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. 56, No. 11, November

Alabama Bus Segregation Ended: November 13th, 1956
IN 1955 THE RULE ON THE BUSES in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, was that 'coloured' passengers must sit at the back and leave the front seats to white passengers. In December a black woman in her forties named Rosa Parkes, long active in the civil...
Art for the People: Jonathan Conlin Asks What the National Gallery Has Meant to the Cultural and Civic Life of Britain since Its Foundation in 1824
IN 1824 THE House of Commons voted 54,000 [pounds sterling] for the establishment of a National Gallery. The art collection of thirty-eight works (containing such classics as Claude's 'Seaport', Titian's 'Venus and Adonis' and Hogarth's 'Marriage a...
A Very Personal Possession: Eamon Duffy Tells How a Careful Study of Surviving Medieval Books of Hours Can Tell Us Much about the Spiritual and Temporal Life of Their Owners and Much More Besides
THE BOOK OF HOURS is one of the most glamorous artefacts of the Middle Ages. With its illuminated initials and rich and sometimes literally be jewelled covers, it is an art work in its own right, and also features as a 'prop' in a myriad late medieval...
Birth of Edmund Halley: November 8th, 1656
SHOREDITCH IN 1656 WAS A SUBURB of the City of London and the future Astronomer Royal was born there, the first of his parents' three children. He was born at the right time for his talents and to the right background in a rich and prominent City family....
Capital Routes: Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections at the British Library, Finds His Way Round 'London: A Life in Maps' a New Exhibition Opening at the British Library on November 24th
ASK LONDONERS TO NAME a map of their city and they are likely to mention the A-Z or the Tube map. Just because of their distortions--of direction and distance in the case of the Tube map--and exaggerations--of street widths at the expense of open space...
Hawking Peerages: Andrew Cook Looks at the Mysterious Career of a Man Notorious for Selling Seats in the House of Lords
IT WAS ALMOST INEVITABLE that the recent Metropolitan Police investigation into cash-for-peerages would trigger renewed interest in the Lloyd George Honours scandal and especially on Lloyd George's 'honours broker', Arthur Maundy Gregory (1877-1941),...
Here's Looking at You: Philip Mould Is an Art Dealer, Author and Broadcaster Specializing in the Discovery of Lost Antique Portraiture. This Month He Opens a Major Gallery in Dover Street, London
A LOVE OF WILD FLOWERS and plants instilled in me by my parents and honed during an early childhood spent roaming fields and hedgerows ultimately led me to an even more all-consuming interest in historical British portraits. The connection may not...
Hitler's Gamble? Did Hitler Intend to Provoke a General War over Poland in September 1939 or Was It a Serious Miscalculation? Adam Tooze Examines the Views of Leading Historians before Offering His Own, New, Interpretation of the Decisions and Events in Germany That Ignited the Second World War
AT 6AM ON A WINTERY MARCH morning in 1939 Adolf Hitler shattered the fragile European peace brokered six months earlier at the Munich conference by sending the Wehrmacht across the border into what remained of Czechoslovakia. This act of aggression...
Stink Vessels: Charles Stephenson Introduces a Plan for Chemical Warfare in the Napoleonic Navy, Devised by Thomas Cochrane, Lord Dundonald, the Model for Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey
MANY ACCOUNTS OF THE ORIGINS of chemical warfare claim that the practice was evolved in antiquity, usually citing references from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. Later examples of where the method was applied often include the siege of...
Suez 1956: Timothy Benson, Whose New Book Explores How the Suez Crisis Was Viewed in the World's Press and by Cartoonists in Particular, Here Tells the Story of a Tumultuous Year
BRITAIN'S FIRST OCCUPATION of Egypt, supposedly temporary, had begun in 1882 and lasted until June 1956. Thus Egypt became, in all but name, a British protectorate. The Canal became vital to British trade especially oil imports, as by 1956 nearly two-thirds...
Suez and the Moral Bankruptcy of Empire: A.J. Stockwell Looks at the Political Fallout of the Suez Crisis, Both at Home and More Widely in Its Effect on the British Empire
IT IS OFTEN CLAIMED THAT THE DRAMATIC clash between ethics and cynical realpolitik at Suez spelled the end of the British empire. The resort to force without UN sanction, collusion with France and Israel and prime ministerial deceit breached principles...
Suez: The Canal before the Crisis: Steve Morewood Looks at the the Rise and Fall of British Dominance of the Suez Canal in the Years 1882 to 1954
WHEN THE SUEZ CANAL opened in November 1869, its French creator Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-94) predicted that he had marked the site of a future battlefield. The first ship to traverse the waterway was French but it was followed by a British vessel,...
The Man with the Poison Pen
NOT ALL CARTOONS ARE FUNNY. They can also be witty, satirical, grotesque, obscene and vicious without being comic. And in the case of political cartoons in wartime they are often deliberately designed to inflame public opinion against an enemy--a powerful...
The World, the Flesh and the Devil: Robert W. Thurston Looks at the Politics of Demonology and Rethinks Attitudes to Witches and Women between 1400 and 1700
All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman ... [She is] an evil of nature ... [Women] are more credulous; and since the chief aim of the devil is to corrupt faith, therefore he rather attacks them ... Women ... are intellectually like...
Touring through the Past: Graham Gendall Norton Takes Us on a Magical Mystery Tour of the World of Historical Tourism
LEISURE TRAVEL HAS BURGEONED, become hugely globalized, and airports and resorts are unbearably crowded at holiday times. So are the centres of European culture in summer. Increasingly, in the winter, so are tropical destinations. These include some...
Trick or Treat?
IN RECENT YEARS Hallowe'en has become a major popular festival, with children everywhere dressed as ghosts, devils and witches. Their black hats and broomsticks, or horns and pitchforks, owe most to Hollywood and Hammer Horror, though with any horrific...
Trotsky Exiled to Siberia: November 2nd, 1906
MORE THAN FIFTY MEMBERS OF THE ST PETERSBURG SOVIET were arrested after the failure of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and kept in prison for months without trial. Trotsky had been the Soviet's chairman and principal spokesman. Now in his late twenties,...
War and Barbarity: The History of Our Times Has Witnessed Violence on an Unimaginable Scale. George Kassimeris Reflects on the Age-Old Horrors of Warfare and Struggles to Find Reasons for What Leads Men to Perpetrate Inexplicable Acts of Brutality
LIKE ALL MONUMENTS TO PAIN AND CRUELTY, Potocari, on the north side of Srebrenica, has an aura of dignity combined with its desolation. In the long, flat expanse of a former cornfield, with green hills rising on either side, lie a small flowerbed,...
Who Killed the King? History Does Not Reveal the Identity of the Masked Executioner Who Severed Charles I's Head from His Body, or of His Assistant Who Held It Up to the Waiting Crowd. Geoffrey Robertson QC Re-Examines the Evidence
'HURT NOT THE AXE, that it may not hurt me,' Charles I muttered to Colonel Hacker, who had the task of supervising his execution on the black-draped scaffold outside the Banqueting House on January 30th, 1649. The bright axe, specially brought from...