world-wide changes after the Second World War as the battles between the ideological frontiers of communism, neoliberalism and capitalist and Christian democracies were well underway. His story of the authoritarian, oppressive rule of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan may have functioned as a bulwark for American democratic ideals, under threat by communism. Whilst watching the series, there is a constant portrayal of pre-war America as idyllic and democratic – making the viewer wish that the characters would wake up and find themselves in the world where the allies won the war, instead of in Dick’s dystopian and nightmarish version of history. This is summarised aptly in a review of the series from The Verge: ‘Stories can help us make sense of the world, playing out whatif scenarios and empathizing with our enemies, but they can also grind the rough edges of reality into safe archetypes.’ Although both the book and the TV adaptation of ‘The Man in the High Castle’ are starting points for questioning the truthfulness of the world we perceive around us, it also may be leading towards a certain truth it wants us to support. We should be critical of which answers we decide to give to our many ‘what if’ questions. Can they lead to a reaffirmation of a story which reassures that the right people won the right battles at the right time? I thought the revival of Dick’s story as an Amazon Prime series came at an apt time, months before Trump’s election and the rise of nationalist, populist rhetoric around the world. The reviews often had a common thread – it was a call to action to save democracy. Yet I would lead readers to go back to the philosophical power of ‘what if’ which ‘The Man in the High Castle’ doesn’t quite address. To support one narrative is to fail to question the power which allows certain events of the past to become epoch defining, true facts of history. It once again defines the blurred line between history and fiction – something which I believe we should never be comfortable in doing.


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COMMEMORATING THE HOLOCAUST IN THE ERA OF SMARTPHONES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS H

MEDEA SANTONOCITO We are now living in a social era in which smartphones have become extensions of our own body. I mean not only in the literal sense, for we continuously hold them in our hands, but also because they record every aspect of our lives. Whatever we do, we feel the need to capture it and share it. Wherever we are, our phones are always ready to shoot. We may do this because we want people to know that we were there or because we want our cameras to capture a moment that we want to remember forever. There may be multiple reasons, but the psychological factors involved in this phenomenon is not what concerns this article. I am interested in the relationship between communication devices and historic landmarks: how people experience historic sites and how people portray their relationship with cultural heritage on social media. As the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January) approached, I encountered some very interesting case studies concerning people’s viral relationship with sites of memorial. Yolocaust and Austerlitz, in particular, shocked me. The former opened a very heated debate about Holocaust commemoration within the international community after its creator, an Israeli satirist called Shahak Shapira, had published his project online. Yolocaust, composed of the acronym ‘yolo’ (You Only Live Once) and the word ‘holocaust’, consisted of a website on which Shapira posted pictures of people jumping, practicing yoga and having fun amidst the slabs of the Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. These photographs were superimposed with real pictures from Nazi concentration camps, depicting dead bodies and prisoners instead. The visual effect of the project was striking. The most controversial aspect was that the pictures were taken from social media

accounts without the permission of their authors; to have the pictures removed, the authors had to contact Shapira and, to some extent, admit their wrongdoing. The project was successful in provoking strong reactions from the public, both supportive and adverse. The pictures were finally removed from the official Yolocaust website, but they can still be easily found. Austerlitz is an inspiring documentary by the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa, released as a non-competing film at the last Venice International Film Festival in September 2016. Its title might remind you of a 19th century Napoleonic battle, but the film has nothing to do with that. It draws inspiration from a German novel, written by Winfried Georg Sebald and published in 2001, of which the main focus is a man investigating his Jewish family’s origins. This documentary represents an original way of approaching the genre of Holocaust films. The main idea is simple: Loznitsa placed his camera into Dachau and Sachsenhausen to show how former Nazi concentration camps are experienced today — not by survivors or historians, but by the tourists who visit them. In the different sequences, a fixed camera observes crowds of tourists while they come and go through the camp’s gate, or while they wander around the various buildings. We see some walking in silence, people taking a selfie under the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei sign, and others laughing and chatting. What gives the film so much impact, is that there is no comment at all. You can only hear the visitors’ voices, the steps on the ground and the cameras’ shutters clicking. It gives the audience the impression of being in Dachau and Sachsenhausen while the cameraman is shooting. Austerlitz and Yolocaust are two works that make you consider the meaning of remembrance, especially during the present social networking era, when memorials have

become tourist attractions. Yet while both these projects certainly managed to highlight the relationship between remembrance, people’s perception of historical sites and social media, they achieved this in different ways. Shapira’s controversial photomontages were meant to shock the public, in order to provoke a debate. There is no doubt about Shapira’s stance with regards to the people whose photographs he edited - he opposes their behaviour. On the other hand, Loznitsa’s documentary lets us judge what is right and what is wrong on our own. Personally, I believe that this is the best way of inciting this sort of debate, as it is a very subjective issue. After watching Austerlitz, one may ask oneself: is there an appropriate way of commemorating such tragic events? If so, what is it? How should I behave when visiting a concentration camp? I do not necessarily think that there are correct answers to these kinds of questions. I do not fully understand the purpose of taking a picture of myself in a former concentration camp. I wou ld feel uncomfortable and embarrassed taking a selfie at Dachau, for example, knowing what happened there. Millions of people had to endure back-breaking work, cold, hunger and illness. They were left to the mercy of more privileged inmates and the SS, who could murder them at any time, for any reason they thought suitable. Knowing that all this happened in the same place that I can now visit as a person who is at liberty to do as I choose, would make me feel uneasy about documenting this on social media and I would not share my visits and experience with my friends on the internet. I simply cannot imagine myself smiling (or looking sad, perhaps?) at a camera, in front of barracks or a barbed wire fence. However, this is only my opinion and I cannot expect everyone to agree with me or behave the same way that I do. Personally, I think that sometimes we should forget about our phones and let our eyes and mind record these experiences.


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RESISTANCE TO ‘THE PECULIAR INSTITUTION’ ‘The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion’ – Fredrick Douglass

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EMMA MARRIOTT Slavery has been a constant in human history: it was not ‘invented’ when colonial powers ‘discovered’ Africa. But, why did slavery hold steadfast in the Southern United States, after its decline in the rest of the world? In the Atlantic slave trade, the understanding of dehumanisation was not because the ‘other’ was a threat, but because those who were involved with the trade argued that slaves did not ‘deserve’ the same treatment. The profitability of slave-based agriculture, especially of cotton, led to a boom in market mechanisms, the market economy, and thus the supply demand. The Southern reliance on forced labour to farm cotton as the cash crop, meant that slavery was defended by those involved as an investment and a business. What they failed to consider was the harsh and brutal treatment of each individual working within institutionalized slavery. The tragedy of slavery in the American South did not spring from inherent evilness, but developed over time until Southern society had firmly built social structures around it. The central aspects of Southern social orders were those of the church, evangelical communities, and the attachment, through both society and land, to their neighbours. Religion profoundly shaped the structure of Southern institutions and social relations. The white man sought to maintain his authority within the church, for women outnumbered men, and blacks outnumbered whites. The issue was that Southern white preachers used the Bible to excuse slavery and thereby justifying themselves as slavers. White preachers and slave owners would reiterate passages such as Ephesians chapter 6 verses 5-6: ‘Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the

will of God from your heart.’ We can infer that this would have been abused to excuse the hierarchy of master to slave. The justification of extreme violence was also deemed acceptable through passages from the Gospel of Peter, for example: ‘Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.’ Slave owners and their preachers would read these isolated verses at their services, claiming that these biblical sections supported slavery. These isolated verses proved to be a foundation to the arguments of Southern slavers, in favour of slavery. The largest ever violent resistance to antebellum slavery by slaves in mainland North America was Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831. This rebellion sprang from the sheer brutality of slavery. Benjamin Turner, Nat’s master, allowed him to read and write and to practise religion. Nat claimed he saw visions and heard divine voices which guided him to rebel, and that God had chosen him to avenge the sins of slavery. Nat Turner was a slave and preacher, in Southampton County, Virginia, and in the August of 1831, massacred around sixty white Southerners. Eighty slaves had joined the rebellion, set to be the last large-scale rebellion in the South, and they moved from plantation to plantation, killing the slave owners and their families. Local slave patrols failed to uncover Turner’s plot, and the local militia were called out to fight the rebels, as the federal government provided military support. Panic amongst the white communities swelled. The institution of slavery was supported by slaveholders and the local militia, but also by the full force of the military might of the United States; if not for this, slavery would not have been possible in the South. Eight hundred US troops joined two thousand local militiamen. Eventually, Nat Turner was captured, and later executed on

