World War II

July 14th

On July 14th, 1940, Britain faced existential danger. Hitler’s forces had crushed all opposition across continental Europe and now stood poised to invade southern England. July 14th is, of course, the French national holiday, Bastille Day, the day the French people...

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V1 Vergeltungswaffe (Revenge Weapon)

In June 1944, exactly one week after D-Day, and 77 years ago this month, the first V1s started landing in England. By the end of the month dozens were landing on London every day. Like many armaments the V1 was both an engineering triumph and a ruthless weapon. The V1...

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D-Day, June 6th, 1944

I cannot let today go by without reflecting on the extraordinary events that took place 77 years ago today: June 6th, 1944: D-Day! Everyone knows the images of brave men emerging from landing craft and wading ashore under a hail of fire, to begin the process of...

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Things that Plague Us

In follow-up to comments and questions arising from my last blog, which contrasted the current Covid epidemic with the ‘Spanish flu’ epidemic exactly 100 years ago, here is some more woeful data. (To cheer us up before delving into that, let me recall the late, great,...

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The Winter of Our Discontent — and the Hope of Summer

Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Richard III, Shakespeare As 2020 slouches into the past—and good riddance—it seems that this winter is...

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Happy Christmas

History is filled with acts of barbarity, and modern history has more than its share. One of the most barbaric battlefields was the Western Front in World War I, when the two sides were locked in an endless and brutal war of attrition, each side dug into a complex...

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