He was a German-born spy who served in the trenches during the Great War. Like many others who survived this hell on earth, he admired Communist efforts in Russia to change the world’s ideologies, and joined the Communist Party, for which he worked as an agent for the Comintern in Shanghai. His cover job was as editor at a German news agency. (more…)
It is said that in the early part of the thirteenth century, English fish dealers working on the long eastern coast at places like Grimsby and Yarmouth were in a sad state of near-bankruptcy because their regular customers from the Baltic Sea and Russia had ceased to call with their fish. The populace had to make do with herrings, which came from the North Sea and in abundance. But what had happened to the Russian fishermen? (more…)
The fight between the Japanese and Russia was (and is) significant because it was all about control of both Manchuria and Korea. The Japanese launched an unexpected and unheralded assault on Russian warships anchored in their Manchurian naval base at Port Arthur. Pearl Harbor 37 years later was a sequel (Port Arthur now has another name of course).
Gerald Templer, a boy destined for military honours if ever there was one, was born in 1898. After joining up as a boy soldier he rose rapidly through the ranks to become a Field Marshal. He was a fighting soldier as opposed to a headquarters mapman, and commanded the 6th Armoured Division in World War II.
He was vice-chief of what used to be called the Imperial General Staff when there was still an Empire needing a general staff, and then he was made High Commissioner in Malaya (1952 – 54) during the high moments of the Malayan Emergency. (more…)
The Christian Church first came into Britain through the north of Ireland and Scotland, probably with St. Augustine. The Roman Catholic Church was soon established throughout Ireland, Scotland and England, ruled inexorably from Rome by the Pope. The Pope’s bishops then ruled both the Church and much more, in association with kings of England when they established themselves. The first king of all England was a Norman Viking called William the Conquerer, and he was a Catholic and a bastard. (more…)
Mistakes made by leaders of powerful countries have been legion throughout history. Enormous losses in the human and animal races have been the result. It is arguable that had George V of England and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany not disliked each other, and had had more control over the ambitions of their respective political leaders, there would not have been a First World War. Again, if Blair, Aznar and Barroso had exhibited more guts on that island in the Azores, they might have persuaded George Bush Jun. to stop telling himself and them what he (and they) knew to be a lie – that Saddam was storing massively dangerous secret weapons in Iraq – and better methods than medieval ones could have been used to depose a dictator. And 100,000 Iraquies would not have died, nor nearly 4000 young servicemen and women from the USA. (more…)
University students and high school seniors always come across these two words ‘Carolingian’ and ‘Caroline’ – the latter in reference to some remote islands – not to Queen Caroline of Somewhere. Let us delve a bit and find out more about both.
The Carolingian Empire refers to a mass of territories in Western Europe, ruled by the family of Charlemagne (q.v.) who lived from 768 – 814. Believe it or not the word ‘Carolingian’ derives from Charlemagne, and the complete phrase refers to a dynasty.
Ancestors of Charlemagne, Frankish aristocrats all, fought their way to supreme power under the Merovingian Kings – and from this we discover the origin of the term ‘Carolingian’. It was Charlemagne’s father Pepin III (son of Charles Martel q.v. and also known as ‘The Short’ who deposed the last of the Merovingians, Childeric III. (more…)
The word itself – ‘Communist’ – was certainly first heard as long ago as the 1840s. Both Karl Marx (q.v.) and his promoter Engels used the word, but it was not until after the Russian Revolution (q.v.) of 1917 that fervid Marxists detached themselves from the more moderate Social Democrat Parties, to form groups (and committees) called Communist Parties. In Russia, Bolsheviks did not officially adopt the term until 1918. When the news of the shooting of the royal family spread, it was considered wise to tone down the ‘Ekaterinburg/Bolshevik’ connection, replacing ‘bolshevik’ by a little-known word. There had been ‘Communes’ in Europe, especially in France, but ‘Communists’ was something new. (more…)
The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity. There are many Christian churches, but all accept the two sections of it: the Hebrew scriptures, which we know as the Old Testament, and the Christian writings, known as the New Testament. Roman Catholics, among other Christian churches, accept a third section known as the Apocrypha. This was included in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint).
We are now well launched into the year two thousand and eleven – eleven years after a change of century. As the infamous 20th gradually diminishes in our memory, with its two World Wars, the tentacles of Socialism and the mostly blind grasp of Capitalism dulling our minds, it is satisfying to know that according to U.N. statistics, 200,000 persons will be lifted out of extreme poverty during each day of 2011. What is classified as extreme poverty? Living on $1.25 or equivalent per day. Which is all very well for the rest of Europe and the world, but what about a country where more than a million and half people have no income whatsoever?