11 November 1831. The aftermath of the rebellion saw Virginian legislature that debated plans for gradual emancipation of the state’s slaves, but eventually voted against this. As a result, the state of Virginia tightened its hold on slavery, imposing new laws that further limited the rights of slaves. 1831 marked a turning point for the Old South, and white Southerners defend slavery more strongly. Even the threat of Nat Turner’s rebellion was not enough to scare Southerners out of slavery. Slave owners’ profit outweighed their morality. Nat Turner’s rebellion was a unique event, and on average, when slaves actively resisted the ‘peculiar institution’, they did so through small acts of defiance, rather than in large revolts or escape attempts. Reports of slaves feigning ignorance, damaging tools and property, and not completing tasks, was a small form of rebellion. Resistance on a larger scale to the institution was near to impossible; the most successful acts of ‘resistance’ were individual runaways. Slaves knew that full scale rebellion was suicidal. Solomon Northup, the inspiration for the film ‘12 Years a Slave’, reported that slaves in Louisiana in 1837 plotted a run towards what they hoped would be free soil of Mexico. However, there is little evidence of mass escape in slave narratives. White slave owners were terrified of group insurrections, although they were unlikely to succeed. There was a shift in the literature and historiography in 1956 with the publication of The Peculiar Institution by Kenneth M. Stampp which challenged the ideas of ‘kind paternalism’ assessed by Ulrich Phillips. Although both historians assert that slavery in antebellum America presented the most difficult economic and moral conundrum, Phillips gave Southerners the benefit of the doubt, allowing, and excusing the ‘paternalistic master’. Stampp stripped this old historiography of its Southern romance, and revealed the brutalities of slave society.


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CHE: GUERRILLERO HEROICO H

MATTHEW MITCHELL He is watching the future approach, somewhere far beyond, with only the blank sky behind him. His face is in an expression of ‘absolute implacability.’ He is stoic but somewhere in the tightness of his mouth and the firmness of his brow there is pain and anger, too. The image is inescapable now. It was March 1960, 14 months after the Cuban Revolution, when Alberto Korda snapped the famous picture to adorn the bedroom walls and T-shirts of countless would-be revolutionaries for generations. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara only saw seven more years after the photo was taken. He met his end with nine bullets in a mud-walled schoolroom in remotest Bolivia. But the image lives on. You can see it the world over. Che remembered, warrior of the people, truest, most principled of men, fifty years later.

had remained [after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis], we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City… We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims…We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.’ He was the founder of labour camps which incarcerated gays, dissidents, and undiagnosed AIDS victims, and he oversaw the Revolution’s first firing squads. He was a violent revolutionary first and foremost, and a zealot, and when the Revolution in Cuba had passed he argued for a ‘new man,’ who would work not for financial gain but out of a moral duty. Cuba, however, was a vastly different place from the dream Che had after the Revolution, and so it was time for him to move on.

It was always a part of his plan to be a martyr; to die for the cause. The nuns at the hospital where his body was displayed kept locks of his hair. They said he reminded them of Christ. He was, to everyone, an embodiment of something more. For Sartre, he was ‘the most complete human being of our age,’ an intellectual who took up arms to fight for what he believed in. His life was a short blaze of meaning to which the righteous can aspire. In Cuba, school children begin each morning with the pledge: ‘We will be like Che.’

Che disappeared in early 1965, on his way back from a trip to Africa and Asia. By then his myth was already well-established. Speculation was rife as to his whereabouts: there were reports of Che’s death and of a falling out with Castro. There were sightings in Peru, Vietnam, and in various parts of Africa. Some newspapers had him fighting alongside Francisco Camano’s rebels in Santo Domingo. But at last he resurfaced in Bolivia in 1966 on a mission, backed by Castro, to spread revolution across Latin America and the Third World. He survived only 11 months more before his capture by CIA-trained Bolivian troops.

He is remembered differently in the few places the image does not hang. To the Cuban exile and Cuban-American community of the United States, he is ‘the butcher of La Cabaña.’ For them he was a man full of hatred; an Argentine Robespierre. He reported that, ‘if the nuclear missiles

Che’s time in Bolivia was markedly different from his time in Cuba. He was older, now twice-married with kids, and he was ill. Suffering from malnutrition, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic asthma, he cut an entirely pitiable figure compared to the one in the photograph from only a few years before.

And the revolution was a failure. The indigenous people of Bolivia, on whose behalf Che claimed to be fighting against the military regime of General Barrientos, gave him no support. Nor did the national Communist Party as Che refused to offer leadership of his revolution to their leader, Mario Monje. Unwell and isolated, both politically and militarily, it was clear the end was drawing close for Che, but he refused to give up. He is remembered today for that inextinguishable belief. Even the indigenous Bolivians who spurned his struggle then, call him a saint now. He is the idol, too, of all bourgeois romantics in the West, the ones who pinned his image to their bedroom walls seemingly unaware of the irony of the commercialisation of an ardent anti-capitalist. But still he was revered; a man who actually went out and fought and died for the cause. That he could unite two such disparate groups in common belief is perhaps why he is so admired. That he could transcend the boundaries between them. Any narrative of transcendence about a mortal man, however, is necessarily a lie. It is only the image that has lasted, and not even the ideas. In his own words, ‘a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.’ Che would march to victory no matter what. The year before that famous photo was taken, Che oversaw the execution of an estimated 550 ‘enemies of the revolution.’ When Che faced his own executioner, his final words were: ‘I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.’ It seems natural then that a man who was only an idea should become a mere image, but for the cost in human lives.


