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Posts from the ‘Second World War’ Category

25
Jan
Franz Ferdinand and Sophie embark on their final journey

The Uncertainties of Contingency: What if Franz Ferdinand didn’t die in 1914?

I have stood at the very spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot by Gavrilo Princip 100 years ago. And the impossible “What If” question occurred to me even then. So when I noticed that eminent historian Ned Lebow had published an examination of the issue, I leapt at it. The assassination was such a fluke, so preventable, so absurd that the yearning for a different outcome of that moment is great. As he says at the start (having summarised some of the counterfactual options),

None of these what-ifs strains our understanding of the world because most royal processions do not stray from their intended routes, and most security details would have rushed the archduke and his wife to safety at the first signs of violence. In this instance, the so-called factual, not the counterfactual, is what strikes us as unrealistic and incredible. (p16) Read more »

1
Jan
Nat Geo 125 - Chris Johns - Kalahari

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 64 (January 2014)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sacred Treasure

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1
Dec
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 63 (December 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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20
Nov
duke humfrey bodleian library

Odds and ends: some random book reviews on China, Marriage… and Auschwitz

So, there’s been seriously long radio-silence from Q in recent weeks. But this is not the result of inactivity. Far from it. Regulars will be pleased to hear that my book is seriously under way – with 5 out of 10 chapters now completed in draft. Phew!! There’s going to be lots to blog on when it’s done – but I don’t have the energy or brain to do both at the same time! Nevertheless, I’ve been keeping up reading and stuff. Here are a few reviews of recent freebies I got on the Amazon Vine programme. There might be something of interest to someone… Read more »

1
Nov
rainbow favela

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 62 (November 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
Oct
Your rainbow panorama - Olafur Eliasson

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 61 (October 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
Sep
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 60 (September 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
Aug
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 59 (August 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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5
Jul
Operation Fortitude

Friday Fun 45: Exposing an enemy’s deception with some wartime humour

Operation Fortitude was a crucial, bold, almost insane, factor in the success of D-Day in 1944. It was a hugely elaborate hoax, to make the enemy believe that the Allies’ continental invasion would happen across the straits of Calais (Fortitude South) and from Scotland into Norway (Fortitude North). Read more »

1
Jul
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 58 (July 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
Jun
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 57 (June 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
May
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 56 (May 2013)

A brief plug before this outing. Someone asked how I keep track of various internet things. My secret is the wonder that is Pocket. People send me stuff or I see stuff on my RSS reader (NetNewsWire if you’re interested), and then I click pocket in the browser – and can then check them out off-line on my phone on trains and tubes etc. Simple really – so there you are.

Sacred Treasure

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9
Apr
1945_-_Hamburg

Forging a future out of a pandemic of tragedy: Rhidian Brook’s The Aftermath

The months immediately after the close of the Second World War were confusing. One minute the Allies had been dropping bombs on Germany (as Col Lewis Morgan, the protagonist in Rhidian Brook‘s The Aftermath, points out, more bombs fell on Hamburg in one weekend than fell on the London in the entire war), the next they were dropping lifeline supplies in the Berlin Airlift of ’48-’49. The disorientation this must have brought for ordinary Germans is articulated by some so-called ferals (kids living in the ruins of the city): Read more »

7
Apr
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 55 (April 2013)

Oooooops – this is seriously late!! Many apologies. Been rather a busy week and completely forgot to post this!

Sacred Treasure

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24
Mar
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

As If These Walls Had Tears: Reflections on Berlin’s Holocaust memorial

Apparently there were only 19 hours of sunshine in Berlin between 1st January and 22nd March – a record low. Such absolute greyness is oppressive. But in recent weeks, there have also been huge snowfalls. The result is an eerily monochrome world. Not ideal for taking sightseers’ photographs. But somehow appropriate for a visit to Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Read more »

1
Mar
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 54 (March 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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1
Feb
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 53 (February 2013)

Sacred Treasure

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22
Jan
Sveta & Lev Mishchenko early

The Gulag Shawshank: Lev & Sveta Mishchenko in ‘Just Send Me Word’

The proverbial ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ could have been minted especially for Lev Mishchenko, one half of the extraordinary couple at the heart of Orlando Figes’ Just Send Me Word. Before completing his science studies in Moscow, he was whisked away to the Nazi front. Soon after, he was captured and spent considerable time as a German POW. As a German-speaker, he was able to make himself useful – though he resolutely refused to become a German spy. That wasn’t enough to prevent him from being convicted as one on his release – for which his sentence was death, commuted to 10 years hard labour in Siberia. Read more »

1
Jan
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 52 (January 2013)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to a great 2013!

Sacred Treasure

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1
Dec
q-treasure-map-2011

Q marks the spot – Treasure Map 51 (December 2012)

Sacred Treasure

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