Tag: French

Swedish Viking hoard: how the discovery of single Norman coin expands our knowledge of French history

Reading time: 5 minutes
In the autumn of 2020, I was contacted by the field archaeology unit of the Swedish National Historical Museums, who are also known as the Archaeologists. They were excavating at a Viking-age settlement at Viggbyholm just north of Stockholm. During routine metal detecting of the site, they had located a very exciting find: eight silver necklaces and other silver jewellery along with 12 coins, everything delicately wrapped up in a cloth and deposited in a pot. In other words, a genuine Viking silver hoard.

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Ireland and the Battle of The Somme

Reading time: 8 minutes
The Somme was the first great action by a British Army on a continental scale. It was the longest, bloodiest battle of World War One, a campaign lasting four and a half months, and fought over a twenty-mile front near the Somme. In February 1916 Allied commanders had decided to launch an infantry offensive there,

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The Saar Offensive 1939: When France invaded Germany

Reading time: 7 minutes
In September 1939, as German armies overran large swathes of Poland far to the east, the French launched an offensive of their own. Their goal was to capture the Saarland, the area between the French border and the German Siegfried line and force the Germans to transfer divisions away from Poland. The Saar Offensive of 1939 had begun.

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‘Wicked and seditious writings’ – Thomas Paine, Rights of Man and treason

Reading time: 10 minutes
In December 1792, detachments of the 2nd Dragoon Guards across the Southwest of England staged spectacles of hate. A dummy was paraded through the towns on an ‘ass’ led by a hangman, the crowd of soldiers and residents encouraged to subject it to ‘every possible mark of indignity’. At the customary place of execution, it was burned amidst repeated exclamations of ‘“God Save the King”, and constant cheering and huzzahring’. The dummy was an effigy, of the radical writer Thomas Paine.

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Returning looted artefacts will finally restore heritage to the brilliant cultures that made them

Reading time: 6 minutes
European museums are under mounting pressure to return the irreplaceable artefacts plundered during colonial times. As an archaeologist who works in Africa, this debate has a very real impact on my research. I benefit from the convenience of access provided by Western museums, while being struck by the ethical quandary of how they were taken there by illegal means, and by guilt that my colleagues throughout Africa may not have the resources to see material from their own country, which is kept thousands of miles away.

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The Christmas truce, 1914

Reading time: 7 minutes
The Christmas truce of 1914 will generally conjure up images of opposing British and German soldiers walking calmly across No Man’s Land, exchanging gifts and playing football. These images have become reinforced via personal memoirs, dramatisations and films. This blog post in memory of the unofficial ceasefires which occurred during the Christmas period of December 1914 will use unit war diaries, from WO 95, to reflect upon the events that occurred on Christmas Day 1914, some of which were very contrasting.

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The debate on the origins of the First World War

Reading time: 5 minutes
The way historians have viewed the causes of WWI has changed in the hundred years since war broke out. This article explores the origins of the Great War.

How could the death of one man, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated on 28 June 1914, lead to the deaths of millions in a war of unprecedented scale and ferocity? This is the question at the heart of the debate on the origins of the First World War. Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years.

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Sino-Vietnamese War

Reading time: 5 minutes
The Sino-Vietnamese war was a short, nasty conflict fought between China and Vietnam in early 1979. Largely forgotten by almost everybody including the belligerents, it was a side plot of the Sino-Soviet split, itself a sideshow to the Cold War. Let’s go over the events before, during and after the war to see what it was all about.

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A TALE OF REMEMBRANCE, ADMONITION, AND DESPAIR: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Reading time: 6 minutes
The vivid and graphic imagery of the First World War has indeed become a potent symbol of the need for everlasting commemoration, and a continuous reminder of armed conflict’s futility. Yet with the inevitable passing of time, direct links to the “War to end all Wars” have regretfully vanished, with all veterans who served in the trenches now gone. This most special group of soldiers may now be physically silent, but their haunting messages of warning remain.

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