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1984: HE WHO CONTROLS THE PAST CONTROLS THE FUTURE R

POLINA ANDREEVA

The ‘Orwellian’ vision is inescapable and creeps into our daily lives: we see it in our Facebook feeds, trolling memes, and political discussion. Coinages of other literary greats such as ‘Dickensian’ or ‘Machiavellian’ are beyond comparison despite their 500 year head start. A post-truth era littered with alternative facts is a chilling reflection in George Orwell’s dystopian looking-glass. In the fictional world of 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith is closely surveyed by Big Brother to the point where he is stripped bare of his personal freedom. Almost six decades have passed since the novel’s publication in 1949, and a striking number of parallels can be drawn between the setting of the fictional country Oceania and reality. It is hardly surprising that sales of the novel have skyrocketed after a sudden surge in demand. At the time of publication, the term ‘surveillance’ was loosely associated with espionage and policing. Today its definition encompasses our lives on an absolute level. Our actions are closely monitored by CCTV cameras, our identities can be stolen or catfished, and our personal data is scattered, circulated, shared, and copied, often without us knowing. Even more daunting is that the Investigatory Powers Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament in November of last year. Also known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, it allows the UK government to have full legal authority to hack citizen’s devices in bulk. Measures include internet and communications companies retaining customer’s browser history for up to a year. To many, including Edward Snowden, it is considered a severe breach of personal freedom. He tweeted: “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.” Let’s not forget that both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump are based on the

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systematic misrepresentation of facts. It has become so embedded today that Oxford Dictionaries announced ‘post-truth’ as its 2016 international word of the year. Orwell’s phrase ‘language is power’ echoes in my ears when I read ‘subjective facts’, which prioritise emotion over information. In 1984, the slogans “War Is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength” are examples of ‘doublethink’, a language accepting two contradictory views simu ltaneously. Orwellian thought reciprocates the White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’, when the Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely asserted that Trump had the “largest audience ever to witness an inauguration.” Political language continues to make lies sound truthful and to “give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”, as Orwell put it. Orwell’s introspective looking glass Orwellian critique may have been ahead of its time, but Orwell still occupied an integral role during the 1930s. His literary influences can be traced back to his own experiences as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War, where he participated in the international struggle against fascism. The figure of “Big Brother” was personal to him and manifested into a reality during his time there. Under the orders of the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police), a fellow British volunteer named David Crook was sent to spy on Orwell during the Spanish Civil War. Crook passed over his reports on Orwell to Hugh O’Donnell, a British Communist codenamed O’Brien. It is by no coincidence, then, that the character in 1984, who first wins the confidence of Winston Smith and then betrays him is given the name O’Brien. In Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, where he gives a personal account of his time in Spain, he describes the grotesque conditions infested with lice, and where rats “really were as big as cats, or nearly.” In parallel, a pivotal torture scene in the novel details O’Brien threatening to release a cage of rats on Winston’s face, illustrating an introspective glance on the gruesome war experiences of his past. 2+2=5 Orwell was anti-Stalinist, and made this apparent in his critique of Soviet society. Strikingly similar to ‘alternative facts’ discussed above, the Soviet Union adopted the slogan “2+2=5” in its early stages of industrial and economic planning in 1928. During its first five-year economic plan, Stalin aimed to achieve the unachievable, setting highly ambitious targets. The plan, in his view, would be completed in four years as opposed to five. This draws a striking parallel to Orwell’s 1984, where 2+2=5 was the exact

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phrase used as a false dogma which the Party made one believe. In the novel, Winston Smith ponders its factual weight, voicing “after all, how do we know that two and two make four?” Indeed, this self-doubt and questioning translates to an issue often explored in the history of the Soviet regime. Could individuals really articulate a private identity different from the one exerted upon them by the political system? A direct comparison can even be made to a Soviet individual in the 1930s. Stepan Podlubnyi, a Ukranian villager who moved to work in the city, kept a diary and wrote in 1932 “my daily secretiveness, the secretiveness, the secret of my inside – they don’t allow me to become a person with an independent character.” The fictional world of Oceania is a striking reflection of Stalin’s totalitarian hold over the mentality of the masses. Again, the Orwellian phrase ‘Language is Power’ springs to mind. The Party can make you believe what it wants you to believe, insofar as individuals begin to question their own identity and the naked truth. The 1931 poster below by propagandist Iakov Guminer reads “2+2=5: Arithmetic of a counter-plan plus the enthusiasm of the workers” Of course, Orwell was not alone in his literary vision of a future dystopia. He was inspired by the Russian novelist Yevgeny Zamyatin, who wrote We within a few years of the Russian Revolution of 1917. His novel, whose first publication in the Soviet Union had to wait until 1988, explores a closely regulated society. A strangely familiar plot, and some may say Orwell pinched Zamyatin’s ideas. In We, citizens are known by their number only in a totalitarian society and all live in apartments made of glass so they are closely surveyed. Soviet society didn’t step too far from this censored masterpiece with their communal apartments of the 1930s, or ‘kommunalkas’ where privacy became fantasy. A decade later, a commonplace anecdote in this monitored reality was that an individual in Russia was composed of three parts, a body, a soul, and a passport. We shake our heads as we look back on the totalitarian force of the Stalinist regime. But do the events of last year, the emergence of post-truth politics and ‘alternative facts’ being voiced by politicians force us to re-examine the daunting repetition of history? Sometimes we distance ourselves from Trump politics across the pond, but the Intelligence Powers Act is on our grounds as of this year. We cannot escape reality by delving into Orwell’s dystopian works of fiction anymore, because they have become too scarily intimate and real.


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HERE COMES THE SUN: POP CULTURE IN THE 1960s

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FAY MARSDEN

We have all heard of parents gazing in horror while their children stared in awe at Elvis gyrating his pelvis on television in the Fifties; most of us have probably found this strange, considering how hyper-sexual music videos are normalised today. Likewise, during a time when black people were still fighting for their civil rights and women were still subordinate to men, there were black women in massively popular bands such as The Supremes and The Ronettes. Black musicians, female musicians, and gay musicians were part of the 1960s pop scene as they had never been before. This was a seismic cultural shift which becomes ever clearer when examining the disputes between those who despised the new pop culture, and those who were fully immersed in it. This was generally a dispute between the old and the young: as Roger Daltrey famously sang in The Who’s 1965 hit ‘My Generation’: ‘I hope I die before I get old’. But what was the larger significance of pop music at the time, other than a generational change? The music of the 1960s was ultimately about freedom. Pre-marital sex became generally socially acceptable. It also became socially acceptable to be a pacifist rather than an unbending and patriotic supporter of war. It was socially acceptable to take drugs, have multiple sexual partners, and more importantly, to have fun without the constrictions of the consequences: enter, the contraceptive pill. This freedom from conservative social codes was an entirely new phenomenon, which could be pinned down to the arrival of the ‘Baby Boom’ generation who escaped the debilitating effects of two world wars. The inhumanity, loss of life and economic uncertainty following the wars had been overturned by the time this generation had become teenagers, and hence came a period of ‘mass-youth’. In the West, unemployment was low, global growth was high, cars and domestic appliances were becoming the norm, and oil prices were generally low. People had more leisure time,

and more disposable income to see shows and purchase records. The freedom from austerity and conservatism was arguably conducive to the liberal atmosphere of the 1960s, summed up well in the Rolling Stone’s lyrics ‘I’m free to do what I want, any old time. So love me, hold me.’ Of course, Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger went on to collaborate with David Bowie in 1985 in a cover of the 1960s hit ‘Dancing in the Street’. Bowie was known to be fluid with his sexuality, yet he remained beloved, accepted and incredibly popular. In other words, his sexuality was not a barrier to his creativity and musicianship. In contrast to this rebellious attitude was the British government’s Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which decriminalised gay sex. To further highlight the growing gap between the old and new, the song Jagger and Bowie covered – Dancing in the Street - was originally by Martha and the Vandellas, in 1964 – a classic from another popular group of black women. Suzanne Smith has argued in her book Dancing in the Street that this song became an anthem for the 1960s civil rights movements, and was chanted at rallies and protests. Likewise, Martha and the Vandellas were signed by one of the largest record labels in the Sixties – Motown – created by Berry Gordy, a black American. His label signed predominantly black soul musicians – The Jackson 5, The Supremes, and Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. Again, this music was widely accepted as an essential part of 1960s pop culture. The acceptance of sexuality, race and gender in music shows the new and liberal atmosphere of the 1960s, which highlighted that ‘popular culture’ was not just ‘white culture’. This new era of culture and pop music was, of course, massively aided by the media and technology. The headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror on 8 February 1964 read ‘YEAH! YEAH! USA!’, in response to the massively euphoric reaction that The Beatles garnered when first visiting North America.

