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Showing posts from October, 2020

Eighty years ago, Hitler meets two generals turned political leaders and opts for the status quo

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Eighty years ago, the Royal Family broadens its role in the war effort as scandal laps at Churchill's circle

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Princess Elizabeth, today Queen Elizabeth, made her first broadcast on BBC Children’s Hour at the remarkably early age of fourteen, opening a mdeia career that runs to this day. It was a considerably happier event than her uncle’s broadcast explaining his abdication four years before. The programme ushered in a new feature on the BBC North America service aimed at children who had been evacuated from Britain to escape bombing and the threat of invasion and now had to face a lonely life without their parents. She addressed her audience as fellow regular listeners to Children’s Hour. Inevitably the content barely rose above platitude but it was delivered well and demonstrated how artfully the Royal Family was being mobilised for the war effort. The "little princesses" had been a staple of adoring press comment during the 1930 as the model of an attractive young family, in implicit contrast to the louche demeanour of the Prince of Wales, later (briefly) Edward VIII. Elizabeth&#…

Eighty years ago, fate consolidates Churchill's hold on power and the dictators mount a sham show of solidarity

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Eighty years ago, finding the limits to solidarity amongst dictators

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Germany, Italy and Japan signed what was officially know as the Tripartite Pact, but is better known as the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis as an extension of the original Berlin-Rome Axis. The signatories undertook to assist any other if it was attacked by “a Power not at present involved in the European war or in the Sino-Japanese conflict”, in practise the United States or the Soviet Union. The risk of this happening was slight: Stalin was busily appeasing Hitler and had secured his eastern frontier against Japanese encroachment already; existing agreements with the USSR – in practice the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact which partitioned Poland - were to be left alone; US isolationist forces were so strong as to make intervention in Europe highly improbable and intervention against Japan only a little less so. If the Pact served any practical purpose it was to fire a shot across the bows of President Roosevelt who had shown himself willing to face up to Japan, mostly recently with economic sanction…