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Volume 64 Issue 8 August 2014

Britain and Russia came close to blows over Crimea in the 18th century.

The Foreign Office was long a bastion of male chauvinism. Only during the Second World War did women diplomats begin to make their mark.

Dan Jones argues that Nigel Saul’s article on Henry V and the union of the crowns of England and France does not take into account the long-term consequences of the king’s achievements.

British historiography has been offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to integrate Ireland’s contribution into analyses of the Great War, argues Catriona Pennell.

Matthew Parker, on the centenary of the completion of the Panama Canal, describes the gruelling challenges faced by those competing to succeed in the project to join the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, from the 16th century to the present day.

Three hundred years ago, in August 1714, the Protestant Elector of Hanover ascended to the thrones of Great Britain and Ireland, becoming George I. Graham Darby describes the latter phase of the personal union, which lasted until 1837.

Roger Hudson expands on a photograph of a locomotive taken during the American Civil War by one of Mathew Brady’s team.

Understanding the emotional lives of people in the past is one of the most difficult challenges facing the historian, argues Suzannah Lipscomb.

With the independence referendum just around the corner, Naomi Lloyd-Jones asks why the Scottish Home Rule Association, an important precursor of the SNP, has been largely forgotten.

When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914 there was no outbreak of jingoism and no immediate rush to enlist. What Anthony Fletcher finds instead, in letters, diaries and newspapers, is a people who had little comprehension of the profound changes to come.

The Concert of Europe, the diplomatic model championed by Britain in the run-up to the First World War, was doomed by the actions of competing nationalisms. Britain’s entry into the conflict became inevitable, despite its lack of military preparation, as Vernon Bogdanor explains.

Stephen Cooper and Ashley Cooper find parallels between the Schleswig-Holstein question and more recent European interventions.

T.P. Wiseman looks at how Roman republican ideals and the struggle between optimates and populares shaped the lives and legacies of the Roman imperator, Augustus, and his designated successor, Tiberius.

The much-loved film first appeared on August 12th, 1939.

A vicious killer died on August 21st, 1614.

One of the key figures of the Italian Renaissance died on August 1st, 1464.

Plans to remake the landmark BBC TV series raise challenging questions about contemporary pieties.

Neglected by politicians, today’s British army bears an alarming resemblance to the force of 1914.

Graeme Garrard describes the events that led to the torching of the new US capital by British troops in August 1814 and considers the impact of the ‘greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms’ on the US, Britain and Canada.

From 1478 a new ‘Inquisition’ against Christian ‘heresy’ spread throughout Spain and its overseas possessions in Europe (Sicily) and America. It would last until the 19th century and acquire a reputation for almost totalitarian cruelty, but was attacked at the time by Spain’s enemies and by lovers of religious liberty. In recent decades it has been the object of a vast amount of historical work by scholars from various countries.

Herod the Great is remembered as one of history’s bogeymen: the paranoid king of Matthew’s Gospel, scared of anyone usurping his rule. On hearing from Magi and priests about the future Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem, he has every child aged two years old and under slaughtered. Herod casts an ominous shadow over the nativity stories seen in primary schools, a pantomime villain.

As well as other rather more loudly trumpeted commemorations, August 2014 will also see the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising; the fateful summer when the Polish underground army rose in the name of liberty against its Nazi oppressors.

In August 1932 the German artist Käthe Kollwitz was present at the unveiling of the war memorial she had designed at the German war cemetery in Eesen Roggeveld in Belgium. In itself this was not remarkable, as in the years following the First World War thousands of memorials to the dead and missing were erected in the cemeteries, battlefields, villages, towns and cities of Europe, as societies profoundly affected by the mass loss of life during the war attempted to mark it.

Among the heroes who, at great risk to their own lives, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust under the noses of the Nazis, few deserve a more prominent place in the pantheon than Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg. 

Elizabeth I embraced an important truth that had evaded her father and her siblings: no ruler can dictate his/her subject’s beliefs. What she could, and did, demand was their loyalty. However, as Richard Hooker pointed out, since the Kingdom of England and the Church of England were the same thing viewed from different angles, politics and religion could not be conveniently compartmentalised. Thus, convinced Catholics and Puritans found themselves at odds with the Elizabethan Settlement.