Furthermore, developing technologies aided the growth of this revolution; it made it more revolutionary. Music was, for the first time, digitally altered and enhanced, with advanced effects being utilised to create new, psychedelic music. Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’, for example, was an innovative production technique in which Spector arranged an ensemble of musicians in the recording studio to create a full and strong sound, as opposed to using one musician per instrument. This technique was most famously used in songs such as ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes (1963) and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ by The Beach Boys (1966). The use of new production techniques to create new sound was attractive for those already part of youth culture who wished to remove themselves further from the predictability of classical music. The significance of 60s pop music is not to be underestimated. These musicians blunted the sword of social conduct hanging over people’s heads. The contributions of black, gay and female musicians helped to create a more liberal backdrop and culture, which in turn contributed to civil rights movements; a new acceptance of homosexuality; and, finally, the coming of second-wave feminism. The media and technological advances helped musicians to promote and alter their work in a way that had never been done before, which pulled in a younger audience perhaps bored of the unchallenging music that their parents listened to. These elements combined to create an atmosphere conducive to social change. The impact that ‘60s music has on our culture today is extraordinary – most musicians today, for example, will credit an artist from the 1960s as an influence, and many of our fights for equal rights today stemmed from achievements made during this period. Conclusively, therefore, ‘60s pop helped the youth crash into a new era of liberalism and freedom just as their parents had crashed through an era of globalised warfare.


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JAMES CRAIG AND THE EDINBURGH NEW TOWN H

LUCY GRAY

Edinburgh’s New Town is highly regarded as an example of neo-classical urban planning because of its proximity to the medieval planned Old Town, and thus the differentiation between the two areas of the city is integral to the New Town’s success. In the early eighteenth century, the city of Edinburgh was crowded and at continual risk of outbreaks of disease and fire. The exodus of the wealthy citizens of Edinburgh to London, which had been occurring since the Union of the Crowns, showed no sign of ceasing, and there were fears that if nothing was done, the situation would only get worse. Space for the wealthy to live, away from the squalor of the Old Town, was required, and thus the idea for a New Town was born. It was hoped that by encouraging the wealthy to remain and return to Edinburgh, the city’s economy would improve and subsequently reinvent the city as an internationally respected one. Architect James Craig’s winning plan for the design of the New Town fulfilled all desires: it was rational, and thus completely different from the chaotic Old Town; spacious, allowing the rich to show off their wealth, while also protecting the city from overcrowding; and, wholly residential, to maintain it as a high quality and genteel area. The combination of these ideals reflects how the New Town was designed to be as different to the Old Town as possible. However, has maintaining these differences remained important in the last 250 years, and can the design be considered as successful? Craig’s plan was rational to the extreme: perfectly symmetrical, featuring only straight lines. This contrasted directly with the Old Town’s irregularity, thus separating two areas visually as well as geographically. The rationality of the plan reflected growing

trend for rational thinking that was the Scottish Enlightenment, thus also identifying the New Town as an ideologically superior area to the Old Town. Despite the differences in layout of the Old and New Towns today, the dichotomy of the New Town as intellectually superior declined as the Old Town expanded from its original parameters, and is thus no longer a relevant statement today. In terms of utilising the space available and facilitating the movement of people, the rationality of the plan was very successful. However, it was not planned to accommodate the large volume of traffic that the modern era has created, and thus the area suffers from severe congestion, despite traffic being limited since 1996. Congestion is an issue across much of Edinburgh; however, the rationality of plan must be considered separately to this problem. A key aspect of the New Town was its creation of space: wide streets, individual houses, (as opposed to flats) and plentiful green space were central to the design as they were seen to be beneficial to public health. However, these features were also used to enforce the social exclusivity of the area, with the green space being initially resident access only, to prevent Old Town dwellers from coming to use it, and houses costing far more than a tenement flat in the Old Town. Despite the subdivision of many of these houses from the mid nineteenth century, and the opening up of Princes Street Gardens in 1876 and St Andrew’s Square in 2008, house prices remain typically higher than elsewhere in the city, and Queen Street Gardens still remain private to residents only. This suggests that the social character of the Old Town has been retained, which could be perceived as a success for the planners, but also suggests a lack of social mobility across the city.

The New Town was planned as an exclusively residential area, yet by 1788 there was a range of shops constructed as fast as the town itself was being built. By 1800, Princes Street was primarily a commercial street. This reflects an almost immediate rejection of the intended principles of the New Town, suggesting that the lack of commerce in a new development was too idealistic a concept. Little thought was given to ensuring a high quality of design was used on all new commercial adaptations to Princes Street in particular, resulting in the complementary neoclassical facades Craig intended being lost. Although George Street and Queen Street were slower to become commercialised, and are less significantly so than Princes Street to this date, the three streets form the primary retail area of Edinburgh. This could be interpreted as the retention of the separation of the Old and New towns, with them fulfilling different roles for the city as a whole: the Old Town appeasing tourists, with the New Town offering a more functional role. This shows that the distinction between the two areas has been harnessed for Edinburgh’s advantage, thus suggesting that the New Town’s design is indeed successful. One cannot visit Edinburgh and fail to recognise the distinctions between the Old and New towns: spatially, they are different environments to walk around, and their relationship with the city as a whole unalike. While elements of the separation intended James Craig and the proponents of the first Edinburgh New Town remain, in general it has to be said that the New Town has ceased to be the isolated and private development it was designed to be, and thus that is successful in the modern day, while also paying homage to its first designers.


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‘A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED’: THE EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY OF JANE AUSTEN

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CANDICE MAHARAJ

I was thirteen years old when I first picked up Pride and Prejudice. I had always been an avid reader but at the time, all I knew of this particular book was that there had been several movie adaptations, including one in the style of a Bollywood film. What I did not know at the time was how significant Jane Austen’s work is. It would take me some years to truly understand this, but when I did, I began to see Austen and her books in a new light. Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 and died on 18 July 1817, after succumbing to illness. Austen never married, but she came close on two separate occasions. The first time, she expressed interest in a suitor named Tom Lefroy but their parents did not agree to the match. Years later, she was introduced to Harris Bigg-Wither, a man who was by all accounts dull, unattractive, and nowhere near her intellectual equal, but he was wealthy. She accepted his proposal out of concern for her future and lack of financial security but withdrew her acceptance the very next day. In a letter she wrote to her niece Fanny Knight, she said, ‘anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection.’ Understanding these aspects of Austen’s life helps the reader to understand why she wrote the way she did. Her novels critique and often mock the societal conventions and behaviour of the landed gentry, especially marriage. Pride and Prejudice offers an insight into her own perception of marriage. The heroine Elizabeth does not care about marrying to secure her future or her reputation. In fact, the characters that do care about such things - Mrs Bennet and Reverend Collins - are portrayed in a somewhat ridiculous light. Like most of Austen’s novels, Pride and Prejudice shows how important marriage was in society. Women depended on it for financial security

