Tag: American

Australia is still reckoning with a shameful legacy: the resettlement of suspected war criminals after WWII

Reading time: 6 minutes
Around one million Central and Eastern European “displaced persons” were resettled by the United Nations after the second world war in countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. This group included soldiers who had fought in German military units, as well as civilian collaborators. The Nazi-led Holocaust had relied on their firepower and administrative skills.

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History’s Greatest Nicknames

Reading time: 7 minutes
A browse through any military history book will no doubt bring up titles of famous officers, often bearing unusual, surprising, or sometimes downright hilarious nicknames. In many cases, it’s clear where the sobriquet originated, while other examples hold a less-obvious significance.

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From Chaucer to chocolates: how Valentine’s Day gifts have changed over the centuries

Reading time: 5 minutes
We should first turn to Geoffrey Chaucer, the 14th-century poet, civil servant and keen European traveller. Chaucer’s poem from the 1380s, The Parliament of Fowls, is held to be the first reference to February 14 as a day about love.

This day was already a feast day of several mysterious early Roman martyred Saint Valentines, but Chaucer described it as a day for people to choose their lovers. He knew that was easier said than done.

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Black GIs arrive in Britain

Reading time: 13 minutes
In this blog post I’m going to draw on the Cabinet Papers to explore the British Government’s response to the arrival of Black GIs in Britain during the Second World War. I refer to government records and other primary sources of the time which use terminology which we now consider offensive, for example, ‘coloured troops’ and ‘negroes’.

Several years ago I recall hearing a story about villagers in the West Country during the Second World War refusing to go along with a local US Army segregation order that Black GIs were excluded from the local pub and that only white American troops could use it – the villagers protested and effectively overturned this order. I’m pretty certain that it was the singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg that related this story to me, when I had the pleasure to meet him some years back. The story made a big impression on me and I thought, one day, I must follow this thread up. Now I have, and here are the fruits of my research so far.

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