Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 4 March 2014

The final exam before war

Professor Margaret Snowdon’s definitive account of the history leading up to the outbreak of the First World War (The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War) includes a snippet showing how clearly the French anticipated invasion. The final exam at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (one of France’s leading military academies) in 1913 had a question that asked the candidates how they deal with Germany invading Belgium.

The British still operated in the Indian-Chinese opium trade until 1910

The supply of opium for the huge Chinese market came mostly from India, where opium became a major export. This lucrative export was orchestrated by the British, first from the East India Company and then directly through the state. It was not until 1910 that the Chinese convinced Britain to dismantle the India-China opium connection.