and the protection of their reputation; as a result, most rarely married for love. The business of finding a good spouse for oneself or one’s children was all-consuming for most men and women, and usually caused severe panic or brought out the worst in people. Austen found the whole thing trivial and unnecessary. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Austen’s work is her distinct style. She did not adhere to, or indeed care about, the popular styles of her time. She critiqued and satirised the sentimental novel, which focused on the emotional responses of the characters. She preferred her heroines to rely on their minds. Austen is especially celebrated for developing the technique of free indirect speech, which is used extensively today. This technique mixes the narrator’s voice with the character’s thoughts and speech. She also had a unique talent for using dialogue to convey the mood, tension, social status and personal traits of her characters, thus allowing the reader to enter the minds of the characters and better connect to them. Moreover, Austen is famous for her use of irony to call out hypocrisy in people and society. She especially uses it to highlight the intellectual and emotional depths of her female characters, which are usually overlooked by the people around them. Her sharp wit and humour are used to cast a fresh light on the sometimes bleak issues her characters faced while still making the work overall enjoyable to read. There is some debate about whether Austen was a conservative feminist or an Enlightenment feminist. The argument for the former highlights the fact that her heroines were placed in subordinate roles, had to exercise self-control, and usually acted out of a sense of duty. However, the case that she was an Enlightenment feminist can be supported by the fact that her heroines never wholly submitted to any man and wanted

their husbands or suitors not only to be affectionate towards them but also to appreciate them for their minds. Despite this debate, it is clear that she preferred strong, intelligent, complex, imperfect heroines who could think for themselves and who were interesting and real, unlike the typical mildmannered and all-round “perfect” heroines that were popular at the time. She also criticised the male dominance of literature. All of this adds up to Austen being a rather progressive writer for her time. Unfortunately, Austen did not see the fame she deserved in her lifetime. While she was alive, her books received few reviews, though they were mainly positive. After the publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh in 1869, her work began to receive more attention. In the early twentieth century there were a few members of the “literary elite” who considered themselves “Janeites” and considered appreciation of her work to be the mark of a truly educated and cultured person. They were upset by the growth of mainstream interest in Austen’s work, arguing that most people could not understand it. Of course, they completely missed the mark. Austen began to receive more mainstream and academic appreciation and by the end of the twentieth century, her place among the greatest British authors was solidified. It is hard to point to one thing that stands out about Jane Austen. The combination of her unique and engaging style, unconventional heroines, and the fact that through her characters, the reader can gain insight into Austen’s own mind makes reading her work an unforgettable experience. She became an inspiration to me and countless others. Perhaps this is why, in the 200 years since her death, she has never gone out of print and the impact of her work and her life can still be felt, whether one is aware of it or not.


RETROSPECT JOURNAL

REVIEWS

THE GREAT FORGETTING: WOMEN WRITERS BEFORE AUSTEN A REVIEW OF THE HIDDEN HISTORIES PODCAST FROM THE NEW STATESMAN

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KARA ROSS

The New Statesman’s Hidden Histories Podcast aims to explore periods of history that have, consciously or unconsciously, been warped or disregarded over time. The first series of podcasts, released in April 2016, was entitled ‘The Great Forgetting: Women Writers before Austen’. Hosted by Deputy Editor, Helen Lewis, it sought to redress the generally conceived myth that Jane Austen was the exceptional (in the most pejorative sense of the word) female voice of eighteenth-century literature. During the six episode series, Lewis is joined by three leading scholars in the field, who explore a flourishing era of female enterprise and creativity which has been continuously marginalised in scholarship and popular culture. ‘The great forgetting’ is a phrase that could be applied to our own modern conception of the eighteenth century. Often obscured by Victorian moralism, the dynamic and liberal character of this century has been somewhat overlooked, or even rewritten. As the introductory trailer to the podcast series reminds us, the 1700s in Britain saw the birth of numerous, and surprising features of modern society, from coffee shops to lesbian pornography. It also saw the innovation of one of the now central forms of western literature – the novel. In a podcast concerned with redressing the suppression of female voices within the eighteenth century English canon, the rise of the novel is a pertinent place to begin. An issue which is explored in the podcast is the apportioning of blame for the problematic treatment of female writers of the 1700s. It is suggested that if we are to find fault with anyone, it is not with their contemporary – albeit often hostile – reviewers. It is criticism of the twentieth century that continually denied these writers due recognition within the canon, whether through poor scholarship or active misogyny. This is highlighted very early on in the series, using the work of Ian Watt, an English scholar, and his highly influential critical text The Rise of the Novel in 1957, as an example.

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The Rise of the Novel mapped out a masculine model of progression found throughout the scholarship of the latter twentieth century and still widely taught today. It suggests that the English form of the novel found early naissance in the prose work of Daniel Defoe, was developed in the fiction of Samuel Richardson, and matured in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. Watt simultaneously acknowledged and dismissed female writers’ contribution to the novel’s trajectory, by asserting that in spite of the surprising fact that ‘the majority of eighteenth century novels were actually written by women,’ it was well known that ‘this had long remained a purely quantitative assertion of dominance’. This throwaway sentence illustrates the great injustice perpetrated by twentieth century scholars, as well as the blatant inconsistency between women writers’ ‘quantitative assertion of dominance’ and the overwhelming deference afforded to male writers of this period. However, the podcast does not aim to be simply despondent or outraged; it takes an active role in uncovering and celebrating various aspects of women’s writing and feminine culture. The series explores female participation in salon culture, the Bluestocking movement, women’s involvement in radical politics, and the rise and proliferation of the Lady’s Magazine. It forces us to re-acknowledge the significance and genius of writers and figures such as Aphra Benn, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Frances Burney and Mary Wollstonecraft. The Hidden Histories Podcast contributes to an important trend of rediscovery concerning this particular era of women’s writing. The trend is important because of the wealth of writing that eighteenth-century women left behind; it is vital because, through understanding why they have been forgotten, we may begin to unpick why female endeavour has so often been marginalised throughout history. While the podcast’s subject matter may be lofty, the tone is playful and, in testament to the liberal tenor of the eighteenth century, funny.


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JACKIE R

CHARLOTTE LAUDER Jackie opens with eerie music. Like a siren slowly wailing, Natalie Portman emerges on screen as the lady herself, Jacqueline Kennedy. The film follows Portman as she superbly portrays the complicated and newly widowed First Lady, in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Director Pablo Larrain begins the story with the arrival of an interviewer (Billy Crudup) at the Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port; this interview is used to frame the film’s action. As these scenes switch to gripping flashbacks of Kennedy’s assassination, his inaugural ball and that fateful trip to Dallas, it becomes clear that the film is not simply a rehash of the scenes that we know so well. There is more to Jackie than the motorcade, the stained pink suit and the final goodbyes of the Kennedy children, Caroline and John Jr., at their father’s coffin. Portman is surrounded by a cast of acting’s finest: Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig and the late, great, John Hurt. Yet, the eye never leaves Portman. She is mesmerising as Jackie, embodying her graceful movements, her

voice, and impeccable style. Undoubtedly, Portman is deserving of her Oscar nomination; but, she should also be credited for portraying a deep and raw image, known only to a few, of Jackie. As someone who has been interested in JFK and the Kennedys for a long time, the history books will tell you what the newsreels and documentaries don’t; she was a deeply complex woman, not destined for such stardom, although she cultivated and loved the attention when it finally was there. The film grapples with the idea of legacy and history and meaning. Throughout the film there are references to President Lincoln, another President shot down in the prime of his leadership. The likening of Kennedy to Lincoln continues throughout the film. During a lingering scene when Jackie is filmed introducing the world to the Lincoln bedroom in the White House, when she uses Lincoln’s funeral as a model for Kennedy’s, and when she argues about which White House furniture to keep and which to sell, a fate that sadly befell Lincoln’s widow. To this end, the film is not shy about

its purpose; in the aftermath of her husband’s death, Jackie spent much time deliberating upon the legacy of Kennedy’s life. It is true that she sat down with a select number of journalists and historians – notably the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who recorded his interviews with her, creating an oral history of JFK, as seen from Jackie’s perspective. This process was as much about grieving as it was about Jackie preserving the legacy of JFK; in a way, she constructed his history, as well as her own place within it. Unfortunately, the film slightly overexaggerates this in its final scenes (get ready for a lot of references to Camelot). Despite this, the film illuminates Jackie’s grieving process, retelling it in a way that portrays her as a master of showmanship and public relations. This is achieved through masterful direction from Larrain, and a magical score from Nino Lavic, working alongside Portman’s awesome balance of a grieving First Lady and young mother spiralling out of control.

