History Today

History Today is a monthly magazine published by History Today, Ltd. Founded in 1951, it is owned by Andy Patterson and has a circulation of roughly 30,000 subscribers. Headquarters are based in London, England.The magazine, which is geared towards teachers, students, and those with an interest in history, publishes essays written by some leading history scholars covering myriad periods, regions, topics, and themes in history. It is available in print and online.The print version was founded by Brendan Backen, who worked as the Minister of Information during World War II. He was also the publisher of the Financial Times. Currently, both print and online versions are published under the vision and guide of editor-in-chief, Paul Lay.History Today offers readers articles ranging from atomic medicine to the rise and fall of empires. Each essay comes with illustrations selected by picture editor Sheila Corr. The web edition includes a news digest from web editor, Kathryn Hadley.Subscribers can buy an annual subscription for either the web or print version. Web subscribers can also purchase access to articles from the publication's archives dating back to 1980. The magazine also has a sister publication, History Review, which is aimed at students and is published three times each year.

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 9, September

Edward, Mrs Simpson and the Divorce Law: Stephen Cretney Investigates Whether the Government Colluded in the Suppression of Evidence That Might Have Prevented Wallis Simpson's Divorce and Royal Marriage
ON DECEMBER 11TH, 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated so that he could 'marry the woman he loved', the American Mrs Wallis Warfield Simpson. But in fact Mrs Simpson was a married woman and so not free to marry the King, or anyone else for that matter....
House of Collection: Will Palin Recalls the Labour of Love Behind the Architect and Collector Sir John Soane's Efforts to Create His Home and Museum on London's Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Tells of the Major Restoration Project That Marks the 250th Anniversary Year of Soane's Birth
AT BREAKFAST ONE MORNING IN November 1823, George Tyndale of No.12 Lincoln's Inn Fields was disturbed by the sound of demolition men at work. For the long-suffering solicitor this was nothing new. It was simply the start of another building project...
Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Major League Baseball
BASEBALL HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY cited as crucial to understanding much of American society. 'Whoever would understand the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game', Jacques Barzun once wrote. For Mark Twain,...
Joseph Chamberlain Resigns as Colonial Secretary: September 14th, 1903
AFTER MAKING A fortune in industry in Birmngham and building a power base there, Joseph Chamberlain entered national politics as a Liberal MP in 1876. He served under Gladstone, but in 1886 broke with him over home rule for Ireland, led the Liberal...
Marriage of Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy: September 12th, 1953
THE WEDDING was Celebrated at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Newport, Rhode Island, on a crisp, sunny day. A breeze whipped up whitecaps in the bay as waves of publicity powered by the groom's father, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy: drew crowds to...
Meeting the Costs of the Hunt: Kyle Jones Unearths the Real Expense Involved in Riding to Hounds
FOX-HUNTING in Britain now looks doomed. Or could there be a last-minute stay of execution? If it does survive, it will be by the skin of its teeth and as some form of pest control. There is one certainty. It will never again be referred to as 'sport'....
Never Alone with a Strand
SIGNAL THE CLOSING of the circle and the coming together of two strands in our history.' These were the terms in which Nelson Mandela, living symbol of the long road to freedom and justice for black South Africans, recently described the foundation...
On Top of the World: R.I. Moore Celebrates the Life and Achievements of John Roberts, Leading Scholar of World History
JOHN ROBERTS, who died on May 30th, 2003, did more than any British historian since Trevelyan to advance the public understanding of history. As editor of Purnell's History of the Twentieth Century, published in monthly parts between 1967 and 1969,...
Propaganda and the First Cold War in North Russia, 1918-1919: Antony Lockley Examines the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and the Propaganda Battle between the Bolshevik and British Forces on the Archangel Front
LITTLE HAS BEEN WRITTEN about British involvement in the Russian Civil War (1918-21). Yet following the Bolshevik seizure of power in November 1917, the British government supplied 'White Russian' forces with millions of pounds of aid, enabling them...
Red-Color News Soldier: What Led Li Zhengsheng, a Chinese Newspaper Photographer, to Preserve Vivid Images of the Cultural Revolution, Even at Enormous Personal Risk?
CHINA'S CULTURAL Revolution, which ran from 1966-70 and continued to reverberate around the country until Mao's death six years later, is an episode as opaque to Westerners as any in recent history. At the time 'China watchers', perched in Hong Kong...
Striking a Blow for Freedom: Jad Adams Traces the Momentous and Paradoxical Consquences of a Failed Assassination Attempt
DASHING ITALIAN PATRIOT Felice Orsini received a rapturous welcome in England in 18515. He was the embodiment of romantic nationalism: a handsome revolutionary who had suffered for his beliefs, who had recently made a daring escape from a brutal prison....
The Battle of Assaye: September 23rd, 1803
THE IRON DUKE said that of all his battles Assaye was 'the bloodiest for the numbers that I ever saw'. It was fought against the Mahrattas, a formidable Hindu confederacy of warriors and marauders who dominated much of Central India. All opportunity...
The Meaning of Magna Carta since 1215: Ralph V. Turner Considers How and Why Magna Carta Became a Beacon of Liberty in Britain and, Increasingly, in the United States
MOST STUDENTS OF ENGLISH history know that King John's barons forced him to grant Magna Carta, the great charter of liberties that placed the English king under the law. They know that this charter; agreed by John in 1215 at Runnymede meadow and confirmed...
The Russians Shall Not Have Constantinople: Roman Golicz Looks at English Attitudes to Russia during the Eastern Crisis of 1870-78
IN THE LATE EIGHTEENTH I century English politicians began to question what would happen to the Balkans if and when the Ottoman empire disappeared. For as long as the declining Ottoman empire remained in control of the eastern Mediterranean and the...
Venice Barriers
THE OLD DEBATES ABOUT how best to save Venice from disappearing into the lagoon are set to move on to firmer ground this month as the Venice in Peril Fund calls a major conference of all those involved to share information and to achieve a holistic...
What If Napoleon Had Landed? John Cookson Asks What Might Have Happened Had Napoleon Actually Landed on British Soil in 1803-5
THE VIRTUES OF THIS QUESTION perhaps need to be stated. E.H. Carr dismissed the 'might-have-beens of history' as 'a parlour game'; and he was right that the historian's predominant concern must be with the past as it happened. Yet, at the very least,...
William John Bankes (1786-1855)
IN THE NINETEENTH century, as now, scandal touched the lives of a number of Members of Parliament. This month's biographical sketch from the History of Parliament's files shows how the unfortunate William Bankes was to have his political career--such...