The R1 – South African Bush Rifle

Reading time: 9 minutes
In the wake of the rise of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 and the USA’s litany of rifles during the Cold War, South Africa needed a modern automatic service rifle. After trialling several different guns, the South African government settled on the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle. As a result, the “Rifle R1” was born – the bush gun of Southern Africa.

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The Story of the AK-47: The World’s Most Famous and Deadliest Rifle

Reading time: 7 minutes
The AK-47 is perhaps one of the most recognizable automatic rifles in the world. This simple gun, produced by Mikhail Kalashnikov, was initially intended to replace the somewhat ineffective weapons carried by Soviet forces. However, it quickly became the weapon of choice during most conflicts following the Second World War. But, how did this weapon become the most famous and deadliest rifle in the world?

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A Cuban Catastrophe: The Bay of Pigs Invasion

Reading time: 11 minutes
The 1959 Cuban Revolution resulted in rule by a communist regime under Fidel Castro. This period also saw counter-revolutionaries forming anti-Castro movements, complicating the already tumultuous political landscape. In 1961 the United States would intervene with a force made up of Cuban exiles, the infamous ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion.

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Dag Hammarskjöld: a defiant pioneer of global diplomacy who died in a mystery plane crash

Reading time: 5 minutes
The idea of a global institution has captivated thinkers since Immanuel Kant in the 18th century. But a body set up to create and maintain world peace and security needs the right people to make it work. When the United Nations was created in 1945, old sentiments — seen in the disbanded League of Nations — threatened to prevail. Would the UN and its leadership simply comply with the great powers of the day?

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Domino Theory and U.S. Foreign Policy

Reading time: 4 minutes
When looking at the cold war and the way the United States went about its foreign policy, you can’t escape the influence of the so-called domino theory. This belief, a common one in American’s halls of power, stated that if one country fell to communism, the surrounding ones would, too. Was there any truth in this theory, though, or was it more scare mongering?

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Cuba without Fidel: Five Years Later

Reading time: 6 minutes
For nearly 60 years, and for better or for worse, Fidel Castro was Cuba; at least he fancied himself as such, and the Communist Party which he largely governed with total control, never questioned this image. But what about the Cuban people? Did they really view Fidel as a “modern day Simon Bolivar”, and their one defender against American imperialism?

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Gough’s remaking of Defence policy

Gough Whitlam was a physical giant with an intellect to match. His flaws were pretty sizeable, too, and the pygmies who beset him were often from his own party. His self-mocking humour was immensely appealing, and could only be carried off by someone with giant status: ‘I’ve never said I’m immortal. I do believe in correct language. […]

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The Russian Revolution

For most people, the term “Russian Revolution” conjures up a popular set of images: demonstrations in Petrograd’s cold February of 1917, greatcoated men in the Petrograd Soviet, Vladimir Lenin addressing the crowds in front of the Finland station, demonstrators dispersed during the July days and the storming of the Winter Palace in October. What happened in the Russian Revolution? These […]

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Pinochet’s Chile

General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, a career military officer, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Chilean army by President Salvador Allende on August 1973. Eighteen days later, with the connivance, if not the assistance, of the US, he authorised a coup against Allende’s Socialist government. To be clear, Pinochet’s rule was not the first, last […]

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The Iranian Revolution

To understand what caused the Iranian Revolution, we must first consider the ongoing conflict between proponents of secular versus Islamic models of governance in Muslim societies. It all began with the British colonisation of India in 1858, which precipitated the collapse of classic Islamic civilisation. By early 20th century, almost the entire Muslim world was colonised […]

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51 years ago: Israel won an air battle, and lost the War of Attrition

The Israel Air Force drew the Soviet expeditionary force in Egypt into a perfect, successful ambush, but pride was the country’s downfall, in the long run. For Israelis, this weekend marks the 51st anniversary of a famous victory. But then as now, hubris may be our worst enemy. On July 30, 1970, the Israel Air […]

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WERE SOVIET TANKS DEPLOYED IN EGYPT 50 YEARS AGO?

On February 3, 2018, Russian Air Force Maj. Roman Filipov’s jet was shot down while attacking rebel positions in Syria. Filipov bailed out and, after a shootout with “terrorists,” blew himself up with a grenade rather than be captured. By the time of Filipov’s funeral, President Vladimir Putin had decorated him as a Hero of the Russian […]

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The Cold War Ignites: The Berlin Blockade and Airlift

Once the centre of Nazi ideology and power, the German capital of Berlin was extremely important not only in the Allies quest to defeat Hitler, but in the rebuilding of Europe after War’s end. And yet while the Allies were indeed united in their collective opposition to the Third Reich, their similarities ended there, especially […]

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Hubris and Miscalculation: The failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion

HUBRIS AND MISCALCULATION: THE FAILURE OF THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION By Michael Vecchio The threat of Nazi villainy had been defeated, however another authoritarian threat rapidly placed over half of Europe behind what Winston Churchill called an “Iron Curtain”. The Soviet Union’s aggressive brand of Communism startled much of the Western world, but perhaps […]

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Nike Missile Site, San Francisco

The Nike missile was one of the first successful anti-aircraft missiles, developed by Bell Labs and put into service by the US and her allies from 1953. As a last-line of defense from air attack, they were positioned to protect cities as well as military installations. 240 launch sites were built up to between 1953 […]

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