in these relationships that the cracks in the programme’s credibility first begin to show. Additionally, the idea that ‘man from the future,’ (Jake) would so happily accept the way in which Sadie predicates her identity around him, without encouraging her to think independently, becomes laughable. According to 11.22.63, twenty-first century men would be quite happy for women to return to their places as perfect wives – a depressing thought. There were plenty of bright, intelligent, and independent women in 1960s America, it’s just unfortunate that they aren’t depicted here. Feminists, look away now! The problem is that this programme tries to blend genres in an aimless way – as it seems to be moving along quite nicely within the historic genre, it takes an abrupt turn towards romantic drama, or horror. This ultimately derails the main plot, leaving behind the pertinent questions that the programme seems to ask us to begin with (i.e. what would today’s USA have been like if Kennedy had lived?). Eventually Sadie and Jake’s underwhelming romance becomes the main focus of the programme. Those who love a good conspiracy theory will be sorely

disappointed, as the status quo regarding JFK’s assassination is not challenged. Put bluntly, the moral of the story is ‘leave things the way they are, it’s less trouble that way’. It would have been refreshing to see 11.22.63 engaging with contemporary issues and taking a step beyond the prosaic ‘the Russians are bad guys’ theme. The civil rights movement, for instance, is only addressed very briefly and unsatisfactorily; Jake is firmly placed within the ‘white saviour’ archetype as he defends a secretary at a gas station. Opportunities to explore and address social history within the programme are missed. However, 11.22.63 plays part in a much wider, highly interesting new tendency in contemporary American film and television. Film and TV Programmes like Hidden Figures, Trumbo, Timeless, and Z: The Beginning of Everything are symptomatic of a trend in which the USA are repackaging, re-exploring, or perhaps even adapting their past. Whatever your political views, when looking at these films in the context of recent events in the USA, it could be argued that we are viewing a nation attempting to rediscover (and analyse) itself on screen. Unfortunately, 11.22.63 fails where other projects have succeeded.

11.22.63 R

CIARA MCKAY 11.22.63 aired on Sky Atlantic last year and is now available as a box set through NowTV. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, the programme combines horror, sci-fi and historical drama as it raises questions over the accepted version of events surrounding the assassination of JFK. It certainly appeals to those with an interest in conspiracy theories, asking if Lee Harvey Oswald really was the killer, if he acted alone, or if he was just a patsy. The first episode sets the scene nicely and immediately draws the audience in. The programme uses 1960s music, alongside some beautiful costumes (and cars!) to great effect – placing the viewer in a world which seems simultaneously familiar and strange. James Franco, playing Jake Epping, very much looks the part of the American everyman – it’s a rare programme which includes a makeover scene for its male lead! In this aesthetic respect, 11.22.63 is very successful. Sarah Gadon is a little two-dimensional as Franco’s love interest, Sadie Dunhill. She’s styled like Grace Kelly, but has few of her own thoughts. The readiness of Sadie, and others, to accept Jake’s story about his journey from the future rings a little falsely and it’s


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RECORDS AND REBELS AT THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM H IONA GLEN The V&A’s blockbuster exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’ takes the visitor on a kaleidoscopic tour of the Sixties, accompanied by a headset with a jamming soundtrack. It is a fun and sensory experience, crammed with a riot of colour, costumes, and memorabilia. The Sixties are presented as an era of unprecedented societal upheaval, the origin point for many present-day concer ns to do wit h environmentalism, the importance of political activism, and consumer culture. All the iconic elements from the time are represented here, from the Beatles to LSD, Twiggy to Vidal Sassoon, Barbarella to Andy Warhol, and the varied cultural scenes of London, San Francisco, and New York. An impressive array of 1960s relics have been collected, such as handwritten lyrics to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, shop signs from Carnaby Street, and paper mini-dresses that became posters after two wears. A room devoted to political upheaval and activism examines Maoism, the Vietnam war, the Paris

’68 protests, and the Black Panthers, showcasing posters championing causes such as civil rights and abortion. This is one of the most thought-provoking spaces, exploring the political dilemmas of ‘opt in’ and ‘opt out’; although, it is a shame that the women’s liberation movement and LGBT rights are not given as much space as they deserve. Another room recreates the Woodstock experience of 1969: visitors are invited to recline on bean bags set on artificial grass while surrounded by large screens playing the famous onstage performances, such as Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ The consistent focus on music throughout pulls the show together, as great tunes from the likes of Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones shift the tone of the exhibits through their different key changes. One major flaw, however, is the exhibition’s uncritical attitude towards the Sixties, which promotes the clichéd, mythologised view of an unparalleled epoch. This may make you look forward to the 1970s for the punk

backlash. Reflecting the nostalgic view so dominant in current popular culture, the exhibition appears to view the Sixties as the high-point of social change and creativity with subsequent events a poor comedown. At the end a video montage shows footage of post-60s global events, including the Miners’ Strikes, the destruction of the Twin Towers, and the Iraq War. A placard asks whether we still think we can change the world as hippy veterans reminisce about lost idealism; through the headset John Lennon sings ‘Imagine’ wistfully in our ears as we troop towards the gift shop. There is a sad irony running through the exhibition at times, especially when it lauds the activists who wanted to resist consumerism but exits past a large Sennhauser headphones advert. In these contradictions, the V&A’s ‘Records and Rebels’ manages to capture both the initial excitement and novelty of 1960s culture and society’s complicity with its subsequent commodification.


