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What's the context? series

What’s the Context? US President announces the ‘Truman Doctrine’, 12 March 1947

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Truman Doctrine

The missionary strain in the character of Americans leads many of them to feel that they have now received a call to extend to other countries the blessings with which the Almighty has endowed their own [1] Seventy years ago, …

What’s the Context? 15 February 1942: The Fall of Singapore

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75 years ago today, on 15 February 1942, British forces surrendered the ‘impregnable fortress’ of Singapore to the Japanese army. Defeat had come swiftly after the landing of Japanese forces in northern Malaya and southern Thailand on 8 December 1941. …

What’s the Context? 22 October 1966: spy George Blake escapes from Wormwood Scrubs

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‘The sentence was such that it almost became a question of honour to challenge it . . . like a POW, I had a duty to escape.’[1] ‘Double Agent breaks out of jail’ On 11 November 2016, George Blake, the …

They Think it’s all Diplomacy: North Korea, the Foreign Office and the 1966 World Cup

‘In order to be a good footballer, you must run swiftly and pass the ball accurately’. Wise words indeed – especially when one considers that they were uttered not by Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger, but by Kim Il Sung, …

What’s the Context? 26 July 1956: Nasser announces the nationalisation of the Suez Canal

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser returns to cheering crowds in Cairo after announcing the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company, August 1956 (Public Domain)

The UK and the US shared common strategic interests in the region, but their analyses and policies were not identical and there were important differences in their tactical and diplomatic approaches’. (Chilcot Report on the Iraq enquiry, vol. I, p. …

What’s the Context? 9 May 1956: Eden orders an enquiry into the disappearance of Commander ‘Buster’ Crabb

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It would not be in the public interest to disclose the circumstances in which Commander Crabb is presumed to have met his death. Mystery of the missing frogman Sixty years ago today, on 9 May 1956 the Prime Minister, Sir …

What’s the Context? 21 March 1946: Frank Roberts’ ‘Long Telegram’

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No one who has served in Moscow can ever be quite the same person again . . . Those who have had this experience may be pardoned if they think that, among themselves, they can speak a language and carry …

What’s the context? 1 December 1925: signing the Locarno Treaties

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1 December 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the formal signing of the Locarno Treaties at the Foreign Office in London. Named after the town in Switzerland where the treaties had been negotiated a few months earlier, their aim was …

What’s the context? 12 October 2015: The execution of Edith Cavell

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Advertisement in Moving Picture World, March 1919 for The Cavell Case

In the early hours of Tuesday, 12 October 1915, Edith Cavell, a British nurse who had been working in Belgium, was executed by the Germans after being found guilty of helping over 200 Allied servicemen escape to England. At her …