History Matters

Thoughts, opinions and commentary on all things historical.

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The Underground Library

As the Nazis enclosed Warsaw’s Jewish quarter in a ghetto, a librarian set up a secret children’s library. 

The War in Words

What did British officers think of the American Civil War as it was happening?

Confess Your Sins

In 17th-century Tuscany and Malta some women were able to hold their abusers, members of the clergy, to account.

Moscow’s Divide and Rule

The Ukrainian-Polish border is a symbol of both international solidarity and the continuing threat that xenophobia poses to the European project.

Fools at Court

People with learning or physical disabilities occasionally had unique opportunities in Tudor society. 

Little White Lies

There is value in a leader who lies – but only if it is done for the greater good.

The Search for Immortality

The elixir of life, a mythical substance from ancient Chinese literature, underpins an enormous industry in modern China. 

The Other Boat Race

In the 19th century, servants at Oxford and Cambridge held a biennial boat race that was easily the equal of the students’.

A Shared Culture

How a German colony laid the groundwork for the alliance between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.