Europe

From the fall of Napoleon to Revolution in Russia and from the rise of Hitler to the fall of the Berlin Wall this period is one of major upheaval in Europe. We see the collapse of monarchies and empires and the changing status of women and working men. This is a time that witnesses the mass displacement of peoples and genocide on a scale never seen before it is also a time that sees changes in medicine and technology that make fundamental changes to our everyday lives. Read more

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  • After the revolution: did Cromwell, Washington and Bonaparte betray revolutionary principles?

    Article

    This article examines the aftermath of three epoch-making periods of change – the English, American, and French Revolutions. A comparison of the trio of military commanders who gained power as a direct consequence of these upheavals reveals how the very political radicalism which brought them to power also threatened to...

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  • From Lithuania to Lancashire: life and death in the pursuit of freedom

    Article

    In this article, Simon Bromiley explores the history of twentieth-century Lithuania through the life of his grandfather. He experienced much of its difficult history, including the Soviet annexation of 1940 and the German invasion and occupation of the following year. The article follows him as he made a new life for himself in...

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  • How Sweden almost became a nuclear-armed state – and why it didn’t

    Article

    This article examines the conditions under which Sweden considered and subsequently pursued nuclear weapons. After failing to secure the establishment of a Scandinavian defence union, the Swedish government initially viewed nuclear arms as an effective means to safeguard the country’s neutrality. Owing to technical limitations, reassessments on the value of such...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Musée Carnavalet, Paris

    Article

    Until it was overtaken in the twentieth century by Berlin and Moscow, Paris was the political, cultural and revolutionary hub around which Europe revolved.  When the revolutionary Parisian crowd trudged out to Versailles in 1789 to attack the chateau and bring the king and his family back to the capital, they...

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  • Out and About in Stockholm

    Article

    When Désirée Clary – wife of French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte – arrived in Stockholm in 1811, she was appalled. It was true that she would eventually become Queen Desideria of Sweden and Norway, her husband having been elected heir-presumptive to the throne the previous year. But she left her new capital...

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  • Film: Why has Monarchy survived in Europe?

    Article

    In the lead-up to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, Dr Bob Morris joined the HA Virtual Branch in March 2022 to consider why the monarchy has survived in Europe.  Dr R. M. (Bob) Morris is a Senior Honorary Research Associate at the Constitution Unit, University College London. He was formerly a...

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  • The Great Spa Towns of Europe: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    Article

    Catherine Lloyd introduces us to an international heritage initiative to celebrate ‘spa’ culture. From ancient times, people believed that gods and spirits brought the means of natural healing. Step back in time to imagine an eerie wilderness, a glade in a wood, or a pool by a river, where the snow...

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  • Film: The Partitions of Poland-Lithuania (1772-1795)

    Article

    Karin Friedrich recently joined the Virtual Branch to discuss aspects of its complex history in her talk on the partitions of Poland, their repercussions for German-Polish relations and their legacy. Professor Friedrich is chair in Early Modern European History at the University of Aberdeen, co-director of the Centre for Early Modern...

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  • Real Lives: The Russian hermit of Cornwall’s caves

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Capturing public opinion during the Paris Commune of 1871

    Article

    In the year of its 150th anniversary, Jason Jacques Willems offers his thoughts on the importance of centrist opinion to our understanding of the Paris Commune. 2021 is the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, when a revolutionary Parisian movement was pitted against the French government. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870...

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  • Film: Life and Death in Occupied France

    Article

    Robert Pike joined the HA Virtual Branch to discuss the research for his latest book Silent Village: Life and Death in Occupied France. This work explores life in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane before, during and after the infamous massacre and destruction by Nazi Germany that took place on 10 June...

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  • German universities under the Nazis

    Article

    In this article A.D. Harvey draws out the influence that Nazism and Nazi practices had on German universities and their staff. He explores how some university professors were active members of the party while others saw a chance of advancement by becoming conduits of the Nazi ideas. Finally he considers...

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  • Real Lives: Surviving the War in the Soviet Union: recollections of a child deportee

    Article

    This 'Real Lives' piece is based on a series of interviews Annette Ormanczyk carried out in 2019 with Mrs Irena Persak, who was deported as a five-year-old child with her family in February 1940. As well as offering a fascinating personal account of life in the Soviet Union during the Second...

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  • History Abridged: The Berlin Conference 1884–1885

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). See all History Abridged articles In 2020 there was lots...

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  • Blood and Iron: the violent birth of modern Germany

    Article

    Katja Hoyer discusses Germany’s unification 150 years ago: an event that cast a long shadow over the troubled young nation and would alter the course of European and world history. Shivering in the cold winter air that drifted in through the windows of his temporary residence in Paris, Wilhelm I, King...

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  • Why was it so important to see Dunkirk as a triumph rather than a disaster in 1940?

    Article

    Karin Doull investigates the perceptions of the outcome of the Dunkirk evacuation within the contextual framework of the time at which it occurred. In May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and a proportion of the French First Army group had withdrawn, under heavy fighting to the port of Dunkirk on the...

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  • Origins of the European financial markets

    Article

    This article is transcribed from a 2015 podcast given by Dr Anne Murphy of the University of Hertfordshire. In it Dr Murphy looks at the early origins of the European financial markets from the Italian Renaissance to the present day, as well as providing a useful introduction to finance, the stock market and the bond market....

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  • Architecture within the reach of all

    Article

    Roisin Inglesby introduces us to the life and work of a lesser known member of the Arts and Crafts movement, Arthur Heygate  Mackmurdo, who helped to change the face of European architecture and interior design. Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (1851–1942) may not be a household name, but he is arguably one of the most significant figures in British design...

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  • On Black Lives Matter

    Article

    2020 has been an interesting year in many ways – both as a year to make history and one that has sought to tackle many representations of the past. The Black Lives Matter campaign that has taken on new energy across the globe in response to the killing of a...

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  • Exploring Twentieth-Century History

    Article

    For a long time, history curricula on the 20th century prioritised the narrative of a slide from World War I to World War II and fascism above many other topics. But the history of the 20th century is both far more complicated and far more interesting than that. For the historians writing here, the...

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