RETROSPECT JOURNAL

THE GREAT WAR COLUMN

TOWARD THE END: 1917 R

ASHLEIGH JACKSON

1916 had been a tumultuous year in the middle of the First World War. After the Battle of the Somme, many believed, and hoped, that it could not get any worse. 1917 proved that the war could only get worse. 2017 marks the centenary of the penultimate year of the war; another year of carnage before the eventual armistice in late 1918. It was 1917 that witnessed the entrance of the United States of America into the conflict, declaring war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Although not directly involved in the war until this point, the United States had supported the Allies by providing financial loans as well as resources before this point. In May 1915, a German attack on the Lusitania ship, carrying 128 US citizens led to President Woodrow Wilson’s warning that the United States would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare. In January 1917, the infamous Zimmermann Telegram announced the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare; much to the displeasure of the Americans. As a consequence of the war, the United States lost 110,000 soldiers. 2017 also marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The First World War had a major impact on Russian politics because it highlighted the incompetence of Tsar Nicholas II through the mobilisation of popular unrest. The February Revolution, triggered initially by a strike on International Women’s Day in St Petersburg, led to the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of the Provisional Government. The strikers lined the streets demanding an end to the war. Something Vladimir Lenin would later promise with his slogan ‘Peace, Land and Bread’. In the October Revolution, the Bolshevik seizure of power led to a ceasefire declared on 15 December 1917 following negotiations in November. However, it was not until 3 March 1918 that Russia officially exited the war as marked by the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The major battles of 1917 are recognisable even to those with little working knowledge of the war. One such conflict includes the Battle of Passchendaele alternatively known as ‘the battle of mud’ because of the treacherous

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conditions that resulted in an estimated 585,000 casualties. As well as Passchendaele, theatres of war stretch to the Ottoman Empire, with major conflicts also ongoing during the year. The First and Second Battles of Gaza occurred in March and April, as part of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The Ottoman Empire, backed by German forces, attacked the Suez Canal in early 1915, triggering a conflict with the British empire. The third year of the First World War claimed 247 of Edinburgh University Alumni. A glance through the university’s records highlights some of the aforementioned battles, highlighting their impact at home as well as on geopolitics. 1917 saw an increase in the number of Edinburgh University alumnus killed, from 167 in 1915 to 233 men in 1916, and 247 for 1917 and 1918. Robert Thorburn Adamson, a former arts student who graduated in 1914, was killed on 23 April 1917 at the Battle of Arras aged just 24 years old. Another alumnus killed in the same month was Archibald Ainslie, a medical student killed in action in Egypt after joining the army in December 1914. The University itself was going through its own changes during the year with a new Rector elected in 1917. David Beatty was a Royal Navy officer and held the rank of Admiral of the Fleet. His naval career spanned from the 1880s until his retirement in the 1930s, shortly before his death in 1936. Beatty played a significant role in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. At this point in his career he was Vice-Admiral, and during the battle famously remarked ‘there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today’, after two ships under his command exploded. Beatty’s role as Rector highlights a further connection between the university and the First World War. These stories serve to show that although the battles of the First World War occurred primarily in Europe, their impact was felt at the University of Edinburgh. 1917 witnessed a peak in the number of Edinburgh alumni killed in action, which is just another startling reminder of the scale of this war.


RETROSPECT JOURNAL

5 MINUTES WITH... DR ADAM BUDD R

REBECCA ROSSER

5 MINUTES WITH...

Dr Adam Budd arrived at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in 2008 and teaches an honours course entitled ‘Print Culture: Enlightenment in London and Edinburgh (1709-1814)’. As well as being a doubly-appointed lecturer in the schools of HCA and LLC, Adam is also a Widening Participation Officer and Director of the Sutton Trust Summer School history programme. I took Dr Budd’s Print Culture course last semester and after the first lecture I was hooked. Primarily, this was thanks to Adam whose explanations were as clear as crystal and whose passion is contagious. I met Adam in his office to interview him (or ‘undertake a micro-historical study’ as he said) on his understanding of history, the thoughts behind his historical approach, and the impact of these on his life. You are a really enthusiastic lecturer. How do you approach each lecture? I do not teach anything that I do not know and I assume that students will know more than me. I have been around longer and therefore, I have read more. But students know more. When I walk to a class, I know that there are going to be people from all over the world who will draw on their international experiences to create links that I have never thought of before. They will have questions and it is my job to answer them. So, I need to be sure of what I am teaching and know my subject very well. The librarian said that we would not find another lecturer like you. Did she actually? That is very kind. I think that both academics and students should have more contact with librarians. We study books and, where are the books? In the library! Who have them? Librarians! Librarians know about the books they have, they can guide you, offer very good recommendations and help you a lot. I do not understand barriers between librarians and the rest of the University community. How did you become interested in the Enlightenment and print culture? I was studying History at the University of Toronto and I took a course on English Literature. Surprisingly, I fell in love with

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literature when reading the longest novel written in English, Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa. Everything that I have studied since then has helped me put all the pieces together and understand it much better. You say that you are ‘ridiculously passionate about Widening Participation’. Why? Do you know how many students come [to Edinburgh] from state schools? 40 per cent! Widening Participation aims at raising the number of state school students pursuing a higher education, providing equal opportunities and acknowledging differences between student groups. So, I teach high school teachers how to teach history and inspire students every Saturday and I am working on the launch of History for Schools. Furthermore, as a lecturer and course director, I must assume that not everyone has a laptop, that not all students can afford a £3 coffee, that some have jobs, live far away or have family members to take care of. Therefore, I must bear in mind that not everyone socialises the same way and that the University has to provide friendly environments in which all students can form part of the university community and get to know each other. What is History for Schools? History for Schools is pilot programme in which history students attend low-attainment schools and work with high school students who are preparing to resit their National 4 History exams. We will try to use our skills and tools available here at the University to help those teenagers who lack these resources and opportunities. I am very excited about it and I hope it goes well. I have done this individually in the past but I have never done this with university students before so I am really really excited. After the interview, I was even more convinced that for Adam Budd, the Enlightenment is not simply a period of time of which he is an expert. It is also a way of analysing and connecting with the twentyfirst century’s globalisation, multiculturalism, integration, inequality politics, and technology.


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HISTORICAL FICTION

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ANNIVERSARY IN THE GULAG H

LEWIS TWIBY

The icy air formed in front of Fadeaushka’s face. Through hard labour, bullet, or cold, this is where I will die. He would have cried if he had not spent all his tears mourning his sister when she incurred the wrath of Stalin five years ago. Kestyor Camp was the most desolate place that he had ever had the misfortune to see. Barbed wire fences bedecked with ominous watchtowers loomed ahead of him. Peering out from their shelters were formidable looking young men armed with machine guns to cut down anyone foolish enough to dare escape before the elements could. “Walk,” the guard behind him ordered. “I’m observing my new home. Give me a minute,” he retorted. The guard hit him across the back with a rifle, sending a burning pain roaring across his spine. He sank to his hands and knees in pain, wheezing. The frosted grass crunched under him. Sorely, he spat out a bloody glob onto the freezing earth. For a brief moment spots swarmed over his eyes. How much I’ve fallen. “Get up!” the guard spat. “Up! Up!” Still wheezing, he managed to struggle to his feet. He looked his abuser square in the eye; eyes of someone barely old enough to shave holding only contempt towards him. “You could have some more respect. The only reason you’re standing here is because of me,” Fadeaushka growled indignantly. “I have no respect for those who collaborate with counter-revolutionaries. Now walk!” Begrudgingly, he did as asked by the barely pubescent guard. Twenty years ago he had been helping besiege the counterrevolutionaries in Petrograd, and now he was accused of being one himself. How could someone who left the Tsarist army, served the Bolsheviks in the Petrograd Soviet, and

