~The night of broken glass~

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THE “NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS”

As the synagogue in Oberramstadt burns during Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”), firefighters instead save a nearby house. Local residents watch as the synagogue is destroyed. Oberramstadt, Germany, November 9-10, 1938.

On the night of November 9, 1938, violence against Jews broke out across the Reich. It appeared to be unplanned, set off by Germans’ anger over the assassination of a German official in Paris at the hands of a Jewish teenager. In fact, German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and other Nazis carefully organized the pogroms. In two days, over 250 synagogues were burned, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were trashed and looted, dozens of Jewish people were killed, and Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes were looted while police and fire brigades stood by. The pogroms became known as Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” for the shattered glass from the store windows that…

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Spies, Lies and Smears: The Conservative Party, The Secret State And The Undermining Of Democracy

Guy Debord's Cat

The Zinoviev Letter was a forgery that helped to win the election for Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative Party in 1924

The Tories: they truly are a nasty party. The gutter mentality; the venality, the cruelty and the underhanded tactics have been the hallmarks of the Conservative Party’s strategies for nearly a century. Tories consider themselves divinely ordained to ‘lead’ the country. But it wasn’t always thus. The 19th century was dominated by the Liberal Party. For those of you reading this from a country outside of the UK, as well as some of you in it, the Liberals weren’t social liberals; they were economic liberals. Remember this is the party that turned its back on the Irish people during the famine, believing the Invisible Hand of the Market would magically intervene in the tragedy. The Hand is, for all intents and purposes, a transmutation of God employed as a means of…

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A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

The Genealogy of Style

Man putting flower in National Guard gun


Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated…

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Woman for Today

Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

NPG 5856; Catharine Macaulay (nÈe Sawbridge) by Robert Edge PineCatharine Macaulay, born Catharine Sawbridge: social, political and economic radical, educationalist and republican historian,
in a portrait by Robert Edge Pine, oil on canvas, circa 1775 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Macaulay (2 April 1731 – 22 June 1791) argued that if distribution of wealth is not evenly balanced, society will break apart, and anarchy followed by tyranny will ensue.

She wrote:

“every citizen who possesses ever so small a share of property, is equally as tenacious of it as the most opulent member of society; and this leads him to respect and to support all the laws by which property is protected.”

and:

“….it is only the democratical system, rightly balanced, which can secure the virtue, liberty and happiness of society”.

She was a democratic republican who supported the American and French Revolutions.

She saw that power given to a privileges few corrupts them, and that they too readily…

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Foreshades of Grey (12)

Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

or, The Power of Pink: She’s a Girl, get over it

pompadourboucher

Portrait of Marquise de Pompadour by Boucher, 1759. Oil on canvas, Wallace Collection, London.
Image source: WGA

So here, at last, it couldn’t be resisted, the most familiar and most delectable of all the images of Madame de Pompadour that enchanted my childhood is posted here for DvP, like everything else.

It is not just the story of a dress, though what a dress, which can transform a woman into a rose, it is the story of the balance of feminine power between personal ambition and love for another person. She sacrificed peace of mind for ambition, and then fell in love, first with a king, then a man, then a country, and finally a civilization which she made universal.

Notorious as the quintessential courtesan, sneered at by the court for being bourgeois, called “putain” by the king’s sour…

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The state of things

A good analysis of what has been and what state the world is in now.

Russell Chapman

The human-race is like a car which is rolling towards the edge of a cliff and instead of hitting the brakes we seem to be hitting the gas.

United Nations At the UN Headquarters, “let us beat our swords into ploughshares”

The vast majority of people just want to get on with their lives, wanting to raise their families in security both financially and physically, but we now live in a time when that is becoming harder and harder for more and more people. Society is becoming very deeply divided and tribal, politics,religion race and wealth are the dividing factors.

After World War 2, there was a period when things seemed to be going reasonably well. During that time we saw nations rebuilding themselves along with the fall of colonialism, businesses were booming and the quality of life was improving for the majority, medical care was made easily available, housing was easy…

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Seventy Years after Auschwitz. What have we learned?

Russell Chapman

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp has recently passed. It is so important that we never forget the lessons of the past, how ordinary people can become mass murderers and others their victims simply for being of a different race, skin colour or religion.

The infamous entry gate to Auschwitz The infamous entry gate to Auschwitz

This was the first time I visited Auschwitz, I was nervous before going because I was not sure what I would feel being in a place where there had been so much evil and so many people were murdered. The overwhelming feeling was one of sadness, it seems to permeate every brick of every building. The biggest shock for me was how small Auschwitz is considering how many people were murdered there, Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, more than 1.1 million in total. The camp was designed to be the most efficient killing machine possible.

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The John Quincy Adams Walk

London Historians' Blog

an american president in ealing

Some years before John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848) became 6th President of the United States, he acted as its representative in London between 1815-1817. Instead of organising digs in town, he moved his family into a country house in “Little Ealing” an area in the south of the borough: a road in which I too have lived since 1987. I had no idea until a local history group published a book based on Adams’s diary entries of the period.

