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Archive for 'History'


A good interview on National Public Radio with Prof. Deborah Lipstadt about the new film “Denial,” based on the legal challenge she faced from David Irving in 1996 after she called him a Holocaust denier.

Here’s the trailer. Avoid the comments if you don’t want to have your stomach turned. Apparently Irving is a martyr to [...]

And Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia…

It is now illegal in Vladimir Putin’s Russia to publish the historical fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland in September 1939 and divided that country between themselves.
The Human Rights in Ukraine website reports:
37-year-old Vladimir Luzgin was convicted in July this year by the Perm District Court and fined 200 thousand roubles. [...]

Free funerals in 1941

A funeral home in Roanoke, Virginia, placed this advertisement in the Roanoke Times on September 7, 1941– three months before Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.

But even if you weren’t a German Nazi or an Italian Fascist– $75 for a funeral? At those prices, you couldn’t afford to live.

Neoconservatism: A Lament

In 2003 I did not just support the Iraq War, I supported an ideology associated with many of the most vocal proponents of that war: neoconservatism. The purpose of this post is not to criticise Tony Blair for his decision to go to war, although one has to admit that Iraq in 2016 is not [...]

Happy Independence Day

Unfortunately the festivities here in Lexington, Virginia, have been cancelled due to rain (I was going to work at the Democratic party booth), but I hope all our American readers are enjoying the Fourth of July holiday.
Via Politico, here are some contemporary cartoons to mark the occasion and remind us that (for better or worse) [...]

Elie Wiesel’s wisdom

As President Obama said in a heartfelt tribute:
Elie was not just the world’s most prominent Holocaust survivor, he was a living memorial. After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten – [...]

A comment on Hiroshima Revisionism

There is no getting round the fact that over 100,000 people and possibly as many as 200,000 died as a result of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, most of them innocent civilians. People are entitled to their own moral judgement on these acts, but that does not mean to say [...]

Alternate history

Would the reelection of President William Howard Taft in 1912 have prevented World War II?
Wade Gilley, who served in the cabinet of a Republican governor of Virginia and held appointments in the administration of President Ronald Reagan, thinks it’s a possibility.
Writing in The Roanoke Times about how a split in the Republican party, and an [...]

The Rebel Yell on Facebook

My piece on the railways made the obvious point that as trains were an unstoppable technology transforming society, so for us are computers. We have seen from recruiting jihadis and social media exchanges, which was one thing that stoked up the Yes vote in the indyref, how the internet is changing politics.
This article by Kevin [...]

The Railways: Nation, Network and People by Simon Bradley

I’d like to be magisterial and say The Railways: Nation, Network and People by Simon Bradley is the definitive work, or as comprehensive a book as you can find on the history of Britain’s railways. I’d like even more to be the happy pedant, pointing out lacunae in the description of how Britain adopted the [...]