fought the White Guard be a counterrevolutionary? With every step he took towards the barbed wire fencing, the thought that this would be the place where he would die sank in more and more. Even making him walk inside the gulag! That paranoid tyrant in the Kremlin probably ordered it himself so the guards could see the walk of shame of ‘one of Trotsky’s dogs’. In the watchtowers he could see the sun shining off of the machine guns. Twenty years ago his gun did not have the sun shining off of it. Twenty years ago Anna had sat next to him in the meeting. She had always been the stronger of the two of them. As the rabble was debating on how to treat the Kerensky government she had her hand on his shoulder. It was a small gesture but it helped him. This revolutionary group seemed so much less daunting, even to a soldier, with her by his side. Suddenly another soldier leaped up to the podium and yelled “Comrades!”He hardly remembered what the young soldier was saying except for his last words which would stay with him for the rest of his life. “No more resolutions! No more talk! We want deeds the power must be in our hands!” The audience had cheered so loudly that he feared that the plaster would fall from the hall’s roof. Anna’s ecstasy was so evident that he felt that she was making enough noise to raise the dead. Seeing her happiness he stood on his chair waving his rifle in the air like a patriotic child waving a flag when the war first broke out. That ecstasy spilled out onto the streets of Petrograd. He and Anna armed with barely functioning rifles, scurried away from the German front, cheered and cried outside the Winter Palace. They even shared a laugh about how she had enraptured with Trotsky. Together they had walked through the halls of the Palace, drunk off of victory

about the fall of the bourgeoisie and the rise of the workers’ revolution. Their euphoria was short lived. In hardly a year’s time Anna had been swallowed by the Bolshevik bureaucracy and he had joined Trotsky’s Red Army to face the White Guard. As Anna struggled to revitalize the Soviet economy he fought against the actual counterrevolutionaries. After the war Anna was shunted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while he got stationed in Vladivostok, ever fearful of the inevitable conflict with the imperialists in Japan. Their letters were limited. Then they stopped. For the last five years nothing. Every day he felt a part of him drifting further and further away. He had cried. Could she have starved in those horrific famines in the west? Had her contacts with Trotsky caused her to follow him into exile? Vladivostok seemed so much more desolate not knowing where she was. One telegram had changed his life. Exactly nineteen years to the day that the Winter Palace fell, he found out. How dare they have her arrested! How dare they accuse her of anti-revolutionary activities! She was a Soviet hero! He had decided to speak out. He spoke out and now he was here. In the gulag. A fist buried itself into his stomach sending him reeling. “Out of all the days for a traitor like you to come here it had to be twenty years since the start of the revolution which you betrayed.” His attacker was younger than he was but older than the armed youths. Too young to have known Lenin but old enough to be a Stalin crony. “You’ll love it here, traitor. Plenty of work to keep you busy, plenty of men for you, and no imperialists shooting at you. Welcome to Kestyor, my friend!” This is where I will die.


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HISTORICAL FICTION

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BANNOCKBURN H

GORDON THOMSON

It was hot and Robert Bruce could feel sweat running down his spine. His head burned beneath the rough links of his mail hood, and he was glad that, besides this, he wore no armour. He sympathised with the heavily armoured English knights of King Edward II who even now were approaching, although contemplation of their discomfort cheered him - it was one more thing in his favour and, God knew, he needed every advantage he could get. Assembled here today, Bruce had some six thousand infantry, formed up into four schiltrons with each man bearing a fifteen foot pike. The use of the schiltron to fight the English had been William Wallace’s innovation. Typically, a well-formed schiltron presented a bristling hedge of sharp spear points that could repel enemy infantry or stop a charge of mounted English knights. However, schiltrons had ultimately failed Wallace against Edward II’s predecessor, Edward Longshanks - shot to pieces by English longbowmen before the shattered remnants were cut down by Longshanks’ knights. The schiltrons’ doom had been their immobility, and Bruce reckoned that through intense training he had solved that problem, so that his schiltrons, after halting the enemy, could advance to push them back as Greek phalanxes had in ancient times. Of course, they would still be vulnerable to archers, but he hoped that the inexperienced enemy king would allow his overconfident knights to lead the attack. Edward II was not his father, and for that, Robert Bruce thanked God. Victory against Wallace at Falkirk sixteen years ago had made the enemy scorn Scottish pikemen, and Bruce prayed that his men would shock the proud English knights today. Quivering in anticipation, Bruce raised them to touch the gold circlet he wore as a crown. The cool metal calmed his fingertips, and he let his hands drop back to his side as he counted the factors in his favour. Firstly, he had chosen the battlefield. He knew the land intimately, having explored it extensively

in the previous weeks. To attack the Scottish position, the enemy had to cross a narrow ford that provided the only easy passage of the Bannock Burn. Once the English deployed on the other side, they would find themselves hemmed in by the stream to their backs and left, by the River Forth to their right, and by the Scots themselves who would be waiting in front of them atop a tiring slope. There would be no easy prospect of retreat for the English army. Secondly, Bruce had ordered his men to prepare pits and other traps that would hamper the enemy charge. Thirdly, the English were overconfident. It was good for soldiers to believe in victory when they fought, but there was, Bruce knew, a clear distinction between belief and arrogance. It was such arrogance that Bruce needed today to carry the English knights into the web he had woven for their destruction. If all went well, Bruce believed the Scots could win, even though they were outnumbered two to one. Looking round at his waiting men, Bruce saw doubt and fear. His men didn’t believe that they could win, and Bruce’s heart fell, for he knew that without belief all hope of victory was lost. Hearing splashing, he turned back and saw James Douglas crossing the ford with his small reconnaissance party. Walking his small white pony forward, Bruce met them perhaps thirty metres in front of the Scottish line. Douglas shouted as he reined in: ‘It is as you predicted- knights in the vanguard! Several hundred under Hereford!’ The closest Scottish pikemen heard him, and there was a gaggle of anxious voices. Bruce nodded, and then, bidding Douglas to return to his schiltron, gazed across the stream in the direction Douglas had come. It was not long before the English vanguard emerged from the woods on the far side of the stream, hundreds of mounted knights advancing at a brisk trot, the blue banner of the Earl of Hereford with its silver stripe and six gold

lions fluttering above them in the breeze. The terrified silence of Bruce’s men spoke volumes. Crossing the Bannock Burn, the knights halted maybe sixty metres from Bruce. A pair of riders walked their powerful warhorses out in front of the other riders. By his armorial bearing Bruce recognised Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Constable of England. The other man displayed the same arms, except with a red stripe instead of silver. Bruce reasoned that this must be Hereford’s nephew, Henry. Uncle and nephew conferred briefly, before the younger man lowered his lance-point and spurred his mount forward. Henry de Bohun quickly picked up speed, and the ground trembled beneath the hooves of his stallion as he charged. He was fully armoured, and his couched lance looked wickedly sharp. Out in front of his men, Bruce was conscious of how little armour he wore, of how puny was his pony to the Englishman’s war-horse. He knew that there was still time for him to ride away from this assailant, but he discarded the thought, knowing it would further dishearten his troops. Instead, Bruce took the small hand-axe that was his only weapon from where he had fastened it to his saddle. Beneath the grey steel of his great helm Henry de Bohun must have smiled, as astride his mighty steed he bore down on the Scottish King, victory for his army and great renown for himself just a lance-blow away. At the last moment, Bruce dug in his heel, and his faithful pony side-stepped in obedience. As de Bohun’s lance-point passed him by, King Robert raised himself in his stirrups, before striking the English knight’s helm with all his strength. The blow cut through steel and bone, and as his horse thundered on, Henry de Bohun toppled lifeless from the saddle. As Robert Bruce heard the deafening cheers of the Scottish army, he knew now they believed in victory.


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Profile for Retrospect Journal & Magazine

Eras & Epochs SP/SU 2017 No.20  

Our 10th Anniversary Issue is a celebration of all Retrospect Journal has achieved in 10 years. Find interesting articles that deal with the...

Eras & Epochs SP/SU 2017 No.20  

Our 10th Anniversary Issue is a celebration of all Retrospect Journal has achieved in 10 years. Find interesting articles that deal with the...

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