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What's the context? series

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 …

What’s the Context? 6 August 1945: an atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima

The historian John Ehrman, who wrote an account of the atomic bomb and British policy based on privileged access to government records, wrote in 1953 that there were five questions that needed to be asked about the dropping of atomic …

What’s the Context? 4 February 1945: the Yalta Conference opens

Yalta conference Churchill Stalin Roosevelt 1945 (The National Archives ref: INF14/447)

The Yalta Myth Between 4 and 11 February 1945, while the Second World War still raged both in Europe and in the Far East, the ‘Big Three’—Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill—met at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, supported by large …

What’s the context? The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 9 - 10 November 1989

People atop the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on 09 November 1989

I stood in the square talking to East Germans and asked them what they were going to buy. They said first of all, Südfrüchte . . . tropical fruit, a very understandable thing because they didn’t have nearly as much …

What’s the Context? President Richard M. Nixon announces his resignation, 8 August 1974

‘The most powerful government ever to fall as a result of American covert action was the administration of Richard Nixon’ Christopher Andrew, For The President’s Eyes Only

What’s the Context? 4 April 1949: the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty

The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty

How the West was won 65 years ago today the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in the State Department auditorium in Washington. An organisation was born—NATO—that remains a cornerstone of Western defence up to the present day. In 1949 there …