An American President in Ealing is an excellent work of local and social history. I was interested to discover that Adams enjoyed walking to and from his office in Craven Street near Charing Cross. Coincidentally, Benjamin Franklin had lived in the the same street over fifty years previously when he had represented the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Adams was quite specific about his walks. He claims that his best time was two hours and…

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“The acutest, the astutest, the archest enemy of southern slavery that ever existed”

Author Adrienne Morris

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John Quincy Adams. Shall we bow our heads for an early nap before discussing a white dead president? It’s kind of superficial to judge a person because they’re white and dead, don’t you think?John Quincy was pretty cute (okay that’s superficial) as a young guy, but he was much more than that.

You know how we always love to trash kids who have famous parents?We say they got where they got because their father knew, say, George Washington, but a meeting with a president doesn’t always assure you a brilliant career. John Quincy started his brilliant career at the age of 14. Yes, fourteen. He accompanied Francis Dana as a secretary on a mission to Saint Petersburg. (WIKI)

Do you know any fourteen-year-olds? How many impress foreign diplomats and presidents? Well, maybe Justin Beiber did in his prime, but if you check out John Quincy’s love poems to…

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The Brits Who Fought For Hitler.

Crimescribe

Insignia of the ‘British Free Corps’, former prisoners-of-war who enlisted in the infamous Waffen SS.

The SS motto – ‘My honour is loyalty.’

As a freelance scribbler and long-time student of military history I love finding the more overlooked or forgotten aspects of the subject. For instance, the popular narrative of the Second World War holds that the British people pulled together, fighting as one for a common cause.

Erm, not exactly.

While British troops and the vast majority of the British public did rally round, a tiny handful didn’t. Some turned traitor for money. The notorious ‘£18 traitor’ Duncan Scott-Ford (not one of Plymouth’s favourite sons), was hanged at Wandsworth Prison in November, 1942 for selling convoy information to German Intelligence at a bargain discount. For others the shift was ideological. They were in it for the cause, such as Wiliam Joyce (AKA ‘Lord HAW Haw’ and star of…

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Hate rules the world

Russell Chapman

As a lifelong student of world history, religion, politics, economics and current affairs, I think it has to be said we have reached a point in human history from which there is no return. Wherever we look in the world we see division, selfishness, greed and hate. If one word could demonstrate the nature of the world we live in today then it would have to be the word sociopathic. The political, economic and religious systems that make up this world are all expressing the same sociopathy. By its very nature it is ultimately self destructive.

Consider the current situation in Israel. Hamas launching rockets from Gaza at Israel, so far not doing any real damage, Israel bombarding and killing about 120 people, many of them women and children. There is so much hate on either side, it will never be possible for there to be peace. Attitudes on both…

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Aesthetes and ideologies

The Badger's Sett

There was an interesting article in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago on Noel Coward and Ivor Novello’s previously unreported flirtation with fascism – a chance discovery of a poster in a London market revealing both on the billing for the British Fascist’s Carnival Ball of 1925.

Both gay men, the author (Philip Hoare) argues convincingly that neither possessed a genuine political commitment or interest in fascism. Certainly, when conflict did break out 14 years later, both were involved in the war effort with Coward employed by the British secret service.

Fascism at the time was in fashion, particularly among the kind of establishment circles that Coward and Novello depended on to finance their artistic endeavours, where it was seen as an important counter-balance to communism, at a time when eugenicist ideas where supported earnestly on both the right and left of the political spectrum.

While, it’s pretty clear…

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UKIP: Parochialism, Prejudice and Patriotic Ultranationalism.

Although this post from kittysjones is not strictly within the remit I have set myself for First Night History, it does show very clearly what happens when the powers-that-be — in this case the UK government — ignore the past, wilfully or through ignorance, and thus repeat its mistakes to catastrophic effect. I am re-blogging it because I am disgusted and appalled that the Coalition, a government that was not elected, should have discarded everything our forebears stood and fought for. If you are a British citizen who will be voting in the European elections tomorrow, think very carefully how you vote. A vote for UKIP will mean more destruction and fear, not less.

Politics and Insights

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Over the past four years, we have witnessed the political right using rhetoric that has increasingly transformed a global economic crisis into an apparently ethno-political one, and this also extends to include the general scapegoating and vilification of other groups and communities that have historically been the victims of prejudice and social exclusion: the poorest, the unemployed and the disabled. These far-right rhetorical flourishes define and portray the putative “outsider” as an economic threat. This is then used to justify active political exclusion of the constitutive Other.
The poorest have been politically disenfranchised. Politically directed and constructed cultural and social boundaries, exclusionary discourses and practices create and define strangers. In Zygmunt Bauman’s analysis of the Holocaust, the Jews became “strangers” par excellence  in Europe, the Final Solution was an extreme example of the attempts made by societies to excise the (politically defined) uncomfortable and…

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