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. 54, No. 8, August

1704: Blenheim, Gibraltar and the Making of Great Power: Jeremy Black Recalls Two Events, 300 Years Ago This Summer, That Heralded the Emergence of Britain as a Continental Power
THIS IS A YEAR of many anniversaries. In June we commemorated D-Day, 1944; this month is the ninetieth anniversary of the start of the First World War and September will be sixty-five years since the start of the Second. There are other, more distant...
An Officer on the Western Front: Anthony Fletcher Reads His Grandfather's Correspondence from the Western Front to See How He Maintained Morale and Developed His Leadership
THE MEMORIAL AT Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery in Arras records the names of 35,942 Allied soldiers who fell in that area of the Western Front and whose graves are not known. Seven hundred men of the Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment, the Sherwood Foresters...
A Titian for the National Gallery: August 14th, 1904
THE PAINTING cost 30,000 [pounds sterling], equivalent to around 2 million [pounds sterling] today; or say 2,400 [pounds sterling] per square inch. It was believed to be a portrait of Lodovico Ariosto, court poet of Ferrara and author of Orlando Furioso,...
Birth of Louis XVI of France: August 23rd, 1754
SMALL BUT WELL-FORMED, the baby was born at 6.24 am in his parents' apartments on the ground floor of the palace of Versailles after three hours of labour. The fashionable obstetrician Dr Jard had been summoned and a message sent to the baby's grandfather,...
Bridge That Gap
EVERY AUGUST FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS, we have published a survey of the state of opinion and morale in the history departments of Britain's universities, and on several occasions the results have proved controversial to the wider media--historians'...
Coming to Terms with the Past: India: Latha Menon Deplores the Effects of Religious Extremism on Indian Society and the Writing of History
ON JANUARY 5TH, 2004, a group of thugs ransacked the renowned Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, India, destroying priceless manuscripts and artefacts. Their 'protest' stemmed from the involvement of some of the Institute's academics in...
Crimea in Finland: Her Majesty's Ambassador to Finland, Matthew Kirk, Describes the Impact of the Crimean War on That Country and How It Is Being Commemorated
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, before we came to live in Finland, a friend said 'of course you'll be there for all the Crimean War anniversaries'. A little surprised, I gently pointed out that Finland was well over a thousand miles north of the Crimea. 'I...
Crisis in the Classroom: David Nicholls Calls for Curriculum Reform So That the Past May Have a Future in England
HISTORY IS AT A CROSSROADS. In recent years its place in the English schools' curriculum has been squeezed to the point where it is in danger of becoming a marginal experience for most children. The Tomlinson review of the fourteen-to-nineteen curriculum...
Ferdinand Columbus: Print Collector: Mark McDonald Introduces an Earlier Spaniard with a Famous Name Who Made an Art Collection in the Low Countries
IN THE CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL histories of the Renaissance, one fascinating figure has been largely overlooked: Ferdinand Columbus, illegitimate son of the explorer Christopher Columbus and his mistress Beatriz Enriquez. At the age of twelve he...
Marlborough Country: Charles Spencer Tells How the Victories of His Great Ancestor John Churchill Have Always Fascinated Him
THE BATTLE OF Blenheim has always intrigued me. At school, it was a mere footnote at the conclusion of our 'Tudors and Smarts' period, considered unworthy of the attention "afforded Naseby or the Spanish Armanda. However, it surely shams their identity...
Sir Thomas Gerrard (1584-1630)
Among the oddities of history--and Parliament--are those who were elected as MPs, but for one reason or another never took their seats. Sir Thomas Gerrard was one of these, a victim of an increasingly hostile atmosphere towards Catholicism in the wake...
The 1980s and the Age of Reagan: Glen Jeansonne Sees the Former President as a Mirror of His Age
THE 1980s WERE A TIME OF PARADOX and change yet Reagan's friends believe he changed the world more than the world changed him. Reagan came to the White House underestimated, deemed a dullard who doled out tall tales and mixed Hollywood fantasy with...
The Eye-Opener of 1939: Or How the World Saw the Nazi-Soviet Pact: George Watson Considers How News of a Political and Moral Bombshell Was Received, Particularly by Intellectuals on Both the Left and the Right
IN AUGUST 1939, Hitler astounded the world by signing a pact with Stalin, and the effects, diplomatic and ideological, were stupendous. An eye-opener, George Orwell called it, showing that 'National Socialism is a form of socialism, is emphatically...
Time and Tithes: Patricia Wright Revisits the Career of a 14th-Century Abbot Who Ruthlessly Protected the Interests of His Abbey and Who Built a Remarkable Celestial Clock
THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY is often regarded as one of the worst endured by Europeans. Crop failures, war and the onset of the Black Death all cut back the population by between a half and a third. In places, whole communities perished. The position of...
Topolski's Brush with the United Nations: Gallery Owner John Martin Appeals to Readers to Help Identify Figures in a Significant Work 'The Opening Session of the United Nations' by the Twentieth-Century Artist Feliks Topolski
FELIKS TOPOLSKI (1907-89) HAS A UNIQUE PLACE in twentieth-century art. He was driven by a need to record the significant events of the moment and through a combination of charm, contacts and force of character somehow managed to make himself and his...
Troop Withdrawals from Korea: August 18th, 1954
THE KOREAN WAR took a long time to sort out. It began in June 1950 and after a military stalemate truce talks started in July 1951, but dragged on and on while fighting continued, until in 1953 the newly elected President Eisenhower let the Chinese...
What If ... Philip II Had Gone to the Netherlands? Geoffrey Parker Considers the Far-Reaching Consequences of a Sudden Change of Plan by the King of Spain in 1567
THE DUTCH REVOLT lasted longer than any other uprising in European history, from 1566 to 1648; and it involved more continuous fighting than any other war of early modern times, from 1572 to 1607 (with only a six months' ceasefire in 1577) and from...
Without Reservations: Peter Furtado Visits the British Museum to See a Newly-Acquired Collection of Native American Objects
A COLLECTION OF SEVENTY-SIX Native American objects dating from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and including a map of the draining basin of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers inscribed on hide, made by members of the Sioux, Algonquins and...