Modern

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The Military History Behind the Vagrancy Act

The 1824 Vagrancy Act – which criminalises rough sleeping – has become the subject of public debate after Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, committed to repeal it in the event of a Labour government. A parliamentary debate on the Act, organised by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, is due to take place in March. With the recent rise in homelessness across the […]

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The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution of January 1959, the Bay of Pigs Invasion of April 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 were events of worldwide significance. All three of these events were, in very different ways, remarkable military collisions. Marking the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, we take a detailed look at this epic struggle against the odds.

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The Vietnam War

MHM Editor Neil Faulkner reviews Ken Burns’ new 18-hour blockbuster The Vietnam War, and compares it to three other great TV war documentaries of the last half-century. What was most shocking about Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War ? It wasn’t the atrocities. It wasn’t the Vietcong prisoner murdered in cold blood on the streets of Saigon. It wasn’t […]

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Krystyna Skarbek: the SOE’s silent killer

Clare Mulley on the daring exploits of a highly decorated WWII special agent. Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, was the first woman to work for Britain as a special agent during the Second World War. She was also the longest-serving. Her extraordinary contribution to the Allied effort in three theatres of the war led to […]

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The Matabele Wars

We know the story. Goaded into a hopeless war by an expanding colonial empire, thousands of warriors rise against their oppressors – and inadvertently spawn a legend. There is a twist: this action takes place in present-day Zimbabwe. While we are very familiar with the struggle for South Africa and the desperate encounters at Isandhlwana, Rorke’s Drift, and Ulundi during the Zulu War of 1879, this was only the beginning of a generation of brutal conflict across the ‘dark continent’.

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Jane Austen: a wartime writer?

War and violence are the last things one would associate with that 19th-century doyenne of English literature, Jane Austen. Ambles in the countryside, flirtatious glances, frocks with lace and frills, and the relentless pursuit of wealthy bachelors are the more likely images conjured by her name.

Yet conventional interpretations of the novelist’s work lack reference to a crucial context – that of war. For most of Jane Austen’s life, Britain was involved in conflicts of varying existential significance across the globe.

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Kaiserschlacht, Spring 1918

Could the Germans have won the First World War in 1918? Almost certainly. A quarter of a century later, the tide of war would turn irretrievably against Hitler’s Third Reich in 1942/1943. The massive industrial power of the Soviet Union and the United States combined – still rising towards a wartime peak –guaranteed eventual defeat. The outcome was far more open in 1917/1918.

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Interview: Mark Bowden on Vietnam

‘Easily the bloodiest single battle fought in the war.’ Mark Bowden, the journalist and acclaimed author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo, talks about his new book Hué 1968.

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Lee and Jackson

What is the role of the individual in history? The collaboration between Robert E Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson changed the course of the American Civil War. Before Lee’s appointment, and his choice of Jackson as second-in-command, the conflict would likely have ended in 1862. We look back at one of history’s great military partnerships.

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Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: 1914-1918

As the years draw on, the events of the First World War slowly fade from living memory. Scattered across the globe, the battlefields – once witness to the carnage of industrialised slaughter – today rest in relative peace.

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