Prominent nationalists at the Sivas congress. Left to right: Muzaffer Kılıç, Rauf (Orbay), Bekir Sami (Kunduh), Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), Ruşen Eşref (Ünaydın), Cemil Cahit (Toydemir), Cevat Abbas (Gürer) See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A slice of Turkey

The Paris Peace Conference was tasked with setting the peace terms for the Central Powers after their defeat in the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles dealt with the principal belligerent, Germany. It was, however, accompanied by four less well known treaties dealing with the other countries. The Treaty of Sèvres was drawn up to deal with the Ottoman Empire but, by the time it came to be signed, the Sick […]

British 55th (West Lancashire) Division troops blinded by tear gas await treatment at an Advanced Dressing Station near Bethune during the Battle of Estaires, 10 April 1918, part of the German offensive in Flanders By Thomas Keith Aitken (Second Lieutenant) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Unleashing the suffocating cloud

The Second Battle of Ypres (1915) is the conventional starting point for the terrible chemical warfare that would characterize the middle years of conflict on the Western Front. It was indeed the first battle in which poisonous gas attacks played a part in the western theatre. But it was not the first time chemical weapons were used in the war. That dubious distinction goes to the Battle of Bolomov, a skirmish between the Germans and […]

Ganz Deutschland hört den Führer mit dem Volksempfänger - All of Germany hears the Fuhrer on the People's Sender - propaganda poster c. 1933

Achtung, achtung!

In George Orwell’s 1984, the complete dominance of the dystopian dictatorship is reinforced by the unavoidable presence of telescreens.  Ubiquitous and without an off button, they ensured that Big Brother was not only watching you, but speaking to you at all times. Nazi Germany investigated the possibility of a radio equivalent, which, if implemented, would have taken the Third Reich even closer to mirroring the fictional account it partially inspired. The Nazi […]

George Cruikshank's cartoon of Little Boney gone to Pot depicting Bonaparte on Elba

History Carnival 134

The History Carnival is coming to town! And what it lacks in coconut shies, tombolas and carousels it more than makes up for in fascinating new history blogging. This month, the Carnival features a rich smorgasbord of delights, with everything from Victorian diagnosis of mental illness to heliocentric heresy and a dollop of early modern surgical implements and economic history making this a particularly mouthwatering post.  For those new to the History Carnival, it is a monthly round […]


An unfortunate tête-a-tête

Maréchal Pétain’s journey from war hero to traitor was so complete that it surprised those who had not kept abreast of developments. The result was a rather surprising encounter between Charles de Gaulle and General Pershing. General John J. Pershing was the great commander of the American forces in World War I. He led the US efforts on the western front alongside Maréchal Pétain (Commander-in-Chief of the French Army) and Field Marshal […]


Ticket to Vokzal

Why is the word for a main railway station in Russian named after the unprepossessing London area of Vauxhall? The Russian word for a main train station is Vokzal (воксал). Say it out loud – does it remind you of anything? Say it in a suitably English accent, and it sounds like Vauxhall. Is this a coincidence, or is there an etymological connection between this minor suburban railway station on the London […]

A stimulating proposition

Quantitative easing is a new name for an old concept – governments taking a role in stimulating flagging or flat-lining economies.   Old fashioned economic stimulus has a new name for the twenty-first century. Concepts such as Keynesianism, state intervention and pump priming have been replaced by quantitative easing. According to Bob McTeer, quantitative easing is “different from traditional monetary policy only in its magnitude and pre-announcement of amount and timing.” And if we accept […]