A half-dozen of the planet’s most important countries are now infected by the nationalist mosquito. Europe (after the Second War) invented a large country called Yugoslavia which has again been divided into different nations in order to provide more jobs for high-earning politicians as well as to keep Balkan nations from reaching for each other’s throat. Spain has its autonomous community Cataluña itching for total independence, and threatening the country’s elected government in everything from school curriculuae to the language to be spoken in the courtroom. Scotland already has its own Parliament in Edinburgh, where no seats are held by anyone English. The British Parliament in Westminster has a multitude of seats occupied by Scotsmen. Continue reading →
Here you see an ancient photograph of a very 20th century man who was actually born in the 19th. Can you figure out who he is? Let us know in the Comments section. This is (I hope) the first of a series. Continue reading →
Monnet (1888 – 1979) was, if not the progenitor, at least the clever uncle of the European Union. He was an able administrator and economist who devised and became the chief commissioner of a project that bears his name, whose object was to restore the French economy by means of a centralised planning system. But he was also an internationalist who was forever campaigning for European unification.
Monnet it was who worked out the details of the Schuman Plan, before French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman put it forward. The Plan aimed (at first) to pool the resources of the coal and steel industries of France and (what was then) West Germany, following a common authority that other European nations might join. It was 9 May, 1950; this was the first indication of what should have been a mutually beneficial European common market. Continue reading →
In our last post (No. 300) we took a brief look at the Finnish-Russian War of 1939/40. This war was incalculably important in the history of the twentieth century, but few historians have applied themselves to it. Here we take a broader look at Finland itself. Continue reading →
I would need to be told what other EU countries do about charging road tax to vehicle owners. In Britain it is simply called Road Tax, and you pay according to type of vehicle. The annual sum is set by the government of the day, and the quite enormous income generated by the Tax is supposedly used in the maintenance of roads and everything to do with them. It does not matter if you live in North Yorkshire or South Devon, you will pay the same road tax according to what vehicle you use. It is well known that ‘Spain in Different’, and in the case of the Rodaje the difference is stupefying. Continue reading →
This place of almost unequalled beauty used to be the smallest of the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia. It borders on Serbia in the north/east, Abania to the south, and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the north/west. There is a long coastline, one of its chief contributions to aesthetic pleasure, lying on the Adriatic. Continue reading →
The first is a co-Principality, and the second a Grand Duchy. Both are tiny, but significant in questions of tourism and politics. Andorra lies between France and Spain, a beautiful landscape of hills and valleys at around 900 metres, sometimes rising to peaks at 2900 metres (9,600 feet). The country is bisected by the River Valira, which provides for three distinct natural regions – valleys of the North and East Valira, and the Grand Valira. The peaks are snow-covered during several months of the year. Continue reading →
Miklós Horthy de Nagybanya was born in 1868. He was destined to become an Admiral, and Regent while King Charles of Hungary was in exile. He was a member of a senior Protestant land-owning family, but instead of the army he trained in the Navy. Continue reading →
In other sections of this history blog can be found brief lives of Franklin Roosevelt (All American Presidents) and Joseph Stalin. Joined by Churchill at a number of special meetings at the end of the Second World War, these three supremely powerful grandfathers divided up the world; they awarded nation after nation to Stalin’s Soviet Russia, thus leading to the Iron Curtain, Russo/American political conflict, the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Berlin Wall, the astonishing rise of The American Empire (qv) and the inevitable fall of the British Empire (qv).
Both these resounding names refer to a national defence system. They are, respectively, German and French. The principal difference between the two is that the former was erected in France by the Germans in World War I; the latter by the French between 1929 and 1934 on their own eastern frontier.