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. 12, December

Attlee and Truman: Jerry Brookshire Shows That the 'Special Relationship' in 1945-51 Was in Safe, and Curiously Similar, Hands
NINETEEN FORTY-FIVE, and the world was at war. Those exuberant patricians Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt had rallied the people with stirring words, dogged determination, and public presence, becoming close comrades. Yet within four months,...
Coming to Terms with the Past: China
'THE CATASTROPHE over ten years ago has faded into the mists of time. The political slogans pasted again and again on the walls have all been painted over. The past is obscured from the view of pedestrians strolling through the spring night, invisible...
Dystopia: Who Needs It? Adrian Mourby Shows That the Nightmare Scenario Can Be Both Dire Warning and Escapist Fantasy
By the time an idea reaches the world of opera it's pretty safe to say it has permeated all levels of human consciousness. The Holocaust has only just appeared at the Royal Opera House in the form of 'Sophie's Choice', which was first a novel, then...
Gustav III of Sweden: The Forgotten Despot of the Age of Enlightenment: A.D. Harvey Recalls the Career of the Swedish King Whose Assassination Inspired a Famous Opera
GUSTAV III OF Sweden (1746-92) is one of the least studied of the later eighteenth-century rulers known as the Enlightened Despots. He was not a great general like Frederick II of Prussia or a great empire-builder like Catherine II of Russia, nor did...
Illuminating the Renaissance: Scot McKendrick Introduces a Major New Exhibition of Flemish Manuscript Illumination Opening at the Royal Academy
AT THE DAWN OF THE MODERN ERA Western European manuscript illumination enjoyed a truly remarkable final flourishing. During the period that is renowned for its high artistic achievements--the Renaissance--exponents of the quintessential medieval art...
Lavrenti Beria Executed: December 23rd, 1953
LAVRENTI PAVLOVICH Beria was a Georgian, like Stalin, who called him 'my Himmler'. Involved in revolutionary activities from his teens and head of the secret police in Georgia in his twenties, he supervised the ruthless 1930s purges in the region and...
Nature and Nation: Britain and America in the 19th Century: David Lowenthal Explores Natural History Enthusiasms among Victorian Britons and Americans, and Finds an Explanation for Their Differing Approaches to Conservation
In 1859, the year of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the American artist Frederic Edwin Church's huge, magnificent painting 'The Heart of the Andes' was unveiled in New York City to intense excitement. It celebrated the conjunction of nature and...
On the Banks of the Neva: British Merchants in St Petersburg before the Russian Revolution: In the Final Article in Our Series on Britain and Russia, Swart Thompstone Visits the Long-Lasting Community of Britons in the Russian Capital
FOR TWO CENTURIES after the foundation of St Petersburg ha 1703, the British merchant community- exercised a remarkable influence over the city's economic relations with the wider world. This community operated as a 'City of London' in miniature, and...
Room with a View: Charlotte Crow Glimpses the British Museum's New Exhibition of Its Own Original Collections in the Great King's Library
AS A GRAND FINALE to the series of celebrations marking the British Museum's 250th anniversary, the magnificent King's Library reopens this month after a three-year, 8 million [pounds sterling] restoration programme. The Grade 1 listed room, designed...
Sir Thomas Blount
IN DECEMBER 1399 Henry IV was planning to spend his first Christmas as king in style at Windsor Castle, with celebrations culminating in a tournament at Twelfth Night. Just a few weeks earlier he had been acclaimed monarch in a Parliament summoned...
The Future of Indonesia: Merle Ricklefs Seeks Clue for the Future of the Troubled Archipelago Nation in Its Distant Past
THERE IS MUCH SPECULATION, and not a little worry, about the future of Indonesia--the giant of Southeast Asia, the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, the world's third-most-populous democracy, a nation which sits astride some highly...
The Gadsden Purchase: December 30th, 1853
IT WAS THE GADSDEN Purchase that settled the main boundaries of the United States of America (though Alaska was added in 1867). The Louisiana Purchase of fifty years earlier, the biggest land sale in history, had transferred an area of 827,000 square...
The Methuen Treaty: December 27th, 1703
PORT WINE PLAYED the same role in Portugal that whisky did in Scotland, as a profitable export to England from a struggling economy. English merchants were already established in Lisbon and Oporto, shipping in English cloth and taking payment in wine...
The Myth of the Aviator and the Flight to Fascism: Colin Cook Looks at the Political, Philosophical and Cultural Impact of the Idea of Aviation in the First Half of the 20th Century
THE WEEK-LONG NUREMBERG rally, of 1934 marked Hitler's first year as Reich chancellor, and was a grandiose symbol of the Nazi Party's triumph against the odds in shaping Germany's future. In the opening sequence of Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl's...
Wrights and Wrongs? David Jordan Recalls the Career of the Man Brazilians Claim to Have Been the True Pioneer of Powered Heavier-Than-Air Flight
AS THE WORLD COMMEMORATES the centenary of Orville Wright's flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17th, 1903, which is said to have inaugurated aeroplane flight, a Brazilian writer has suggested that the celebrations are three years premature....
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